Sunday, February 19, 2012
The post I wanted to write was going to be flowery verses about triumph and perserverance. It was going to show the several poor souls who visit here regularly-ish that the future is now, that flying cars are just around the corner. It was was going announce that the GameCube Portable was really, really, real and ready to amaze. There was going to be pictures and video.
But this is a different post. This one is about stumbling at the finish line, dropping the ball in the end-zone, kicking the puck into the net, forgetting to save your game - just name your cliched about disappointment.
We were so close, we were. A few days ago we had fitted all of the remaining GameCube components into the case. It was a tight fit to get the motherboard, batteries, and cooling fan into their best positions. We even had to do a bit of last-minute tinkering just to shorten up some wires before fastening them into their places.
Everything worked - the screen, speakers, disc drive, headphone jack, triggers, power management. Everything worked. The final step was to join the 2 halves of the case and screw them together. With each turn of each screw, we tested and tested again to make sure everything still worked. And with half the screws in place, something happened.
The Z-button started acting strange. There's a little-known Gamecube 'easter egg' that involves pressing the Z-button while the console is powering on. When you do this, the Gamecube will play audio that sounds like a squeaking monkey followed by the sounds of a rattle and a laughing baby. Unfortunately, we were getting ths easter egg without holding the Z-button. Furthermore, the Z-button failed to work when we tested gameplay.
Since everything had been working properly before assembling the case, we could only deduce that something had been broken in the process of squeezing the the components together. And so we retreated back to familiar terrain - testing, removing, and replacing bits-and-pieces of the Gamecube while trying to pin-point the problem.
We've checked the Z-button, itself, and found no issues. We've replaced the controller daughterboard with a spare and this has not fixed the issue, eiether. We're now in the process of replacing some wiring and, while it doesn't seem likely this is the culprit, anything is possible. The good news (I suppose) is that we are isolating the problem and we will get it fixed. And all of the fussy work we've done with triggers, the screen setup, and overall case construction will be unaffected. As well, the latest setback has shown up a few more safeguards we'll need to consider when we get back to assembling the case halves. The bad news, of course, is that we're, again, a few more hours away from 'done'.
Pray for us.