Any hard core gamers knows that many of the best games - or at least the most unique games, come right out of Japan. Most of these games never see the light of day in the United States or Europe and gamers are left wanting and drooling for games they'll never have the chance to play. At least that was the case with the Gamecube and now also with the Nintendo Wii. Then along came a little disc called the Freeloader, that allowed any Gamecube to play any Japanese game with ease, with no mod chip required and no need to open your console.
Why do I mention Gamecube and Wii playing import games? Simply because the Nintendo Wii is also compatible with every single Gamecube Game, including the FreeLoader disc. Because the Nintendo Wii can boot Gamecube Discs / games, you can also load the Freeloader and finally take advantage of all of the great Import games on the market. The Nintendo Wii Freeloader is a disc, that allows any Wii owner to play import Gamecube games without a mod chip. As you may have guessed, the Freeloader was not actually manufactured for the Nintendo Wii, but was instead a product that has been out for several years (with various updates) for the Nintendo Gamecube. Since the Wii can play Gamecube games and is backwards compatible, it will also load the FreeLoader on any Wii console allowing you to play any region Gamecube game with ease.
Now, if this were just any kind of disc, I wouldn't write a review on it. And often times, when I talk about import games, people ask me why I would want to play games that are all in Japanese and can't be played anyway. Or ask me what the big deal is with these games from Japan. The fact of the matter is, over 60% of Japanese import games can be played with no problem. I'm a big fan or racing games and some of the BEST racing games for Gamecube have only been released in Japan. The same would go for first person shooters. But more than that, some of the games are just so very unique, so well designed, that you must try them. You'll immediately become an import game fan once you do.
Regardless of the genre of games you like. By being able to play import games, you're actually expanding your software library, or at least the available selection by thousands of additional games. Many of these games you won't hear about at your local Blockbuster, or in magazine. But online review sites like IGN.com or GameSpot.com have entire sections devoted to import games and import gaming, because there are a tremendous amount of great games available.
This brings us back to the Freeloader. The Freeloader was developed by Datel as a means to cut out the need for installing a mod chip in your Gamecube console to have access, and the ability to play these games. Before the Freeloader, you would need to install a Gamecube Mod Chip like the Xeno Gamecube or the Viper Gamecube chip to play your import and personally backed up games. While the Freeloader won't let you play backup games, it will effortlessly allow you to play Import games from any region on any Gamecube.
I want to also say that this is NOT an article to promote the Freeloader as the next best thing since sliced The Legend Of Zelda for the Gamecube or Nintendo Wii. If you're not into Japanese games, or import games in general, and have no interest in them, then the Freeloader is not for you. It doesn't offer any extras or advantages for any Nintendo Wii or Gamecube owner who is happy to just play the offering of games available in their own country. Its sole purpose is to allow gamers like myself, and tens of thousands of others, to enable the playing of Import games. While I am stressing just Japanese games in this article as they are my own personal favorite. European gamers can also play the latest games released only in the USA on their PAL Gamecube or Nintendo Wii systems as well. Gamecube import games are not just from Japan. If you're a fan or Rally racing games, many of the best games in that genre are released in the UK and Europe.
Just how do you use the Gamecube Freeloader on the Nintendo Wii? First of all, think of it as a Nintendo Wii Freeloader. Insert the disc into your Nintendo Wii just as you would your Gamecube, and then select it from your Wii Dashboard. It'll load up, and you'll be greeted by the Freeloader main menu, where you'll have several selections. While it isn't loaded with features that'll blow you away - that is exactly the reason it's so easy to use. I suppose there aren't really a slew of features you could pack in to software that is intended to do just one thing - play import video games. We can thank the simplicity and ease of use due to the few options it has.
The Freeloader is easy to use, both on the Gamecube and the Nintendo Wii console. You simply put the disc in the Gamecube or your Nintendo Wii, wait for it to load and then pick the map representing the region you want to play. You'll then have to eject the disc from your Nintendo Wii, or open the Gamecube lid, and take out the Freeloader, put in the game you want to play and it will just load for you. It couldn't get any easier really.
In closing, the Freeloader for the Gamecube or Nintendo Wii is meant to do one thing, and one thing only. It does it with ease and work perfectly each and every time. It's not intended to do anything else. Comparing it to other software or add ons for either the Gamecube or the Nintendo Wii would be pointless. If you want to start getting the latest import games without having to wait until the hit the local market - if they ever do at all, then the Freeloader is the easiest and cheapest way to get you started.
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