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Review: Custom N64 & Gamecube Jewels from RockerGaming

In today’s review, we’ll be covering a topic that hasn’t been covered in probably at least a decade; Gamecube and N64 case mods. Or case enhancements if you will. No matter what you call them, they’re always about making your favorite gaming console a little bit more…you. So we’ll be checking out the jewel replacements from RockerGaming and seeing how they stack up against the originals, discuss their pricing, and find out if they’re worth their weight in gold!

Description:

‘This Super Smash Brothers Smash Ball custom Gamecube Jewel offers an easy custom replacement to the tired and worn original Gamecube Jewel that came standard on all Gamecubes. This simple modification requires no permanent modification to the system and offers the ability to customize your Gamecube. The modification only works on the DOL-001 version of the Gamecube, the version with the digital port, so please confirm you have this version prior to purchase.

The jewel is made from acrylic with the art under the acrylic. It was made in the same manner as the original GC Jewel. The art is professionally printed with water proof ink. Note, there could be small scuffing or scratching on the surface of jewel as acrylic scuffs very easily. Measures have been taken to prevent this, but it is unfortunately inevitable. ‘

Build Quality:

When these arrive at your door, they show up in a padded envelope. Which may seem scary at first. I was closing my eyes tightly as I opened it, quietly praying that nothing was broken. And as I opened it and I saw them, I realized that the packing that these have is perfect for what they are. I wasn’t sure what kind of material they were or if they were incredibly fragile. Nevertheless, I’m just glad they weren’t made of glass!

Now obviously, after I opened them and saw they weren’t broken. I headed over to RockerGaming’s Etsy page to see the details of the product. I needed to do my research for this article. I can now confidently state that these jewels are made of acrylic. I was intrigued by this because I’m not entirely certain what the original is made out of.

When comparing the original and the replacement jewel side by side, I couldn’t really deduce what Nintendo made theirs out of. But I’m going to guess that it wasn’t acrylic like these replacements are. However, RockerGaming did note that these were made the same way that Nintendo made them, by printing on the underside. This keeps the color from scratching away from the top. I think, all in all, RockerGaming nailed these remakes in terms of build. He also notes that while you can’t prevent the top from being scratched in the long run, some preventative measures are in place to stop it as long as possible.

Now with regards to the Nintendo 64 jewel, you may notice a little bit of a difference. I’m only speaking of the fact that these are acrylic and I don’t think that the original is. This is only really going to matter to the purists out there. You’ll notice that if you buy one of these that the original jewel has a bit of a convexness to it. On the Etsy page, RockerGaming refers to it as a “domed” look. The ones that he sells, given the nature of the material he uses, will be flat.

Now, the difference is nominal. You wouldn’t notice it if you were looking at the product straight on. Even if you’re looking at it from an angle, you probably wouldn’t think about it unless you had the original next to it to compare it to. But it’s truly the only difference and I think the only people who would care are people who would buy a unique jewel anyway.

Color/Design Options:

There are tons of designs to choose from on RockerGaming’s Etsy page. In the pictures throughout this article, I’ve tried to focus on showing you the different designs that I was sent for review. But we can cover the other options here as well. It’s worth noting that I’ve found that he sells these on eBay as well. I’m not certain if there are other options on eBay. One would think that it’s all the same. If you want to sift through his eBay page, you definitely can.

On their Etsy, you’ll find that he has eighteen Gamecube jewels (as of this writing). There are also currently four Nintendo 64 jewels as well. I’m guessing the page updates to hiding the product when it’s sold out. As I’m not seeing one of the jewels that RockerGaming sent me for Nintendo 64. Anyway, I digress.

So aside from the beautiful Paper Mario jewel that’s depicted below and the fast-paced Mario Kart Double Dash jewel shown above, we have more. There is one of Captain Falcon on a black backdrop posing in what looks like his Falcon Punch pose. In the same art styling, there are also jewels featuring Falco Lombardi and Fox McCloud.

There’s a Resident Evil 4 box art jewel with Leon ready to kick some ass. Keeping with the theme of doing box art on the jewel, there is also Mario Golf, Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker, Wario World, Fire Emblem, and Mario Tennis. There are two stained glass ones there as well. One is Princess Peach (Toadstool) themed and one that is Mario themed. Both of them are taken from Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door.

There’s an all black one with a grey logo from Skies of Arcadia. I’ve literally never played that game and I think it’s one of the best jewels RockerGaming has. There are two Smash Bros themed jewels on his page right now. One is just black but has the Smash logo in a brilliant red. The other one has a fun, almost 80’s style font that says Super Smash Bros. Melee. And last, but certainly not least, RockerGaming also has a Metroid/Samus themed one…and I don’t really know how to explain it. You should just click here and check it out (while supplies last).

Lastly, with regards to the Nintendo 64 jewels, we’ll start with the ones they sent us for review. There is a really cute Donkey Kong 64 jewel that just features the iconic barrel with a red DK on the front. I also received the Nintendo Ultra 64 jewel. If anyone knows what Ultra 64 is, they’ll know that the logo was sleek and sexy. This is the one that will be staying on my Nintendo 64 forever as it’s the name it should’ve been.

The N64 jewels are all just different logos. Nothing wrong there, they fit and they’re right to the point. You’ll find a Starfox 64 logoed jewel on the page. You’ll also find two different Legend of Zelda game jewels. One being The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time, a fan favorite. As well as The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask, a personal favorite.

So, I think it goes without saying that RockerGaming is very prolific. There are plenty of options on his site and he keeps pumping out really great ideas that should match your taste. I sort of hope that he keeps making new designs and phasing out old ones. I would like to see official Gamecube and N64 replacement jewels. Just ones that look new and fresh for those of you who want to maintain the original look but have a broken jewel. It makes sense as you probably don’t want to buy an old, used one that is probably already scuffed.

Ease of Installation:

Here are videos that RockerGaming has made to help you out if you’ve never replaced a jewel before.

So as you can see in the videos, we’re talking about five minutes of your life. The installation videos make it look tremendously easy. So is it really, truly that easy? Well, let’s start by discussing the Gamecube jewel replacement. First off, if you didn’t catch on already, these jewel replacements only work on DOL-001 models. I’m not quite certain as to why the jewels on other models can’t be replaced. Maybe they can, but RockerGaming’s jewels only work on the first generation Gamecubes. We’ll come back to this in a moment.

So, you pop open the disc tray and look under the lid you’ll see three pieces of the jewel. The left side shows you the little piece that goes into the lid for stability. Then right side has the two clips that keep it completely in place. These are so easy to unclip and pop out, I was able to do it with just my pointer finger and my thumb. Your results may vary, but I can’t imagine that very many Gamecubes out there have super strong jewel clips anymore.

As soon as you release the two clips, you’ll find that the jewel comes straight out. This is so incredibly easy thus far. If you look at the underside of the jewel that you just removed that there is an anti…something…on the bottom. There are specific grooves that Nintendo made in the jewel so that you couldn’t replicate it and make your own gem for it. It’s almost identical to the Famicom Disk System’s piracy protection for those who know what I’m referring to.

The way that RockerGaming gets around this is by having a big empty space. This is so all of the pegs just fit and there is no need to match anything up. Maybe something along these lines is the reason that newer Gamecubes can’t have the jewel replaced or that RockerGaming’s don’t work? After that, you grab your new replacement. And just like in the video you peel away the thin piece of wax paper to expose the adhesive on the jewel. Then, insert the peg on the left side of the jewel first. Then set the right side of the jewel down and press firmly. It’s that easy and it looks great.

The Nintendo 64 was a different story with both removing the old and installing the new. In the video, RockerGaming shows how to open up your Nintendo 64. This part is simple enough as all you have to have is a 4.8 gamebit screwdriver. Once you have it apart, you just use a plastic or other smooth tool to push the jewel away from the console. This takes maybe two times in each hole and don’t worry about cracking the jewel, you shouldn’t.

If you don’t have a proper screwdriver to open the N64, you can do the following. Just heat up the N64 jewel from the outside with a hairdryer. That will soften the adhesive quite a bit more and at least long enough to get the gem out. Now, while it’s hot use a spudger or other plastic, flat tool and work at the top two corners. It should come free pretty cleanly.

In either regard, once you have the original Nintendo branded jewel off of the device, grab your new one. You’ll peel away the wax paper from the back and expose the adhesive. The next step is where it got tricky for me. I noticed that one of my corners didn’t quite fit right. This was definitely no reason to contact RockerGaming though as I had a nail file and I just took off a little bit at a time until it fit. I know some of you are thinking that I shouldn’t have had to have done that, I understand.

But for those in dout, rest assured that RockerGaming sent two to me and the other one fit perfectly. This means that maybe one was just slightly off. And it also means that RockerGaming doesn’t just only sell duds. I probably got a one-off product and after two minutes of filing the corners ever so slightly, it fit. Sometimes, as a consumer, you should pick your battles. Sure, you could say something, send back the dud, wait for a new one another couple of days…or you can fix the issue and move on.

Overall Thoughts:

Okay, the answer is clearly a yes. I think the fact that you get to choose a custom design to really express who you are for your N64 or your Gamecube is fantastic. The only bummer of it is that I would love to see some XBOX replacement jewels. And as a side note, I think ultimately if you have both a Gamecube and a Nintendo 64, you should order one of each together. Mine arrived in no time as I live in the Midwest and RockerGaming is based out of the Chicago area.

But ultimately paying for just one shipping cost that only costs a little bit more makes more sense. Well, it makes more sense than you wanting the other console’s jewel after seeing how well the console’s jewel you just bought looks. Buying them together will save you $2-$3 at least. Yes, it’s possible that you may end up with an N64 jewel that may not fit. But out of four jewels he sent me, only one needed a little TLC. Just now, I looked over his reviews and found nobody else with the issue. The Etsy page has a perfect 5-stars so I’m thinking that you’re safe, dear reader!

If you’d like to see each and every single option RockerGaming has to offer, head over to their Etsy page. They do other gaming related accessories as well!

If you like the author’s work, follow him on Twitter @V1RACY and don’t forget to enter the weekly giveaways!

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