Nintendo has taken great trouble to prevent grey importers profiting from Japanese/American GameCube interoperability. Although ostensibly compatible, consoles from both regions will have lockouts that make playing games from another region almost impossible, Nintendo claims. In the past, console manufacturers have suffered massive losses due to the grey import market, with high street chains like Computer Exchange here in the UK coaxing this phenomena out of the mail order sections of games magazines and into the public eye. 'Mod chips', tiny circuitry modifications easily packaged and distributed have been readily available for many consoles, and even the recent PlayStation 2 is about to suffer the indignity of the 'chip'. Getting import games to work on Nintendo consoles in the past has varied in difficulty. With the Super Nintendo, American gamers' cartridges were of a different size to discourage Japanese imports, although gamers soon learnt that a small piece of plastic could be removed to allow insertion of Japanese carts, but in the case of the European Super Nintendo, 100% success was never achieved, with varying results from different adapters. To play imported games on a Nintendo 64, slightly more involved surgery was required. Although this news won't be much of a surprise to Nintendo followers, casual gamers tempted to import the 'Cube from Japan in September would do well to take notice - if it is chipped, it could well take longer than you expect.
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