We haven't got ours yet. Bit of a shame that, but Datel promises we'll be FreeLoading by the end of the week. Meanwhile, we've been watching with great interest the fairly broad response on Datel's CodeJunkies.com forums. You'll need an account to do the same, but here, let us save you the bother…
First of all, word on compatibility seems to be mixed. Some users are claiming total success with the likes of Animal Crossing, Metroid Prime and others, whilst one Super Monkey Ball 2 owner couldn't seem to stop it crashing. It seems there are several methods to get games working, and some work for some games while others don't. However, a handful of users are reporting that nothing works for Game X, Y, Z, and reports also suggest that little black borders are present in some situations, while not in others, and other quirks have also crept in. A couple of users even claim that they are suffering frame rate issues thanks to FreeLoader, reportedly in Metroid and Resident Evil Zero. Eh?
"If any of these things happen, you're not using the best boot-up method - try the other two boot up methods, and you'll find that the game works perfectly," Datel marketing manager Grant Hughes told us last night. "The majority of games will run with loading method two using the Z button on your controller, then selecting the appropriate US or Japanese flag depending on your game. The three different boot-up methods are clearly documented in the FreeLoader manual."
"We tested all the US and Japanese games we could get our hands on," Grant says on compatibility issues, "and they all played via FreeLoader."
Back on CodeJunkies.com, the first FreeLoader FAQ answers some questions but raises others - and seems to contradict hands-on reports from end users. "Yes, using FreeLoader you can play any region GameCube game on any GameCube," may be comforting to hear, but when the same page makes claims of borderless gameplay and users are reporting the opposite, it can be a bit confusing.
Reports now suggest that Datel will release a compatibility list shortly, although the firm skirted the issue when we asked them directly. Ho hum.
We should have FreeLoader very shortly, and we'll let you know how it works on our Jap/US/PAL consoles, and whether we run into any compatibility problems ourselves.