A very memorable experience from my high school years consisted of having several friends over my house after wandering aimlessly for several hours, and wanting to play on my Nintendo Gamecube. Alas, the composite cable for it was missing—I think it had been left at another friend’s house or something, doesn’t matter. Out of sheer despair, we slipped the composite cable for my Playstation 2 into the Gamecube’s composite cable slot.
To our shock, we got video. It was in black and white, and there was no sound, but we could play the game we’d wanted to play.
The two connectors are wildly different on the ends that plug into the actual consoles:
As you can see, the chip with the pins for the Gamecube is a “tongue” that sticks into the middle of the plug. There are pins on both top and bottom of this tongue. The PS2 outlet is also kind of a tongue, but only barely above the bottom of the outlet, and only has pins on top. When put into the Gamecube, the PS2 plug sits entirely on top of the tongue, and the only reason that the pins contact is because of the slight cutout in the bottom of the PS2’s metal wrapper.
How was this possible? Was it just pure, ridiculous, coincidence that enough of the pins would line up that we could get as much as we did? Or are there some reasons why—even though they each had totally different, proprietary connectors—there would be enough similarities to make this less unlikely?