-by Dylan DiBona
Growing with a PlayStation 2, I had no idea that there were other consoles, and I didn’t even know what companies really were. I became aware of Nintendo when I was given a Game Boy Advance SP for Christmas one year, I then realized there was such a thing as a GameCube. A GameCube seemed kind of silly to me, the discs were puny and it had none of my favorite games. There was no Kingdom Hearts on GameCube, no Jak and Daxter or Ratchet and Clank. Why would I ever get a GameCube?
About a decade later in late high school I became infatuated with Nintendo and it’s IPs, having run out of patience for Nintendo to put GameCube games on the Wii U Virtual Console, I decided to hunt online for a GameCube and a copy of Super Mario Sunshine. I don’t play my GameCube too much but I just ordered a game for it online and somehow I’m feeling nostalgic over the little purple cube.
A Special Little Club
The PlayStation 2 still stands as the highest selling video game console ever made, with a whopping 121 million consoles sold worldwide. The GameCube in comparison sold only 21 million, a measly one sixth of Sony’s sales. For most middle class families, having more than one console was a daydream, and for parents unnecessary. If you had a GameCube you were stuck with it, but that’s not a negative at all.With such a small consumer base by comparison, the GameCube seemed like a special little club; everybody at school was talking about the hot new PS2 games but only a few about GameCube games. Mind you this is coming from a Sony kid back in the sixth generation. I look back at GameCube owners with a slight tint of jealousy. My favorite video game company took a few interesting side steps with their purple box; they weren’t trying to be revolutionary like they would be forever after- the GameCube was Nintendo’s last console where they were just trying to make games, not history. That’s not to say that Nintendo today is bad, quite the contrary, but something about their sixth generation system had charm.
Trying New Things
For the first time in two generations, a hot new Mario game didn’t launch with Nintendo’s new system; and when it did he wasn’t exploring castles and the Mushroom Kingdom- he was in the tropical locale of Isle Delfino. Instead his little brother Luigi took the responsibility of having a launch title with my favorite GameCube game, Luigi’s Mansion. It’s an odd but fun and charming action-adventure game and it’s considered a cult classic within the realm of Nintendo games.
New and important IPs for Nintendo were birthed on the GameCube. Pikmin 1&2 gave players a highly strategic adventure alongside cheerful music and beautiful scenery. Even if in Japan it started on the N64, Animal Crossing came to the rest of the world on the GameCube.
Also unusual for the company was it’s newest rendition of Super Smash Bros. In Melee it was all about speed, skill and competition, a mindset Nintendo would ditch in the near future. They also countered their N64 mistake of no Metroid with not one but two critically acclaimed games: Metroid Prime 1&2. This duo may very well be the most respected GameCube games to this day, with many considering 1 to be one of the finest games ever crafted. Ever hear of Fire Emblem? Of course not because the series didn’t hit the west until this generation. Fire Emblem Path of Radiance is remembered fondly by fans of the series for it’s intriguing story and combat. Without revolutionary technology, it certainly seemed like Nintendo was trying new things.
The Rare Third Party Exclusives
I could go on and on about the first party exclusives and how Nintendo really was spicing things up (a Donkey Kong bongo drum game and a cartoonish Zelda?!), but let’s move onto third party content. It obviously didn’t seem like a smart business move to have exclusives for the GameCube due to its consumer base, but a lot of companies did it anyway. I really can’t imagine the joy that Nintendo fans had in the early 2000’s when they finally got a non-Mario, non- Zelda, heck non-Nintendo game exclusive to their GameCube. Often labeled one of the greatest game remakes, the GameCube exclusive remake of Resident Evil offered fans a taste greatly different from Nintendo games.
Imagine how it must’ve felt to tell PlayStation 2 owners that you had a such a “cool” and “mature” game that they didn’t. Want more horror? Try Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, a genuinely unique action-adventure game that plays with spooks, scares and the concept of going insane. The likely case for GameCube owners is that they had an N64, therefore missing out on PS1 classics. As if Resident Evil wasn’t enough, Metal Gear Solid Twin Snakes is a much loved remake of the original Metal Gear Solid. How about Viewtiful Joe? Tales of Symphonia? Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles? There are plenty more but I only wanted to bring up names that are often mentioned today. The rare third party exclusives that were of quality really must’ve been something special to all the Nintendo fans in the day.
I remember going down the block and visiting a friend who had a GameCube. It was after I got my GameBoy so I was familiar with the idea of Nintendo. We would play Super Mario Sunshine, The Simpsons Hit & Run and Pokémon X D Gale of Darkness (another unique spin on a Nintendo IP).
I miss those days, and later this week when I boot up that small purple lunchbox and hear that iconic starting jingle, I’ll remember them fondly.
So do we have any GameCube fans here? Let me know your favorite games or memories with the system down below! I’d love to hear them. I’ll do my best to try and reply. As always, thanks for reading.