Nintendo GameCube

Here’s my GameCube, a little dusty at the time I took this photo, which probably tells you something. I actually like the GameCube a lot but felt it was underserved both by third party developers and by Nintendo itself – for such a large company, they sure don’t release many home games these days, and the games they do serve up are often not much more than rehashes of their past glory. Where has the creativity gone, Nintendo?

It’s a shame, because technically speaking I actually think this was the closest to what a game console should be of all of the systems of its generation (the PS2 and Xbox being the others). It is not quite as powerful as the Xbox, but then it was also not saddled by extraneous hardware, a gigantic and heavy casing, or a top-heavy price tag. It is more powerful and smaller than the PS2. Its memory architecture was designed to minimize bottlenecks, and I think that shows in the games. Most GameCube games run extremely smoothly, whereas even on the more powerful Xbox you will get unexpected choppiness at times. GameCube graphics are also sharp and clear, a big contrast to the N64’s blurriness, and better even than the Xbox’s somewhat muted, washed-out video output (on my A/V system, the Xbox never achieves true black). The controllers are comfortable, the system itself light and easy to deal with (I personally think top-loaders work better than tray designs in a console). It’s just everything you could want from a low-cost, proprietary game machine.

There was just not enough game support. What little existed was often pretty exceptional – Viewtiful Joe, Metroid Prime, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Animal Crossing, Beach Spikers, Super Monkey Ball, I mean these are all classics in their respective genres. And unlike the PS2 and Xbox, the GameCube’s heavy first-party Nintendo slant does give it a unique identity, and a feel that’s closer to playing a classic console than what the PS2 and Xbox offer. But maybe the world had moved on, as unfortunate as that sounds, because neither Nintendo nor much of anyone else had ever been all that enthusiastic about putting games out on the system. Oh well.

It’s a little surprising how well the Wii has done given that it’s suffering from a lot of the same problems – I guess Nintendo hit on just the right feature set that’s allowed the mass audience to overlook the dearth of games.  I’ve never really thought that most average people need to buy a new game every week, so I guess it’s not actually too surprising that the less-than-hardcore Wii crowd is satisfied with owning the system and three or four games and pretty much leaving it at that.

Obligatory box shot – my system’s actually Japanese, modified to play games from both regions (hence the Japanese text):

The blue reflection on the right is just the light from my TV set, not a discoloration on the box.

5 thoughts on “Nintendo GameCube”

  1. It sucks really that the Wii has gained so much fan fair.
    Also,that Nintendo had to go and compete with PS2 and XBox.
    The last two good games for GCN are The Legend Of Zeld:Twilight Princess and Madden NFL 2008.
    Both game out in 2006-2007.
    I hear the game Donkey Kong Barrel Blast,was supposed to be out of GCN,but is not thanks to the Wii(boo hiss boo!)
    I came on to GCN late. Just recent really.
    Can’t afford a Wii,so I downgraded.
    Best downgrade I have ever done!
    I am amazed a lot of Nintendo fans still play the GCN. Either directly or by playing their games on the Wii(why bother? Gamecube gaming on a Wii is stupid to me if one had a Gamecube to start off).
    I am looking for the best games though.
    I own a XBox,and really I don’t see what made it so sppecial. Sure there is Halo but the games are not THAT good to me and the extra features are ho hum.
    So,do you still use the GCN now?

  2. Hi Trinette:

    I’ve actually moved since writing all these posts and my gaming configuration is all changed now – I no longer have the GCN hooked up. It’s actually sitting in my TV cabinet, I had meant to reconnect it a while back and just never did.

    I still really like the system, but I’ve just sort of moved on from it. I don’t have a Wii either, I have a PlayStation 3 right now. Eventually I will own all the current systems, but I usually go with one in any generation until near the end and the prices drop… then I fill out my collection.

    I need to update this post. Will get to it soon!

  3. game cube is a celebrety in its own rights.we still play all systems and gc is one of the best,and belongs in the hall of fame along with 26oo,snes,n64,dreamcast,saturn,ps series,x boxes,intellivision,coleco vision,and genisis console platforms.power to the players! of all generations and systems,they all have personality. and cube deserves respect…….

  4. The GameCube definitely has a great personality. I love the controller, it’s just so comfortable (you’ll notice that the 360’s controller replicates the exact layout of the GameCube’s). I have a Wii, and play GameCube games on it simply because my GameCube is out of commission at the moment. I love the Wii, though.

  5. I feel pretty much the same way about this system. What few games it does have to boast about are so good that having just one or two of them could justify owning a GC last gen.

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