20 years later: the Nintendo GameCube
20 years later: a Nintendo GameCube retrospective
Twenty years ago, on September 14, 2001, the GameCube launched in Japan as a struggling Nintendo stepped into a new generation. At the time of its release, Sony was dominating the competition as PlayStation’s rise to the top was imminent. The PlayStation 2 had multimedia selling points that rivals lacked, Microsoft had just established the foundation of the Xbox brand, and Sega’s pedestal was on the verge of collapse. At the end of its lifespan, the GameCube may have been erased by the popularity of its main competitor, but in retrospect, it was arguably the unexpected champion of the sixth generation of consoles.
As its library improved and distorted the creations of its predecessor, the GameCube became the system from the early 2000s that will be remembered the most. Nintendo ushered in another era of technological innovation with the Nintendo 64, but the GameCube perfected that period as the company fell into a rabbit hole of incredible variation. While Nintendo remained adamant about creating a dedicated video game system, its competitors aspired to make their consoles versatile entertainment experiences by exploring new avenues. The result was an era of all amazing systems, but one that would ultimately see a single console triumph in terms of being the best at actually playing.
Let’s go in another direction
From its inception to its closure, the Nintendo GameCube has always been a console that has stood out from the rest of the market. Looking only at its outer shell, the console didn’t inherit the sleek colors or rectangular designs of its competition that every piece of tech was trying to be. Instead, Nintendo went for a wacky-looking lunchbox design with a literal grip sticking out of its back and a controller that didn’t have the latest dual analog sticks but was a coordinating piece of perfection. With its quirks and flaws, the system and its controller became a combo that audiences could easily recognize after seeing it once.
The aesthetic philosophy of the GameCube was initially played by Nintendo sticking to creating a virtual “family” atmosphere that their competitors continued to shy away from. As Xbox and PlayStation tackled more mature, grainy titles, it was easy to believe why Nintendo’s system looked the way it was. In reality, however, perhaps those indigo, silver, black, and even orange spice-colored boxes were a clear signal of what the company would attempt to achieve over the next few years: be eccentric and get weird. by continuing to innovate on already new experiences. Getting original has always been and always will be how Nintendo will create both hardware and software.
Above the console exterior, GameCube’s library of proprietary Nintendo games emits its own personality as virtually every hit title from the company has attempted to resonate with their respective franchises while doing something new. At the heart of their game creation, Nintendo tackled two different ideas: to differentiate and come together. Both would drive the GameCube to its future popularity and set the Wii up for success as the titles in the system continued to age effectively while keeping their relevance intact. Many titles in his franchise are either locked to the system or the definitive way to play at their corresponding entry.
Unlike all other previous systems, the GameCube didn’t launch with a traditional Mario or Zelda title. Instead, the system was unleashed with the plumber behind a painting as his younger brother Luigi grabbed a vacuum cleaner and destroyed the ghosts. Meanwhile, Link was cut down and softened into a cartoonish look that would be beaten by the public and the press. Rather than shooting hunters in space, Fox McCloud set out to explore dinosaur infested planets while Samus Aran began hunting from a new perspective. Mario Kart was no longer a solo race until the finish as two players were able to control a vehicle and Super Smash Bros. has gone from a goofy slam festival to a serious cinematic melee devoted to Nintendo’s history.
Get N together or go out
The main real difference between Nintendo and its sixth generation competition was Big N’s goal of creating more titles that could easily be played together; something that has always become a staple of the business in an era when online gaming has continued to gradually eliminate local options. While the Nintendo 64 has certainly used its multiplayer, Nintendo has opened up its offerings for these four proud controller ports. It’s no surprise why Super Smash Bros. Melee has become one of the console’s cutting-edge launch games and future favorites for the system’s most popular title. Nintendo created a system that thrived on both multiplayer and single player experiences.
Little did the public know they were going to experience a revival of local sofa game gatherings. Even after so many years Kirby Air Flight, Mario party 4 through 7, Soul Calibur II, Mario Kart: Double Dash !!, and so many other GameCube multiplayer titles are fun to play. The developers of the company wanted to offer its fans a variety of options in terms of interacting with each other on the same couch. While they may not all have been successful, Nintendo’s early attempts to bridge the divide between portable gamers and consoles through connectivity were admirable and a giant leap towards some of their modern products. Name the GameCube as the Game Boy Advance docking station to expand multiple multiplayer Game Boy Advance games, including The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, and even the Pokémon series was creative, albeit messy.
Ultimately, there was one aspect of the GameCube’s library that mattered then and more so now: quality and its future longevity. While the PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox featured many titles that changed the gaming landscape and are incredible to revisit today, the GameCube undoubtedly steals the show from the long-term quality of the sixth generation. Compared to its competition, Nintendo’s overwhelming array of proprietary titles have not only aged beautifully, but become experiences worth seeking out. It’s safe to say that Nintendo’s emphasis on a visual style versus the onslaught of ‘realistic’ looking titles has allowed their silly stylized games to age better, but even their main gameplay achievements continue. to be used as standards.
Third place then, first place now
“What if all you see is more than what you see – the person next to you is a warrior and the seemingly empty space is a secret door to another world?” What if something appears that shouldn’t? Either you reject it or you accept that there is a lot more to the world than you realize. Maybe it really is a door, and if you choose to enter, you will discover a lot of unexpected things.
Shigeru Miyamoto, “Born To Play” on the back of the GameCube product packaging.
Looking at its legacy, it’s clear why the GameCube will always triumph over other early 2000s consoles. Like Nintendo’s past and future systems, the company’s lineup of proprietary titles continues to thrive over time, because they maintain cutting edge design philosophies for their particular times. It may have scored the last place in terms of sales against its two biggest rivals and has become one of Nintendo’s best-selling consoles to date, but the appreciation in looks, controller and GameCube’s game library will always prevail in the future. The GameCube certainly has its flaws, but to say that the love for the device is just nostalgia for its die-hard fans would be a disservice to the incredible work of Nintendo which continues to give in and compete with modern standards.