In 2001, Nintendo was coming off the underwhelming performance of the Nintendo 64. Sure the game had classic games for it such as Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64, but it was crushed by Sony’s first console, the PlayStation. Nintendo was in a pickle at this point, having suffered their second blunder in a row right after the poorly performing Virtual Boy. By no means was their successor a smash hit, but in my opinion, nothing comes close to being as innovative and memorable as the GameCube.
The GameCube was released as one of the most unique looking consoles that had ever been released, as per its name, it was a cube. Consoles that preceded the GameCube were flat grey or black rectangles and occasionally were colored, but the GameCube at release was indigo (I would argue blue). As time went on there were many other colors of GameCube’s released such as black and neon orange, but the console never went through a redesign, possibly because it wasn’t as successful console like the NES or SNES. The console also had a handle on the back of it, suggesting that the console should be able to move from place to place. This was mostly decorative, but I feel that it adds a little bit of charm with the console literally telling you that it can be taken anywhere.
Most people say that the SNES controller is the best video game controller of all time, but to them I say “have you even played the GameCube?” The GameCube controller is the most comfortable to play with and my personal favorite controller. The thumbstick on the left side of the controller has a wonderful rubber pad on it that allows the thumb to grip it no matter where the thumb lands on the stick. The face buttons on the right side of the controller are definitely odd, but I feel that they are practical for progression of learning games. The A button is front and center and colored green for “go” making racing games like Mario Kart: Double Dash very easy to pick up and learn by simply looking at the controller. The B, X and Y buttons all orbit the A button and are a quick press away from the neutral position over the A button. The L and R shoulder buttons are the best buttons on the controller, as it is very sensitive to pressure and when pressed all the way down gives a satisfying click. The sensitivity of the L and R buttons are really good for games like Super Mario Sunshine, where the sensitivity directly affects the way Mario sprays water. There are many 3rd party controllers, especially today, that try to replicate the magic of holding and using a GameCube controller, but they all have something missing or different about them, and they just don’t feel the same.
The amount of games from third party and in house developers which are good are staggering for a system that did as poorly as the GameCube did. Nintendo games that were classics for the system include LoZ: Wind Waker, LoZ: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Sunshine, the Metriod Prime series, and of course Super Smash Bros. Melee. All of these games are seen today as the cream of the crop as far as Nintendo is concerned. Super Mario Sunshine I feel is severely underrated and I think that it should be seen as one of the best, if not the best, 3D Mario game. Melee is seen by many as the best Smash Bros game, with its simple, but complicated fighting mechanics. Metroid Prime gave a revitalization to a dormant series with a new take on the first person shooter sci-fi genre. Wind Waker took a U-turn in the traditional Legend of Zelda art style, but still delivered a game that is still memorable to this day. The third party support was not too shabby either. Sonic had many classic games ported to the system in classic collections and Super Monkey Ball had a definitive installment on the system. Resident Evil 4 was also on the console and is heralded as the best of the series.
The accessories for the system were spare, but were pretty decent as well. The most notable being the Wavebird controller, which was the first Nintendo made wireless controller. The controller took many batteries, but the novelty of a wireless controller made the product sell well. There was also the GameBoy Advance adapter, which allowed GBA games to be played on the system. Finding a complete set of this accessory is quite the challenge today, but there are games that can nly be played with this accessory like LoZ: Four Swords, which allows 4 players to go on an adventure together throughout Hyrule.
The GameCube is my favorite system for a myriad of reasons. The controller is great, the games are legendary, and the system is overall incredible. I have had so many good memories with the system, and Nintendo made a console that so many overlooked at the time, but today has become a great collectors item for Nintendo fans. The GameCube has faded from a lot of gamers memories, but I believe that in the future, the console will be looked upon with fond memories by many.