The Most Unappreciated Console of All Time
I have been gaming since the original Pacman arcade machines. I am not particularly very old at only 21, but I have been playing video games off and on since I was a child. Now, usually when most people think of the best system of all time it unanimously is the SNES for alot of gamers new and old. However when someone points to the “failure” of Nintendo and tries to show where their downhill spiral began the Gamecube always gets the blame. That is however understandable in a way. The Gamecube was the successor to the Nintendo 64, a machine that had classic after classic and for many people was the last “high point” of Nintendo. The real reason for the failure of the Gamecube was arguably Nintendo’s arch enemy, SONY. The Playstation 1 sold incredibly well and then following that success the Playstation 2 released, destroyed the Dreamcast, included DVD playback, and had a very solid launch lineup. At the time most people where in JRPG fever mode and Final Fantasy was now an exclusive SONY franchise having being taken from Nintendo. Looking back it’s odd that Final Fantasy was so important to success in the minds of gamers because today it has greatly fallen from the wayside.
The Gamecube was an odd system if looking in without any knowledge of it. It was a small purple cube, had tiny discs, and the controller looked like something Fisher Price could have made. However, the controller is comfortable as hell, the discs are unique and compact, and the system was probably the most durable disc based system ever made. I have dropped my Gamecube off 5 foot drops onto hard floors atleast 20 times in it’s lifetime. It still works as if I had bought it yesterday. All this is nothing without some solid games and the Gamecube has some of the most underappreciated games ever. In my mind they are some of the best games ever made despite low sales and the negative “vocal” opinions of them.
What the Gamecube lacked in broad appeal from outsiders looking in it was rewarding for people who owned one. Nintendo took some of it’s biggest risks with the system and it’s franchises and as a fan and a Gamecube owner it seemed that quality title after quality title was pouring in. Windwaker, Metroid Prime, Mario Kart Double Dash, and Star Fox Adventures are all games that got a ton of flack for departing from the norm that most fans of the series are used to. However, all those games are some of the best games from last generation. Metroid Prime and Windwaker are easily in the top 10. That doesn’t even mention that the Gamecube had the following as well;
Star Wars Rogue Squadron series
LOZ Ocarina of Time
LOZ Twilight Princess
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
Soul Caliber II (With Link)
Resident Evil 4
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Tales of Symphonia
Super Mario Sunshine
Skies of Arcadia Legends
Resident Evil REmake
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Metal Gear Solid The Twin Snakes
Fire Emblem path of Radiance
Pikmin 1 & 2
Metroid Prime 1 & 2
Phantasy Star Online (With 4 player offline splitscreen)
Star Fox series
Baten Kaitos series
WWE Day of Reckoning 1 & 2
Alright, alright, you get the picture…The Gamecube, because of it’s low sales more than likely, had little to no shovelware. If the system got a new game it was generally a pretty bad ass game with some exceptions of course. The thing is, I could EASILY expand that list with about 20 or more games and series. These are all games you likely won’t be disappointed with in anyway. For it’s time the Gamecube was a powerhouse of a system as well, only being held back by it’s small disc format. What held it back the most in my opinion was it’s overall look and it’s marketing. It’s default color was…well, purple…It’s controllers I mentioned before literally look like Fisher Price toys with the various colors of each button and the awkward looking button placement. The Gamecube had little to no RPGs which where very popular at the time of its launch. It also didn’t have many FPS games which where gaining a ton of popularity at the time because of Halo and Halo 2’s online play.
That’s another thing Nintendo got wrong. They ignored the rising popularity of online play. It was possible to play games like Mario Kart: Double Dash online but it required an expensive adapter and was also awkward to set up for any casual gamer. Meanwhile Halo 2 was allowing anyone who wanted to play online to just put the disc in and play online even if there was a fee. The PS2 even had its fare share of popular online games and those where all free to play. The Dreamcast, which released before the Gamecube, had a big focus on online play as well. Nintendo still to this day doesn’t get how to do online well. The Wii had annoying friend codes, can only be played online wirelessly, and really just doesn’t feel like an online identity and lacks tons of features the others do so well. However that’s another conversation for another time. The Wii certainly didn’t suffer in sales because of lacking online play, but it’s online play suffered because of Nintendo neglecting to learn from it’s mistakes with the Gamecube. They could have easily of tested the waters with the Gamecube and not be so far behind today but they where ignorant of the popularity it’d gained just like they where this past generation with HD display. Hell, Nintendo consoles STILL can’t play DVDs, or Bluerays and the Wii U won’t change that.
Overall the Gamecube is easily one of the most solid 3D consoles of all time. It has atleast a hundred games worth the purchase of one or a Wii to play them, it’s more durable than any system in history, has interesting connectivity with the GBA (ahead of it’s time), still has games with great artstyles and beautiful graphics to this day. The Gamecube was always worth the purchase, Nintendo just never gave anyone except hardcore gamer’s a solid enough reason to buy one. It’s also sad to me that the Wii U will not be backwards compatible with Gamecube games. Hopefully this means HD remakes are in our future, but if not then it’s just a shoddy attempt to “resale” you some of the best games Nintendo has ever produced on one of possibly the most unappreciated consoles of all time.