The Forgotten Golden Days Of The Nintendo GameCube

Harry Kettle

We’ve laughed and joked about how Nintendo hasn’t really been able to recapture their glory days in recent years, which is accurate, but when you delve into the annals of gaming history they’ve certainly played a big role in forging the blueprints for how we view the industry in the present day.

One such example of that would be the Nintendo GameCube which, for those of you who weren’t a part of that era, was the gateway console between the Nintendo 64 and the Wii. With a code name like ‘Dolphin’, you can understand why expectations weren’t all too high, especially given how revolutionary the 64 turned out to be.

But goodness gracious great balls of fire, we need not have worried. From the moment that it was released many realised that it was going to be a phenomenal alternative to the insanely popular PS2 and Xbox, in what can only be described as the golden generation of gaming.

In a brave move, Nintendo decided to utilize optical discs alongside a bizarre looking appearance, and you could even connect to the Game Boy Advance if that were to tickle your fancy.

Even the controller managed to come into the new age of gaming whilst also maintaining that retro feel that made Nintendo so unique for so many years, with the layout alone creating a great deal of excitement. For once, it seemed like the company were actually going out of their way to challenge the audience as opposed to appeasing them.

Title games like Crazy Taxi, Super Monkey Ball, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and Luigi’s Mansion all got the GameCube off to a glistening start, and things just seemed to snowball from there.

Obviously, with 21 million sales, it’s hard to find flaws in anything – but when it comes to the GameCube there really wasn’t all too much to pick out in terms of faults.

Sure it fell heavily behind the PS2 but given that it was less than 3 million sales behind the Xbox, you can’t deny that it exceeded what many critics were expecting of it.

Eventually, they brought out the big guns with the releases of Super Smash Bros Melee and Mario Kart: Double Dash, and if you didn’t love the latter with every fibre of your being, then please leave as you simply aren’t welcome here anymore.

The GameCube was a victim of hype and marketing failures in many regards, and many will probably look upon this piece and think that our opinion doesn’t really matter when you compare it to the numbers.

That may be true to an extent, but the legacy of a console resides with the public opinion years after the fact above all else. The Wii may have been considered a resounding success but there’s no way it would’ve been able to accomplish that had Nintendo not kept the ball rolling with the GameCube.

Everything about this operation was different, which was refreshing given that Sony and Microsoft were beginning to move into direct competition with one another.

Nintendo does need to try and compete once again, which is something we’ve gone out of our way to argue, but back in 2001, the GameCube was a perfect distraction in what was an era of gaming royalty.

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