Shacknews remembers the GameCube

by Shack Staff, Nov 18, 2011 12:30pm PST

It was ten years ago today that Nintendo launched the GameCube, a divisive system to some that felt Nintendo had lost its way in the battle against Sony and newcomer Microsoft. Others, like many here on staff, remember the system fondly and, like our Xbox Anniversary feature, have stories to share.

Garnett Lee

Did I want Indigo or Jet Black? That was the question that confronted me at the GameCube launch. I ultimately chose Indigo, just because, well, it was different. The launch lineup wasn't that long, but I picked up Luigi's Mansion and Rogue Squadron and never looked back. The combination of ghost capturing mechanic and each room as a new puzzle in Luigi's Mansion really clicked with me.

As the system aged it followed the now familiar Nintendo pattern of laying fallow in my entertainment center or long stretches, only to triumphantly reawaken for games like 1080, one of my favorite snowboarding games, the quirky fun of Chibi Robo introduced to me by James Mielke, Pikmin, which melded action and strategy together so well, and, of course, the amazing Resident Evil 4.

Xav de Matos

Last generation was home to some incredible console titles, but my favorite game from that era was an experimental project from an Texas-based studio called Retro. Metroid Prime delivered quality on every level, with gorgeous graphics, incredible sound, and the perfect translation of Samus Aran's 2D sidescrolling moves into 3D. Sadly, Metroid Prime's release (and its sequel) were buried behind the surging hype for titles like Halo and Halo 2 on the Xbox. Still, it's an amazing experience, that begs to be played countless times (especially for Sequence Breaking opportunities).

GameCube was also one of the few consoles that I purchased multiple times. I retired the purple system and upgraded to the limited edition silver bundle. Versus the PS2's mechanical design and the Xbox system's plastic mountain, the GameCube was actually nice to look at. And say what you want about the controller, but the Wavebird is still one of my favorite peripherals.

Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes helped remind us that while technology evolves, great stories can live on in new generations. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and Viewtiful Joe melted hours away from my life and then there were the crazy titles that some adored and others hated like Killer 7 and P.N.03, both of which I loved.

It's sad to see people rewriting history and painting the GameCube in a bad light. It had a shaky life sure, but it also introduced us to some of the best games we've ever played.

Alice O'Connor

I suspect I've never actually played a GameCube (having been deep into PC gaming at the time, not to mention quite poor) but I am eternally grateful that it brought the world Resident Evil 4. Thank you GameCube, whatever you were. Some manner of behandled box for computer and video games, they tell me.

I did always want to play Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, though.

Andrew Yoon

Of the three consoles during this generation, GameCube was my favorite. Sure, most people hated the purple lunchbox design of the system, but I actually found use for its portable nature. It was our Super Smash Bros. Melee machine, after all--and I'd bring it to friends' homes, church, school, etc.

While all the consoles of that generation had great games, GameCube had quite possibly the greatest games. This is the system that introduced the world to Metroid Prime--still the greatest first person adventure game ever created. It gave us Resident Evil 4, a game that has pretty much defined the current generation of games with its over-the-shoulder third-person perspective.

Gamecube is home to so many games that, in many ways, have yet to be improved upon. Zelda: Wind Waker still holds up to this day, and while its controversial art style may have been off-putting to some, I find it to be one of the most gorgeous cel-shaded games ever created. (I'd argue that no game, minus the Naruto: UNS games, have come close to matching Nintendo's effort.) Eternal Darkness introduced us to "sanity effects," a neat gimmick that was memorably used again in Batman: Arkham Asylum.

One generation later, it's sad to see that no one has bested Pikmin as the best made-for-console RTS, and no one has created a better futuristic racer than F-Zero GX. It's even sadder to realize that an entire generation has gone by with Nintendo ignoring these franchises. Hopefully, that won't still be true when we're writing about the 20th anniversary of the GameCube.

Jeff Mattas

I sort of feel like a party-pooper on this GameCube remembrance day. Of all the home consoles that I've ever owned, Nintendo's cubic system with tiny discs was probably the least-played. It's sort of understandable, given that it was competing with the original Xbox and PlayStation 2 (during the waning days of the Sega Dreamcast), but I found its controllers and tiny discs to be the less appealing than its competitors, and games that piqued my interest were few and far between.

That said, there was one GameCube game in particular that I absolutely adored: Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem by Silicon Knights.

Prior to its release, the survival-horror market was pretty much cornered by series like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Eternal Darkness brought a lot new to the table, not the least of which was a stunningly-clever "insanity" mechanic. As player's witnessed disturbing events in the world, their sanity would drop. If it dropped too low, the game would literally mess with the player by serving up all sorts of different effects. Players might receive a false warning that the controller was unplugged, appear to die unexpectedly, or (my favorite) even receive the infamous "blue screen of death." The game spanned many characters, settings, and time periods, all interwoven into an over-arching story, and was an absolute blast to play.

The fact that Silicon Knights hasn't yet developed a current-generation sequel to Eternal Darkness remains one of gaming's greatest missed opportunities, in my opinion.

Nintendo GameCube's wireless Wavebird controller

Steve Watts

Since I got my GameCube while living in college dorms, I mostly remember it as a social experience. Mario Kart Double Dash was a crowd favorite, and once a few friends from my hall got into Animal Crossing I had to keep my door unlocked so they could tend to their ridiculous mortgage payments while I was in class. I enjoyed the single-player games too, of course -- Resident Evil 4, Rogue Squadron, and Mario Sunshine were great distractions. And at the time, I seemed to be the only one who preferred The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker art style to Ocarina of Time. Sure, now you all say it's better.

The much-maligned controller was actually one of my favorites. It overemphasized one button, but it felt super-ergonomic and the Wavebird was my first wireless. It blew my mind, only to be topped when I got new consoles that allowed the system to be turned on using the controller. What a time to be alive.

Ozzie Mejia

The GameCube came out around the time I started college and I primarily remember it kickstarting my Smash Bros. addiction that still goes on to this day. Sure, the original N64 Super Smash Bros. was fun and all, but Super Smash Bros. Melee improved on its predecessor in every way in terms of controls, fan service, and pure fun factor. Even though I've moved on to Super Smash Bros. Brawl, I can't ignore that the GameCube's entry to the series helped turn it into one of Nintendo's biggest franchises.

I also remember the GameCube generation for Nintendo doing their best to flesh out the Star Fox franchise. Star Fox Adventures was a fantastic adventure game. It was a terrible "Star Fox" game, since about 90% of it was played outside the Arwing and the Arwing missions were purely filler, but as an adventure game, I loved the combat and exploration elements. It did its job in terms of creating a memorable experience and pushing the Star Fox story forward by introducing Krystal and bringing Falco back into the fold. I've heard a lot of complaints about Namco's Star Fox Assault, mainly in regards to the clunky on-foot controls, but this remains my favorite entry in the series. Star Fox Assault brought back the on-rails style that I loved so much in Star Fox 64, while also bringing an epic narrative that fleshed out nearly all of the series' characters. Brilliant stories are something I've grown to expect from the Zelda and Metroid franchises, but the Gamecube generation showed me that the Star Fox series carries that same potential to captivate audiences. It's why Star Fox Assault remains in my gaming library to this day.




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