Believe it or not, it has now officially been a decade and a half since the Gamecube’s initial launch. The system was released in Japan on September 14th, 2001. Time sure flies!
The Gamecube is (for now) the lowest-selling home console that Nintendo has ever released. It even lost to the then-new Xbox. Sony’s PlayStation 2 not only eclipsed both systems that generation, but went on to be the highest-selling system of all time. Case-in-point, the GC had some pretty stiff competition. Even so, it holds quite a number of titles that were critically acclaimed and also loved by fans. Super Smash Bros. Melee, the system’s highest-selling game, remains as the fan-favorite entry in the whole Smash series and has continued to play a major role in competitive tournaments to this very day. The Gamecube was also the birthplace of many IPs such asPikmin and Animal Crossing.
The console was also the last Nintendo system to push the hardware spectrum; it was slightly less powerful than the Xbox, but more capable than the PS2. Even with that impressive level of power, the system was not able to completely catch up to its competition in sales. This was primarily due to its use of mini-discs instead of DVDs, which led to many developers over-looking the system (and also consumers ignored it since the PS2 and Xbox could double as DVD players/game consoles). Other factors include its design and primary color scheme, which was seen as being too ‘childish’, as well as its very limited online capabilities. Indeed, the Gamecube did not have a very easy life, but it wasn’t really a failure. Not only did Nintendo manage to turn a profit with the system, but it also managed to provide a solid selection of games for the console, from first-party entries to third-party exclusives. The Gamecube also pioneered proper wireless controllers by means of the legendary Wavebird.
Its legacy continued to live on through its successor, the Wii, which was the first Nintendo home console to feature backwards-compatibility. It officially came to an end when Nintendo released a redesigned Wii model in 2011 which removed the Gamecube controller and memory card ports. However, Nintendo surprised its fans back in 2014 when a Gamecube Controller Adapter wasrevealed for the Wii U alongside Super Smash Bros. U, along with a return of the wired Gamecube controller, now sporting the Smashinsignia. You know a controller design is awesome when it comes back 13 years later!
Many gamers did not appreciate the system back in hits heyday, but it’s safe to say that quite a number of folks now think very fondly of the little purple box. Hopefully the Nintendo NX will prove to be the system that truly pulls Nintendo out of the rut it got stuck in with the Gamecube.