The GameCube turns 20 years old this Tuesday (14) since it arrived in stores in Japan. The Nintendo console had a very unusual design for the time, in addition to exclusive games of the brand, but it was not so successful in the market: they were just 22 million units sold. The console was home to popular titles such as Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion, Super Smash Bros. Melee and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Check out more about the GameCube’s trajectory and some of its biggest successes below.
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The GameCube completes 20 years of its trajectory as an important part of Nintendo’s history — Photo: Divulgação/Nintendo
Released on September 14, 2001 in Japan and on November 18 in the rest of the world, the GameCube surprised us with several design decisions. The cube shape with a handle on the back made it easy to carry, as well as being extremely drop resistant. Its proprietary discs were mini DVDs that held up to 1.5GB of data, about 1/3 the capacity of a regular disc. Its joystick was also unusual, with different size and color buttons for easy access for more casual gamers.
Highlight for ‘house’ games
The GameCube launch marked the first time a Nintendo console was released without a Mario title, with Luigi’s Mansion in its place. Next to it were games like Wave Race: Blue Storm, Star Wars Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader, Super Monkey Ball and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. It is noteworthy that, in the following week, users had the chance to purchase Super Smash Bros. Melee, which became the best-selling game on the console.
Luigi’s Mansion was as close to a Mario game as the GameCube had at its release, a game in which the ghost-hunting brother in a mansion — Photo: Playback/Moby Games
The GameCube was home to many popular Nintendo games such as Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Metroid Prime, which turned the series into an FPS, and most. Mario series titles abounded, with Mario Kart: Double Dash, Mario Party 4 through 7, sports games such as Mario Power Tennis, Mario Golf and Super Mario Strikers, among others.
The console was also the birthplace of acclaimed new franchises such as Pikmin and Animal Crossing. The console ended its life with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which also came out on Wii.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker brought an animated look to the series and continues the story of Ocarina of Time — Photo: Playback/Moby Games
Third Parties and ‘childish’ look
One point where the GameCube was not so successful was in the relationship with Third Parties, which left the console out of many series that came out only on Playstation 2 (PS2) and Xbox.
However, there were high points like Soul Calibur 2 with Link’s inclusion as a fighter, Square Enix’s return with Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, after disagreements between the companies in the Nintendo 64 era, and Capcom’s Resident Evil 4, which has been exclusive to the GameCube for a year.
The console arrived on the market just a year after the PS2, but it had a lot of difficulty to win over the public. The purple color of the original version was heavily criticized by hardcore gamers, as it gave the console a toy look. This happened just when the market was starting to be directed towards older players with the explosion of series like Grand Theft Auto, absent from the GameCube. The console was also available in black and silver.
Super Mario Sunshine displayed beautiful water effects on the GameCube — Photo: Playback/Moby Games
Reasonable hardware for the time
Technically speaking, the GameCube is more powerful than the PS2, but slightly weaker than the original Xbox. The console had an IBM Gekko processor at 485 MHz, based on the IBM Power PC, as well as its own graphics card called Flipper, by Art X (purchased by ATI), which ran at a powerful 202.5 MHz. The GameCube was specially designed. known for its beautiful water effect, as in Super Mario Sunshine. A technical curiosity is that Nintendo did not invest in the online part of the console, and the modem had to be purchased separately.
Low performance in the market
The price of the console at launch was $199. The GameCube was $100 cheaper than the PS2 and Xbox, which sold for $299. Console sales gained more traction as a second device for homes that already had one. PS2 or Xbox in September 2003, when the price of the console dropped to US$ 99. It is noteworthy that the model only came to Brazil in 2002, costing R$ 1,199, officially.
The GameCube was not very successful, with only 22 million units sold (barely compared to the PS2’s 155 million). However, the console was the embryo of ideas about bringing games to all kinds of audiences that would lead to an acclaimed successor. In the next generation, the Nintendo Wii sold over 100 million units, in addition to being backward compatible with GameCube games.
With information from Nintendo Life (1 and two), Nintendo Wiki, IGN, CNN, GameSpot
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