The GameCube turned 10 years old today. It’s been an interesting decade for the little purple “lunch box”. There are, like with any system, fans and there are haters. It was not as commercially successful as any of Nintendo’s other systems (with the exception of the Virtual Boy). There are many things that could contribute to that, but it also set the stage for the current generation for Nintendo. “Where do you think Nintendo failed with the system, and what did they do right?”
Tony Says: I don’t know so much that Nintendo really failed with the system. I think that the GameCube really was the beginning of this “if it’s not a Nintendo game on a Nintendo system it’s not going to sell well” mentality. Third party support was there in the beginning, but it seemed to dwindle as the system moved forward. Nintendo “failed” only in that they designed games that were so good and so popular that the third parties had trouble competing with their brands. It wasn’t really anything that Nintendo could have done. They’re in the business of making money and selling systems. They just happened to build the games best designed for those systems.
I think they succeeded in building a system that ostensibly would last two generations. There really isn’t much difference between the Wii and the Gamecube. Heck, we even found out that the Wii Remote started as a peripheral for the GameCube. It set the stage and built the foundation for what would be one of the most popular home consoles ever created.
Branden Says: I think that Nintendo failed with the system by not making it very marketable to the competitive video game market. It focused on being family friendly, which is a noble goal, but didn’t work with the age of gamers. It seemed that the GameCube focused on children more than any other age group, while the PS2 and Xbox focused on teens and adults.
On the other hand, I think the GameCube succeeded with many of the classic video game characters who appeared in this generation of games. I speak of course of Super Smash Bros. Melee, Mario Kart: Double Dash, and one of my favorites, Starfox Assault. I thought those were some of the best games I have ever played.
Shelby Says: So the GameCube didn’t do so well. Looking back it’s hard to imagine why. It’s a solid system with a great library of games. Nintendo brought out all its big guns; Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Kart and Smash. There were even several great third party titles. However, I think this is where we start to see the Cube’s success unravel. Yes there was a Mario game but the majority opinion of Sunshine is quite negative. Yes there was a Zelda but the art style of Wind Waker drove some to feel the game was for kids. Double Dash was great but some hated the team aspect and the battle mode was far inferior to Kart 64. On the plus side I don’t think anyone can say anything negative about Metroid Prime or Melee.
As for third party support, sure there were great games but not much in the way of console exclusives. Anything of Capcom’s that found success on the Cube made its way to PS2 (I’m looking at you RE4). Konami released the Metal Gear Solid remake, Twin Snakes. But across from that was Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 on the PS2. The Rouge Squadron games were significant exclusives but keep in mind this was also the blooming time for the FPS on consoles. While Cube controllers could somewhat reproduce a dual-joystick experience, most players flocked to the Xbox or PS2 which accommodated FPSs better.
Honestly, most people probably couldn’t find a reason to buy a GameCube. The Cube hit at a time when NES players were starting to become adults. Sadly, some felt it necessary to separate themselves from the “kiddy system.” While I don’t feel it’s a deserved title, market perspective goes a long way when people open their wallets.
Gaz Says: Failure is a strong word for any system to be associated with, and the thought of the GameCube failing has never entered my head. True, it may not have been the most commercially successful console but the legacy it left has led to Nintendo once again claiming their rightful spot as the gaming world’s superpower. The GameCube showed that sheer horsepower in a system can never beat creativity. It had a mantra, whether intentional or not, of whatever they can do, we can match. Nintendo entered a dangerous graphical arms race with the other console manufacturers and inevitably lost; they were playing catch-up thanks to the surprising success of the PSOne and despite having arguably the most powerful system, third parties stuck with what they knew.
The games on the system are not to be ignored though. First party offerings of Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime and the beautiful The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker all have a home on the GameCube, with plenty of third party titles backing up the hugely impressive first party line-up. Despite this, the GameCube was an important learning experience for Nintendo. It sparked the decision for Iwata to take the company off into uncharted waters with his ‘Blue Ocean’ strategy which ultimately led to the DS and Wii. And we all know how that turned out.
History may remember the GameCube as Nintendo’s least profitable console, but the fans know the true story. It was the console that housed some of Nintendo’s greatest creations and ultimately led to them becoming the market leader in the following generation. Was the GameCube a failure? Not at all.