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TBT: The Beloved GameCube (Not Really a Cube)

Throw Back Thursday: Episode 1

The GameCube, released in 2001, looked like no other video game console before or since. Even many who didn’t play video games during that time can still come up with an image in their minds of what a GameCube looks like because it looked exactly like what its name described – a cube.

Okay, okay, it wasn’t a cube exactly. With its measurements at 6.3 in x 5.9 in x 4.3 in, it was an odd-looking square at best. Some called it the “purple lunchbox.” But prior to the release of the Wii in 2006, the GameCube was the star of the Nintendo world.

The GameCube was significantly different when compared to the other Nintendo consoles that came before it. It was smaller and sleeker and came in a default eye-catching shade of violet. In addition, its games came in optical discs instead of cartridges that were limited in storage, and it even had secondary functions such as keeping track of time on a virtual clock and calendar.

One of its best features was that it pioneered the concept of using multiple memory cards ranging in size from two to eight megabits which allowed players to save multiple games at once. Gone were the days where gamers would have to delete progress for one game to make room for another. This was a real game-changer (no pun intended) in the world of gaming consoles.

In terms of graphics, the GameCube was Nintendo’s big leap into polishing polygons, as the models and environments of their titles were greatly improved when compared to the Nintendo 64’s cruder and blockier visages. From Super Mario Sunshine and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker to Metroid Prime and Pokémon, the GameCube games are still considered to be high in overall quality.

Another great feature was that the console was compatible with the Game Boy Advance handheld gaming device. The Game Cube was created to work in tandem with the Game Boy, and games that could be played on the Game Boy could be played on the GameCube, as well. This was revolutionary for the time.

So, if the GameCube was so great, why didn’t it sell? Unfortunately, the PlayStation 2 dominated that era. With PS2 titles such as Grand Theft Auto III and its sequels, along with the third-party support with major releases in the Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy franchises, the GameCube couldn’t compete with the crass and vulgarity (and fun!) the PS2 offered.

I’m happy to say that the GameCube is not dead. Go online, and you’ll see a ton of GameCube fans. It’s just too bad that more people didn’t feel that way about it in the early 2000s.



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