Ten years is a mighty long time, but it feels like just
yesterday we drove to our local Sam Goody to pick up the system alongside Super
Money Ball, Rogue Leader and Tony Hawk 3. Though it wasn’t the most popular
system of its time, and statistically-speaking the Cube was Nintendo’s worst-selling
system, we heart the purple square, and you should too. For reasons other than
its better-than-you-remember game library,
it may be the best console of all time.
We’ve done a couple of these before for making similar arguments
so we aren’t saying definitively GC is the best ever. But when you look at the
system from a certain angle, you might just realize it’s better than you think.
Is it truly the best system to date? Take a look at our reasoning and you make
1. It mastered connectivity between portables and consoles
Though Sony kind of, sort of integrated its handheld and
home consoles, the fusion of two unique systems have yet to have been done
better than it was done on the GameCube. As Xbox Live was just starting to make
online gaming the future, Nintendo experimented with connectivity between the
very popular Game Boy Advance and the GameCube. And while it wasn’t a runaway
hit with consumers, if you bothered to play the games that used it, you’d see
that Nintendo was really on to something.
The N put a lot of muscle behind titles like Zelda: Four
Swords Adventure, and teamed with major companies like Squaresoft and Namco to
make titles based on Final Fantasy and Pac-Man. It even implemented special
GBA-only features in Wind Waker and Animal Crossing. Yes, there was the
annoyance of having to buy separate link cables for up to four GBAs, and after a
couple years of experimenting it basically vanished, but some of the games gave
a uniquely fun experience you couldn’t find anywhere else. Though Nintendo didn’t
bother with connectivity when it came to the Wii and DS, it’s possible
the company will pick up this underrated idea with Wii U and 3DS.
2. One of the most durable consoles of all time
Nintendo systems are often synonymous with
quality design, and that extends to the superiority of the casing too. We bet
decades from now (should you still own a TV that takes component input) you
could plug in your GameCube and start a whole new save for Luigi’s Mansion.
Hopefully you held on to a few Memory Card 59s along with that old TV in this
theoretical future. And we’re sure of that situation we foresee coming to pass
because the GameCube is one of the toughest systems around.
When Nintendo put that handle on the system it may have
looked silly, but it implies the designers expected people to carry them
around, and something being handled in such a way needs high durability. More
than a few stress tests done back in the day proved the system was the sturdiest
around, with the purple thing showing it won’t let you down no matter how many
times you accidentally drop it. And in this age of Red Rings and iPhones
breaking right when the 2-year warranty runs out, that’s valuable.
3. It had the best buttons
The discussion about what system had the best controller is a
debate as old as time. Many go with the PS2’s Dualshock, some still can’t put
down their SNES game pads, and there must be at least one person that loves the
Jaguar’s controller most of all. And while the GameCube’s input device is a
worthy contender for overall awesomeness, its buttons remain the best in gaming
The big green A button made it clear to player
and developer alike where the most important inputs should be mapped to. The smaller
B, X, and Y buttons surrounded it comfortably, and the C-Stick had the nice
octagonal surrounding that let you know where you were pointing. And the
shoulder buttons have yet to be improved upon, as the analogue input was backed
up by the satisfying click that let you know you just finished a specific
command. It was disappointing to see Nintendo strip most of that out when it
gave consumers the friendly little wand of a Wii Remote, but you could still
remember how great the publisher once was by plugging the colorful controller
into your Wii.
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