When I was growing up, the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox were the cutting edge consoles that straddled the bleeding edge of now. That was two decades ago. Now I just feel old and sad and would like time to stop moving so fast.
It was 20 years ago to this very day Nintendo GameCube launched in Japan, ushering in a bold new generation of Nintendo games. Classic franchises were completely reinvented, new heroes were born, and there was a brief but entirely blissful period of time where people played Super Smash Bros. Melee without having any idea what "wave-dashing" was.
I adore the GameCube with all my heart. It might not have sold brilliantly and many of its games might have been a little too weird or divisive at the time, but I truly believe that two decades of hindsight have helped most of us to see that little box of joy for what it always was: a bold and innovative machine that wasn't afraid to take big risks.
Just look at The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I don't need to tell you how people despised that cel-shaded art-style at the time. Go back and look at the GameCube version today, and you'll find that its charming world looks as captivating as it ever did. It's certainly aged much better than the vast majority of games in that era. Time has been kind to The Wind Waker in more ways than one, with many coming to see it as one of the most captivating and heartfelt of all the Zelda adventures.
And hey, if you really still hate "Toon Link", Nintendo went and released the much grittier Twilight Princess for the console just a few years later. That's two excellent Zelda games on one console. Oh, and you could also play ports Ocarina Of Time and Majora's Mask without having to suffer the nightmare of the N64 controller.
Link wasn't the only hero to receive a makeover on GameCube. Samus Aran returned from hibernation in a stunning reinvention from Retro Studios. Metroid Prime managed to capture the essence of the 2D Metroidvania and graft it onto a first-person adventure in a way that never should have worked. It is a masterpiece of immersive world design, and remains one of the very best video games ever made. I constantly thank the GameCube for playing host to such a gem.
But it didn't stop there. Super Mario Sunshine, F-Zero GX, Pikmin, Animal Crossing, Luigi's Mansion, Pokémon Colosseum, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door... the GameCube didn't stop firing off first-party hits. Hell, it's hard to remember these days but even Resident Evil 4 was once a GameCube exclusive before it got ported to every console under the sun. Oh, and who could forget the stunning ground-up remake of the original Resident Evil?
Even if you somehow picked up a GameCube hating Nintendo characters, there were plenty of third-party games to choose from: Spider-Man 2, Simpsons Hit And Run, Super Monkey Ball, Sonic Heroes, Soul Calibur II - there really was a little something for everyone.
I'd argue the GameCube was also the king of multiplayer when compared to the PS2 and Xbox. Being able to play games with four players at one time was still something of a revelation, but the GameCube had the perfect games to make the most of multiplayer mayhem. Mario Kart Double Dash was the ultimate incarnation of the classic franchise, while Mario Party 5 found new ways to tear friends apart.
There was also this game called Super Smash Bros. Melee... you might have heard of it? I'm forever grateful for the countless hours I spent huddled in front of the TV with friends learning the ins and outs of Nintendo's mascot brawler. To this day, I still meet up with those friends every now and again and use the exact same controller I used 20 years ago. I still kick their butts, too.
In short, the GameCube was an absolute banger of a console that had something to offer everyone. If you still have yours, I urge you to dig it out and maybe give a little kiss. Or just thank it for 20 years of wonderful memories.
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