Five things that would not have saved the Gamecube

This topic is locked from further discussion.

Avatar image for LordelX
#1 Edited by LordelX (1376 posts) -

Of course, that statement itself is misleading, because the Gamecube didn’t need saving. It made a profit for Nintendo and over twenty million were sold worldwide. While that’s not a failure, the Gamecube placed third place in the sixth console generation. A lot of video game fans had a lot of strong opinions about what Nintendo did wrong.

Here are five big misconceptions about what people thought would have saved the Gamecube from third place in the console race.

5. Super Mario Sunshine at launch

It’s fairly clear now that Super Mario Sunshine being available at launch would not have had a significant impact of the Gamecube’s overall lifetime sales. It may have sold a few more units at launch, but Super Mario Sunshine’s problems would have exacerbated the Gamecube’s negative image if it would have launched with the system. Although Luigi’s Mansion was a disappointing launch game for some, Rogue Leader really made a great case to own a Gamecube. Super Mario Sunshine with its G-rated image, yet not enough variety of environments for hardcore Mario fans and too difficult a game for children, would not have made a good case to own a Gamecube.

4. Larger storage capacity

Another popular criticism was that the Gamecube’s mini disc storage capacity was too small. Capable of holding only 1.5 gigabytes compared to the 4.7 gigabytes of a standard DVD, many said that the Gamecube was being deprived of many large third party games. In retrospect, this doesn’t seem to be a valid argument as we know now that many of the most popular games the skipped the Gamecube in the sixth generation were not usually much larger that 1.5 gigabytes. Many large games for the Gamecube shipped with multiple discs. Swapping discs doesn’t seem to make or break a console as it didn’t negatively affect the Playstation 1.

3. Keeping Rare and/or Silicon Knights

In retrospect, it’s quite easy to see why Nintendo made the decisions it did about Rare and Silicon Knights. Neither studio has released a game anywhere near the quality of software they were releasing in the N64/Gamecube days. According to rumor, many of Rare’s key staff had already left when Nintendo sold its shares to the Stampers who sold the company to Microsoft. Nintendo had a contract with Silicon Knights to produce exclusive games for the Gamecube and when the contract was finished, Nintendo did not renew. Seeing Silicon Knight’s game for the Xbox 360 Too Human, it’s easy to see why.

2. Online Play

In North America, the Gamecube had two online games, and a handful of others in Japan. While online gaming on the PS2 and Xbox was starting to take off with a select few number of titles, Nintendo really didn’t have a first party game that would have befitted from online play outside of Mariokart: Double Dash and maybe Super Smash Bros. Melee. Being able to play Tony Hawk, Madden, Splinter Cell or Rainbow Six online would have made good bullet points on the back of the box, but a majority of players who play those games seriously would have been playing on another console. Nintendo really didn’t have an online title capable of taking on experiences offered by Halo 2, Final Fantasy XI or the World of Warcraft. If Nintendo titles had had online play, the Gamecube’s installed base would not have increased significantly because of it.

1. Grand Theft Auto

The biggest misconception is that if the Grand Theft Auto series had been released on Gamecube, the Gamecube would have sold millions of units more. A Grand Theft Auto release on the Gamecube would not have moved systems off store shelves. The biggest indicator of this is the fact that Grand Theft Auto releasing on Xbox did not have that effect. Grand Theft Auto sold moderately on the Xbox but not nearly as much as Rockstar had hoped. Grand Theft Auto releases on the GBA and DS have gotten a tepid response from consumers. Even the release of Grand Theft Auto IV did not see a surge of seventh generation adopters buying systems, despite the game selling millions. Even if Grand Theft Auto III had been exclusive to the Gamecube, there is a good chance the Gamecube might have become the number #2 console in North America and Europe but would not have toppled Sony from #1. Even a game such as Grand Theft Auto wouldn’t be able to convince consumers to ignore Halo, Final Fantasy, Grand Turismo and God of War. To put it in simple terms, Grand Theft Auto would have done for the Gamecube what Grand Theft Auto V would do for the Wii U. Very little.

What do you think? Do you disagree, or do you have some different ideas of what could have been regarding the Gamecube.

Avatar image for turtlethetaffer
#2 Edited by turtlethetaffer (18416 posts) -

Okay sooooo.... What is there to talk about? If we already know that Gamecube was a success, what's the point?

Also, Super Mario Sunshine is great.

Avatar image for LordelX
#3 Posted by LordelX (1376 posts) -


There's always been a lot of speculation as to what would have made the Gamecube more successful. I started this thread to see if opinions have changed over time.

Compared to a lot of other games SMS is great. Super Mario Sunshine is also widely considered the worst of the Mario 3D platformers. It was a low point in the series.

Avatar image for lilkarlh666
#4 Posted by lilkarlh666 (166 posts) -

I personally think that it is more likely the demographic of gamers have changed over the years but nintendo haven't. For instance, years ago the people you saw in my local game store when it was known as electronics boutique were people who were just passionate about games no matter the platform, who you could talk to about the games, it felt more like a place you could hang out and talk to people about latest releases and so on. I could easily spend a few hours just talking to staff and others. However now, it is full of teenagers in tracksuits buying fifa and call of duty.

The thing with nintendo is they have there own way of doing things, by the masses, they are/ were seen as childish where the games are to colourful and not brown like call off duty. When i personally buy a console/ game, i look at if it offers fun and something different, not just the usual crowd pleasers we have way to many of now.

When i was in secondary school, i was the one of only 3 people in my year that had the gamecube, everybody else had the ps2 because the conception was that it was for older gamer's, and the more mature library with devil may cry again nothing but brown, and when san andreas came out that was the talk of the school, however all i wanted to do was get home and play super mario strikers and mario sunshine, pikmin the list goes on.

I'm currently at uni and i have been having the same conversation there about what i used to play and why. I have just bought a 3ds to play pokemon ( i am currently 24). I no for a fact that when i turn up playing that, they will all say isn't that game for children or i wouldn't be seen dead playing that, however, many of us no that it has way more depth than most of the games the x1 or ps4 will ever get.

The sony and microsoft brands have a cover art so to speak that shouts I'm older, I'm mature, our games are hardcore, but then we play them and moan about how easy they are even on hard, however, nintendo releases the mario, it has bright colour's and is seen by most as casual and kiddish, however has that devilishly difficult difficulty level.

I think the above is where nintendo started to struggle with the gamecube over the others. The gamer's changed, they wanted what appeared to be more mature, dull colour games with attitude, but nintendo didn't follow, they stayed on their own path. I think if nintendo drop the current trend of casual casual casual, they could easily be back on top, but they don't seem to no what crowd they want to attract.

Over the years it has become simple to me that the darker and duller the colour pallet, the worse the misconception gets about it being hardcore (i hate that word but it has to be used in this case), nintendo never followed that trend, i think that is why nintendo have struggled since the gamecube games.

I may be completely wrong but in my experience that is just what it seems to be.

Avatar image for LordelX
#5 Edited by LordelX (1376 posts) -


I was long out of school by the time the Gamecube was around so I only experienced what you explained through game magazines and gamespot threads, such as this. I think you're right, I think the Nintendo "image" problem really started with the Gamecube. When I was in uni, it was PS1 vs N64, but the PS1 really didn't have the image of a more mature system because many of the best FPS of that generation were only on the N64. I haven't been to game shop in decades, so it's depressing to hear it's all about FIFA, Call of Duty and tracksuits. By the way, I'm 38 and I'm enjoying Pokémon X as well.

Avatar image for lilkarlh666
#6 Posted by lilkarlh666 (166 posts) -

This is what i see daily. I grew up on games from my dad, who started on the nes, then the snes, i always had the sega games, but still used my dad's machines. I still infact have every machine we ever owned up to this point except my ps3, that is the first console i have ever traded in due to the games just not suiting me in the slightest. Don't get me wrong the last of us was exceptional but still followed the grim trend of the duller the better (maybe in that case however a world issue on that scale does need it) but look at mass effect, syphon filter, the last of us, flatout, gears of war, call of duty, tomb raider, if you look at these games, you start to see something happening, they take their appearance from the same colour gamut. For me i am personally starting to really get bored of gaming and have considered giving up many times, but as soon as the dreamcasst goes on or the gamecube or snes etc, i have to come back and hope one day we go back there. This isn't a nostalgia thing, it's that i appreciate great things when i see them, and not so great when i don't.

Now i'm not saying they all do but the vast majority do, now if you look at nintendo games, the colours are far more vibrant something adults don't attract to or the teenagers who try to follow the adult way.

I play game's for games, i own every console i can afford, which isn't a lot being at uni. I grew up in the ps1 - 2 transition and saw how it changed literally over night. they weren't bad consoles but paved the way for the future, they tapped into something nintendo never had, the mature image.

Sorry for the long kind of rant i just don't personally like where games are going, i hang on as much to my past time as i can but i do fear that if this generation ends up like the last, i may just stick to my old machines and drop out of the future of gaming altogether.

Avatar image for ttualumni13
#7 Edited by TTUalumni13 (839 posts) -

Not releasing it in purple first would have helped.. The competition had two flat

Black boxes that easily blend into an entertainment center, then you've got a purple nightmare.

Avatar image for LordelX
#8 Posted by LordelX (1376 posts) -


Actually, that's an excellent point. The system's physical design was pretty atrocious, no matter what color it was. If it would've looked more like a Wii, that probably would've made a difference.

Avatar image for KBFloYd
#10 Edited by KBFloYd (16423 posts) -

the pretty wierd...would a controller more like xbox or playstation have helped?

all the things you said by themselves might not have helped but if the gamecube did ALL of them then i think yes it would have helped.

Avatar image for Madmangamer364
#11 Posted by Madmangamer364 (3716 posts) -

I... agree. Almost totally agree, in fact!

All you really have to do is direct your attention to the GameCube's successor to see how meaningful the GameCube's oft-mentioned "flaws" really were during the system's life. The Wii took off, despite the fact that it didn't have a Mario title at launch, not having that second party developer, like Rare, to offer supplementary titles, or boasting a Grand Theft Auto and several other so-called "all-important" franchises that the GameCube also missed out on. The storage and online were slightly different matters, but even there, it's not like Nintendo ever made a huge push for massive, online-dominant software during the Wii's life. Instead, most of the Wii's most popular titles were very simple and accessible games that didn't need much of an online component at all.

The GameCube was just unable to stand out at the end of the day. It had its high-profile first party releases, but nothing more to separate it from the rest of the pack. It just wasn't enough at a time where the Playstation brand was at its strongest, and when there was a change in perception happening in the video game industry, where very specific content was dominating the headlines. And even when Nintendo tried to offer some of that same content, its attempts fell on deaf ears for the most part.

I'm not going to say the aforementioned factors wouldn't have done anything for the GameCube at all, but the system's lack of general appeal outside of the tried and true is what I believe has given so much attention to the system's "shortcomings," even as they've proven to be overstated in recent years. I find this topic very relevant, as I feel the very same fate that the GameCube had is becoming the Wii U's fate, and needless to say, there are going to be critics harping on many of the same faults, legit or not, that they felt Nintendo consoles have had for years. And while elements such as online play has indeed become more mainstream in the past decade, I still think it clouds the fact that there are more crucial, fundamental flaws the two systems have seen when it relates to simply being attractive consoles.

Avatar image for turtlethetaffer
#12 Posted by turtlethetaffer (18416 posts) -

@LordelX: I like them all

Avatar image for madsnakehhh
#13 Posted by madsnakehhh (16118 posts) -

Marketing and GTA.

Avatar image for outworld222
#15 Edited by outworld222 (2784 posts) -

Super Mario Sunshine, the very name emits greatness...