Nintendo GameCube - On This Day

Nintendo GameCube - On This Day

With the arrival of the sixth generation of consoles, Nintendo was in an unenviable position. He previously lost the throne with the Nintendo 64 with the advent of the PlayStation, and then Microsoft entered the console market with its Xbox platform. While other consoles promised to play online and used the then-popular DVD format of optical media, Nintendo stood aside and introduced something different - a console called GameCube, which was launched on the European market today 20 years ago.

The GameCube console was a small purple box with a handle. The console itself wasn’t portable (it weighed 2.4 pounds), but it was revealed years later that Nintendo at one point planned a GameCube model with its screen, which could connect to a larger TV as well. In that respect, the GameCube was the earliest prototype of the idea on which today's Nintendo Switch was later based.

The console was powered by IBM's 32-bit Gecko 750CXe processor running at 486 MHz. It had 24 MB of shared memory and used memory cards. The controller was of an unusual design, with fewer buttons on the front, but with two analog sticks. Although it is strange today to see a controller whose main keys are of different shapes and sizes, those who used the GameCube were most pleased with this controller.

Interestingly, the controller was supposed to have motion controls as well as a microphone. However, the technology itself was still in its infancy at the time and only served as an internal preparation for the Nintendo Wii. It can also be said that the GameCube was a kind of pioneer of stereoscopic 3D display technology. Such a display was supported, but only in one game. Recall, later Nintendo developed a 3DS console that used just that functionality.

The main advantage of the Nintendo GameCube over the then PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles was that the console cost $ 199, or even a hundred dollars less than competing products. However, GameCube sales never took off because of the games. This was the first console that Nintendo did not launch with the new Super Mario game. At the time, the company focused on creating new franchises such as Pikmin and Animal Crossing. Ultimately, Nintendo’s biggest hits for GameCube were Metroid Prime, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Luigi’s Mansion. The support of other publishers was relatively weak. The temporary exclusive was Resident Evil 4, and the permanent Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.

In five years of existence, the GameCube has sold 22 million copies and ended up even behind the Xbox, which was a completely new name on the scene at the time. It was a devastating result for Nintendo, despite good game sales, as they expected to sell 50 million consoles by 2005. But while their strategy of a different console with unique games didn’t work out with the GameCube, just five years later Nintendo returned with the introduction of the Wii console, with back support for GameCube games.

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