The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
So finally we have made our way to the little purple box that could. The GameCube holds a very special place in my heart, in fact I still consider it my favourite video game console of all time. I spent countless hours diving into the wonderful worlds of the GameCube, I don’t really know quite where to begin even.
My first interactions with the GameCube came with a display unit at my local Kmart, I watched on with keen fascination as kids lined up to play Smash Bros Melee on the system. Eventually me and my younger brother got our turn and were blown away by how much the game had improved upon the original. This would be a common theme for my other ventures on the GameCube.
While the GameCube didn’t feature some revolutionary controller or gimmick, it revolutionized with its games, taking the familiar faces of Nintendo and doing something wildly different with them. Whether it be the water wonderland of Super Mario Sunshine, the intergalactic prehistoric odyssey that was Star Fox Adventures, Mario’s brother Luigi making a fateful trip into a mansion for his first ever solo outing or the vast planetary exploration of Metroid Prime which put gamers into Samus’ shoes and allowed them to see through her eyes for the first time, the GameCube changed things up in some incredible ways.
For me however it was the high seas adventure of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker which captured my imagination unlike any other. I loved every inch of that game’s world and probably spent more time on that game than any other game I could recall. I was enchanted by the game’s colourful cel shaded world and entire open ocean before my very eyes. I never imagined a Zelda game could be like this and I was truly enamored with it. I remember getting the game on my 14th birthday and staying home all day playing it for hours on end, unable to put my controller down. It remains one of my fondest memories in my life, for a moment I was out at sea, free of the world around me and everything was just fine. I can still feel how I felt all those years ago, wide eyed and heart afire with excitement for what I might find on the next island or upon the waves in front of me. I miss those days, when being free came so easy.
Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness
Ah, the GameCube, one of the more underappreciated entries in the Nintendo arsenal. Named after the fact that it was indeed a cube that played games (little fun fact for you all), this particular home console featured a bevy of sequels to fan favourite N64 titles, along with a few new additions that tried their hardest to make people recognise this specifically proportioned device.
Personally speaking, my reasons for loving the GameCube are essentially the same as those that made me love the N64: Super Smash Bros Melee, Mario Kart: Double Dash, Rogue Squadron II and III, Pokemon Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness. Awesome games that felt like an improvement over what I loved as a younger kid. Being able to play an honest to goodness Pokemon campaign with 3D graphics was amazing and something that still has not been done since. Not to mention the slightly older tone of the games and the addition of Shadow Pokemon, full blown cutscenes, and the first playable instances of Generation IV: Munchlax and Bonsly. Double Dash brought co-op to a solely competitive game, if only in a small way, and saw the introduction of unique vehicles to the franchise. Whilst only one of these additions actually continued on, it was still a lot of fun to team up and wreck some AI.
Once again however, a lot of my attention was diverted by Rogue Squadron. With the first being one of, if not the, first N64 game I ever played, I was so excited to learn that the franchise lived on. Though the ground combat missions were a little clunky and certain missions proved somewhat annoying (I’m looking at you prototype TIE Fighters), it was so much fun to re-enter this franchise. And though the console felt comparatively short lived to me, it will always be the gem that kept some of my favourite franchises alive in fun and interesting ways. Also it had Sonic Heroes, which was…an experience.
Resident Evil 4
I never owned a GameCube, and the first time I actually used one was in Luke’s house 2 years ago. Back in the day I had a PlayStation 2, followed by the Xbox a couple of years later, but I still envied GameCube owners for one reason: Capcom.
Now don’t get me wrong, Capcom had plenty of love for the PS2 (Devil May Cry) and Xbox (Steel Battalion), but the GameCube at the time became a haven for the Resident Evil franchise. The technology used to create the Resident Evil Remake was mind blowing at the time, and even today the HD remaster of it on PS4 and Xbox One still looks stunning. The GameCube also got enhanced ports of nearly every other Resident Evil game, and then there was Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil 4 was part of the Capcom 5 series of titles for the GameCube, which also included Viewtiful Joe, P.N.03, Killer 7, and the cancelled Dead Pheonix. Resident Evil 4 looked absolutely incredible and was easily the most anticipated, hyped, and technologically groundbreaking game of that hardware generation alongside Metal Gear Solid 2. GameCube had scored the very best of Capcom and for the first time its third party support blew the competition out of the water… or so it seemed.
Capcom practically went back on their exclusivity deal, as within no time we saw most of the Capcom 5 titles, including Resident Evil 4, make their way as slightly watered down PS2 ports. Honestly, Capcom downright betrayed Nintendo and cost the GameCube any chance it had to penetrate the market that was dominated by the PS2.
Part me me wonders what amazing experiences I could have had on the GameCube had Resident Evil 4 remained the deciding factor. I can’t tell you how jealous I was of my cousin and his GameCube, with all the Resident Evil games he got to enjoy. At the time I was overjoyed to see Capcom back out of their deal with Nintendo and bring Resident Evil 4 on PS2, but in hindsight the GameCube deserved better as the final frontier of pure gaming bliss. GameCube was to Nintendo what the Saturn was to SEGA: An embodiment of unadulterated gaming with none of the bells and gimmicks.
I vividly remember Director Shinji Mikami promising in an interview that he would decapitate his own head if Resident Evil 4 appeared on any system other than the GameCube.
Well… he still has a head on his shoulders.
Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
Pondering my time with the console, I recall having quite an odd relationship with Nintendo’s GameCube: It was the first ever console that had me sleepless leading up to its release. Prior to that I had just been gifted the same handheld devices that my Auntie had purchased for my older cousin, so my knowledge of video games was based solely around him. The Nintendo GameCube, though…THAT I was very much aware of. One fine day I packed up my Nintendo 64 and all of the games I had obtained by the point in time, jumped into the car with my somewhat reluctant mother who, at the time, simply thought I was going to give away my prized console for nothing in return, and zipped off to out local retailer to, as it is called; “trade ‘n’ save”. I wanted the GameCube bad, and nothing was going to stand in my way!
The first game I purchased alongside the system was none other than Sonic Adventure 2 Battle; a follow up to the Dreamcast title of similar name, and one hell of a fine way to introduce myself to the series. It is too bad that the GameCube exclusive was one of the final times I would have escaped into the world of SEGA’s Sonic. The game had everything my young mind could have ever wanted; it was colourful, it was vibrant, it was fast-paced, and it had one hell of a soundtrack! “City Escape” by Crush 40…still my favorite video game song of all time. The game was difficult too, at least…for me it was, but I was never deterred from another attempt at completing Knuckles’ Pumpkin Hill which, now that I think about it, wasn’t too far into the game so realistically it shouldn’t have been so difficult for me.
Earlier I mentioned my odd relationship with the Nintendo GameCube, and I would say “odd” is a fitting description simply because, despite how excited I was for the systems release, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle was, more or less, the only title I played on the system. While other games like Super Mario Sunshine and The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker were what many would consider to be superior, in my eyes they just weren’t Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, thus they were left to collect dust on my shelf. Now, do I still consider this to be the case? No, not at all. In more recent times I went back to play Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and realised that it’s impact on me was not due to it’s video gaming excellence but because it hit me on so many fundamental levels that only myself as a child would understand. Nowadays we get caught up in the nitty-gritty of what is technically “good” or “bad” that it’s much harder to enjoy the simple things. This was not the case for a young Frank. While it’s nowhere close to being a bad game, it’s also nowhere close to being the best one, what mattered more to me at the time was engagement, and it kept me interested far longer than any other title on the GameCube did. Looking back, however, on the list of titles released for the system…I wish I had a broader mind back then. I was young, I was silly, and my favorite game was Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.
Be there and be square. That was some free comedy to start the article, hope you all enjoyed. Now, with the GameCube there was a lot of interesting things going on. For one, it was a cube. For one and a half, its disks were tiny and funny looking. For one and three quarters, it had a handle and that was neat. Not to give it away so early on in the article but the GameCube and I were only brief lovers and didn’t get much time with one another. The time we did spend was about 6 months or so, about a year before the release of the Wii. Despite this I played quite a few games on it that actually have a foundational bedrock in my gaming memories. Resident Evil 4, Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine, Pokemon Colosseum, the five minutes of Beyond Good and Evil I played, and the one that stuck out to me, which as a game I found really transformative. It was Viewtiful Joe because he transforms in that game… Henshina GoGo and all that…
I’ll admit, what first drew me to the game (despite being given it for free) was the fact that you could play as Dante. However, that was only available in the PS2 version but BY GOSH I had already put the tiny disk into the tiny disk slot so I gave it a go, and boy, am I glad I did. The colours and visuals in the game were something to behold, it had a very unique motif whereas everything revolved around the game being a pseudo movie with Joe’s powers coming from pausing, rewinding, fast forwarding and such. It was chaotic and most usually always had something going on. Being a rambunctious however-year-old I was in 2005 this kept my attention long enough to finish the game. The story saw the protagonist Joe having to save his girlfriend from the clutches of the evil forces within the movie they were watching. Did I mention they were watching a movie? Because they were. The only problem for me is Joe himself. I just can’t relate. How could I picture myself as a 20 something year old who is obsessed with video games and Japanese culture…