News Article

Round Table: Let's Talk About the GameCube and Wii

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

From a cube to the revolution

With the GameCube recently reaching its tenth anniversary and the Wii five years old, we decided to get together to discuss both consoles, assessing their impact and legacy. These two consoles are in an interesting position of being relatively close in terms of graphical technology, yet wildly different in gaming experiences.

Joining Features Editor Thomas Whitehead are Editor James Newton and writers Jamie O’Neill, Christopher Ingram, Jamie O’Neill and Mark Reece.

Thomas Whitehead: Firstly, please introduce yourselves to our lovely readers.

James Newton: My name's James Newton and I'm Editor here at Nintendo Life.

Mark Reece: I'm Mark. I guess I'm the new guy. If you visit Nintendo Life you've probably disagreed with at least one of my review scores.

Jamie O’Neill: Hi everyone, I am JamieO on Nintendo Life. I love retro games. I have been gaming since my Dad bought our family a Pong console in the very early ‘80s (possibly even the late ‘70s).

Christopher Ingram: I'm Chris Ingram and I mostly write News and Reviews for Movemodo and Vitagamr, but I try and sneak into round tables when I can.

Ron DelVillano: I'm Ron. I'm a US reviewer on the site and I'm the guy who gets to play all of the House, M.D. games.

Thomas Whitehead: Thanks guys. Firstly, when the GameCube was unveiled, what did you think of the appearance and concept?

Christopher Ingram: I laughed!

Mark Reece: I wondered what the handle was for, to be honest.

Jamie O’Neill: I remember I quite liked the codename for Nintendo’s next gen console as ‘Dolphin’, I think it was officially called GameCube around about 2000. I started saving for it really early on, but at first I was decidedly unimpressed by its chunky design, handbag handle and garish purple colouring. Many gamers unfavourably compared its design to a Fisher Price toy.

Christopher Ingram: I honestly didn't know what to think of it at first compared to the other systems on the market.

James Newton: At the time there was still some life in the Sega Dreamcast so I didn't take much notice!

Ron DelVillano: I was, and still am, confused by the choice of purple as the main colour for the console. It didn't look as impressive as other consoles on the market, but as a Nintendo fan I was still overly excited for it.

Thomas Whitehead: In terms of the appearance, was it an issue when you actually considered a purchase: was the image damaging in that respect?

James Newton: I rather liked the dinky design; compared to Xbox and PS2 it was nice and cute.

Jamie O’Neill: I always knew I would buy it for the first party games. Its 'look' was inconsequential in that regard.

Christopher Ingram: The appearance and lack of DVD playback kept me away from a launch purchase.

Mark Reece: I was a little late to the GameCube party, so the console already had a strong line-up of games to choose from. So in that regard, the fact that it was bright purple held little sway over me. I just wanted to get my Smash Bros. on!

Ron DelVillano: I agree with James in that I liked the size and design. Honestly though, the handle and design didn't really sway my decision to purchase it.

Jamie O’Neill: As the years passed, I grew to absolutely love GameCube’s design. The bright colouring is completely relevant in regard to Nintendo’s approach to games; I invested in a spice orange pad, a rainbow of peripherals (including a Game Boy Player) and a spare platinum console. I really wish I had imported the gorgeous looking Panasonic Q.

Thomas Whitehead: With the design and the carrying handle, do you think this was an attempt by Nintendo to continue the 'party console' vibe of the N64, that you'd take to friends’ houses, around dorm rooms etc?

Mark Reece: It might have been, but who knows with Nintendo? Those guys are a law unto themselves sometimes. I personally never took the 'Cube anywhere. My stance is that that's what handhelds are for.

Christopher Ingram: I honestly don't think I ever carried my GameCube over to any of my friends’ places, but mostly that was because they already had a GameCube themselves. If I had taken it with me though, I wouldn't have used the handle; it would have been in a protective pack instead!

Mark Reece: You're right there Chris. Can you imagine the looks you'd get swinging that bad boy around?

Christopher Ingram: I have no idea what Nintendo was thinking!

Jamie O’Neill: I truthfully think the styling of GameCube contributed hugely to the ‘mature’ gamer’s perception of it as a console designed for kids. Alongside a fun and colourful first party library of games, GameCube’s image was never ‘cool’ in the eyes of some of my friends or a mass core gamer audience. Therefore, its sales definitely suffered.

GameCube’s image was never ‘cool’ in the eyes of some of my friends or a mass core gamer audience. Therefore, its sales definitely suffered.

Ron DelVillano: I've never been a huge fan of multiplayer or party games, but I definitely took my GameCube with me when I went to friends' houses. I never used the handle as the primary mode of transportation (unless moving it around my house), but the GameCube was almost literally indestructible, and I think it really was built to travel.

James Newton: As usual, the industry was going one way — bulky black boxes and online gaming — and Nintendo went another.

Christopher Ingram: I actually saw a guy wearing a GameCube on a massive chain around his neck one time!

Mark Reece: Bling!

James Newton: And yes, I totally used the handle. On a chain around my neck once, in fact.

Christopher Ingram: You know, he did indeed have a British accent!

Thomas Whitehead: Yikes... On the theme of the GameCube bucking trends and expectations, how big a surprise was Luigi's Mansion as a launch title, and do you feel that the games library progressed well in subsequent months and years?

Jamie O’Neill: Luigi’s Mansion was brilliant, but it was not universally adored by gamers, especially those who complained about its short game length and that it was not a pure Mario platformer. As a Star Wars fan, the GameCube launch was all about Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, for me.

I imported my Cube from America and first played it on Christmas Day 2001. People compared Rogue Leader to an X-Wing sequence from Star Wars: Special Edition, but for me it felt like Factor 5 had opened up my imagination as a 7 year old child and recaptured all the best Kenner action figure moments. The detail and lighting of that game was incredible.

James Newton: I think Luigi's Mansion was a good choice for launch: new series but familiar characters. Of course the catalogue expanded brilliantly: I still consider The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and Super Mario Sunshine among my top games in both series.

Mark Reece: It was a huge surprise! Here I was, expecting to see a new Mario title at launch, and we got his cowardly brother vacuuming up ghosts instead. With regards to the line-up evolving and progressing over time, I loved how SEGA took on the new role of third party development at full pelt and really gave the 'Cube some cracking titles, Monkey Ball was and still is a great franchise.

Ron DelVillano: I absolutely loved Luigi's mansion and was happy to finally see the other brother in a leading role. As far as the rest of the GameCube library goes, there were some real gems in the collection that still stand as some of my favourite games to this day, but I was never overwhelmed with the full line-up.

Christopher Ingram: Luigi's Mansion is an absolutely brilliant title and one that I'm ashamed to say got pushed to the wayside for me — along with the GameCube itself — until a year or so after launch. Despite the somewhat diminished success of the GameCube compared to other Nintendo consoles, it did garner some fantastic titles: Super Mario Sunshine, Eternal Darkness, Super Smash Bros Melee, etc.

Thomas Whitehead: Considering the modest sales (just under 22 million), but the positive words from you all regarding the games catalogue, does the console leave a positive or negative legacy?

Jamie O’Neill: As a Nintendo fan, and a fan of great video games, its library of games has definitely left an extremely positive legacy. Just look at Nintendo Life’s ‘Best Games on GameCube’ list, as well as games like 1080° Avalanche, Viewtiful Joe, Alien Hominid and Killer7. Its poor sales infuriated me. I remember one of the first retailers to stop stocking GameCube in the UK was Dixons. I was so peeved at this; I felt it was too early for GameCube to die, so I boycotted their shops. I have not stepped into a Dixons since the mid-noughties.

Mark Reece: I think its legacy is mixed and it truly divided fans up the middle. There're the faithful fans who stick with Nintendo no matter what - and with good reason; as Chris said, the 'Cube had some amazing games - but you can't blame the people who got disheartened by the poor sales, kiddy image and lack of online play.

James Newton: I think if you look at it as the “N64 2” it makes more sense: it didn’t really do anything hugely new over its predecessor, other than use discs and have better graphics, but as always the quality of Nintendo games shone through. For me, it’s my second favourite Nintendo console behind the Wii: Mario and Zelda were both superb on GC, as were WarioWare, F-Zero and about a dozen others.

Christopher Ingram: I couldn't live without a GameCube once Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes released! Looking back on the system though, the creative Nintendo titles like Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, Donkey Konga and Chibi-Robo! definitely left the system with a good catalogue worth any Nintendo fans time.

Ron DelVillano: That's a tricky question for me because, as I said, there weren't too many GameCube games that I went crazy over. However, I do think that it was an important step towards the more family-friendly image that Nintendo has shaped for itself.

Jamie O’Neill: I am more nuts about the GameCube than I am for Wii. I love the Wii too, of course, but GameCube was the last technically proficient Nintendo console. It kept up with the specs of its competitors.

Ron DelVillano: I think that the games themselves were geared more towards fans of Nintendo franchises, but they started the slope towards being more light-hearted and family oriented.

Thomas Whitehead: Ron neatly moves us onto the more 'family friendly' Wii — What was your reaction when you first experienced the console and the Wii Remote and Nunchuk?

Mark Reece: I had the same expression on my face as when I saw the GameCube's handle.

Jamie O’Neill: Instead of saving for a car, I saved for a 32” HDTV and an import US Wii for Christmas Day 2006. I felt a teeny bit disappointed by the jagged edges on 480p Twilight Princess, but motion controlled Excite Truck blasting out my favourite SD card punk tunes blew away my brother. It felt like an arcade in the home. It was the Wii Sports version of Golf that truly brought my family together for motion controlled gaming that Christmas. That had never really happened before, in over twenty years of gaming.

Ron DelVillano: When I first saw the Wii Remote/Nunchuk design I was full of blinding rage. I convinced myself that Nintendo had royally screwed up and that I wasn't going to purchase a Wii. Thankfully, I was completely wrong.

Mark Reece: I agree there, Ron. It was like Nintendo had completely lost their marbles. I actually feared that the Remote/Nunchuk would sink Nintendo for good.

Christopher Ingram: After clearing out the entire living room and having a house full of folks, we played Wii Sports until we could hardly move our arms anymore. From the instant that I put a Wii Remote in my hand and bowled a game in Wii Sports I was sold on motion control and family oriented gaming!

James Newton: I worked in games retail at the time and I remember telling everyone I was getting my Wii a few days early. When the time came I did indeed get it a few days early, but had to promise not to tell anyone. Whoops! My wife thought I’d be really upset, so when she came home and I was playing Wii Sports tennis I think she was quite surprised! I remember being slightly disappointed by the Nunchuk’s motion recognition accuracy, but it didn’t stop me pumping hours and hours into Wii Sports and Twilight Princess.

Thomas Whitehead: I was intrigued, myself. I'd moved to PC gaming after the N64, but the Wii was doing something completely new. Wii Sports was an insane experience, playing games with family members was surreal but fun.

Jamie O’Neill: I agree with Mark and Ron, when I first heard about Wii's unique controls, I thought that Nintendo would continue a downward sales spiral, started by the GameCube. How wrong could I have been?

Mark Reece: Yeah, we misjudged that a bit, right Jamie? Good job we're not betting men.

Christopher Ingram: If you're anything like me Thomas, I played online shooters on the PC and the Wii Remote looked like the perfect fit for some great motion controlled FPS action!

Thomas Whitehead: Indeed! Metroid Prime 3 is glorious from a control perspective.

Christopher Ingram: Yep, Metroid Prime 3 did nail down the FPS genre pretty well on the Wii — much better than Red Steel did!

Ron DelVillano: I thought that motion control sounded like the worst idea in the world and that the Wii Remote/Nunchuk looked like the most unusable set of controls I had ever seen. I still think that FPS has failed on the Wii. I can't get it to work at all.

From the web

User Comments (34)



pntjr said:

Nintendo: We all love them.
And we can always trust them.
So there's a 99.9% chance the WiiU will not fail.



Terave said:

The Gamecube always meant a whole lot for me as a gamer... I grew up with it..



shingi_70 said:

The Gamecube was the little system that could. Alot of the problems with it were Nintendo's own fault. If they would have postioned the Black and Silver (ugh) as the Main colors and decided to go with regular DVD's instead of minidisc things would have been a whole lot different.

With The Wii U I do see it becoming a 2nd system at least for me. I'm getting it first and its always going to be connected to my TV but as far as use go I see my self using the 360 and 720 more for stuff like movies and music.

Also Dev's are going to learn next-gen what was obvious this gen. How to make a AA game and realize not everybody going to pull Halo or Zelda numbers. Too Many studio's were killed by rising Dev costs when they could have released on a digital download service.



misswliu81 said:

i'm really glad you had this discussion; what with the wii U coming out next year and less wii games coming out now until then, now is the good time to reflect on that console, as well as the gamecube's progress.

for me, the gamecube and wii were completely opposite to each other; the design, the controllers and more importantly the games. the gamecube is very underrated and IMO i prefer it over the N64. though it had amazing titles such as LoZ: the windwaker, twilight princess, luigi's mansion, f zero GX, it was the appearance of the gamecube that put people off from buying it.

on the other hand, as much as i love the wii, behind the N.E.S, super nintendo, the shovelware games and lack of quality titles diminished its success. the X-box, PS3 were getting lots of good 3rd party action, fighting games, whereas the wii didn't have many of these. don't get me wrong- the wii's worldwide sales compared to the X-box, PS3, in terms of games and hardware have been phenomenal overall. i can't knock that.

however, being a huge fighting game fan, it would've been nice to see tekken (which will arrive on the 3DS, wii U), super streetfighter 4 (which is on 3DS), virtua fighter 5, king of fighters games, soul calibur 4 to name on it. but of course, there is the issue over the lack of graphics power the wii has over the PS3, x box 360 with regards to fighting games, as well as using the wii mote to play them. that latter issue alone can be easily addressed with the wii controller.

still, the wii had some gems: super mario galaxy 2, metroid prime 3, donkey kong country returns, super smash bros brawl, mario kart, xenoblade chronicles to 3rd party titles sonic colours, madworld, tatsunoko vs capcom, resident evil 4, sonic and sega all-stars racing, dead space to name. so for those who say the wii had no great games, it's rubbish.

nintendo in 2012 will launch with the wii U, a new console; hopefully it will be just as successful as the wii and DS handheld. but quality 3rd party support- which was lacking in the wii- is crucial to its success. i want it to do well- i just hope the developers keep to their word and release 'games' for it.

games as in not always ports of PS3, x box titles, rather the wii U with this console, nintendo is (rightly) going back to their true gaming roots with a traditional controller with a touchscreen added to it. nintendo succeeded with the wii, and i'm hoping the same for the wii U.



Collinhall said:

Man - I loved the gamecube so much - Kirby Air Ride, Sunshine, Wind Waker, Animal Crossing, Double Dash, I had the best memories of playing them with my family



Slapshot said:

@pntjr I wouldn't use the word "fail" as it's highly unlikely the system will fail even if it doesn't sell up to its expectations. Remember how all the non-Nintendo fans were screaming "the 3DS is failing" after release?

Yeah, it's not failing and neither of them will, or were ever going to fail!



JaredJ said:

The Gamecube was and still is my favorite console from it's generation. It always bothered me when a game was released on PS2 and Xbox but not the Gamecube.



shingi_70 said:


That was due to Nintendo using the minidisc format. The Gamecube from a technical standpoint Much more powerful than the PS2 and a only alittle weaker than the xbox.

I'm hoping this upcoming Gen is more like that. The recent rumors put the new Xbox and Wii U close in power with the xbox having a bit of an advantage. If sony doesn't go super powerful (they can't afford to) than it will come down to exclusives.



SLiM said:

I really love my Wii. I just finished Metroid Prime 3 and it was so much more than I was expecting. The Wii may not have the greatest specs, but Nintendo still finds a way to make the games look 'magical' as was mentioned in your round table discussion



FonistofCruxis said:

These articles really are going to go without a mention of Tales of Symphonia aren't they?

I really hope that in years to come the Wii isn't remembered as the console for casuals or anything like that because if you actually take a good look at its library its a fantastic console for core gamers and is my favourite console.

Reading the first part of the second page of the article made me wonder if I'm being to harsh on the Wii U. The reason why I've been looking at the Wii U so negatively is because IMO the line-up of games is what makes a console and I was really excited for the 3DS when it was shown with its line-up of games at last years e3 but not so much for the Wii U at this years e3. Nintendo will have to show a good line-up of games at next years e3 to convince me to get it near its launch.



Haywired said:

If Nintendo can combine the (equivalent) graphical power and (actually pretty decent) third-party support of the GameCube with the simple, accessible philosophy of the Wii, then that should bode well for the Wii U.



SonicMaster said:

Ah, the Gamecube. My first console, and what a great one it was.

"I'm Mark. I guess I'm the new guy. If you visit Nintendo Life you've probably disagreed with at least one of my review scores." Well, you're right about that!



Aerona said:

I think the Wii will be remembered fondly as it ages. Once it's finally considered a Legacy Console it won't really matter that it doesn't have teh graffix, it's shovelware will be forgotten, and people will see it for what it is: A great system with fantastic games.



Grackler said:

These round table's are a great read! Bravo NL!
I agree with @14. Whilst the mainstream media seems to be full of hate of the Wii generally (I've lost count of the number of Skyward Sword articles saying that Wii has had few good game 'til now), I think the number of distinct and under-appreciated titles might make it a cult console in years to come. Y'know, in the future, when all the current gen machines look rubbish and only gameplay shines though. There have been some really experimental ideas on Wii with controls and gameplay. Whilst shovelware dominated the charts and it did lack in AAA shiners the Xbox and Ps3 have been getting, the likes of Eledees/bits, Little King's Story, Red Steel 2, Murumasa, Boom Blox, S&P 2, MotoHeroz, Kororinpa, Xenoblade, Wii Music (hush you, it was a fun play about I say!), Zack and Wiki, any number of light gun titles, 2D platformers and a multitude other games that break the mould with unique concepts, might well stand the test of time, simply because they won't get superseded by new, shiner offerings so quickly. I for one have loved the Wii, it's something really different to my Xbox in terms of games and I've had the best multiplayer of the generation on it for sure.
Oh, and the GameCube was great too!



Odnetnin said:

Fantastic breakfast read, guys. Thanks.

Do you guys type your responses in a chat room and then someone edits them for the site? I was wondering because of Jamie's comment: "Mark and I both described the Mario Galaxy visuals independently as 'magical' within the space of a few seconds."



Chrono_Cross said:

I have to "dig" my way through tons of shovelware games on the PS3 section of Gamestop to get to the great games.

Did I just say that out loud?



DoctorJonAngus said:

I may be in the minority in saying this, but I always felt that the Gamecube was one of those system that never had consistently great releases during its console life, but overall, has had an amazing backlog of games. I have found myself hunting down all of the great Gamecube games and I was surprised to find how much awesome stuff there is out there for it.



Screw-Jay said:

GameCube is the most sexiest console ever! I Love It!!

I have a silver GameCube and I will keep it forever, but playing only on Wii



JimLad said:

The Gamecube was a good console and it had many great games, more variety of games and much better third party support than the Wii.
That said I think I will remember the Wii more fondly as time goes on.
It has it's faults but it at least tried to be different, and I think it's first party games on the whole were better. The Gamecube I always felt was just an extension of the N64 (without Rare). It had nothing else going for it other than improved graphics and GameBoy connectivity, and the almost complete lack of online is something I never could forgive. (Especially since it actually supported a modem/broadband adapter)
Good console but also my least favourite. Saying that, Wii is probably my second least. :/



ThomasBW84 said:

@Oddy - I'm not sure I'm allowed to say, we all follow a stringent secrecy policy within Nintendo Life Towers



Mr_Reece said:

@Oddy Thomas is right. And no wonder; you wouldn't believe some of the gross stuff I've seen since I joined the NLife team



Ralph said:

I was really annoyed at the gamecube's online. At least the wii had online for more than just a couple of games.



chiefeagle02 said:

The big thing that stopped me from getting a GameCube near its beginning was my friend bringing a magazine to school one day, showing the Dreamcast had been slashed to $50 and most of the AAA titles were less than $15. At that time, I had a PSOne and an N64, so $50 for a "Next-Gen" console (albeit, a month or so after Sega had ended hardware support) with cheap, fun games (same friend had a Dreamcast I got to try) versus a $200 system with $50 games was an easy choice for me. I did eventually buy a 'Cube, but it wouldn't be for a couple of years later, when the price dropped to $99. I didn't keep it long though.

The Wii was the system that actually got me excited to play video games again (for a while, I didn't play video games much, justified by the notion, "I was growing up"). I remember seeing one of the first trailers for the Wii, with the person swinging the Wiimote like a Tennis racket, made me think "This looks like a lot of fun!" I did go back and play GameCube games I missed on the Wii (Wind Waker, Mario Sunshine, etc.)



SuperMario128 said:

all the mascots have been busy... well besides ness, because the only time we will ever have a chance to see him is in super smash bros games.



Ian_Daemon said:

@31/rafaelluik: When it was cited as the most important contributing factor to lack of adoption? Yes.



rafaelluik said:

@32. Ian_Daemon Really? The game you want is for GC but you don't buy it because of the shape or color of the console? Completely nonsense.



kdognumba1 said:

Talking about Nintendo's future and the last bit towards the end. I honestly don't think it was the systems graphical capabilities, controls, or lack of HD that disappointed the bulk of western gamers in terms of the Wii. I think it was things more like:

  • The lack of online at launch (Redsteel sold well but lack of online killed the interest)
  • Tedious friends lists via friend codes (people hate them but ESPECIALLY hated how each online game required a new set of them)
  • Laggy online play (this hurt what could of been killer titles like Smash Bros Brawl and Tatsunoko vs Capcom)
  • Lack of online play in Virtual Console games
  • Lack of voice chat or communication in general in the majority of online games
  • Wiispeak (yes we have a headset now but Wiispeak drove people away)
  • Lack of demo's (demo's are few and far between for select WiiWare games, they get taken off the network over time, and there are no demo's for VC and retail games)
  • Not being able to see friends online or use Mii's to represent you virtually
  • Lack of network patches (this has changed for new shooters however it took way too long to get here and hurt some games that ultimately did have game breaking glitches)
  • Tedious online shopping experience (Wiishop has no videos, pictures can't be expanded, no user ratings and in order to see all of that you, had to go in the Nintendo Channel which btw didn't arrive on the seen till Wii's midlife)
  • Not being able to invite your friends to online games
  • And many other problems revolving around online.

Thing is, the majority of these complaints have been fixed with the 3DS. Personally, the way I see it, if the Kinect can grab a chunk of the casual audience, the Wii U and the 3DS can grab a good chunk of core or rather mainstream audience. With greatly improved online in the 3DS and the highly hyped up online of the Wii U by both developers and publishers, you can expect to see both systems grab a good portion of that competitive online gaming and core crowd.



PatrickElliot said:

Ron - Best. Intro. Ever.
Another great roundtable fellers! I picked up a GameCube after my PS2 got the dreaded disc-read error. Circuit City fully refunded it, and by then the 'cube was pretty cheap, so I was able to snag one along with a bigger TV. Savings!



alLabouTandroiD said:

Great Round Table as usual, guys.
In some way i'm glad i only got the Cube in 2003 because i don't think i would've had the greatest time from its launch to its dying days. Yes, it had some of the all time greatest games like Prime, Windwaker, Pikmin, RE4 and a lot of other great games. But in the end i'm missing the variety of games the Wii offers. The lack of great 2D platformers alone puts the Wii above the Cube imo.
And while the Wii completely missed out on some very good 3rd party games it still has an amazingly great and varied lineup of games going for it. And while it would have been great to see more / deeper franchises grace the system it's hard to complain given the sheer amount and amazing feeling of the quality titles.

It's just a shame that imo no other motion based game could reach the heights of Wii Sports. Or maybe i was expecting the undoable here. The great thing with Wii Sports was how it felt so personal and satisfying to get better at Tennis. This couldn't have been done with button controls imo.

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