The Nintendo GameCube launched in Japan in September 2001 and a couple of months later on 18th November in North America. Unlucky Europeans wouldn't get their hands on it until the following year, but the wait was worth it for one of the best-looking video game consoles of all time. The NGC (sorry, GCN) is a beautiful, compact piece of kit.
Eschewing the jack-of-all-trades direction of its contemporaries, the console concentrated on doing just one thing well: playing games. Its striking indigo colour, big chunky 'A' button, cute little discs, and infamous carry handle ultimately worked against it in an era of sleek, all-in-one multimedia machines, but it was a powerful little box of tricks that played host to a fabulous library of games. This was the last time Nintendo put itself in direct competition with Sony and Microsoft in pure spec terms before changing tack with the Wii.
We asked Nintendo Life readers to rate their favourite GameCube games, and the result is the list of 50 games you see below. The ranking is formed entirely from each game's user rating in the Nintendo Life Games database. However, unlike other static lists, this one constantly evolves to reflect ratings from Nintendo Life users, so you can still participate.
We've done this for a growing number of Nintendo consoles, so if you're interested be sure to check out the best Nintendo DS games, the best 3DS games, the best Game Boy games, and even the 50 best Switch games — each and every one a fluid list that can change over time. Try rating the games in them, too!
If there's a game bubbling under the top 50 that you'd like to rate, feel free to find it using the search tool below and give it a score out of 10. That's enough waffling, though. Let's dive in and see your picks for the all-time 50 best GameCube games...
Note. In order for games to become eligible, they need a minimum of 50 User Ratings in total.
50. SSX Tricky (GCN)
1080° Snowboarding might have had one-on-one contests, but it (and other games of the time) took a more serious approach to video game snowboarding. SSX Tricky on the other hand was built around the idea of Boardercross, a sort of Motocross variant that pitted a group of boarders against each other at the same time. Consequently, this slickly produced game had a little more of an irreverent, 'fun' personality with a focus on arcade style thrills and spills over the precision and 'realism' of Nintendo's take on the sport. Looking back, it's a breath of fresh air compared to EA's offerings on Nintendo consoles these days.
49. Ikaruga (GCN)
The GameCube version of this masterpiece shooter will cost you an arm and a leg these days, and with the Switch version of Ikaruga offering extra benefits like portability and the ability to twist your Switch and play in Tate mode, it's hard to justify splashing so much cash just to get it on a cute GameCube disc. If you still own it from back in the day, though, Treasure's seminal shmup is indeed something to treasure forever. Still hard as nails, though.
Coming from Clover Studio, Capcom's starry development team behind the likes of Okami and God Hand with members who would go on to form PlatinumGames, this sequel continues movie-obsessed Joe's story as he becomes a superhero and teams up with his girlfriend, Sexy Silvia, to defend humanity from an alien invasion. Very similar to the first game, it oozes style and energy from every pore, although it lacks a co-op multiplayer mode you might expect from a sequel. Still a belter, though.
One of the more unique and curious entries in the Pokémon franchise, Pokémon Colosseum not only thrusts you into the role of an established trainer but you're also tasked with "snagging" Pokémon from your opponents instead of catching them out in the field. It's a bold choice that we feel likely wouldn't go down so well in a mainline title, but feels right at home in this oddball spin-off. Friends can get together and take part in tournaments, and just like all great Pokémon games, Colosseum let you link up the Game Boy Advance titles so you can trade to your heart's content.
Bringing together the best of Sonic's Mega Drive catalogue (and Sonic 3D Blast), this disc also includes Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Ristar and Flicky for good measure (plus Comix Zone and The Ooze in Japan). Originally a GameCube exclusive, an even larger collection was eventually released on other consoles named Sonic Mega Collection Plus with more Sonic goodness from the Game Gear, as well as the Japanese exclusives above. A shame these weren't included originally, but the games you really want were here and Sonic CD and a bunch of other rarities would come along in the Sonic Gems Collection, so after watching him for years on rival consoles Nintendo gamers could gorge on blue hedgehog on GameCube.
Proving that there's little that the portly plumber can't turn his hand (or foot) to, Next Level Games' Mario Smash Football (or Super Mario Strikers in the US) offered solid soccer action in a colourful package with Mushroom Kingdom residents brightening up the beautiful game and adding a little flair and excitement to proceedings - no nil-nil draws here! The polar opposite of the simulation-style that 'proper' football games were going for, this is a fast-paced five-a-side frenzy that did well enough to get a similarly satisfying sequel on Wii.
A remake of the GBA game WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgames!, this home console version added multiplayer to an already brilliantly unhinged concept of microgames that mashes together tiny tasks with a time limit to produce a hectic, hilarious experience. It feels like R&D1 were unchained and allowed to vent their bursting creativity, channelling it into a game without being encumbered by the usual Nintendo 'polish' everyone expects, which gives this game (and the wider series) a remarkable and unique feeling of freshness.
Squeezing RE2 onto N64 required a Herculean effort, but this is essentially a port of the PlayStation version with very little in the way of bells and whistles. The greatness of the base game shines, of course, and arguably makes it worthy of placement here, but anyone expecting a REmake-style overhaul was left sorely disappointed by this barebones version. Resident Evil 2 is a great game, though, however threadbare the presentation.
42. Chibi-Robo (GCN)
Chibi-Robo is difficult to describe because it doesn't neatly fit into any particular category or genre. It's part-platformer, part-adventure, part-amiable helper game which mixes in elements of Toy Story as you work to help the Sanderson family solve their everyday problems. The eponymous altruistic robot himself is a charming little chap who's starred in several games since this GameCube introduction (and he also has the most devastatingly cute amiibo imaginable), but he's never quite reached the heights of his debut here. Lovely.
Mario's run of hit after hit after hit is rather incredible when you think about it. The expectations each new mainline entry creates are astronomically high and we're continually gobsmacked that, more often than not, those expectations are surpassed. Available to play on Switch if you have a copy of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Super Mario Sunshine is a great game which — thanks to its rushed development — lacks the immaculate polish we've come to expect from the Mario series. However, there's a unique charm and brilliance to its mechanics and setting which make it an underdog in the series, and who doesn't love one of those?
As a direct sequel to Super Mario 64, it is not the genre-defining classic everyone was hoping for. However, with the passing of time, we can look back and appreciate the many things that Sunshine does superbly. The joyful, bouncing Isle Delfino theme alone makes it worth revisiting, and if you've skipped this entry in Mario's back catalogue, don't let its reputation put you off. The Sunshine Defence Force may be overcompensating a tad — it's certainly got its flaws — but at the very least, it's still very good in our eyes.