Gamecube System Open© Nintendo Life

The Nintendo GameCube launched in Japan in September 2001 and a couple of months later 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 evolve 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!

That's enough waffling. Let's dive in and see your picks for the all-time 50 best GameCube games...

50. Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness (GCN)

Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness (GCN)Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness (GCN)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Genius Sonority
Release Date: 3rd Oct 2005 (USA) / 18th Nov 2005 (UK/EU)

The follow-up to Pokémon Colosseum, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness released in 2005 and had you catching Shadow 'mon and 'purifying' them. Using the GBA-GC link cable, it was possible to connect any of the Game Boy Advance mainline entries to XD for battling and trading and, although it didn't change things significantly from its predecessor, it still provided a decent 3D Pokémon experience before the mainline games went into the third dimension.

49. Mega Man Anniversary Collection (GCN)

Mega Man Anniversary Collection (GCN)Mega Man Anniversary Collection (GCN)
Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Atomic Planet
Release Date: 23rd Jun 2004 (USA)

Mega Mans (Mega Men?) 1-8 collected together on one disc sounds like a mighty fine proposition, no? And so it was. It wasn't without faults, but this compilation also included Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters, two arcade rarities outside Japan. In fact, the only huge black mark against this game was the truly bizarre decision to make 'B' the jump button with the GameCube's big chunky 'A' button firing the Blue Bomber's Arm Cannon. This control scheme could not be altered which caused no small amount of trouble for players who had years of muscle memory built up from playing the classics. A puzzling choice, but an otherwise fine collection from Capcom.

48. Mario Smash Football (GCN)

Mario Smash Football (GCN)Mario Smash Football (GCN)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Next Level Games
Release Date: 5th Dec 2005 (USA) / 18th Nov 2005 (UK/EU)

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.

47. WarioWare, Inc: Mega Party Game$! (GCN)

WarioWare, Inc: Mega Party Game$! (GCN)WarioWare, Inc: Mega Party Game$! (GCN)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Release Date: 6th Apr 2004 (USA) / 3rd Sep 2004 (UK/EU)

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.

46. Chibi-Robo (GCN)

Chibi-Robo (GCN)Chibi-Robo (GCN)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: skip
Release Date: 6th Feb 2006 (USA) / 26th May 2006 (UK/EU)

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.

45. Baten Kaitos Origins (GCN)

Baten Kaitos Origins (GCN)Baten Kaitos Origins (GCN)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Namco
Release Date: 25th Sep 2006 (USA)

The first and only sequel to Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, this offered some gameplay tweaks but didn't fundamentally alter the base experience from the first game. It was released in 2006 when the ailing GameCube was on the very last of its last legs and the developers made the decision not to move it to the upcoming Wii. With hindsight, that was an obvious error - Baten Kaitos Origins would have inevitably got more attention than it found at the time on the purple box. Interestingly, it was one of the first games localised by 8-4, the localisation house who would go on to work with Nintendo on the excellent Fire Emblem: Awakening and Xenoblade Chronicles X, among others.

44. Viewtiful Joe 2 (GCN)

Viewtiful Joe 2 (GCN)Viewtiful Joe 2 (GCN)
Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 18th Nov 2004 (USA) / 1st Apr 2005 (UK/EU)

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.

43. Ikaruga (GCN)

Ikaruga (GCN)Ikaruga (GCN)
Publisher: Atari / Developer: Treasure
Release Date: 15th Apr 2003 (USA) / 23rd May 2003 (UK/EU)

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.

42. Sonic Mega Collection (GCN)

Sonic Mega Collection (GCN)Sonic Mega Collection (GCN)
Publisher: Atari / Developer: SEGA
Release Date: 10th Nov 2002 (USA) / 7th Mar 2003 (UK/EU)

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.

41. Resident Evil 2 (GCN)

Resident Evil 2 (GCN)Resident Evil 2 (GCN)
Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 16th Jan 2003 (USA) / 30th May 2003 (UK/EU)

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.