|Released|| September 14, 2001|
November 18, 2001
December 14, 2001 (Panasonic Q)
May 3, 2002
May 17, 2002
|Processor||"Gekko" 485MHz IBM PowerPC|
|GPU||"Flipper" 202 MHz NEC|
|Resolution||480I/480P Progressive Scan|
|Media|| 8cm discs 1.5GB|
4MB GameCube Memory Card
|Controller input||Nintendo GameCube controller, WaveBird, Game Boy Advance, DK Bongos|
|Units shipped||22 million|
|Best-selling game||Super Smash Bros. Melee (7.09 million sold)|
|Predecessor|| Nintendo 64|
Nintendo first mentioned a successor to the Nintendo 64 on March 3, 1999, a day after Sony's announcement of the PlayStation 2. Two months later, on May 12, 1999, Nintendo of America's chairman Howard Lincoln officially announced the console, which would be codenamed "Dolphin."
In classic form, Nintendo remained quiet for over a year about "Dolphin," preferring to focus on the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color at E3 2000. It wasn't until August 24, 2000, a day before Spaceworld 2000, that the company officially unveiled the GameCube, the end result of the "Dolphin" project.
The heart of the GameCube is a 128-bit CPU called the "Gekko." The Gekko is based on the PowerPC architecture but optimized for game playing. The system's 202.5 MHz video processor, called "Flipper," was designed by ArtX and is being produced by ATi. ArtX is headed by Dr. Wei Yen, who played a major role in the development of the Nintendo 64's graphics chip.
For its storage medium, the GameCube uses 8-cm discs based on a proprietary DVD technology, developed by Matsushita, that can hold up to 1.5GB. Since they are smaller than traditional DVDs, the GameCube is not able to play DVD movies, though through a partnership with Nintendo, Panasonic manufactured and distributed the Panasonic Q, a hybrid DVD-player console with GameCube hardware.
The GameCube's controller combines elements from just about every controller before it, as well as introducing a few innovations of its own. In addition to the standard analog stick, D-pad and shoulder buttons, Nintendo has added an analog C-stick (often referred to as the camera-stick), moved the Z-button to the right shoulder and rearranged the button configuration so that there is a large A button surrounded by the X, Y and B buttons. The shoulder buttons L and R are both analogue, allowing the console to know how far they are pushed in, for things like throttle in racing games. Like the Nintendo 64, the GameCube features four controller ports.
The regular GameCube memory card holds 4 Megabits of data, but the Digicard Adapter will allow for flash memory cards that can hold 64MB to 128MB, effectively giving the console the functionality of the failed 64DD add-on for the N64. A choice between a 56K modem and broadband adapter will be available for online connectivity, but neither of these add-ons is included with the console.
Unlike the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color, which connect using an adapter, the GameCube will interface directly with the Game Boy Advance via the Game Boy Advance to Nintendo GameCube Link Cable to transmit information back and forth.
The last title released for the GameCube was Madden 08.
History and development
Development on the GameCube began after the launch of the Nintendo 64. Nintendo has stated multiple times that the moment a system is launched, the plans to create its successor are already in motion. Prior to the launch of the GameCube, Nintendo referred to it as the Nintendo Dolphin. Indeed, several video games released near the launch of the console bare references to this popular codename. Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that the transition from developing on the Nintendo 64 to the GameCube was fairly easy when compared to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to Nintendo 64 transition. He compared the move to the NES to SNES changeover in that basically the GameCube wasn't as much of a revolution as it was an evolution over its predecessor.
The design of the GameCube has often been criticized. During the launch of the Wii, even Nintendo recognized that several critics thought that the GameCube was designed to look like a toy. The handle in particular caused several pundits to joke that the piece of hardware looked like a lunchbox. The controller, on the other hand, was greatly praised for being comfortable, and the Wavebird in particular was lauded for its wireless capabilities. Nintendo implemented a digital and analog mode in the controller's L an R buttons, new to the system.
Following the GameCube's launch, Shigeru Miyamoto admitted that it had sold far less than he and Nintendo had expected. To date it is Nintendo's worst selling performing system of all time. The PlayStation had caused Nintendo to lose its market share during the Nintendo 64 generation, and the GameCube just made matters worse. The PlayStation 2's sales numbers dwarfed those of the GameCube's, while the Xbox sold slightly more. Interestingly, however, during the GameCube generation Nintendo made more money that their competitors, thanks in part to the Game Boy Advance and the moderate sales of the GameCube and its software. Whereas Nintendo made money almost every year from the launch to the discontinuation of the system, the competition's game departments regularly lost money.
InterfaceThe GameCube menu is not like the Xbox or PlayStation 2 menus. The music for the Gamecube menu seems unique and espescially slow at first, but when sped up around 16 times the tune is actually a low pitched version of the Famicom Disk System's BIOS. There are also several Easter egg start-up noises activated by pressing the Z button on a specific amount of controllers. If you hold the Z button on 1 controller when turning the system on, you will hear squeaky noises and a baby's laughter at the end. Holding the Z button on all 4 controllers produces a Japanese oriental style sound effect, with a man shouting a battle cry at the end.
|Central processing unit (CPU)||
|Graphics processing unit||* 162 MHz "Flipper" LSI (co-developed by Nintendo and ArtX, acquired by ATI)
Top Ten GameCube Best Sellers
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Super Mario Sunshine
- Mario Kart: Double Dash‼
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
- Luigi's Mansion
- Animal Crossing
- Mario Party 4
- Metroid Prime
- Mario Party 7
- Pokémon Colosseum
Grabbed By the Ghoulies was originally under development by Rare for the GameCube. However, the acquisition of the company by Microsoft transitioned that game to the Xbox. With the exception of Donkey Kong Racing, which was altogether cancelled, most other well known projects planned for the Gamecube were eventually released on the Xbox360. Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo involved cosmetic changes whilst 'Banjo Threeie' was turned in to 'Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts'.
The GameCube featured several titles that today are noted for their quality. Retro Studios made their video game debut with Metroid Prime on the GameCube. Upon being announced, many speculated whether a Western developer, especially one that had just been established, could create a successor to what was generally regarded as one of the greatest games of all time, Super Metroid. Their earnest hard work and determination payed off, as Metroid Prime was not only critically acclaimed but sold millions of units as well. Another Western Nintendo developer, Nintendo Software Technology in Washington, also made a big splash on the GameCube with Wave Race: Blue Storm and 1080° Avalanche. Canadian developer Silicon Knights created one of Nintendo's only Mature-rated video games, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.
While Western developers proved themselves greatly on the system, Japanese companies developed more successful software. Super Smash Bros. Melee is considered by most to be a huge improvement over the Nintendo 64 original Super Smash Bros., and is the best selling title on the system. The GameCube was also the height of the Mario Party franchise, with an astounding four video games being released for the system, more than any other console. The Pikmin franchise began on the GameCube, with Pikmin and Pikmin 2 both being huge successes for Nintendo.
The GameCube was the last Nintendo console that Rare, the English developer known for Donkey Kong Country, Banjo-Kazooie and GoldenEye 007, developed for. After a lackluster reception for Star Fox Adventures, Nintendo sold their shares in Rare to Microsoft for over $300 million. Microsoft has stated that they purchased Rare in order to lighten their image, despite one of Rare's first games for the company being a remake to the M rated Nintendo 64 title Conker's Bad Fur Day.
- The music that plays during the Menu, is an extremely slow version of the Famicom Disk System BIOS. For easier comparison, here's the GameCube Menu music, sped up to roughly the same speed as the original.
- The boot sound can also be changed by holding the Z buttons on controllers while starting up. If 1 Z button is held, the sound changes to a squeaky toy bouncing followed by a boing and a child giggling. If 4 Z buttons are held, it is a Japanese drum sound effect with a voalizationg from the Sushi eating game in Pokémon Stadium.
- The GameCube was released with several different colorations; purple, silver, black, orange and white. Some special edition packages also comes with unique consoles, such as the Resident Evil 4 GameCube.