Columns & Blogs

For all its faults, Nintendo's GameCube had some great games

Nintendo has returned to the top of console sales, where it was in the 1980s.

With the original Nintendo Entertainment System and later the Gameboy, Nintendo sold more than 160 million systems and handhelds.

But it slowly lost its grasp on the top slot in gaming when SEGA and Sony joined the console-selling industry. Nintendo saw a slow drop in sales with each subsequent console, first the Super Nintendo, then Nintendo 64 and finally the GameCube. The company only recently rebounded with the release of the Wii, which has sold more copies than the original NES, according to Nintendo.

Many attribute the release of the GameCube to be rock bottom for the company. The system sold less than 23 million units. The Wii has released two games (soon to be three with Wii Fit’s sales) that sold more copies than the GameCube. The selling power of the PlayStation 2 along with the introduction of Microsoft into the industry with its Xbox gave the GameCube tough odds to succeed.

But despite it being the lowest selling console, the GameCube still had some memorable games.

The best was “Metroid Prime.”

Like a movie taking a television show and spicing it up for the big screen, Nintendo took one of its classic games and rebooted it for modern consoles with the new technology.

“Metroid Prime” isn’t just the best GameCube game — it’s one of the best games ever made.

The developers took the side-scrolling adventure game and morphed it into a first-person shooter that heavily emphasized the exploration of levels. The game’s graphics were ahead of their time, making it one of the most visually detailed Nintendo games ever.

Much like the Wii, the GameCube invested heavily in games for children and families. “Metroid Prime,” however, was designed for the gamer, and more importantly, for the person who had stayed loyal to Nintendo since its early days.

There were also two great Zelda games on the GameCube, “The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess” and “Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker.” Both were very good an updated a series that stayed strong over the years.

The other game that defined the GameCube’s potential was “Resident Evil 4.”

Many discovered the game as a release on the PlayStation 2, but it first came out on the GameCube. It redefined the series, which up to that point had been little more than an arcade-style shooter, and influenced both third-person shooters and horror games.

The over-the-shoulder viewpoint that is now standard in third-person shooters was introduced with this game, as were button sequences during gameplay that would become standard in most action/adventure games.

Just like “Metroid Prime,” “Resident Evil 4” showed what the GameCube was capable of, and the potential that the console never reached.