What Went Wrong With The Gamecube?

In november, the Gamecube celebrated its 10th anniversary. Looking back 10 years ago, it really looked like the most viable console of the 6th generation of video games... but that didn't happen. The Gamecube sold less than the Nintendo 64 and newcomer Microsoft with its Xbox gained momentum to positioned itself in second place.

So, what happened?

Let's take a trip to E3 2001, more specifically, Nintendo's press conference.

NOTE: E3 press conferences were not as flamboyant as today's.

Pretty good huh?

Even with that, there were some myths about Nintendo's new console. That same year, Nintendo released some "numbers" that made the press and fanboys angry. Whereas Sony said that the PS2 could put 70 million polygons (let that sink in for a while) and also Microsoft releasing very ridiculous numbers... Nintendo opted for a more "realistic" approach: 5,6 million polygons.

Everyone went ballistic...

Let me show what the Gamecube could do in terms of graphics:

No, some of those screenshots aren't from 360 or PS3 games... and the majority of these games run at 60fps.

So, was it the polygons/graphics? No

Another thing that I've found out is that when, referring to the Gamecube, the gaming media used the "K" word... nope, it's not what you're thinking. That word is "Kiddie", "the Gamecube is kiddie" "the Gamecube has kiddie games"

Basically what they're saying is that both consoles are kind of the same, but oh wait, the Xbox have "hardcore" titles, "adult" titles, "mature" titles etc...

Didn't Nintendo for the first time ever, published M rated games for the console? didn't Capcom made an agreement with Nintendo to publish Resident Evil exclusively for the console? And by those guy's definition of "hardcore", "adult" and "mature" games Resident Evil fits perfectly.

Online gaming was in its infancy in the 6th generation so, I don't think that was the problem with the Gamecube although the console could connect to the internet but there weren't many games compatible.

So the question still is: What Went Wrong With The Gamecube?


That's a tough question. As we know, Miyamoto said the Gamecube made him very sad.

I loved many games on the GCN and it holds a special place in my heart but the whole generation I felt Nintendo was struggling to hold on. The division this generation is put differently than it was then. In the GCN era it was about kiddie and mature. In this generation it was between casual and hardcore. Casual isn't derogatory, it's just a different market - albeit a very lucrative market. In those days many gamers couldn't see that Nintendo made hardcore games, they just saw kiddie. Now, all gamers recognize that Zelda, Mario, and Metroid may not be bloody but they still are hardcore. And they see the difference between those games which are meant for real gamers and Wii Fit/Wii Sports/Wii Play which are casual. So, why couldn't everyone see that originally?

It could be that Nintendo marketed themselves poorly. The GCN is often called the purple lunchbox. Side by side with the Xbox and PS2 it's convincing that you're buying a child's product even if they shove ten mature games in your face. The Wii was given an "Apple" kind of a look so it didn't seem kiddy, it just seemed all-around. It could fit to whoever you were and whatever age you were. If Nintendo dressed it up like a PS3 I bet less Grandmas and Soccer Moms would have bought it. Slap on a coat of purple and less hardcore gamers would have bought it. So, I think they found the right balance in terms of marketing.

Another thing is that Nintendo appeared as if they were competing with Sony and Microsoft head-on, as opposed to this generation when they clearly distinguished themselves with motion controls and new types of gameplay. Hopefully with the Wii U they will have enough credibility with hardcore gamers and enough to distinguish themselves to pull off success.

But, in the end, I'll go back to what I said at the beginning. There's no one answer. You ask a tough question.
hehe... that photo Menashe... is awesome.

I'm not sure about : "Now, all gamers recognize that Zelda, Mario, and Metroid may not be bloody but they still are hardcore."

Those games were "hardcore" when they started more than 20 years ago. Is just that, back then the word "hardcore" wasn't even use to describe games.

You see, "hardcore" was just a word that idiot game journalists began to use in order to make fanboys to feel like adults.

Also "casual" was made up in this generation. As you said, it's not a derogatory word, but when people try to criticize the Wii is derogatory. Now, a game like Angry Birds gets praised... you see the irony in that?

I agree that the Gamecube looks like a lunchbox, but I don't think that the look of the console put off potential buyers. The Gamecube marketing campaign was a lot better than Wii's "We would like to play", so I don't know.

I think the media portrayal of the Gamecube kind of influenced the fate of the console.


Well, this is how the systems presented themselves to consumers:

Now, as Nintendo fans, we know that vibrant colors and whimsical worlds add to a game's charm and don't detract at all in their complexity. But others saw GTA and Halo and dark colored systems and contrasted that with a purple box and colorful games. If you remember correctly, people went out of their minds when Wind Waker was originally announced. They were mighty upset that Nintendo strayed from the Spaceworld 2000 vision of Zelda. They wanted things to "mature" as the systems got more powerful.
To be fair, God of war wasn't released until 2005. The PS2 was marketed as, mostly, a DVD player back in 2000. You know what was the only 1st party PS2 game at launch? Keep in mind that Sony said the 70 million polygons thing:

Yep, a game with basically no polygons and with an extreme "kiddy" image was Sony's first game for their system... and nobody even blinked an eye.

The Xbox had Halo, I think it was considered mature. But I mean, the Gamecube had Rogue Leader at launch wasn't that mature? and with those graphics?

I also agree that Windwaker's look kind of feed the "kiddy" mythology, but what about Metroid Prime? that was also considered a "mature" game.


The Gamecube definitely had the mature games if you were able to take a deeper look. Eternal Darkness and Metroid Prime were both favorites of mine. But, we're talking about the shallow gamer who sees the GCN and writes it off instantly as a system full of Mario, Pokemon, and kiddy games. Of course, it's not true.

Also, the PS2 totally got off to a slow start. I remember the highest profile game at the beginning was SSX. It took time for the ball to get rolling but once it did, it caught on like wildfire. Interestingly enough, this generation people are only starting to appreciate the PS3 right now. But it's too late. Still, the past year or two has been a bit kinder to the PS3's library.
Did those shallow gamers didn't mind about Fantavision? Did game journalists slam Sony for this game being kiddy? Honestly, I don't know.

I think the PS2 was all hype when it started, basically that hype killed the Dreamcast... Even though the Dreamcast had better games and graphics.

For me, PS2 games, weren't that interesting to me (never liked Final Fatasy but love Chrono Trigger)... Pehaps Silent Hill but I played them on PC.

I do own a PS3, that's the only Sony console I've ever own and maybe the last. I really hate that you have to install something before playing the game. I honestly tried to play RE5 and it had to be installed and it lasted like 30 minutes... If you ask me, I'm done with the PS3 and ready for next gen.


Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
I think Menashe's pics pretty well capture things. I know I didn't buy a GC because, well, just look at the PS2. I could play GTA. And having a cheap DVD player at college was huge.

But now that I'm a little older? [Alright, at this point, I'm old.] Probably why I went with the Wii. I'm old enough to not really care about what seems "mature." I mean, they're video games. If I wanted a mature hobby, I'd be drinking scotch and smoking cigars (...which I sometimes do).
gamecube games where the best ever released. when it was released it sold alot very quickley because of the games lined up for release on it. microsoft and sony moaned about this so nintendo had to slow things down for about a year and a half. nintendo released about 590 gmes here about 400 of them where released over 3 years between 2004 - 2006. thats what happened gamecube ( and microsoft demanded rare to work for them )


Well-Known Member
It came out too late alongside lacking a DVD player and mainstream appeal despite having one of the best libraries a Nintendo console has had imo.

I’ve been revisiting a lot of GameCube games during this c-virus outbreak and they have held up amazingly well in terms of visuals, controls and gameplay.


It came out too late alongside lacking a DVD player and mainstream appeal despite having one of the best libraries a Nintendo console has had imo.

I’ve been revisiting a lot of GameCube games during this c-virus outbreak and they have held up amazingly well in terms of visuals, controls and gameplay.
Ya boy still playing Mario Golf Toadstool Tour


Well-Known Member
Ya boy still playing Mario Golf Toadstool Tour
I play it too! I actually remember you saying that a few years back so since that day, every time I play the game in my head I acknowledge you and me are and a few other weirdos somewhere are probably the only people who do lol. It’s a shame they keep force feeding us the same Mario Tennis game over and over again and no one is buying it yet Mario Golf is sitting in the sidelines.


Active Member
Damn...that part of Satoru Iwata.... :'(

But on topic, the problem wasn't the actual hardware. I think that it was Sony's dumb tactic of including a DVD player on PS2 that drove the sales major chunk from the Gamecube. And it sucks because the Gamecube was amazing with its great library of games.


Your Resident Beardy Bear
Nintendo's approach for its optical media was both a good and bad idea. It was good from the perspective that unlike its other contemporaries, the Gamecube wasn't as easily hackable (To take a short trip down memory lane, the PS1 was terrible when it came to bootlegs, and CD-copied software that wasn't legitimate). The PS2 made strides compared to the PS1, but it was still much easier to tap into, and copy games to a blank DVD compared to what the Gamecube had. And the Xbox was practically a desktop computer, which both made it easy to hack, but at the same time, brought forth the introduction of homebrew, and emulation to consoles, and other unauthorized software.

Now, despite this measure by Nintendo for the Gamecube, it also led the system to not getting certain games because of its small capacity compared to the competition (1.5GB vs. 4.7GB for PS2/Xbox). Even some games which could be played on Gamecube had lower audio quality like Prince of Persia Sands of Time, and other games had bad FMV/Movie compression (LOTR: The Two Towers was bad with this).

There were certainly trade-offs to Nintendo's approach.
All of the pics posted by the op look amazing, and are from some really amazing games. And that Star Wars game, looks so cool. I remember watching that Star Wars game in action years ago. It looked like it was footage from a star wars movie. And the Star Fox game was another good one. Who could forget Metroid Prime, and the epic Phendrana Drifts snow stage, or the snow stages in Star Fox. Those were some really cool graphics back in the day, and those games really showed the power, and greatness of the gamecube. And the games, even appealed to alot of gamers like myself, who are not fans of any particular console brand.
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