GameCube (ゲームキューブ Gēmukyūbu, officially called Nintendo GameCube, abbreviated NGC in Japan and GCN in North America) is a video game console, released by Nintendo on September 14, 2001, in Japan and November 18, 2001, in North America. It was later released in Europe and other regions in 2002. The sixth-generation console competed with Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft's Xbox, and Sega's Dreamcast. Its best selling game was Super Smash Bros. Melee, which sold about 7 million copies. While the GameCube commercially failed during its lifetime, selling about 22 million units, its games and controllers have recently attracted a cult following. In 2003, production of the Nintendo GameCube was halted until more units could be sold. Production resumed in 2004.
The Nintendo GameCube succeeded the Nintendo 64 and was succeeded by the Nintendo Wii in 2006. The Nintendo Wii is 100% backwards compatible with Nintendo GameCube games and their controllers, meaning that it can play every single GameCube game ever published. The Wii and the Wii's GameCube mode are also region-locked. As such, Nintendo ceased production of the GameCube in 2007. The Nintendo GameCube is not backwards compatible with the Nintendo 64 or its controllers and games, but it is backwards compatible with the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. An officially licensed adapter by Nintendo, however, is needed to insert the Game Boy cartridges into the system. With said adapter, players may opt to use the original Game Boy system to play or a GameCube controller. The Broadband and LAN adapters allow for local play with multiple GameCube systems.
The GameCube is the first Nintendo console to use optical discs. The consoles are region-locked, meaning that a game released in the PAL region can only be played with GameCube consoles released in the PAL region, although there is a switch which is sold separately to switch the region of the GameCube between American and Japanese games. This does not work for European games. To prevent piracy, Nintendo opted for mini-DVD discs instead of regular-DVD sized ones, which would later be used on the Wii and Wii U. All the GameCube controllers are region-free, meaning they can be played on any console, regardless of where it was released for.
Difference between the two models (American models only)
The Nintendo GameCube was released in three colors, indigo (purple), black (jet), and silver (platinum). in the Americas, with limited edition colors being released in Europe and Japan as well as the original three console colors.
The Nintendo GameCube uses composite video cables to display games on the television; however, there are differences in the two models produced. The models produced before May of 2004 also had the ability to use the digital component AV cables and progressive scan and a second serial port. The nameplate on the top of the console reading "Nintendo GameCube" could also be removed. This model was known as "DOL-001". Most purple consoles were "DOL-001". All said features were removed in GameCube consoles produced between 2004-2007, and the later model was known as "DOL-101". Most silver and black consoles were "DOL-101". The newer models also had firmware that disabled action replays and cheat codes and the laser reading the discs was improved, though it did not last as long as the "DOL-001" model's laser. The newer models came with a 48 watt AC adapter to power the console, while the original models came with a 46 watt AC adapter.
Types of GameCube Controllers
The original GameCube controllers, released in 2001, was first only available in purple (indigo), black (jet black), and orange (spice). In the United States, there were 5 available variants of controllers, purple, black, silver, orange, or purple-clear. The purple-clear and orange controllers could only be purchased separately and were not bundled with a console. However, in Japan, an orange GameCube console was released and was also bundled with one orange GameCube controller. In Japan, there were a variety of variants (see below).
Each controller released by Nintendo had the "Nintendo GameCube" logo pasted onto the controller's front shell. On the back shell of every controller produced between 2001-2008, even the controllers released exclusively for Japan, read "Nintendo GameCube", "Controller", "DOL-003" (the model number), and "Made in China" on one side on the back and the Nintendo logo on the other side on the back. Starting in May 2002, the European CE trademark was added to all controllers on the back produced after 2002, since the CE trademark is required for European release of electronic products. Despite this, controllers released before 2002 are acceptable for use on European GameCube and Wii systems, as the 2001-2002 controllers are no different than the 2002-2008 models.
Some controllers lack the metal braces to help the triggers push straight and/or also the black housing that covers the triggers. Stickboxes, the hardware that allows the control stick and the yellow stick to move, are random. There are three types, 1, 2, and 3. Some controllers may have a Type 1 stick for their yellow stick but a Type 3 stick for their control stick. All orange (spice) controllers use Type 1 stickboxes, but the rest of the variants have completely random stickboxes. These flaws were not intended on purpose, as controllers may have been produced at different locations in China. In fact, almost all internal hardware installed onto each controller is completely random. Usually, this does not affect general gameplay using the controllers.
Later, platinum (silver), black (jet), orange (spice), purple-clear, turquoise, gold, clear, and white controllers were released, though the latter four were released exclusively for Japan, but can be imported around the world and work with GameCube consoles released for other regions. There are also more Japan-released only controllers such as the Symphonic Green, the Mario, the Wario, the Luigi, the Pearl White, or the Club Nintendo GameCube controller. Only the GameCube consoles are region locked (NTSC, PAL), but can be modified to be region-free. A wireless GameCube controller, known as the Wavebird, was released in 2002. The Wavebird came in four colors, grey, platinum (silver), Club Nintendo (Japan only limited edition), or Char's Red Wavebird (Japan only limited edition). The Wavebird requires two AA batteries to use, which were included when bundled upon original purchase. Nintendo partnered with Panasonic to create the Panasonic Q, a GameCube console with DVD compatibility only released in Japan. The Panasonic Q was a commercial failure, with less than 100,000 units sold, and, thus, it never saw an American release. The Panasonic Q was also region-locked, only being able to play Japanese GameCube optical discs. The Panasonic Q GameCube controller, however, is region-free and works with all original GameCube consoles. All said official controllers can play the Looney Tunes games released for the Nintendo GameCube.
Later GameCube controllers were released due to popular demand. See "Differences between the new and the original GameCube controllers" for more information.
There are also some unlicensed third-party GameCube controllers, including the MadCatz GameCube controller (MadCatz does have products licensed by Nintendo) or the GameStop GameCube controller, that work on all GameCube and Wii consoles. Unlicensed controllers are criticized for their lack in quality compared to the official Nintendo-brand controllers, thus they sell cheaper than used official Nintendo-brand controllers, whose value has gone up in the recent years due to high demand and scarcity. Some unlicensed GameCube controllers have the same shape as the official controller, and their button shapes are identical to those of the official controller as well, making them useful for part swapping if the unlicensed controllers stop working.
Around 2008, a Classic controller for the Nintendo Wii U and Wii with the Nintendo GameCube layout was released by manufacturers HORI and Performance Designed Products (PDP). In 2018, a Pro controller for the Nintendo Switch with the Nintendo GameCube layout was released by HORI, PDP, and PowerA. All of these models are officially licensed and made by third party companies, but cannot plug into a Nintendo GameCube console.
Differences between the new and the original GameCube controllers
New GameCube controllers in white were only released in Japan in 2008 to accommodate owners of the Nintendo Wii. Newer GameCube controllers were also released in 2014 and 2018 due to popular demand. There are a few differences between the newer ones mentioned previously compared to the originals. One difference is that the newer models have longer wires, which are about 3 meters long, than the original models, which were about 2 meters long. The original models contained metal rods inserted inside the triggers which were used to prevent the back L and R buttons from getting stuck. This also allowed for said triggers to be pushed many ways. A white Smash Bros. GameCube controller (with the Wii U branding) was released exclusively for Japan in 2014. A black Smash Bros. GameCube controller (with the Wii U branding) was released in 2014 and a black Smash Bros. GameCube controller (with the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate branding) was released in 2018 worldwide. All of these mentioned lack the metal rods the original controllers produced between 2001 and 2006 have. Because players need to push down the triggers on the newer controllers vertically to prevent the triggers from getting stuck, this may impact some difference in gameplay, especially in the Super Smash Bros. series of video games. The newer Smash Bros. controllers, according to the Nintendo Switch box that re-releases the Super Smash Bros. controller, are compatible with all GameCube titles, including the Looney Tunes video game titles released for the Nintendo GameCube.
The console has developed a cult following in the past decade, for its video games, such as Super Smash Bros. Melee, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Super Mario Sunshine. The GameCube controller has become so popular with consumers, mostly those who play the games in the Super Smash Bros. series, that Nintendo has added support for it on the first Wii model (some Wii titles and 100% backwards compatibility with GameCube games), the Wii U (for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and select virtual console games only, though emulators can make the Wii U play GameCube games), and the Nintendo Switch (any Switch title that supports the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, with limited functionality since the GameCube controller is missing a left shoulder button and the minus button), the latter two via an adapter that was first released in 2014 and re-released in 2018.
None of the Nintendo GameCube games are available on the Virtual Console for the Wii U and will not be available on the Nintendo Switch paid online service.
- Taz: Wanted
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action: The Video Game
- Tiny Toon Adventures: Defenders of the Universe (unreleased)
- Animaniacs: The Great Edgar Hunt