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Nintendo GameCube
NGC Gamecube.jpg
Manufacturer Nintendo
Type Video game console
Generation Sixth generation
Release date
  • JP: September 14, 2001 (2001-09-14)
  • NA: November 18, 2001 (2001-11-18)
  • EU: May 3, 2002 (2002-05-03)
  • AU: May 17, 2002 (2002-05-17)
Units sold Worldwide: 21.74 million
Japan: 4.04 million
North America: 12.94 million
Europe & Australia: 4.77 million[1]
Media Nintendo GameCube Game Disc
CPU PowerPC Gekko, 486 MHz
Storage Nintendo GameCube Memory Card
Display ATI Technologies, 162 MHz
Input Nintendo GameCube Controller, Game Boy Advance, DK Bongos
Dimensions In inches: 4.3 height, 5.9 width, 6.3 depth
Best-selling game Super Smash Bros. Melee, 7.09 million (as of March 10, 2008)[2]
Predecessor Nintendo 64 (1996)
Successor Wii (2006)

The Nintendo GameCube (ニンテンドーゲームキューブ, Nintendō Gēmukyūbu) is Nintendo's fourth home video game console and is part of the sixth generation console era. It is the successor to the Nintendo 64 and predecessor to Nintendo's Wii.

The Nintendo GameCube is the first Nintendo console to use optical discs as its primary storage medium, after several aborted forays by Nintendo into disc-based storage media. In contrast with the GameCube's competing consoles, the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast, the GameCube uses miniDVD-based discs instead of full-size DVDs. As a result, it does not have the DVD-Video playback functionality of the Xbox and PlayStation 2, nor the audio CD playback ability of other consoles that use full-size optical discs.

In addition, the GameCube also introduced a variety of connectivity options to Nintendo consoles, and was the third Nintendo console, after the Nintendo 64DD, to officially support online play. It also allowed for connectivity to the contemporary Game Boy Advance to access exclusive features of certain games.

The console was released on September 14, 2001 in Japan, November 18, 2001 in North America, May 3, 2002 in Europe, and May 17, 2002 in Australia. The GameCube sold 21.74 million units worldwide.[1]


Nintendo struggled with conflicting brand images, particularly the family-friendly one developed during the 1990s. Its arsenal of franchises and history in the industry, though earning it a loyal fan base, failed to give it an advantage against the Xbox and PlayStation 2 which captured audiences seeking 'Mature' titles which Nintendo had fewer of. Nintendo also made little headway into online gaming (releasing a small handful of online-capable games, the most popular of which was Phantasy Star Online, which was in fact a port of the Dreamcast game), instead emphasizing Game Boy Advance connectivity. As a result, the Nintendo GameCube failed to match the sales of its predecessor; the Nintendo 64.

Nintendo did however rejuvenate its relationship with many developers, often working in close collaboration with them to produce games based upon its franchises, in contrast to the past where it was frequently seen as bullying developers. As a result, the Nintendo GameCube had more first and second party releases than its competitors, whose most successful titles were mainly products of third party developers.


Nintendo has used several advertising strategies and techniques for the GameCube. The earliest commercials displayed a rotating cube video, which would morph into the GameCube logo. A female voice whispered "GameCube". This was usually after the normal commercial for a GameCube game.[4]

Subsequent ad campaigns had Nintendo advertising with a "Who Are You?" tangent to market the wide range of games Nintendo offers. The idea behind the "Who Are You?" campaign is that "you are what you play"; the kind of game a gamer enjoys playing suggests a dominant trait in that gamer's personality. The "Who Are You?" logo is similar to graffiti lettering. Most of the "Who Are You?" commercials advertised games developed or published by Nintendo, but some developers paid Nintendo to promote their games, using Nintendo's marketing and advertising resources.


The Wii (top) compared in size to the Nintendo GameCube, N64, North American SNES and NES

Like its predecessor, the Nintendo 64, the Nintendo GameCube was available in many colors. The two most common, released during the console's launch, were "Indigo" (the "default" color) and "Jet Black". Later, Nintendo released GameCubes with a "Platinum" color scheme, marketed as limited edition. "Orange Spice" GameCubes were also manufactured, but primarily only released in Japan; however, the standard controller was widely available in this color.

The GameCube's model numbers, DOL-001 and 101, are a reference to its Dolphin codename.[5] The official accessories and peripherals have model numbers beginning with DOL as well. Also, other types of Nintendo hardware before and after the GameCube has its developer's codename as a model number. Another Dolphin reference, "Flipper" is the name of the GPU for the GameCube.[6] Panasonic made a licensed version of the GameCube with DVD playback, called the Panasonic Q.

Benchmarks provided by third-party testing facilities indicate that Nintendo's official specifications, especially those relating to performance, may be conservative. One of Nintendo's primary objectives in designing the GameCube hardware was to overcome the perceived limitations and difficulties of programming for the Nintendo 64 architecture; thus creating an affordable, well-balanced, developer-friendly console that still performs competitively against its rivals.[7] The development hardware kit was called the GameCube NR Reader. Model numbers for these units begin with DOT. These units allow developers to debug beta versions of games and hardware. These units were sold to developers by Nintendo at a premium price and many developers modified regular GameCubes for game beta testing because of this. The NR reader will not play regular GameCube games but only special NR discs burned by a Nintendo NR writer.

Gamecube controller[edit]

Black GameCube controller

The standard GameCube controller has a wing grip design, and is designed to fit well in the player's hands. It includes a total of eight buttons, two analog sticks, and a D-pad. The primary analog stick is on the left, with the D-pad below it. On the right are four buttons; a large green "A" button in the center, a smaller red "B" button to the left, an "X" button to the right and a "Y" button to the top. Below those, there is a yellow "C" stick, which often serves different functions, such as controlling the camera. The Start/Pause button is in the middle of the controller.

On the top of the controller there are two analog shoulder buttons marked "L" and "R", as well as one digital one marked "Z". The "L" and "R" shoulder buttons have both digital and analog capabilities. In analog mode, the shoulder buttons have an additional "click" when fully depressed. In digital mode, it will register it as digital only when fully depressed. This difference, in effect, serves as two additional buttons on the controller without the need to actually add physical buttons. This works by means of a dual-sensor system inside the controller, a slider piece, which is moved by pressing down on the shoulder button and a separate button press pad at the base.

Memory storage[edit]

Like its competitor, the PlayStation 2, the GameCube uses memory cards for saving game data (unlike the Xbox, which has a built-in hard drive). The GameCube Memory Card comes in multiple sizes, the three official size units are: 59 blocks (4 Mbit/512 KB, grey card), 251 blocks (16 Mbit/2 MB, black), and 1019 blocks (64 Mbit/8 MB, white). Cheaper third-party memory cards are also available. There are 2 ports for two Memory Cards, just like the PS2.[8]

Technical specifications[edit]

The Nintendo GameCube Game Disc is the medium for the Nintendo GameCube, created by Matsushita. Chosen to prevent unauthorized copying and to avoid licensing fees to the DVD Consortium, it is Nintendo's first non-cartridge storage method for consoles released outside of Japan (the Famicom Disk System and Nintendo 64DD were exclusive to Japan). Some games which contain large amounts of voice acting or pre-rendered video (for example, Tales of Symphonia) have been released on two discs; however, only twenty five titles have been released on two discs, and no games require more than two discs.

The MultiAV port is identical to the one used in Nintendo's earlier Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Nintendo 64 consoles, allowing cables from those systems to be used interchangeably.

Nintendo found that the digital AV port was used by less than one percent of users, causing the port to be removed from consoles manufactured after May 2004.[9]

Technical issues[edit]

Some earlier and later revisions of the GameCube consoles developed disc read problems with the optical pickup becoming thermally sensitive over time, causing read errors when the console reached normal operating temperature. Failures of this sort require replacement of the optical pickup. Affected consoles have sometimes been serviced free of charge by Nintendo even after the expiration of the warranty period.[13]

Software library[edit]

Retail copies of games are supplied on proprietary, NGC Optical Discs packaged in a keep case along with instruction information like how many players can play in the game, how much memory it consumes and a short text that explains what the game is about.

Launch games[edit]

The GameCube launched in North America with the following twelve games:

Title Developer Publisher(s)
All-Star Baseball 2002 Acclaim Acclaim
Batman Vengeance Ubisoft Ubisoft
Crazy Taxi Hitmaker Sega
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2 Z-Axis Acclaim
Disney's Tarzan Untamed Ubisoft Ubisoft
Luigi's Mansion Nintendo Nintendo
Madden NFL 2002 Tiburon EA Sports
NHL Hitz 20-02 EA Black Box Midway
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader Factor 5 LucasArts
Super Monkey Ball Amusement Vision Sega
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 Neversoft Activision
Wave Race: Blue Storm NST Nintendo

One of the defining aspects of the Nintendo GameCube is the rejuvenated relationship between Nintendo and its licensees. Unlike previous generations in which Nintendo was seen by some as bullying its third-party game developers, Nintendo openly sought game-development aid on the Nintendo GameCube.[citation needed] Sometimes, Nintendo would merely request that a third-party developer produce a game based on the third-party's own game franchises; other times, Nintendo would request that the third-party developer produce a game based on Nintendo's own game franchises. In both cases, Nintendo often took an active role in cooperating with the developer.[citation needed] This policy on Nintendo's part resulted in exclusive third-party games for the Nintendo GameCube, and the arrival of multi-format games for the console.

Market share[edit]

[[:File:Super Smash Bros Melee Players Ch.jpg|thumb|right|250px|An example of the Super Smash Bros Melee cover, one of the GameCube's games.]] Despite Nintendo's efforts, the GameCube failed to reclaim the market share lost by its predecessor, the Nintendo 64. It was in third place compared to its competitors, Sony's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft's Xbox (the latter was discontinued in 2006). The console's "family-friendly" appeal and lack of third-party support skewed the GameCube toward a younger market (see chart), which represents a minority of the gaming population. Some third-party games popular with teenagers or adults, such as first-person shooters and the controversial Grand Theft Auto series, skipped a GameCube port in favor of the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The GameCube does, however, have over forty M (for Mature) rated games, a considerably larger amount than Nintendo's previous consoles.[citation needed]

Also, due to Nintendo's lack of support for the online capabilities of the GameCube, as opposed to Microsoft, Sega, and later Sony, who actively promoted online gaming by releasing first-party online titles and soliciting developers, multi-platform games with online functionality were released offline-only on the GameCube. Although online support was added in late 2002 and both Sony and Nintendo followed a similar decentralized online model (in contrast to the centralized Xbox Live), lower sales of the GameCube versions of games during its launch year precluded developers from including online support. The 1.5 gigabyte proprietary disc format may also have been a limiting factor since the Xbox and PS2 used the 8.5 GB Dual-Layer DVD. However, the Nintendo disc still has sufficient room for most games, although a few require an extra disc or, more rarely, have less content than other versions, and video compression for some games is slightly more apparent.

The strong preference of GameCube owners for first-party games did not benefit third-party developers. Cross-platform games—such as sports franchises released by Electronic Arts—sold far below their PlayStation 2 and Xbox counterparts, prompting developers to scale back or completely cease support for the GameCube. After several years of losing money from developing for Nintendo's console, Eidos Interactive announced in September 2003 that it would end support for the GameCube, canceling several games that were in development.[14] Later, however, Eidos resumed development[15] of GameCube titles, releasing hit games such as Lego Star Wars: The Video Game and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend. Due to sagging sales, Nintendo was forced to cut GameCube production for a limited time in order to sell off surpluses.[citation needed] In October 2002, Nintendo issued a profit warning.[16] Sales rebounded slightly after a price drop to US$99 on September 24, 2003[17] and the release of the The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition bundle. A demo disc, the "Nintendo GameCube Preview Disc", was also released in a bundle in 2003.[citation needed] Since this period, GameCube sales continued to be steady, particularly in Japan,[citation needed] but the GameCube was still in third place in worldwide sales during the sixth generation era.

Some third-party companies, such as Ubisoft, THQ, Disney Interactive Studios, Humongous Entertainment and EA Sports, continued to release GameCube games in 2007.[18][19][20][21] These titles include TMNT, Meet the Robinsons, Surf's Up, Ratatouille and Madden NFL 08.[citation needed]

Online Gaming[edit]

The GameCube was at one point online compatible by using a GameCube Modem Adapter or Broadband Adapter, though the only four games that had an online component were Homeland, Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Plus and Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution. This online play was ended as of April 2007, but LAN gameplay is still available for the three titles that originally supported it: Mario Kart Double Dash!!, 1080° Avalanche and Kirby Air Ride. There are some third-party PC applications such as Warp Pipe and XLink Kai that allows online play of these three games by tunneling the network traffic through a computer and across the Internet, though this is not supported by Nintendo.

Reception and sales[edit]

The GameCube sold nearly 22 million units during its lifespan,[1] lagging far behind the 140 million[22] PlayStation 2 consoles sold. The GameCube did not surpass its predecessor, the Nintendo 64, in sales and finished its generation slightly behind the Xbox, which sold 24 million units before being discontinued. Nintendo dropped support most recently.

In September 2009, IGN named the GameCube the 16th best gaming console of all time.[citation needed]


The number of games released for the console exceeds 600, with 208.56 million GameCube games sold as of June 30, 2008.


See also: Dolphin (emulator)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Consolidated Sales Transition by Region" (PDF). Nintendo. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  2. ^ "At Long Last, Nintendo Proclaims: Let the Brawls Begin on Wii!" (Press release). Nintendo of America Inc. 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2008-03-11. The previous installment in the series, Super Smash Bros. Melee, was the best-selling game for Nintendo GameCube with 7.09 million copies sold worldwide. 
  3. ^ 2006: GameCube discontinued
  4. ^ "Kirby Air Ride". GameTrailers. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  5. ^ "Say Hello to Project Dolphin". IGN. 1999-05-04. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  6. ^ "GameCube 101: Graphics". IGN. 2001-01-16. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  7. ^ Satterfield, Shane. "GameCube Dossier". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  8. ^ "Nintendo GameCube Accessories". Nintendo. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  9. ^ "Nintendo's GameCube Component FAQ page". Nintendo. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Game Consoles: A Look Ahead". Ace's Hardware. 2003-12-14. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  11. ^ a b "GCN Technical Specifications". Nintendo. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  12. ^ a b c "DCTP - Nintendo's Gamecube Technical Overview". Segatech. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  13. ^ "Nintendo GameCube Error Messages". Nintendo. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  14. ^ "Eidos to Pull GCN Support". IGN. 2003-09-05. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  15. ^ "Game Companies: Eidos Interactive". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  16. ^ "Nintendo shares fall after profit warning". BBC News. 2002-10-02. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  17. ^ "Nintendo GameCube Price Drops to $99!". Nintendo. 2003-09-24. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  18. ^ "Surf's Up official Press Release". Ubisoft. 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  19. ^ "Ratatouille official Press Release". THQ. 2006-11-06. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  20. ^ "Madden NFL 08 official Press Release". EA Games. 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  21. ^ "Disney Showcases E3 Lineup". Nintendo World Report. 2007-08-02. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  22. ^ "Sony sets 150m sales target for PS3". 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 

External links[edit]

[[Category:GameCube|*]] [[Category:2001 introductions|GameCube]] [[Category:Power Architecture|GameCube]] [[Category:Sixth-generation video game consoles]]