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Parsley talk about Gamecube in this thread. [roundtable]
 
So, as several of you know, I've been spending the last week or so replaying Super Mario Sunshine. And while my feelings about the game are that it's the worst 3D Mario game out there, I still feel it was a fun game overall. And I think it was unanimously decided that regardless of the quality of it *as a Mario game,* it still ended up being the best platformer from last gen.

After I finished the game (got all 120 Shine Sprites, baby!) I browsed my Gamecube collection, and realized there are a LOT of really great games that came out for it. Unfortunately for the 'Cube, it got the least respect (and least amount of sales) out of the three major consoles last gen. And I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe you guys can help me figure it out.

The system had a lot going for it. It had some of the most top-of-the-line tech behind it at the time. Four controller ports, standard. Not too long after launch, the Wavebird came out - the first wireless controller that actually worked. Dolby Digital Surround output, as well as Progressive Scan support. It could link up with the super-popular Gameboy Advance. It of course had the backing of Nintendo, inarguably one of the best game development companies in the world. Not only did we get old Nintendo standbys, but new franchises from them as well. And at least until 2003 or so, a ton of high-quality 3rd party support, including some really great exclusive stuff.

So what happened? Why didn't the machine sell like gangbusters and take the world by storm?

Well, okay. Yes. The PS2. Sony had an incredible amount of momentum coming off the original Playstation, and the hype train was unstoppable. But Gamecube was coming off the also-very-successful-N64, and had games like WaveRace: Blue Storm, Pikmin, Rogue Leader and Smash Brothers Melee at or near launch.

And yeah, there was the Xbox too. And even to this day, I'm still baffled as to how that system got the success it did. Everything about that system was wrong IMO. I'm not gonna dwell on how or why the Xbox became so successful, but I'm still just amazed/shocked at how a single FPS game could carry a system and let it live and THRIVE as it did.

But anyway, I kind of want to get down to the nitty-gritty stuff. There are a lot of dismissive things said about Gamecube, but one of the most prevailing ones (and one that still kind of haunts the GCN's successor) was the lack of online support. Some gamers believe it was a major sin that the Gamecube did not go online at all (well, outside of Phantasy Star, anyway). But I don't think that was as big of a deal as some make it out to be.

Last gen, online gaming with consoles wasn't as big of a deal overall. Some may say I'm crazy, but look at the games that sold last gen. The best-selling stuff on PS2 was Grand Theft Auto, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2, Jak & Daxter and DragonQuest VIII. The common theme among those games? None of them have online support. Not a single one. Oh, but that was PS2. Online gaming really took off on Xbox, right? Well, kinda. LIVE was a big selling feature sure. But the games? Well, not so much. The best-selling Xbox games were stuff like Halo, Halo 2, Grand Theft Auto Collection, Fable, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Morrowind, and the original Splinter Cell. With the exception of Halo 2, none of these games went online, either. So was it really that big of a deal? I'm not convinced.

But I'm just one guy. What do you guys think? Specifically in regards to online stuff. I wanna get into other aspects/features of the Gamecube at a different point. Let me hear your thoughts!

TL;DR VERSION: Did the lack of online support hurt Gamecube sales?

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Posted: 08/25/11, 06:17:46  - Edited by 
 on: 08/26/11, 19:34:15
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@Mr_Mustache

I wasn't there at all .

But I believe the story has been posted here a few times, along with the accompanying graphic. One of the many IGN legends.
Posted: 08/26/11, 10:46:08  - Edited by 
 on: 08/26/11, 10:46:28
@Shadowlink

Haha, oh, maybe I didn't actually see it there either then.. *snerk*
Posted: 08/26/11, 12:16:31
Zero said:
Well to me rumble wasn't a big deal and I already had plenty of rechargeable batteries laying around. Having to not deal with wires was so well worth it.

I've never understood why people care so much about rumble. Maybe its because I never owned StarFox 64 (which came with the rumble pack as I recall?), although eventually I owned a third party rumble pack that always needed new batteries and I was too cheap to replace.

I never missed it in the WaveBird (still don't). Never much missed it in the SixAxis on PS3 either, since I never had a DS3 until like two months ago. And I usually keep it turned off in the WiiMote to save battery life.
Posted: 08/26/11, 14:18:56
I think online mattered to some degree though, and it had this big trickle down effect. Like I said in part it was pushed by developers more than the fans, and often they would use it as an excuse to not make a Gamecube version.
Posted: 08/26/11, 15:02:59
Gamecube was easily Nintendo's worst system. Having said that, it still had some amazing games. The least in Nintendo console history though. I can name the amazing 10/10 titles on one hand I bet, and even a few of those were very flawed (like Wind Waker).

Standout titles to me were (near perfect games)
Metroid Prime
RE4
REmake
F-Zero GX
Smash Bros
MK:DD

Great but with flaws
Zelda WW
Monkey Ball

And some were terribly disappointing compared to their predecessors like
Super Mario Sunshine
Wave Race

OK games
Killer 7
Viewtiful Joe
Pikmin (could be great actually but I consider it overrated by Nintendo fans)

GC was just a mixed bag and again, only a few games were masterpieces to me. Get me going on N64, SNES, NES, and even Wii and you have a muuuuuuuuuuch more diverse list of games I adored. Wii would ptob be second worse but still much much better than GC as a whole.
Posted: 08/26/11, 15:16:37  - Edited by 
 on: 08/26/11, 15:18:22
WrathOfSamus777 said:
Ahh the good ole' GCN General Board at IGN. The most cantankerous, troll-filled, Nintendo board war-zone in the history of gaming.

Worse than the Wii General Board? .... well, you may be right, since the GCN General Board "wars" lasted all generation long, but with the Wii GB? Well, about halfway through the generation, there was a "mass exodus" so the wars just kinda fizzled out.

By the way, you're totally right about the WaveBird -in regards to it being great for multiplayer games, that is. Back in college, there was a common room in the dorm that had a huge wide-screen TV that anyone could use, and I would take my 'Cube down there for some multiplayer action. Being able to sit a good 10 feet or more away from the screen to play some multiplayer Melee, Soulcalibur II, Double Dash!!, GX and whatever sport game my buddies wanted to play (Madden, NHL Hitz, etc) and not have to worry about cord length or random others walking by and tripping over the cords was a godsend.

Also, it made playing Pac-Man VS a breeze. Passing the controllers around in between each "turn" would have been a tangled wire nightmare with the standard GCN pad.

@carlosrox

Overall I agree with your list of games, but I would swap out WaveRace: Blue Storm from your "disappointing" list with Starfox Assault. Fox's game was far more disappointing, and I really enjoyed Blue Storm. I actually think it's a better game than the N64 one, personally.

By the way, did you ever play Eternal Darkness? I'd add that one to your "standout titles" list. I thought that one was fantastic!
Posted: 08/26/11, 15:53:15
@GameDadGrant

Pretty hard to mistake that as a Playstation commercial when it focuses on Cubes. It does seem like a mature commercial until you get the end and there is the purple lunchbox sitting there...had they used the black one I think it would've been a lot better. But again, while I had no problems with the purple color it didn't help Nintendo. Still, props for them trying to be sure.
Posted: 08/26/11, 16:01:06
The thing about the GCN is that I probably would have less fond memories of it if it hadn't been my primary console. I played SSX3, BG&E, Prince of Persia, James Bond Everything or Nothing, NBA Street and Burnout 2 on it, and even though they were often lesser versions of those games due to a lack of buttons or disc space, they were all a blast. Had I played them on the PS2 like most everyone else, maybe I'd have a higher opinion of the PS2 and diminished opinion of the Cube.

But while for most people, PS2 = multiplatform goodness and Cube = Nintendo first party only, I instead sampled the cross-console games on the Cube and, later on, got a PS2 for its exclusives.

And you know, when all is said and done, PS2's exclusives disappointed me for the most part, save a few exceptions.
Posted: 08/26/11, 16:08:35
@CB200

Yup, agree on all fronts. It's kind of a shame NoA didn't have enough pull back then to tell NoJ that black should have been the primary color for the system in North America. That alone would have helped it's image so much.

@Guillaume

Heh, all those multiplatform games you mentioned you played on GCN, were actually superior versions of those games. The lack of disc space honestly wasn't a problem for GCN, I thought. What games were hampered by the smaller medium "size?"
Posted: 08/26/11, 16:13:37
@GameDadGrant

There were extras (videos and stuff) missing in the Cube version of SSX3, the dialogue sounded muffled in Sands of Time, you had less shoulder buttons to perform tricks in NBA Street and SSX3, etc.

EoN, Burnout 2 and BG&E may have been superior on the Cube. It's likely. But you'll have to explain how all the titles I listed are, because I don't see it.
Posted: 08/26/11, 16:21:35
@Guillaume

Eh? I've played the PS2 version of SSX3, and I don't remember seeing any extra videos or stuff like that in it. Are you thinking of SSX Tricky? Because the GCN version of that game *did* have some missing videos that were present in the other versions. But SSX3 matched the other systems feature-for-feature (with the exception of the PS2's online mode - which was mysteriously absent from the Xbox version. But the GCN build kind of made up for it with the connectivity stuff with the GBA). It's kind of funny that SSX Tricky had missing features at the beginning of the generation, but then at the end of the generation, SSX On Tour came out and the GCN build had three extra characters (Mario, Luigi and Peach) and an additional course (Nintendo Village) not found in the other versions. How was it that the Tricky had less features, but On Tour had the most? Maybe EA Big's programmers got better with GCN hardware by that point...?

I don't recall muffled sounds in The Sands of Time, but that seems to be a common complaint, so... maybe I'm lucky and didn't notice it! The GCN version ended up with the best-looking version of the game, thanks to the much better textures used in that version. The GCN version looked nice and sharp, while the PS2 and Xbox versions looked muted and washed out by comparison. The Sands of Time also had Connectivity with the GBA, which I gladly took advantage of. That feature was not in the PS2 or Xbox versions, for obvious reasons. I think the Prince of Persia series "felt" better on Gamecube overall. That controller was just so comfy and perfect for the Prince's adventures. IMHO, anyway.

I can't speak on NBA Street since I never played any of them. I know the third one ended up getting playable Mario, Luigi and Peach (much like SSX On Tour) which is a cool bonus for GCN gamers. That's something, right?

I think Beyond Good & Evil were identical across all platforms, as was Burnout 2. The GCN and Xbox build got some better textures and lighting over the PS2 version of Burnout 2 but they came out several months afterwards so it makes sense that the guys at Criterion had more time to work on it. I've not played Everything or Nothing, something I've been meaning to do. I've heard good things about it.

I dunno, I never felt the 'Cube versions of multiplatform games were ever really lacking anything. Outside of a few examples, like say, Splinter Cell. Those games were obviously made for the Xbox first and foremost, and the PS2 and Gamecube versions were an afterthought. But most other games? Pretty much the same across the board. Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, GUN, The Lord of the Rings, Need for Speed, Tomb Raider.... heck even Medal of Honor, Timesplitters and Call of Duty were all the same. Barring any online multiplayer of course. Which I think we've established as being not-as-important during that era.

Or... am I just being too easy on the 'Cube? Overlooking some of its "faults" because I'm a Nintendo fan....? I feel like I'm being objective, but... maybe not?
Posted: 08/26/11, 17:36:55  - Edited by 
 on: 08/26/11, 17:40:06
@Simbabbad
Mario 64
Zelda 64
Smash Bros
Mario Kart
Turok
Turok 2
Turok Rage Wars
Goldeneye
Perfect Dark
Doom 64
Banjo Kazooie
Conker's Bad Fur Day
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
Goemon's Great Adventure
Body Harvest
Shadowgate
Mario Party
Mischief Makers
Castlevania 64
Castlevania Legacy Of Darkness
Star Fox
Pilot Wings 64
Zelda Majora's Mask
1080 Snowboarding
Blast Corps
F-Zero
Xtreme-G
Beetle Adventure Racing
KI Gold
New Tetris
Paper Mario
Pokemon Snap
SHADOW MAN
Shadows Of The Empire (hey I liked it, though I was 10)
Tetrisphere
Top Gear Rally
Waverace
WCW VS NWO World Tour (amazed I really loved this game)

Edit: Winback, Hexen, Yoshi's Story, Star Wars Pod Racer, Quake, Forsaken, etc

And there are still others. Most of the games I listed I really liked or LOVED. I loved me my N64. Absolutely.

@GameDadGrant
I forgot Eternal Darkness. It was actually a pretty great game but me forgetting it sorta tells me/you something. The fact it doesn't instantly pop into my head (though I'll admit that was a careless slipup) is a bad sign. Just found the GC library to be Nintendo's weakest ever. And I agree Star Fox Assault was a disappointing pieca shit, save for the Star Wolf track. Gamecube disappointed more than any system. Wii and N64 had way less disappointments when it came to games.
Posted: 08/26/11, 18:55:28  - Edited by 
 on: 08/26/11, 19:45:53
@carlosrox Those are all near perfect games? Gonna have to disagree with you there.
Posted: 08/26/11, 18:58:37
@rebonack
Never said they were all near perfect...
Posted: 08/26/11, 19:01:05
@carlosrox Oh, my bad. I thought you were listing those like the standout near perfect GC titles you listed.
Posted: 08/26/11, 19:10:53
@GameDadGrant
The Wii General Board was a haven of placidity compared to the GCN General Board. The Wind Waker meltdown, the 7.9'ing of MK: Double Dash, the "mega-ton" debacle, constant claims from Nintendo detractors that Nintendo was going to announce that they're going to become a 3rd party developer. Ahhh.....good times.
Posted: 08/26/11, 22:35:45
@WrathOfSamus777

Was it really good times for people? It sounds horrible.

The majority of my time on IGN was spent fighting off idiots daily. Not really fun.


This place is cool.
Posted: 08/26/11, 22:46:16
@Guillaume I had a PS2 and Gamecube and I think I ended up splitting it about half and half with multiconsole games, mostly due to it being sort of random as to which platform I would find a good deal on the game first on. For instance, I bought BG&E on PS2 because I found it for like $10 mere months after it released, but I bought Prince of Persia on Gamecube because I found a deal on it. On occasion there would be a multiplayer game with a 4 player local mode, and of course I would buy that on Gamecube (PS2 made few mistakes, but only have two controller ports after the N64 showed the importance of local multi was one of them.) Timing was important too, some stuff like Viewtiful Joe and Killer 7 eventually made it to PS2, but I already had it on Gamecube by then.

And I also feel like a lot of the "big" PS2 exclusives didn't do much for me. Even for RPGs I had a lot of disappointments and only a few that I really loved. But PS2 also got a lot of smaller and/or quirkier stuff that was great, like Katamari Damacy, Growlanser Generations, and Gradius V.
Posted: 08/26/11, 23:25:00
WrathOfSamus777 said:
@GameDadGrant
The Wii General Board was a haven of placidity compared to the GCN General Board. The Wind Waker meltdown, the 7.9'ing of MK: Double Dash, the "mega-ton" debacle, constant claims from Nintendo detractors that Nintendo was going to announce that they're going to become a 3rd party developer. Ahhh.....good times.

You've definitely got a point. Good times... well, horrible times, but remembered fondly. For no real reason. Like @Mr_Mustache said, it *sounds* horrible. And in some respects, it was. But I've got... I dunno, some kind of "misty-eyed nostalgia" for that era that makes me look back on it in a positive light.

And I have no idea why!

Zero said:
But PS2 also got a lot of smaller and/or quirkier stuff that was great, like Katamari Damacy, Growlanser Generations, and Gradius V.

Where those smaller/quirkier games better than, equal to, or less than, enjoyable to Gamecube's smaller/quirkier titles like Super Monkey Ball, Fire Emblem and Ikaruga?

I ask out of morbid curiosity. And I like asking you questions!

I couldn't think of a Gamecube-specific equivalent to Growlanser, so hopefully Fire Emblem fits the category...
Posted: 08/26/11, 23:45:07  - Edited by 
 on: 08/26/11, 23:46:41
@GameDadGrant Are you asking me specifically to compare those two sets? Lets see:

Katamari Damacy VS. Super Monkey Ball: Gosh, this is a tough one. These are two of my favorite "small/quirky" games from that generation. Katamari Damacy has an advantage from the sheer lunacy factor, but Super Monkey Ball has more structured level design and multiplayer. In the end, I think the combo of awesome single player and multiplayer does it for me.

WINNER: Super Monkey Ball

Growlanser Generations VS. Fire Emblem: Loved both of them, but really, really loved Growlanser Generations. It just hit me as a truly unique strategy/RPG game. Or I should say, games, as Generations is parts 2 and 3, both of which are awesome. Maybe that is cheating to put two games up against one, but whatever, they came together in one package.

WINNER: Growlanser Generations

Gradius V VS. Ikaruga: I know everyone hates me for this, but I never got super big into Ikaruga. It felt like a very well crafted game for someone who wasn't me. You really need to sit and play it over and over and over and master it to not feel like it's out of control. I got pretty good at the first stage, was ok at the second, and by the third I just felt like I was barely playing the game, would just keep dying without getting a handle on what was going on. This is even after a lot of practice. Gradius V, on the other hand, is probably one of my favorite 2D SHMUPs ever. It's a super slick game, and it is tough without feeling borderline unplayable.

WINNER: Gradius V

Mind you, there are other games worth mentioning on both platforms, so I'm not saying PS2 wins the smaller/quirky battle or anything. Gamecube has two killer entries in 4 Swords Adventures and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.
Posted: 08/26/11, 23:54:14
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