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?
Good point. The Gamecube never got a Contra, which is kind of a shame. I remember I played a lot of Contra Advance on GCN via the Gameboy Player (that game was a mix of Alien Wars and Hard Corps) but it's sad the 'Cube never got a Contra to call it's own.
The only "run 'n gun" game I can think of off the top of my head is Alien Hominid. Was there another run 'n gun game for GCN that I don't know about?
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.
Like GameDad said, it's remembered fondly. If Nintendo really did go 3rd party, then maybe it wouldn't be remembered so fondly. I had fun on the GCN board in spite of the trolls. And it wasn't just the trolls. The Double Dash and Wind Waker meltdowns were Nintendo fans denouncing IGN and Nintendo over games they had never played. Wind Waker ended up being fantastic and Fran Mirabella's Double Dash 7.9 score was a little low, but not that off the mark IMO.
Double Dash is probably the worst of the Mario Kart games I've played. I didn't play it when it was out though..another indication that it really didn't capture my interest? Possibly. I played Super Mario Kart almost daily at my friends house, I had Mario Kart 64 with my system, and Mrs_Mustache got Mario Kart Wii on launch day. Double Dash never even entered the equation. Hmm.
I really liked Double Dash. It changed up the formula a bit and that was appreciated. For me, it was particularly fun to play in two-player mode, with my wife handling the items. She always loses against me in other Mario Kart games, but that was like the one game we could play together, cooperatively.
I think maybe I'm just not used to it so much? I almost never swap drivers out while I'm playing, and the character specific Specials adds a new element..but its one that just doesn't sit in the forefront of my brain. I'd much rather worry about hitting my corners and keepin' it off the wall.
@Mr_Mustache Yeah Double Dash was fun, but having two characters per kart each with their own set of items upset the balance of the game and turned the game into an item free-for-all. In the harder difficulties it was just chaos with items strewn all over the road. It was still a fun game, but it's definitely not as good as MKDS or MK Wii. MK Wii is probably my favorite.
I gotta admit, I actually really liked Double Dash!!. I didn't at first. I didn't think the graphics were up to par (and overall, they aren't) and the music was grating to me. And the first cup or two had some mostly boring track designs, IMO.
But deeper in, the game's much better courses became available (Yoshi Circuit, Wario Colosseum, DK Jungle, and of course, Rainbow Road) and the characters you unlock later are fun to play as. (King Boo? Nice!) Plus, once I got some buddies together for some LAN play... oh man. Double Dash!! became the party go-to game for me. Even over Melee.
The new battle modes were fun, too. I was disappointed some of them didn't return in later versions of Mario Kart.