If you want to talk about things that were unappreciated in their time, look to the Nintendo GameCube when it comes to video games. When the console was released in 2001, it was seen as the loser of that generation. Gamers and critics knocked it for its lack of online capability and add-on software like a DVD Player. It got crushed beneath the behemoth of the PlayStation 2 and the new upstart, the Xbox. And with its bright indigo colors and carrying handle, the GameCube was dismissed as a "kids' console." Sales and exclusive games left the console behind.
But as the years have passed, the GameCube has come to be seen in a new light. The strong library of games on the console like Resident Evil 4, Metroid Prime, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker have been rightly celebrated as classics. What few technical innovations it made have spread out through the gaming industry and become standard. Many gamers now look back on the tiny blue box fondly as the last pure gaming machine before online multiplayer and multi-functionality took hold of gaming consoles, diluting the experience of just picking up a controller and hitting start.
But for all its reputation as an underpowered toy, the GameCube was capable of much more than it was given credit for. Heck, even in the areas it was criticized for it took certain strides. Some things it could do were just bizarre. Here are 25 Things Only Super Fans Knew The GameCube Could Do.
25 Nintendo Online Was Real Back In 2002
One of the key criticisms of the GameCube at release was its lack of online play. The Xbox and Halo were showing it as the way of the future and Nintendo were seen as stuck in the past without it.
The GameCube did have limited online capability though.
Broadband and Modem Adapters were available as plug-in accessories for the console, allowing players to access the Internet. Nintendo only released a handful of games with online components though, worried about piracy and quality control. They didn't see any long-term future in the online multiplayer market. How wrong they were.
24 You Could Use A PS2 Dualshock On It
The GameCube's controller is rightly praised for its intuitive design and great feel. As well it should be, it took two years of development to get right. But sometimes gamers just have a certain rhythm with their controllers, even if its a different console's.
So you could use a PlayStation Dualshock with a GameCube.
Granted, you had to do so with a third-party adapter. There's no way Nintendo would let you use a competitor's controller on their console. Still, if you were a gamer who could only perform with a Dualshock and you wanted to get some Resident Evil 4 going, you could.
23 The GameCube Is Portable?
The GameCube was designed to be a moveable console. Its setup was easy and it was small enough to be carried around without difficulty. This doesn't mean it was meant to be portable. Some companies didn't get that memo though. Third parties like Intec created a plug-in battery that could provide power to the console for at least two hours, getting around the whole "needing to be plugged into an outlet" issue. Combined with a snap-on LCD screen that freed you from the TV, you could (theoretically) play your GameCube anywhere. Make sure the battery charges for 12 hours first though.
22 Its Controllers Work On Switch
As its last "normal" controller for many years, Nintendo has made several adapters to let people use their GameCube controllers on their Wiis and Wii Us. That seemed like it would end with the Nintendo Switch which, mostly, returned to a more classic control scheme.
But no, GameCube controllers work on the Switch. By Accident.
Yes, even Nintendo was surprised when they found out. Apparently a recent Switch software update to allow third-party peripherals to more easily work on the console accidentally allowed GameCube Wii U adapters to work on the console. We're sure many GameCube fans are happy with the news.
21 The Hidden NES Emulator In Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing is a pretty well-regarded title for the GameCube. The first in the popular series, you wouldn't think it would be hiding a powerful game emulator. You'd be wrong. Animal Crossing has a secret NES emulator. Though granted, it requires some jiggery-pokery. See one of the items players can buy in-game is a Classic NES and a few games from the system's library. Intrepid coders found that if you load the ROM file for any NES game onto a GameCube memory card, you can get the in-game NES to recognize it. Even if they aren't Nintendo NES games.
20 Multiple GameCubes Makes A (LAN) Party!
Just because Nintendo shied away from online gaming with the GameCube doesn't mean they ignored multiplayer entirely. The many fans of Super Smash Bros. Melee, Kirby's Air Ride, and Mario Kart: Double Dash will attest to that. The last game especially was popular for LAN Parties. LAN (or Local Area Network) Parties were where multiple GameCubes were hooked up offline through an ethernet hub to facilitate greater multiplayer. With Mario Kart, it meant that you could have races going with 16 players at once if you had the right amount of consoles and controllers. Now that's what I call a Mario Party.
19 The Original DS Was Actually GameCube/GBA
While it could never match its successor the Nintendo Wii, the GameCube had a great amount of versatility when it came to its accessories and add-ons. One of the most successful of these was the GBA Link Cable. It allowed players to hook up a Game Boy Advance to their GameCube, adding an extra dimension to play. A connected GBA could unlock hidden secrets in games or act as a second screen or controller. Entire games were even built around the mechanic like Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. Synergy!
18 It Could (Almost) Do 3D — Before They Decided To Scrap It!
Nintendo has a weird relationship with the idea of 3D games. The Virtual Boy, their first crack at the concept, became an infamous failure and while the technology of the 3DS was impressive, its 3D was shaky at best. 3D is something they keep coming back to, GameCube included. The company considered developing 3D games for the console, even incorporating the software for stereoscopic 3D into it, but ultimately gave up on the idea. 3D TVs weren't widely available yet and Nintendo believed gamers wouldn't be willing to wear special glasses for long periods. They were probably right.
17 No More Mario Party Sores (Kinda)
With the motion-sensitive Wii Remote and the Switch's modularity following it, the GameCube's controller was the last time a Nintendo console had a "normal" controller. Gamers are so fond of it, the GameCube controller has been adapted for consoles after it. Part of the love for it may be that Nintendo designed it to prevent repetitive stress injury, or "Nintendo Thumb" caused by long play sessions. The over-sized buttons and soft rubber analog sticks were oriented in such a way as to keep the strain from setting in. It also helped players navigate the controls by feel alone.
16 GameCube Was At The Bleeding Edge Of Technology
Despite its reputation for being behind the times in many ways, the GameCube did feature one groundbreaking technical breakthrough in gaming. It featured the first wireless controller. The Wavebird was an official Nintendo product and because of that in-house support was designed for functionality and given a major push. With only minor lag, the Wavebird controller finally unshackled video games from the cords keeping players stuck in front of the TV. Its long battery life also helped. Nowadays, every console has wireless controllers as standard but it was the GameCube that did it first.
15 It Floats In Water (Yes, Really)
This fact is crazy but apparently, it's true. If you drop it in water, the GameCube will actually float. It makes no sense, we know. According to the science, something about the GameCube's design makes it buoyant enough that the weight of its internal systems won't make it sink. It's incredible. But even if it didn't float, given how indestructible the things tend to be you could leave at the bottom of your pool and it would probably still work anyway. (Note: Do Not Try This At Home. Intentionally breaking your property is silly).
14 The GameCube DVD Player Was (Seriously) Real
It's been noted by many that one reason the PlayStation 2 was so successful was that it also worked as a DVD player. It's been speculated that if the GameCube had done the same, it could have matched the PS2.
Well, there was a version of the GameCube that played DVDs.
Through a partnership with Panasonic, Nintendo made the Panasonic Q which was basically just a GameCube-shaped DVD player that also played games. It was released only in Japan but ceased production after two years due to low sales. The Q was deemed too expensive by consumers.
13 The Game Boy Player Existed (Before Nintendo Realized They Could Sell You The Same Game Twice)
There was a lot of connectivity between Nintendo's home and handheld consoles back in the day. Aside from the link cable that let you plug your Game Boy Advance into the GameCube, there was also the Game Boy Player.
It let gamers play their favorite handheld games on their TVs.
The device plugged into the bottom of the GameCube and came with a special disc. From there, you just popped in the Game Boy cartridge, turned on the GameCube, and you were off to the races. A Harbinger of both the Wii U and the Switch.
12 Bongo Drums Existed Before Guitar Hero
One of the stranger accessories to come to life on the GameCube were the DK Bongos. Designed to be played with the Donkey Konga series of rhythm games, starring Donkey Kong of course, the Drums had pressure sensitive pads in the drumheads that players struck in time with the music on screen. Think the arrows of Dance Dance Revolution, but you hit them with your hands. It was a weird notion at the time, but with hindsight, we can see the DK Bongos as precursors to the plastic guitars that infested living rooms after Guitar Hero a generation later.
11 The Microphone Had Too Many Weird Uses
Given that its hardware was pretty simple, perhaps Nintendo saw the GameCube as the perfect console to use for experimentation with play styles. It might explain some of the weird things they tried out on it. One of those experiments was the microphone accessory. Bundled with copies of Mario Party 6 and a few other games, players could hold down a button and issue vocal commands instead of pressing buttons. In theory, at least. In practice, the microphone was rather unintuitive and had trouble picking up sounds, even when held very close to the speaker's mouth. Still, not every experiment pans out.
10 Motion Controls Before The Wii
What captured people's imaginations about the Wii a generation after the GameCube was its intuitive motion controls. It just seemed so futuristic, the idea of controlling characters on screen by moving your body in the real world. It might have come to fruition on the Wii, but Nintendo had the idea before that.
The GameCube almost had motion controls.
The company developed and patented some motion control technology during the GameCube's development, even experimenting with some games. But ultimately the idea was dropped due to the cost of building the technology into every GameCube.
9 The Secret Of The Start-Up Screen
For those who did have a GameCube, the start-up screen with its slowly unfolding block and old-school music was always a welcome sight. It's an iconic part of the console's legacy. But hardcore Nintendo fans know it hides a secret. If you hold down the Z button while the start-up screen begins, the music will be replaced with squeaky toy sound effects. Amusing. But there's another secret on top of that. To unlock it, players need to plug in four controllers and all hold Z. This will get the "Ninja" start-up where the unfolding block makes the sound of a Japanese wood instrument.
8 The Reason For The Handle
It's long been a question of why the GameCube has a handle on its back. Did Nintendo actually expect people to pick it up and carry it around? The answer is yes, they did. A lot of thought went into the design of the GameCube. Japanese households at the time preferred their electronics to not take up much space, hence the GameCube's squat, compact nature. Additionally, many households also had multiple TVs and Nintendo wanted the console to be easy to move and hook-up in different rooms or even taken to another house. The Xbox sure couldn't do that.
7 Preventing Piracy... Or Not
One of the reasons Nintendo used proprietary mini-discs for the GameCube instead of more standard CDs was to prevent their games from being pirated. The mini-discs were supposed to be harder to hack.
But that didn't mean the GameCube was piracy-proof.
While playing the game Phantasy Star Online with the broadband modem accessory, hackers found they could copy data from their GameCubes onto their own computers, including the code for other GameCube games. Meaning they could pirate copies. Sega, the company Nintendo partnered with for Phantasy Star Online, had to release a new version of the game that closed the loophole.
6 Visit Scenic Japan Through Your GameCube
One of the stranger experiences the GameCube offered players was a virtual tourism and walking simulator. Released only in Japan, the game (if you can call it that) Ohenro-san: Hosshin no Dojo was designed for elderly gamers and allowed them to take a virtual pilgrimage to many of Japan's shrines and temples via high-res photos. The game was unique in that it was controlled with a DDR-esque floor pad and came with a pedometer that could be used in the real world, but whose counted steps could be loaded onto the game to progress. Only on the GameCube, eh?
5 Playing Without A TV Was Actually Possible
Obviously, as a home console, the GameCube was meant to be played on your television at home. If you were meant to play it another way, it would have a built-in screen. But while it didn't have a built-in screen, you could attach one. If you were so inclined, several third-party companies like Zenith Electronics produced LCD screens that could be snapped onto the back of the GameCube. A curious accessory, but useful if a TV is unavailable.
4 The Keyboard Controller
Nintendo may have been wary of online play because of the difficulty of communication in that era of gaming. The process of slowly spelling out messages with a joystick would have been agonizingly tedious for players. This was before microphone headsets after all.
Enter the Keyboard controller.
Made for the game Phantasy Star Online, this peripheral was made to get around that problem by letting players type out their messages to each other. I'm frankly baffled by this thing. How do you hold it? Do you rest it on your lap? Do you type and press buttons at the same time?
3 The Weirdest DLC Ever
The push for connectivity between the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance manifested itself in some really odd ways at time. Take the e-Reader for example. Primarily a GBA peripheral, the e-Reader let players swipe special LED trading cards to unlock DLC in specific games.
And It worked on the GameCube too.
By plugging the e-Reader into the Game Boy Player, the cards could unlock DLC in GameCube games like Pokémon Colosseum and Animal Crossing. The content was mostly cosmetic, things like new outfits and special items. Still, what a bizarre way of selling players additional content.
2 Nintendo Built Seriously Tough Consoles
If Nintendo is known for anything, it's for the durability of their products. Their consoles are designed to take a beating and keep working. The GameCube is no different. You could drop it off a building and it would still work. Don't take our word for it though.
Plenty of people have put their GameCubes to the test.
Dropping weights on them, smashing them with hammers, and soaking them in water. The indestructibility of the GameCube and other Nintendo products has even birthed an urban legend about a substance called Nintendium. Like Vibranium, but with Mario on it.
1 May We Be Of Service?
Nintendo kind of seem like the artisans of the video game world. Sometimes it feels like they treat their products more like works of art than simple machines. And it shows in the guarantees they offer their customers. Guarantees like the Nintendo Service Disc. Included with many early GameCubes, the service disc allowed players to diagnose and troubleshoot hardware issues on their own, with a phone number to contact Nintendo if it proved beyond them. The Service Disc could even run diagnostic tests on any GBA attached. Just goes to show that Nintendo was on your side.