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While the Nintendo 64 was in its prime in 1997, Wei-Yin who had worked with Silicon Graphics to develop the graphical technology used for the N64, formed a new tech company called ArtX. And in 1998, they were given a task by Nintendo once again to create a new graphics processor for their upcoming successor. Their intention was to make it the king of the hill 128 bit juggernaut of gaming systems. With Howard Lincoln stating that Dr. Yin had the best people working on it. The console was also designed with a simpler RISC which made it easier for third-party developers to make games for it.
In May 1999, Nintendo announced project Dolphin as a successor to the N64. The project name is based on the processor made by ArtX, called the Flipper, which would also carry on into some of Nintendo's exclusives like Super Mario Sunshine. Just as the processor was nearing completion in 2000, ArtX was purchased by ATI. You may recognise their logo on many systems.
Despite the acquisition, the team was still able to finish the processor as planned. That same year the Gamecube was announced by Nintendo. The next year launch titles were listed including Star Wars Rogue Squadron 2 Rogue Leader and Luigi's Mansion ROM. it's about time Luigi got his own proper game. Mario is missing doesn't count.
The Nintendo GameCube was released on September 2001 in Japan, November in North America and the rest of the world by May 2002. And in true Nintendo tradition, its launch price was $399. Much less than its rivals.
This is one of the most basic yet unique looking consoles I've ever seen. The title of this thing speaks for itself - Nintendo GameCube. Like any Nintendo system between the mid 90s to mid-2000s, it had a rainbow of colors to choose from like orange, silver, black and indigo.
I'm honestly not a big fan of the design. Looks like an oversized lunchbox. While the handle is handy, no pun intended. Holding a decade-old console in public would be pretty embarrassing. You know what they should have done? Make it look more like a dolphin and it requires water to power it. Sorry, I'm just trying to find ways that can make the console stay true to the code name.
You have the power at the back and AV output here, which also has an optional digital slot for progressive output. Down on the bottom are outputs for a modem to allow broadband connection and the Game Boy player. Don't forget it needs a disk to run it. Speaking of the Game Boy Advance, some games like Metroid Fusion and Pokemon Ruby ROM, Sapphire took advantage of the Gamecube Gameboy Advanced link cable.
After sticking with cartridges for the Nintendo 64 failed from a financial perspective, Nintendo finally made the switch to disks. But it didn't matter that much because they were still paranoid about piracy. Nintendo called Panasonic to make special mini DVDs that held about 1,5GB. Far below the PlayStation 2 and Xbox as their games use normal size dual layer DVDs that held around 8,5GB. They are literally the size of my hand if I had no fingers.
And some ROMs like Metal Gear Solid The Twin Snake and Resident Evil 4 ROM require two disks. Despite games being compressed and emitting a few features, graphically it was pretty close to its rivals. Don't expect the Gamecube library to be filled with system pushing powerhouses like Grand Theft Auto or Half-life 2.
I really don't understand why Dr. Yen's team at ArtX went beyond to make the Dolphin's graphical capabilities more powerful than its rivals. Because the disk size means it can't work to its full potential. And then again, the Nintendo 64 only used cartridges, while the PlayStation used CDs.
Speaking of the Nintendo 64, the controller is not brilliant to be honest. It was innovative with its analog stick and Rumble Pak, but it's so awkward to use simply because you can't reach all the buttons unless you swap handles. It honestly wouldn't have surprised me if this wasn't designed by a human. The Horipad Mini 64 fixes all those problems.
Of all the controls I've used in my lifetime, Gamecube controller is my favorite. It's over a decade old with no dead spot on either analog stick. It's comfortable every button can be reached during gameplay without swapping handles and is as reliable as a wood-burning stove. Words don't do justice on how amazing this controller is. Trust me, it's worth paying for the real deal over aftermarkets.
But Nintendo wasn't done. When Super Smash Bros. Wii U came in 2014 the demand for a Gamecube controller increased again. Right to the point that Nintendo released an adapter that allows you to plug GameCube controllers into the Wii U. And re-released the controller itself for the silver Super Smash Bros. logo and a longer wire, which is why it's the one a regular use.
The GameCube has two memory cards and four controller inputs. Like a Nintendo 64 one of its biggest strengths was co-op multiplayer. After a couple of races in Mario Kart Double Dash, for example, you and your friends are hooked. However, online activity was minimal best and currently obsolete. The only ROM the aforementioned modem allowed for internet gaming was Phantasy Star Online.
In 2004 Nintendo president said that most customers do not wish to pay the extra money for connection to the Internet, and for some customers, connection procedures to the Internet are still not easy. Maybe Nintendo gamers in general were keen on online gaming at the time, and the Internet was very different compared to what it is now, but I would have liked for him to say that core to Bill Gates.
The Gamecube was also the first Nintendo console not to have a Super Mario game as a launch title. Super Mario Sunshine ROM being released a year after launch. And the last to have an exclusive developed by Rare with Star Fox Adventures it was released on September 23 2002. Then on September 24 the company was purchased by Microsoft. A date which will live in infamy.
Rare were also developing a sequel to Diddy Kong Racing called Donkey Kong Racing. It was even on bits of game view promotional material, but the Microsoft acquisition threw a wrench into those plans. Fortunately, Nintendo had a new exclusive developer who were just as capable with Nintendo.
Step right up Retro Studios, who revived the Metroid series in a vast way with one of the greatest video games ever made. Nintendo continued to rely on their mascots with Mario Kart Double Dash, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Paper Mario The Thousand-Year Door, Luigi's Mansion, Animal Crossing, Pikmin, F-Zero GX, The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.
Third-party support was much stronger with a grand total of 661 games officially released. In comparison to the Nintendo 64 with 388 games. As well as releasing third-party exclusives including Metal Gear Solid: the Twin Snakes, Resident Evil 4 and Star Wars Rogue Squadron 2 Rogue Leader.
Anyone can agree that the Gamecube ROMs spawned a lot of incredibly solid titles.