November 18, 2011 marks the 10 year anniversary of Nintendo’s most cube-shaped videogame system, the GameCube. On November 18, 2001, gamers were able to take home the first ever disc based Nintendo console after realizing that cartridges were getting little too pricey compared to what the other guys were doing at the time. It was certainly the right move, and who can ever forget the miniDVD format the system used? They were so cute.
It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed, but it’s true. The Nintendo GameCube had some great games, but I think that 10 years later, it’s easier to see which games truly made their mark in the industry. So here are the top 10 most influential games of the Nintendo GameCube:
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Who can forget that when everyone else decided they would be going the online route for multiplayer fun, Nintendo stuck to its guns and stayed offline. Instead of online play, the GameCube had GCN to Game Boy Advance technology. It was an excellent idea, but it was just a little too ahead of its time. Gathering four of your friends, having four of the GCN to GBA link cables, and, worst of all, everyone having batteries, was almost impossible to pull off.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures was a great Zelda title that allowed players to have their own screen during certain portions of the game by looking down at the GBA screen once they’ve strayed away too far from the pack. If only this was pulled off now with the Nintendo DS and its wireless technology, lots more people would be on board. Unfortunately, people didn’t end up buying into this new style of gaming and only a handful of games actually featured it (Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and Pokemon Colosseum to name a few).
Casual is cool, and gamers were introduced to something that closely resembles the Farmvilles of today for the first time (in the U.S. anyway) with Animal Crossing for GameCube. The game never ended, and you always felt obligated to play. If you didn’t play everyday, your house would become roach infested the next time you played. If you missed out on a holiday, chances are you missed out on an exclusive item.
The game even knew how to overcome your cheating ways of resetting the game if something goes wrong with not saving. Today, games that are heavily against erasing your mistakes by pressing the reset button implement a mandatory autosave feature. What did Animal Crossing have? A mole named Mr. Resetti who punishes you with inescapable pages of text that seemingly goes on forever. Classic.
So easily confused with Pokemon, and who can blame you? The title closely resembles the word Pokemon and it’s a Nintendo published game too. It’s too bad not many people know about this game though, because it’s an overall good title and has done a lot for the future of gaming. What you say? Well…the future of product placement of course. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say that Pikmin 2 wasn’t one of the most solid titles for the GameCube, but this piece is about influence and its influence on product placement has sent shockwaves throughout the industry.
Who can forget the giant Duracell battery all the cute little Pikmin had to carry because you commanded them to. Surely you have to see the genius behind this. Not only did it do wonders for Duracell, but it did a great job of really warping reality and conveying that you were in a world as a tiny person. It’s a win/win move in my book. If only other games would get more clever with their product placement moves.
The first Viewtiful Joe title was great. It was a refreshing take on the platforming genre, and it’s certainly something we have not seen before. Fast-forwarding, slow motioning, and even zooming in was super satisfying to pull off. This game showed that you did not need a huge budget to make a good game, and also that 2D was not dead.
Although Viewtiful Joe‘s contribution to 2D and platforming is fantastic, I think the most important thing it did was give Capcom a taste of humble pie. Capcom has always been a culprit of not fixing what ain’t broke, and even though Viewtiful Joe 2 was also a great game, its failure had a lot to do with it being too much of the same. Viewtiful Joe 2‘s lackluster sales quickly shut down any work done on a Viewtiful Joe 3, and today there is no signs of a sequel ever to arrive.
We still see this little guy here and there, especially in the Capcom fighting games, but we hope to see him starring in his own game again soon. Henshin a Go-Go Baby!
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
This has to be Nintendo’s first step in going the “playing is believing” route with gaming. Looks can be deceiving, and we all thought that it was ridiculous a Zelda game would look like this after coming off the heels of console great like Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. But we all felt like fools, because no matter how much some of us did not like this toon look for Link, we knew that The Wind Waker was a great game. This just goes to show that looks don’t mean anything, and in an industry the way it is today, you have to be more careful than ever with which games you pick up. A lot of games look great, but play like crap.
The Wind Waker also showed the series’ versatility and willingness to take risks. Heck, I’m still waiting on a Star Wars themed Legend of Zelda game. Thank you, Wind Waker; thank you for giving us hope not only in the series, but a world where quality overcomes quantity.
Look out for part two and the rest of the top 10 games later on this week.