Although the Nintendo 64 is set to take the spotlight again later this year (celebrating its 20th anniversary), the Nintendo GameCube is the system I feel nostalgic for most. I followed the system’s development more than any other video game console. As a pre-teen I would scan the pages of Nintendo Power and GamePro (and even early IGN on the internet) for clues and hints. Released on November 18th, 2001 in North America, the indigo GameCube (with its iconic handle) ushered Nintendo into the twenty-first century and had so many memorable and engrossing games. Here are five worth revisiting today.
Animal Crossing, like The Sims or Harvest Moon, is one of those games that’s about taking pleasure in the little things. You play a villager whom has just moved to a new town and you must help and foster the community around you (all funky looking animal creatures) and build your own house too! Originally a Nintendo 64 port of Animal Forest, Animal Crossing took advantage of the GameCube’s internal clock by having events happen even when you weren’t playing, which lead to a lot of anxiety on holidays. If I don’t check in on the village, everyone will die. Yep, just a normal day in Animal Crossing.
The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Contentious at the time of release, The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker has come to feel like a high point in the 3D career of Link and Zelda. Using an expressive cel-shaded style, Wind Waker perfected the control scheme first used in Ocarina Of Time allowing Link to hack and slash his way through enemies as he explored the Waterworld-esque landscape. By letting the player sail between levels and areas of the map, the game felt massive and unending. My face would light up as much as this Link’s bright-eyed incarnation, thrilled by unraveling the mysteries of the story and fighting against the forces of darkness.
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 was a breath of fresh air for the franchise when Capcom put out the game in early 2005. Playing as Leon Kennedy, one of the leads from Resident Evil 2, you go on a mission to rescue the president’s daughter that quickly spirals into a survival-horror adventure with a strange cult using mind-controlling parasites that ties back into the franchise’s larger mythology. This was a hard game to play for extended sessions as its eerie atmosphere became almost unbearable at times. Playing with the lights off is the best way to play, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II
When Star Wars Rogue Leader came out, it blew my mind. This fully immersive action-adventure flight game allowed me to not only engage in fast-paced and sometimes hellish dogfights right out of my favorite Star Wars movies, but I got to face off against giant Star Destroyers and even the Death Star (I and II) as well. Rogue Leader truly felt like you were allowed to go off the rails and explore. This perfect blend of thoughtful and challenging missions with fun and intuitive gameplay still holds up today.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Melee was the second iteration of the Super Smash Bros franchise and felt huge when it was first released. The roster doubled and the fight system got more refined in ways that made the experience more satisfying than the original. It genuinely felt like the promise of your favorite Nintendo characters duking it out for the top title was achieved perfectly. The most hardcore Super Smash Bros fans would argue that Melee is the definitive version of the game. I agree completely.
What were your favorite Nintendo GameCube games? Share your memories of the system and more below!