Well, I decided that I would make my first post on a new forum one which I have posted elsewhere, because I find it to be an interesting topic, and one which is near and dear to me. Before I go on, you must know, this is VERY long, so be prepared to read. But, if you do wish to discuss it, at least read everything. Ahem...
As the years have gone by, video games have become less of a toy, and more of an experience- so much to the point that they are often referred to as a new form of "art", and commonly listed as "media" instead of a "plaything" as they once were. Video games, much to the confusion of some people, are not just things nerds sit in their basements with all day, no, they are much more than that. Games are essentially, simulated virtual realities. In a book, you may read of a noble warrior defeating hordes of goblins and securing magical weapons. In a video game, you actually do it. In a movie, you may see a group of soldiers battling it out on the coast of France on D-Day. In a video game, it's as if you're one of those soldiers. This is why games are so loved by millions, yet so seemingly misunderstood by all else. Some shrug them off as unimportant, but the wise of us know that video games are a way to create wonderful memories, relax, enjoy life a little more, and have fun- especially with friends.
It is for this reason that today, I post this here. An article concerned not only with video games, but a supporter of such media in particular- a console if you may. I post about this console because I have owned it for almost 10 years, it has given me some of my fondest childhood recollections, and it stands to me as one of the greatest of its kind. I speak of course, about a system forgotten by many- the Nintendo Gamecube.
I know. Shock, awe, the Gamecube? How dare I you ask. Why not the Sega Dreamcast? Or the Atarai 2600? Or perhaps even the Neo Geo? Why would I write a lengthy article concerning the Gamecube? Why? Well, for one simple reason: to abolish that which is the prejudice and hatred which has followed this console since its beginning.
Now I know this is a queer thing to do, to write such a passage for a console many consider to be a mediocre heap of garbage (to put it lightly), but I do it, and I do it now, because the years of distain people have thrown at something so near and dear to me aggrivates me far too much, and no longer can I bear it. I must avenge. But I ask only one thing of you who are reading: please, read the entire passage without judgement. Once you have read and comprehended my claims, feel free to disagree or critiscize, but I only ask that you hear me out in my entirety.
So where do I begin...Ahh. With my beliefs. Well, I will start off by giving you a little opinion of mine. You see, in the early days of video gaming, each passing generation of video games and systems would just get better and better. The Atari 2600 era had sophisticated games for its time, the NES era had more sophisticated games and better graphics, the SNES era had yet more sophisticated games and even better graphics, and the N64 era introduced 3D gaming, as well as CD mediums and analog sticks. On and on, throughout the ages of gaming, things just got better and better (for the most part).
Then, we hit something called the Sixth Generation. This is the 6th generation of video game consoles, and it consists of 3: the Microsoft Xbox, the Sony Playsation 2, and finally, the Nintendo Gamecube. This 6th generation, to me, is special though. Because it is different than all the other generations before it. Because to me, it is the last generation of improvement. It is the last generation before creativity and fun were sapped for commercial gain. It is the golden age of gaming, where ease, graphics, fun, accessability, price, and again, creativity, all mesh into one, to create the perfect generation of consoles.
Today, it seems like almost every game which is put out involves dreary grays and browns for realism, has unprecedented amounts of violence and gore, has a huge online service, and uses the same graphical qualities as all else out there. There is no creativity, there is no togetherness with friends, there is no vibrance and color, and there is no quality. There is only mediocrity. A mediocre vat of graphically taxing shooter games with space marines and "epic" story lines. That's it.
This is why the Sixth Generation was so interesting. It was the opposite of this generation. It was more about having fun, having an experience, relaxation, accessability, and enjoyment, rather than blood, guts and adrenaline. But you see, even though the first two consoles of the 6th generation, the Xbox and PS2, had plenty going for them, there was one console which to me, which held the crown as the last true innovator and creator of true gaming experiences. This was, the Nintendo Gamecube.
So here we are now, with my philosophy of gaming unwrapped, with my love the Gamecube out in the open. So now you must be wondering, "Uhh...Why do you love the Gamecube so much? What was so great about it?". Well, that's a good question, so allow me to tell you.
As I just mentioned, the 6th generation was the last generation (in my opinion) with creativity and innovation, and the Gamecube was at the top in that department. Now, contained within such innovation and creativity, there must be an outlet for such. The outlet would actually be three separate things: Design, games, and connectivity. I shall explain.
First of all, take a look at the gamecube. Many people shunned it because it looked "childish", which is why so many people to this day claim to hate it, as if their fragile egos would be scarred by touching anything purple and square. The keen eye sees something more than childish though, it sees brilliance. Everything about the Gamecube, from its controller to its shell to its very game discs, all screams three things: "Comfort, durability, ease of use". The controller is designed to fit in your hand without ever giving you a cramp, it is comfortable and well built. The Gamecube has no hard drive, has two fan outputs, uses low internal energy, and has an energy-efficent design, as well as a lot of tough outer coating. This means it's very durable, and will last a long, long time (mine's been around for 9 years and it's still chugging along). Finally we come to ease of use. The Gamecube has small discs which are easy to put in and out, it has a top-open CD tray, so it doesn't have to be activated in any way to have a game put in or taken out, simply a button pushed. It also sports a small black handle on the back, so when you want to move it, pick it up, or perhaps carry it to a friend's house or to the car, it's incredibly easy and won't make you find a box.
All of this hoes to show you that the Gamecube is a system which tries to do all the work for you. It tries to make your gaming experience as easy and hassel-less as possible. But, this means nothing if all the games are bad, right? Well, I assure you, they are not. You see, the Gamecube got a bad rap from the very beginning, because a lot of big multi-platform titles didn't come out on it, and many of the games developed for it were seen as "for kids". This is stupid however, because almost every game worth owning on the Gamecube is an adult-aimed game. Age preferences aside however, there is also the factor of plain and simple fun. If you ask how many people have fond memories of playing Super Smash Brothers Melee or Starfox Assault on their gamecube vs how many people have fond memories of playing something on PS2 or Xbox, the vast majority will be alongside Gamecube, because the Gamecube had a ton of memorable and truly great games, ones which actually effected people instead of just trying to impress them.
Now because talk is cheap, allow me to act, and show you some of the games I speak of. I will not include games which I believe to be good, only ones which were commerically or critically successful. Ahem...
- Timesplitters 2
- Timesplitters: Future Perfect
- Red Faction 2
- 007 Nightfire
- 007 Everything or Nothing
- Phantasy Star Online Episode 1 & 2
- Sphinx And the Cursed Mummy
- Second Sight
- Tales of Symphonia
- Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
- Paper Mario 2
- Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
- Gauntlet ark Legacy
- Metroid Prime
- Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
- Super Smash Bros. Melee
- Resident Evil 4
- Resident Evil 0
- Resident Evil Remake
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
- Starfox: Assault
- Eternal Darkness
- Soul Calibur 2
- The Wind Waker
- F-Zero GX
- Hitman 2
- Kirby's Air Ride
- Super Mario Sunshine
- Starfox Adventures
- Batallion Wars
An interesting list indeed. Every single game on that list was met with critical or commercial acclaim (usually both), and around 15 to 20 of them scored in the high 80's to high 90's. That doesn't sound like a lineup of bad, let alone childish games, especially compared to the original Xbox which only has two, single, worthwhile, exclusives to it's name, and those would be, ahem, Halo and Halo 2.
Now, let's see, a lineup of 30 universally great games, 19 of which are exclusives, not even including ones of my own personal preference.....Hm. That doesn't sound so bad to me. But, let's assume for a moment that critical acclaim and sales aren't what get you to pick a game. What if you want something more ground-founded to judge a game's worth on, such as graphics? Well, you see, the Gamecube had the best graphics of last generation. Some of the late-life GC games look better than PS3 and 360 launch titles. Don't believe me? Well, I'll just have to show you then...
Resident Evil 4:
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes:
Now, just as an example, I'll take a few of what are regarded as the "best looking PS2/Xbox games", and show them to you for comparison...
Xbox: Chronicles of Riddick: http://games.softpedia.com/screensho...ss-Cheat_1.jpg
PS2: MGS 3: http://i.testfreaks.com/images/produ...ter.416661.jpg
GC: RE4: http://cubemedia.ign.com/cube/image/...25575_640w.jpg
Xbox: Ninja Gaiden: http://www.gamespot.com/xbox/action/...n/images/0/12/
PS2: God of War 2: http://shaggy4dog.files.wordpress.co...dofwar2_08.jpg
Starfox Adventures: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...Screenshot.jpg
Both games are, at the very LEAST, able to hold their own against their competitors, if not trounce them. Obviously, opinions of graphical superiority are a tricky business, so one cannot really say any of the games looks better than another for fact, however, this is simply meant to demonstrate how the Gamecube could have easily set the curve for graphics in the sixth generation.
This brings us to our last facet concerning the Gamecube: connectivity. Now, what is this you might ask? Simpy put, ways for items or people to interact with the Gamecube outside of its regular means. I will give you an example.
With the PS2, if you wanted to play any 4-player game, you had to buy a Multi Tap, and not many games supported 4 player. For the Xbox, many games that supported multiplayer or online multiplayer actually made you sign up for Xbox Live (at a monthly subscription fee too) just to play the game, even offline. A perfect example of this being the Xbox verison of PSO. 4-player multipalyer games were also quite rare on the Xbox as well, not usually straying far from the usual Bond titles and the Halo universe.
The Gamecube was different however. The Gamecube supported a ton of ways for people to play together, and made it a lot easier. For one, the GC had 4 built in controller ports, you didn't need a multi-tap. Most of the successful games on Gamecube were multiplayer ones. For example, Starfox: Assault, SSBM, the Timesplitters games, the Bond games, F-Zero GX, kirby's air ride, mario kart double dash, SSX Tricky, 1080 avalanche, waverace blue storm, XIII, Geist, phantasy star online, and many other popular games all supported at least 4 people playing at once, whether it was on one TV or accross different TVS. But multipalyer functions didn't stop there.You could also purchase Broadband Adapter, which would let you play PSO, MKDD, Kirby's Air Ride, or 1080 avalanche online or with LAN multiplayer, where you could hook up multiple televisions and gamecubes and have each person play on a seperate TV in the same area, or have up to 16 people playing in all. You could also connect a Gameboy Advance, which in some games could be used as a controller, or to unlock new content in the game, or to be used as something like a Radar in Splinter Cell or a map in Wind Waker.
Now, I will be the first one to admit that the Gamecube's offering of online services was terrible. You had 3 Phantasy Star Online games (though they were the best versions, in my opinion), a handful of games in Japan, and some LAN games. That was it, and nothing more. Meanwhile, others with an Xbox or PS2 could enjoy Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Socom, and Halo.
However, if you think about it, in a way it's to the gamecube benefit. It's a lot more fun sitting around with 3 of your best friends playing a game you enjoy, rather than sitting in a dark room drinking mountain dew and searching for the Plasma Sword (or, at least it is to me...). The Gamecube provided that experience. It had a huge array of games for 4-16 people to play in and with, and that combined with the fact the GBA had so many extra uses, really added to the overall value of the console.
So, at last, here we are, at the end of my long and drawn out passage. Since you have beared with me this far however, I will state one last thing...
I wrote this, not because I am a fanboy or anything of the like, but because the Gamecube has a special place in my heart. Never will I find a console like it again, one where me and my friends can stay up all night, fighting over who gets to choose Falco in SSBM, eating cold pizza and soda, and then sleeping it off the rest of the day. Never again will I find a console where I can hook up 4 cubes and get 16 friends over for an insane MKDD LAN party. It will never happen again, because those days are over. The times of people playing together are over, and now it is all concerned with online functionalities. The Gamecube represents, for me, that last special time, and one where the fun and magic of gaming was at its very highest. But, alas, these days that magic and fun has steeped down ever so low. And it just pains me ever so much to see a console which I hold so dear, trashed and torn apart wherever I go.
Agree or disagree, it's up to you, but to me, the Gamecube was as good as it will ever get, it had the best games, the best graphics, the best controller, the best price, the best durability, and the best design, and although its days are long gone, I will always remember it fondly. I just hope you do the same.