INITIAL PRICE: 199$, 289$ in 2019
The sixth-generation console is the successor to the Nintendo 64.
Nintendo’s entry into the sixth generation of the Console Wars, was released in late 2001. In response to third parties being driven away by the Nintendo 64‘s continued use of cartridges, Nintendo shifted away from that format and toward optical media with this system, favoring proprietary mini-discs. Its graphical capabilities are capable of surpassing the PlayStation 2 despite its limited mini-DVD storage, and in some cases, its performance was on par with the Xbox. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III actually holds the sixth-gen record for polygon count at 20 million polygons. The GameCube was the first Nintendo console to have fewer buttons on its controller than its predecessor; this was due to the introduction of a second analog stick to replace the N64’s C buttons, though this C-stick was smaller than the primary analog stick.
Oh, and this thing is tough, as in physically. There are stories of people having dropped GameCubes off the top of tall buildings and finding them still perfectly intact. One G4 segment circa 2003 involved Morgan Webb abusing a PS2, GameCube, and Xbox, with the GameCube surviving every single bit of abuse. It’s gotten a reputation for being damn near indestructible; someone once fended off a knife-wielding mugger with his GameCube and it wasn’t even damaged. Intentionally trying to break it is just about the only way to go. Considering Nintendo’s history of making their products Tonka Tough, there might be a reason for that.
By far one of the biggest difficulties Nintendo tried (and mostly failed) to surmount was their reputation as a company that made only children’s games, which had solidified during the previous generation. This image was downright lethal in the early 2000s. For one thing, the industry’s demographics had shifted, and adults now made up the bulk of gamers. In addition, developers, gamers, and the gaming press had by this point begun to advocate for video games to be taken seriously as a new art form. In other words, Nintendo was trapped in a video game equivalent of the Animation Age Ghetto (and some consider that they still are). Although they tried to shed that image by green-lighting more teen- and young adult-oriented games, these efforts were still deemed too tame to be meaningful, specially compared to the libraries of the PS2 and Xbox.