Despite owning a Mega Drive and an N64, my obsession with video games hadn’t been satisfied. After a winter playing 16 bit classics and building my collection, I found myself itching for another console in the summer of 2003.
I’d only seen a Gamecube once before, at a friend’s house the year before. He was playing Super Mario Sunshine when I came around his house and though I only saw the game briefly, it stuck with me. I didn’t act on it immediately, but the curiosity stuck with me. A year later, I decided that the Gamecube would be my next purchase.
The purchase of the Gamecube surprised me at the time – I picked up a second hand black Gamecube console for £60. I thought that was cheap at the time – in 2003, you didn’t get current consoles that cheap. Can you imagine getting a Switch for say, £100 these days? I loved the feel of the Gamecube from day one – it had the classic ‘console’ feel, durable yet compact. I loved the handle (I have actually used that handle to carry a Gamecube!) and I fell in love with the console’s operating system. Maybe it was just the little noises it made or the simple yet sophisticated menu layout, but I felt the Gamecube had a little personality of it’s own. Dare I say it, it was almost like it was a virtual pet…it was alive and wanted to play games.
However, the ‘Cube’s cute exterior hid a fine games system. It was ahead of the PS2 technically and could hold it’s own against the Xbox. Considering the Xbox was like a PC hard drive and Gamecube looked like a Fisher Price toy, I was pretty impressed! Some people noted that the PS2 could play DVDs…I didn’t really care though. If I bought a games console, I wanted to play games! Plus, the Gamecube’s discs were incredible – diddy little CDs that made me wonder how a full game would fit on them! The games surprised me too – they were dirt cheap. Whereas now, you might see CEX try and flog the same titles for fair whack, I managed to pick up a load of games really cheaply on day one. Two of the games I got would go onto be personal favourites of mine.
I got Burnout as I wanted a pure arcade racer and I wasn’t disappointed. Once I got used to it’s unforgiving collision detection, I got hooked on it. The trance soundtrack sticks in my head too…I could just zone out while playing Burnout, lost in it’s music. I give Burnout credit for introducing me to the Burnout series – I never played Burnout 2, instead jumping to the brilliant Burnout 3 and never looking back. Crazy Taxi on the other hand was purchased for it’s Sega connections and it’s bright yellow cover. I fell in love with it straight away too – such a great concept for a game, so easy to play and an incredible soundtrack! It started an obsession with Crazy Taxi that persists to this day…you’re reading the work of a man who considers finding a Crazy Taxi arcade machine one of his highlights of his recent trip to Vegas….
Both games cost around £10. I also bought SSX Tricky, WWE Wrestlemania X8 and Legends of Wrestling. Wrestlemania X8 was actually a half decent game, lacking a good career mode and needing more moves for it’s wrestlers. Legends of Wresting….is one of the worst wrestling games I’ve ever played. You can’t win them all sadly! SSX Tricky made up for it though – I became obsessed with that game, spending most of the summer unlocking all the characters and trying to get the high score for all the tricks. Having hammered SSX Tricky and listened to it’s soundtrack for hours on end, I can confirm that it is indeed tricky to rock a rhyme that’s right on time….
The Gamecube became a personal favourite of mine after that summer – it was a big part of me adapting to coping with my then-girlfriend going to university in a different city. I simply invested in more games for it and bunkered myself in during the week. Super Mario Sunshine and Wave Race really got me through a difficult winter. It was Christmas and the release of Mario Kart: Double Dash that cemented the Gamecube as a group favourite. Once our circle of friends had all tried Double Dash, they all insisted on getting themselves a Gamecube and a copy of Double Dash. It led to some classic 4 player battles…including me nearly getting battered by everyone for turning Peach and Daisy into a super cheap winning machine. How was I to know that their heart special was actually a shield that would allow me to throw my enemies’ red shells back at them?
Truthfullym it wasn’t all plain sailing….I had my ups and downs with the rest of the Gamecube games I played. While I loved the Def Jam games and enjoyed the foolishness of Virtua Striker 2002, I couldn’t get into the remake of Resident Evil or Soul Calibur 2 and I hated Animal Crossing. Absolutely hated it. I had it imported from Australia only to find out that I didn’t like being told when to play a game. Plus, Tom Nook is dodgy…there, I said it. Would you trust one of his loans? There were so many other great games that I didn’t get a chance to try – Metroid Prime and Wind Waker, to name two.
The last hurrah for my Gamecube was Resident Evil 4 in 2005. I had finished university and was riding the train home from Liverpool. I was free, single, had no more university commitments and a casual job that I ended up staying in for another year and a half. Some people might make a plan for their future…I ran straight to Blockbuster and rented Resident Evil 4. I loved that game, but never finished it…damn Blockbuster selling their Gamecube stock off! One day, I will beat Resident Evil 4 though…I consider it one of the ‘main’ reasons I set this blog up!
As 2005 headed towards 2006, I had to make decisions. About my future, my friends…and my games console. The generation I loved so much (Xbox/Gamecube/PS2) was soon to be replaced and I wanted to be at the forefront of the next wave. The Xbox 360 sounded good, but I was really interested in the next Nintendo console. Code named ‘Revolution’, I was visualizing a pure games machine, tiny but powerful. No DVD capacity, just four pad slots and pure quality gaming. I foresaw new Nintendo first party games, quality Sega stuff, more great Capcom games and absolutely no EA/third party rubbish. I was ready to dedicate myself to this vision of gaming…I was even willing to give up Pro Evolution Soccer for it, something I would have never done three years earlier. Then Nintendo confirmed their console was to be called the Wii and have motion sensor controls….my dream dashed, I put a pre-order on an Xbox 360 and sold the Gamecube (along with the PS2 and the XBox) via eBay.
I actually tried to start a Gamecube collection again in 2013. However, a lack of time and the dreadful third party wires for modern TVs saw me cut my losses. I regret it now of course, but the days of endless summers, playing SSX Tricky all night have sadly passed….
If I could collect for a console again, it would be for the Gamecube. It’s funny, I only owned a Gamecube for three and a half years, but it made a real impression on me. I kinda wish the PS4 had that same visual appeal as the little purple box and I miss it’s UI loads. I can still hear the loading screen noise now, all these years later….