GameCube Ruminations: GameCube survived the Nintendo-Rare divorce

After reading several previews of Viva Pinata from last week’s Leipzig Games Convention, I remembered that we’re approaching the four year anniversary of Rareware’s departure from Nintendo. When Microsoft purchased Rare in September of 2002, many wondered how the GameCube would survive without the UK-based developer. After all, it was Rare that helped gamers get through the long waits between Nintendo 64 releases by offering plenty of classics, including Blast Corps, Killer Instinct Gold, Diddy Kong Racing, Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark, Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, Jet Force Gemini, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Considering Donkey Kong Racing, a Banjo sequel, Kameo, and Perfect Dark Zero were on the way for GameCube, many wondered why the Big N would let Rare go so easily.

Here we are four years later, and Rare has given Microsoft Grabbed by the Ghoulies, which was panned by most critics for its simplicity, a Conker’s Bad Fur Day remake, Kameo, and Perfect Dark Zero, with the last two hardly being the Xbox 360 hits Rare wanted them to be. So far, Viva Pinata has not received the highest of praise from many members of the gaming press that have played it, though it is still in development.

While the lastest Wii price and date rumor claims we’ll see Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on Wii’s Virtual Console, Rare’s catalog featuring Nintendo-owned properties like Donkey Kong and Star Fox are the only games that Nintendo won’t have to get into negotiations or legal battles over.

Do you think Rare’s output over the last four years proves Nintendo made the right decision by selling them off? Even if you don’t miss the happy Nintendo-Rare household, you have to admit it would be nice to see some of these Rare games as sequels on Wii. While we won’t see new Rare content on Wii, maybe we’ll see some Rare gems on the DS (at least until Microsoft comes out with a handheld).

Ruminations is an ongoing look at the GameCube as it winds down into the twilight years, and we await the launch of the Wii. Do you have any GameCube memories worth remembering? Leave a comment or send a tip to Infendo.