GameCube Ruminations: Launch mistakes

Nintendo officials have admitted time and time again that mistakes were made with the GameCube. Whether it was the lack of a steady stream of games, minimal third party support, or poor marketing, the GameCube certainly had its flaws. Apparently, Nintendo knows the mantra about those not learning from their past being destined to repeat it, as it appears determined to right many of the GameCube’s wrongs with Wii. One area that Nintendo already seems destined to improve upon is the launch. While Wii’s launch details are still up in the air, it looks as though Wii’s launch day will have sunny skies, clear conditions, and a safe launch pad. Even though the GameCube didn’t exactly explode on the launch pad, there were definitely some clouds:

Weak list of launch games: When the GameCube launched on November 18, 2001, twelve games were available, including All-Star Baseball 2002, Batman Vengeance, Crazy Taxi, Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2, Disney’s Tarzan Untamed, Luigi’s Mansion, Madden NFL 2002, NHL Hitz 2002, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, Super Monkey Ball, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, and Wave Race: Blue Storm. While many people will disagree, GameCube’s launch lineup felt a little lacking. Sure, some of those games were great, especially Super Monkey Ball, Rogue Squadron II, and Luigi’s Mansion. However, most of the other games were quick and easy ports and sports titles available on other systems. Nintendo hasn’t confirmed all the games that will be available for Wii’s launch, but we do know we’ll get the highly anticipated Twilight Princess, which Regis Fils-Aime has called “the Best Zelda game we have ever made.” Also, other likely launch candidates, such as Rayman: Raving Rabbids, Metroid Prime 3, Elebits, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Wii Sports, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, and WarioWare: Smooth Moves, cover a variety of genres that should appeal to a broader array of gamers. And, most importantly, these games look like they’re going to rock. Also, we already know of several major games that will likely hit shortly after launch, including Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, meaning there shouldn’t be a dearth of good titles after the launch window, unlike the temporary drought after the GameCube’s launch.

The Color Purple
: No, not the Alice Walker novel, but the choice to compete against monolithic companies like Sony and Microsoft with a purple console in your arsenal. First of all, yes, I realize it was technically indigo, but we all know it was more purple than Grimace after being submerged under water for five minutes. This color choice helped fuel the stereotype that Nintendo is all about kiddie games, a fallacy that continues to haunt Nintendo to this day. Nintendo seemed to quickly realize the image an adorable, purple, little box gave it, as promotional materials now often display the platinum and black models. Wii proves Nintendo hasn’t forgotten the importance of color, as we’ve yet to see a purple Wii (must…resist”¦childish”¦Wii joke). Speculation suggests we’ll have our choice of the sleek, black Wii or hip, white Wii at launch.

Mario is Missing
: Nintendo without Mario is like Microsoft without Master Chief. Or Sega without Sonic. Or Sony without idea plagiarism. Don’t get me wrong ”“ I enjoyed Luigi’s Mansion. In fact, based on the people I’ve talked with, I think I enjoyed Mario’s sibling’s ghost busting adventure more than most (I’m all for a Luigi’s Mansion sequel like the latest EGM Rumor Mill suggests or a remake on Wii). However, while he might be taller, Luigi cannot fill Mario’s Goomba-stomping shoes. And argue all you want that Nintendo’s got plenty of other valuable characters and Mario isn’t a constant necessity, but it’s pretty much a given that GameCube’s would have been flying off shelves a lot faster had a Mario game been ready for launch. So, if this is the case, why is Super Mario Galaxy not confirmed for launch? Is it because having Mario, Link, and Samus at launch would destroy all Nintendo fans in one fail swoop in a worldwide. heart-exploding overload? Well, there’s certainly something to be said for spacing out your killer apps, and at least we know Mario is on the way, with his latest arrival likely being sometime early next year. This is still much better than the GameCube’s launch when we knew hardly anything about Super Mario Sunshine. Still, if Nintendo surprises us by having Galaxy ready for launch, it’ll prove Nintendo has aggressively tackled the triforce of problems it faced during the GameCube’s launch.

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.