GameCube tech demo does things Wii can’t


Countless developers have cited the system’s inherent weaknesses, rather than their own effort, as the catalyst for poor Wii graphics.

When footage like this comes along, one can’t help but wonder.

Mined by the folks at Unseen 64, this tech demo was used in a May 2001 software development kit for the Nintendo GameCube. It hosts a virtual tour of eight rooms in Princess Peach’s Castle, each of which showcases an effect or feature possible with GameCube hardware.

Room two, for example, features large textures and mipmaps. Room three uses a massive spiral staircase to highlight specular, bump and shadow mapping. Antialiasing, texture projection, local lighting and more then-advanced graphics features are also showcased.

Features, I might add, you’re to believe Wii just can’t handle.

Of course, no reasonable human being expects Wii software to be as beautiful as BioShock or stunning as Mirror’s Edge. No one should be dissuaded from embracing Wii simply because some of its games could very well be mistaken for high-end Nintendo 64 software.

But when footage like this comes along, it reinforces the argument disappointed Wii owners have echoed for years, their plates filled with stale-looking, under-cooked development efforts priced for profit.

Why shouldn’t Wii games be pretty, too?

Bonny graphics, as our Scottish brethren might describe them, and innovative gameplay aren’t repellent features. They’re not oil and water, and it’s perfectly reasonable to expect both when dropping a Grant on a Wii game.

Particularly when a near decade-old piece of hardware was capable of just as much.

To argue otherwise, or say Wii gamers should expect and accept ugliness from their system, is self-defeating and serves only to promote the efforts of apparently effortless developers who, for example, cannot manage to get a certain Wii zombie game to look as good as a four-year-old zombie game on GameCube.

When footage like this comes along, it serves as a reminder of the truth behind Wii software. You buy the system. You buy the games. You should have the best of both worlds.

Disagree? Explain the twist.