Now, hindsight’s 20/20, but looking back, most gamers can agree that Nintendo could have done things differently with the Gamecube. The system has found its way to the bottom of the 3 console race in the US, and with the next generation of gaming just around the corner, odds are, the GCN will stay there.
However, for the folks at Nintendo, the sun has not yet set on the GCN. It seems likely that the Revolution will not debut for another 6-12 months, and the “3 Pillar” strategy, needs to stay strong until then. The DS is doing phenomenal, and the GBA/SP/GBM is holding its own. But for the next half year or so, Nintendo needs to keep the GCN rolling. So instead of shaking our heads, wondering what could have been different, let’s look ahead at the Gamecube’s final, and hopefully best, run.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Arguably the most anticipated title left for the GCN, second only to Zelda, is set for release today (October 17). October is then filled with [sarcasm] more great games, including SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, PANTS! and Nicktoons Unite![/sarcasm]. The only other title worth noting is Dance DanceRevolution: Mario Mix. November continues to exploit Nintendo?s weak 3rd party support and in a month where Microsoft has big plans. MS will release the Xbox 360 within the first few weeks. Let’s put that into perspective. SeaWorld: Shamu’s Big Adventure vs. the Xbox 360. On the bright side of things, the 11th month of the year brings a few strong. Peter Jackson’s King Kong is shaping up to be phenomenal, and Shadow the Hedgehog looks to help redeem Sega after a disappointing go at Sonic Heroes. Viewtiful Joe returns to theGCN in Red Hot Rumble.
From there, some decent titles, such as Super Mario Strikers are scattered sporadically throughout the winter months. The real focus falls on Zelda: Twilight Princess. Its set to be the last big GCN title, and possibly one of the best in the system’s library. People remember how something ends, and if this goes as planned, a mediocre system in the eyes of most of the gaming world, will go off with the biggest of bangs. For that period of time, gamers will forget the 3rd place GCN, and they’ll find themselves engrossed in Zelda. If Nintendo can follow closely with the Revolution, it could be a great1-2 punch.
What I’m getting at is this: the GameCube needs to stay strong until the Revolution arrives. In order for that to happen, the few key titles left, need to do their job. Fire Emblem, Sonic, Mario Sports, and Zelda are among the most highly acclaimed series in video games, and each has a title due out for the Gamecube within the coming months. If they fail to match expectations, the third of three pillars may collapse, and a large part of that structure along with it. Though the handhelds are holding their own, Nintendo cannot afford to drop out of the console race, even for a few months.