- CPU: MIPS R4300i, 93.75MHz, 64-bit, 24KB L1, 125 MIPS, 250 MB/sec Bus
- Graphics: SGI RCP, 62.5MHz, 100 MFLOPS, 150K Polygons/Sec, 32-bit Color, 500 MB/sec Bus
- Sound: SGI RCP, 64 2D Voices, ADPCM, 500 MB/sec Bus
- Data: 4MB (500 MB/s), Cartridge (32MB), Expansion 4MB RAM
Nintendo decided to release the GameCube after the under performing Nintendo 64 gaming system in the latter part of 2001. It was a direct competitor to Sega Playstation 2 and the XBOX. This system was based on the “Gecko” CPU and the “Flipper” graphic chip. This was Nintendo’s entry into the videogame business utilizing a CD disk system. Disk games are cheaper to produce and tend to sell at a cheaper price than the cartridge based systems. Disk systems also have an advantage of carrying a larger capacity of information on the disk compared to a cartridge. This larger carrying capacity comes at a disadvantage of having a longer loading time though. The disk drive is unique that it reads from the outside to the inside (like a phonograph). This helped prevent piracy and loss of revenue from pirated games and unscrupulous gamers. Ultimately, this was circumvented by a third party company that sells an adaptor that allows you to use a DVD-R disk system and modify your GameCube or special software that bypasses the region lock codes.
The game console itself is beautifully designed. It’s compact and portable. It even comes with a handle to carry the main unit like a lunch box. The controllers are nicely designed in a winged appearance and are very durable. It has two analog sticks and a directional pad. The buttons are nicely space and designed with high functionality with the main button being slightly larger than the other buttons. This helps give you a reference point and a familiarity of the joystick unlike many other joysticks. It also has two buttons on the shoulder for additional usage. There is a wireless controller released by a third party if you choose to lose the cumbersome wires of a standard joystick. I have used the same GameCube and controller for the past 5 years without any need to replace either item. Both items actually look brand new despite countless hours of game play. The controller seems more durable than its Nintendo 64 counterpart, in which the joystick portion would become loose and eventually malfunction. This does not happen with the Nintendo GameCube controller.
The game availability of the Nintendo GameCube was a limiting factor for this system. Nintendo seemed to keep the genre more family based and had a tendency to avoid porting the violent, but extremely popular game titles to the GameCube. You won’t find the pimp slapping, car chasing genre within this system. There are exceptions to this rule. Nintendo tried to bluff the consumers by porting the Resident Evil game and puff up the bravado. The game variety tends to be fairly conservative compared with the other platforms. With that said, you will find some very, very high quality games and many of which are only found on the Nintendo system. This is the only system in which you will find the Zelda series and the Mario Brother’s games. This in itself is enough to buy this system. Add to it the Metroid series and the GameCube version of Resident Evil 4 and you have got yourself a winner!
Overall it has been estimated that approximately 12 million units were sold in North America, and approximately 21 million units were sold worldwide. This is nothing to be sneezed at, but pales in comparison to what the Playstation 2 and the XBOX managed to sell.
This system has many limited edition versions in all countries it was released. You will find limited editions in the North American versions, the Japanese versions and the European version. I highly recommend obtaining many of these versions if you are a serious collector. Even if you are not a serious collector, these versions may interest you. Not only are many of these aesthetically nice in appearance, but you can buy some simple software (Freeloader or ActionReplay Max), which allows you to play import games from any region by using a disk swap method, which is fairly simple. Another alternative is to buy a pre-modified game system, or you can modify your own unit with the Qoob Pro, or Qoob SX modification process if you have some soldering skills. All of this information can be easily found on the Internet. The original idea was to lock out the consumer from using region specific software, but ingenuity and technology is also on the gamer’s side. This limitation is easily bypassed if you are clever and persistent, and if you have a fairly decent knowledge of the system you are dealing with.