There’s a handle on the back of the GameCube. While the o cial line was that it was there to make the console easier to carry, it was perhaps, ultimately, more of a symbolic addition – no one was carrying the system around like a briefcase, but Nintendo wanted people to take the GameCube with them when they went out. They wanted the system’s owners to evangelise the machine, to bring it to their friends’ places for multiplayer good-times, perhaps because they knew it wasn’t necessarily going to get into every home through high sales. The fact that the PS2 outsold the GameCube at a rate of 7 to 1 meant that most gamer homes were already equipped with Sony’s console, despite it, yet again, only having two controller ports.
One of Nintendo’s more confusing ideas from this period was their focus on multiplayer gaming that was enhanced by the Game Boy Advance, attached to the console with a link cable. A handful of games, including Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, and Pac-Man VS (which headlined a particularly disastrous Nintendo E3 presentation in 2003) encouraged players to gather up three friends, each armed with Game Boys and link cables, and play these games together.
Of course, years later the Wii U would better illustrate some of what Nintendo had been trying to do here all along, but the idea of each player having their own secret screen never really gained traction. Nintendo was going for something very dierent from the competition – while Xbox gamers were playing Halo 2 online, GameCube users who wanted to take advantage of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicle’s much-touted four player mode not only had to get in a room together, but they needed to own all the appropriate kit and actively plan the session in advance. It’s not a surprise that it didn’t take o.
On the other hand, Super Smash Bros Melee was so incredibly popular that people are still playing it regularly in tournaments today, so that’s a win.