Hyper - - FEATURE -

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 di“er­ent 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.

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