Nintendo’s Classic Edition systems have done pretty well for them, forcing Sega to step up their game and finally cut ties with AtGames and now inspiring Sony to make a Classic Edition of their original Playstation system. But after taking a look at the rest of Nintendo’s 20th-Century systems, it’s time to take a step forward and look at a system that has gotten little love but is adored by many.
Now, before we continue, a bit of a disclaimer. I do not actually think Nintendo will make a GameCube Classic. The hardware emulation would cost too much and turn too little profit for Nintendo to be satisfied with. Given recent trends, Nintendo would probably rather remake their more popular GameCube titles and put them on the Switch or 3DS rather than releasing them in a set-top standalone title. Not to mention, given that the Playstation Classic is retailing for $100 and that a likely N64 Classic would retail for the same, a GameCube Classic would cost $120 minimum, which is likely far above the threshold normal consumers are willing to pay.
That being said, let’s have some speculation fun. I think the system would be a lot bigger than the SNES and NES Classic Editions due to the need for four controller ports. Speaking of them, I believe that the ports will be the same as the original GameCube’s, since Nintendo has already reintroduced the GameCube Controller for Smash Wii U and Smash Ultimate. Thus, all they need to do is make some more with different shells, which should be easy. I think the actual system will come with only one controller while extras will be sold separately, mainly because the GameCube, especially Nintendo first party titles, emphasized single-player action rather than multiplayer.
As for the games lineup, I’m keeping with previous trends, so no licensed titles such as the Rogue Squadron games nor licensed sports titles. I also don’t think any of the extra smaller titles, such as Chibi-Robo or Custom Robo, will make the list for a variety of reasons, especially since my list includes a few more 3rd party titles than previous systems had. Also, something to keep in mind is that I don’t think this system will include a wireless receiver in it, so it won’t be able to link up to the Game Boy Advance Classic Edition I speculated on before.
EDIT: Because I figured it was implied with the previous lists and I forgot to mention it, I have to clarify something. I’m using Nintendo’s criteria with previous Classic Editions and since they want to make this system family friendly, that means no M-Rated games. Which means no Eternal Darkness, Resident Evil 4, or Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes.
With that all being said, let’s get to it!
As toxic as its community sometimes gets, there’s no doubt that Super Smash Bros. Melee is THE signature GameCube game. Easily the best selling game in the system’s library and massively expanding on the Nintendo 64 original, Melee offers a plentiful roster, fast and furious action, lots of stage variety (providing you’re not playing competitively), and a number of fun minigames and side modes to keep you occupied. This game was also responsible for Fire Emblem becoming more popular outside of Japan, as well as giving characters like Ice Climbers and the Game & Watch series of games a jolt of popularity. This game alone will likely fuel a rash of GameCube controller sales should this product actually come into production.
The GameCube was a little weird in that it was the first Nintendo video game system since the original Game & Watch to not launch with a Mario series platformer. Instead, we got this strange little exploration title starring Mario’s older brother, Luigi. Unique in many aspects from other Mario titles, Luigi’s Mansion had you exploring a large house to find a variety of ghosts that you needed to suck up with your trusty Poltergust vacuum as you searched for the kidnapped Mario. While initially rejected by many for not being a Mario platformer, this game has since gathered quite the cult following, enough to get a sequel and remake on the 3DS and another sequel on the Nintendo Switch.
A proper Mario platformer would arrive about a year later with Super Mario Sunshine. Building off of Super Mario 64, Sunshine found Mario traveling to the tropical Isle Delfino and getting falsely accused of polluting the town. This game is rather divisive for many reasons, such as the removal of many of Mario’s moves from the previous game, the level structure being a lot more rigid, some of the platforming feeling rather floaty, the rather laughable story and voice acting, and the introduction of several new characters, most notably Bowser Jr. For every person who loves this game, there is another who hates it just as much. While it’s not my favorite Mario game, there is some fun to be had here and still one of the GameCube’s best selling games.
Another controversial-at-the-time title, the first hint of this game came during Spaceworld 2000, where a scene featuring an epic sword clash between Link and Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time had fans salivating. A few years later, this game was unveiled with its cel-shaded look and many fans were at an uproar. However, for those that decided to play the game, they found a charming world full of interesting characters, improved combat mechanics, and a wide open world to explore. Do note that this would be the original game, not the HD version released for the Wii U, for obvious reasons. This game has become one of the most beloved entries in the series as time went on, and there’s a very good reason for that. It’s just a lot of fun to play.
While Metroid fans have had a lot of waiting recently, it’s not exactly the first time. After the release of Super Metroid on the SNES, the franchise went into a dormant state. In fact, Samus’ sole appearance on the Nintendo 64 was in Super Smash Bros. However, Nintendo appointed Retro Studios to relaunch the franchise and bring it to 3D, and did they ever succeed. Marrying the tried and true exploration gameplay with a first-person perspective that was becoming more popular thanks to games like Halo, Metroid Prime gave the franchise the boost of energy it desperately needed, causing it to become one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises for a few years.
If there’s one Nintendo fanbase that’s just as rabid as the Metroid fanbase, it’s Animal Crossing’s fans. While the game started on the Nintendo 64 in Japan, it was the GameCube version that launched a worldwide hit. Basically a simplified version of The Sims, you were a random townsperson, your looks randomly generation from a questionnaire at the start of the game, tasked with keeping your town clean, interacting with your neighbors, and in general living up your town. This game was famous for coming with its own Memory Card when it was first released, but while that kind of storage is trivial these days, I do think Nintendo will make it so you can’t save state this game like you can others. Also, I do think they’ll leave all the NES emulated games, since it would likely be too much effort for them to remove.
The GameCube era was a time of experimentation for Nintendo, as we’ve seen with other titles on this list, and Mario Kart was no exception. The big feature for this game was the inclusion of a second driver, allowing a far easier way to store items and allowing for co-op play, as well as greatly expanding the roster. The game also brought in custom karts instead of the typical pipe frames and gave each character a special weapon, such as giant Koopa Shells or a Chain Chomp that carried you along the course. Much like other GameCube games, these changes were initially heavily panned at launch but have become fan favorites in the years since. Given how the Mario Kart line sells regardless, it is rather obvious to have this game on here, even if it didn’t sell as well as its predecessor or successor.
The tennis and golf Mario games being on here is a bit old hat by now, since I had them on three previous Classic Editions, but there’s a reason for that. The games are good and a lot of fun. The tennis physics here are solid and it introduces new gameplay modes and characters that change up the dynamic, many of which were re-introduced in the recently released Mario Tennis Aces on the Switch. This is also when the Mario Sports subseries really started to take off, giving the system a lot of fun sports multiplayer games, especially for those who didn’t like how much other sports games went strictly into the simulation route with the leap to 3D.
What more can you say about Mario Golf at this point? It has solid, fun mechanics, just enough zany Mario obstacles to freshen things up and keep things interesting, and a wide roster with tons of characters to choose from. This game originally could link up with Mario Golf: Advance Tour to unlock content and transfer data between the two, but since my version of this system doesn’t have any wireless linking capability, you can’t do that with the GBA Classic here. However, since my version does allow you to use GameCube controllers, one could actually hook up a GBA the old-fashioned way with the old cartridge and unlock the content that way.
A multiplayer Nintendo system without a Mario Party is just unheard of, so here we are. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: People hated this game when it came out compared to previous entries (specifically the N64 entries) but over time have become cult classics and thought of as just as good as their counterparts. I chose 6 because, of the four Mario Party games on the GameCube, this one tends to be the most beloved. The Day/Night mechanic allows for board variations that enhance play rather than detract, the minigames are pretty fun overall, and the items don’t break the game open. The only issue is the inclusion of the microphone games, since this Classic Edition won’t have one packed in. I believe you can disable them from the menu and Nintendo may decide to dummy them out entirely, but I could see Nintendo feeling like it’s not worth it and including Mario Party 5 instead.
While tennis, golf, and racing have been staples in the Mario universe for a decade up to this point, soccer was something new for the franchise. Combining solid soccer gameplay with the same entertaining Mario aesthetics from Power Tennis and Toadstool Tour, Strikers became one of the most underrated and beloved of the Mario Sports titles. The visual look was also a lot more interesting than other Mario Sports games, as it featured a post-apocalyptic look with Mario and the gang sporting spiky cyberpunk gear and a relatively harsher attitude. This was also the game that launched Waluigi into stardom and made him the memetic badass he is today.
The sequel to the cult classic N64 game, The Thousand-Year Door might be the most beloved GameCube game ever, if only because of how much Super Paper Mario and Sticker Star deviated from the formula. Disregarding nostalgia, this fantastic RPG has a bright and vibrant cast, a battle system that keeps you on your toes, a sense of humor that always elicits a smile, and a world that is actually fun to explore. This game took everything the original Paper Mario did right and added more, stuffing this game full of content to explore and collect, refining the experience to almost perfection.
With Marth and Roy becoming popular thanks to Super Smash Bros. Melee, Nintendo decided the time was right to bring over the latest games in the series outside Japan. One of the few console entries in the series to see an English release, Path of Radiance starred compassionate swordsman Ike as he fights not for fun or for glory, but for his friends. This Classic Edition would give the game a bit of a boost in reach, as while the game was relatively successful back in the day, it didn’t reach the stardom that its fellow Nintendo RPGs (such as Paper Mario or Pokémon) reached and hasn’t had a second chance to redeem itself since it is unavailable in a legal digital way.
Now, I kept the Pokémon Stadium games off of my Nintendo 64 Classic Edition because the games are not only bare bones, but almost impossible to beat without linking the games up with their Game Boy companions and uploading your own custom Pokémon to the game. However, that’s not the case with the GameCube iterations. This game and its predecessor, Pokémon Colosseum, had a fully functional RPG story mode, where you go around using a Snag Machine to capture Shadow Pokémon from other Trainers and try to purify them while stopping Team Cipher. Featuring several unique mechanics and a meaty story, these games are able to stand on their own, as the Stadium-esque modes in the game can be beaten with the Pokémon in Story Mode without linking up with the various Generation 3 games. I do realize that Colosseum will probably get picked instead since Nintendo favors the original over the sequel, but I chose XD due to a greater refinement in story, Pokémon choice, and gameplay.
One of Nintendo’s fresher IPs, Pikmin was a real-time strategy game where you use strange colored creatures called Pikmin to explore an alien world and collect spaceship parts to escape the planet. This game charmed a lot of people when it was first released and while it never got high sales, Captain Olimar and the Pikmin have nevertheless become staples in Nintendo’s library of characters. A fun, relaxing, quiet game that offers up some needed balance from all the frenetic action games elsewhere on the system. I can see people rather wanting Pikmin 2 since it expanded the gameplay heavily, offered up new characters and Pikmin to use, and is overall the much better game, but I think Nintendo’s “original over sequel” mindset will have them put this one on there instead.
Racing games on the GameCube weren’t anywhere near as plentiful as they were on the N64, likely because it was a lot easier to make other genres actually good, but F-Zero GX is a standout example of the genre. Refining the high speed racing action to its peak, this game also included a story mode that breathed life into its cast outside of Captain Falcon. While not the final entry in the series, GX might be the most beloved for F-Zero fans and might help convince Nintendo to create a brand new one for the Switch eventually.
If you told video game fans back in the 90's that Sonic would eventually be on a Nintendo console, you would have been laughed off the playground. Well, the impossible happened with the GameCube, as after the Dreamcast was ended, Sega went 3rd party and took its games to other systems. Launched early in the GameCube’s lifecycle, for a significant chunk of gamers this was their very first Sonic game. Employing three gameplay styles and introducing a couple of new fan favorite characters in Rouge and Shadow, Sonic Adventure 2 offers up an interesting gameplay variety, fun levels, and a story that, while it doesn’t make much sense, is still fun to watch. Plus, it includes a vastly refined Chao Garden, allowing you to raise the little critters more easily, extending the gameplay by multiple dozens of hours.
While the Tales games have been around for a while, they were never able to break through and become popular until Symphonia on the GameCube. Part of it may have been the dearth of RPGs on the system, especially in the West, but the game still holds up for the most part, featuring a fun real-time RPG battle mechanic, engaging characters, and an expansive story that sees the player cross two worlds and fighting several epic bosses. I know Skies of Arcadia fans are probably annoyed at this pick, since at least Symphonia can be gotten on Steam nowadays, but I chose this game because it left a bigger mark on the fanbase and helped launched a lot of the Tales fanbase outside Japan.
In a crowded genre of fighting games, Soulcalibur was just one of many. It had its fanbase, sure, but it was nowhere near the level of Tekken or Street Fighter. That is, until a brilliant marketing decision was made for Soulcalibur II. On the XBox, they got exclusive character Spawn. On the Playstation, they got Heihachi. But on the GameCube, none other than Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time made an appearance. While rather common nowadays, seeing Nintendo characters and worlds in an otherwise unrelated 3rd party game was something never seen before and caused fans to salivate when the game was announced. Getting past the novelty factor of Link has the player discover a surprisingly robust fighting system with a vibrant cast and quite the lengthy story mode. There are fans that still want this game re-released or for Link to return in a Switch version of Soulcalibur VI, so this is an obvious choice for this system.
Early on in the GameCube’s lifecycle, Capcom announced they would be making 5 exclusive titles for the system. Unfortunately, one was cancelled and three eventually went multiplatform less than a year later. While Resident Evil 4 took the lions share of the publicity from the group, another game that became a cult classic (I use that term a lot for the GameCube’s library...) was Viewitful Joe. Combining comic book superheroics with Japanese tokusatsu action and presenting it in a slick cel-shaded coat of paint, Viewtiful Joe is a game oozing with style. This action game is notoriously difficult, but can be a blast to play once you familiarize yourself with Joe’s different powers. Plus, this would inject the franchise with a bit of juice that might eventually lead to a franchise revival.
As I said earlier, I don’t actually think Nintendo will make a GameCube Classic Edition, but I know a lot of people would freaking adore one right about now, especially since a lot of games in the system’s library have been left out in the cold, as most have never been available on a digital format. While it will never happen, it is kinda fun to think about what could be.