The Nintendo GameCube is now 20 years old. It feels like only yesterday that I was lugging the purple cube around to my friends’ houses by its handle. It may not have been a sales monster like the Wii or Switch, but it’s a console that stirs fond memories of the early 2000s for myself and many others. It helped modernize 3D games, taking us out of the awkward transitional era we got with the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation.
What makes the GameCube particularly memorable is its strong library of games. Its library is a collection of big hits and hidden gems from Nintendo and third-party studios. It was a creative outpouring during what would become regarded as a golden era for gaming. So why is it impossible to play so many of those hits today? Try to find your favorite GameCube game on Switch today and you’ll come up short. The best we’ve gotten so far is Super Mario Sunshine, which is no longer available on the system due to Super Mario 3D All-Stars‘ baffling timed sales window.
It’s a bizarre decision, though one that’s par for the course for Nintendo. The system is lacking tons of classic games, from the Game Boy collection to the N64 libraries. But the total lack of GameCube love feels especially glaring considering how many standout gems the system produced. I’ve put together a list of eight games that should come to Nintendo Switch, but know that this is only scratching the surface. The GameCube library goes so deep that it would need a double-stuffed Classic edition of the Switch to contain them all.
Metroid Prime is one of the most important Nintendo games of the past 20 years. It effectively resurrected Metroid from the dead after it skipped the N64 and turned it into one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises. Not only that, it revolutionized the first-person shooter genre by creating a game that was more focused on platforming and investigation. While Metroid Prime and its sequels were ported to the Wii (and available on the Wii U), none of those games are available on Switch. And that’s especially weird considering that Metroid Prime 4 will release on the console eventually. How are we supposed to catch up on the trilogy if there’s no way to play it easily?
When it was first announced, Wind Waker was instantly polarizing. Its cel-shaded art style caused an uproar as gamers demanded realistic graphics. Luckily, the peanut gallery was wrong, as Wind Waker is still the best-looking Zelda game out there. Nintendo gave the game a slick HD remaster in the Wii U days, adding some second-screen menu controls, but you can’t play it on Switch. In fact, you can’t play most 3D Zelda games on the system outside of Skyward Sword and Breath of the Wild. Considering how many Wii U games have come to Switch, is it too much to ask that the Wind Waker remaster sails over next?
The Paper Mario series is a sore spot for fans. Its early games were tight RPGs that provided real challenge for players who wanted a tougher Mario experience. Since then, the series has fallen off as it tries to court a more casual market. The Switch’s Paper Mario: The Origami King was a charming enough adventure, but it didn’t necessarily reach the creative heights of previous entries. When it comes to older titles, fans are especially ardent about the GameCube’s Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. The RPG wasn’t just a high point for Paper Mario, but for Nintendo as a whole. It’s a finely crafted adventure filled with memorable characters, an excellent story, and ironclad RPG mechanics. A rerelease announcement during a Nintendo Direct would break the internet.
If you’ve never heard of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, I don’t blame you. Developed by Silicon Knights, the horror game is the very definition of a hidden gem. It was a completely new IP that came out of left field at the time. It’s most known for its brilliant “sanity” system, where bizarre effects happen the more the characters lose their minds. Sometimes you’ll notice that the walls are bleeding. Other times, you’ll walk into a room and your head will fall off. The game has a blast freaking players out, even going so far as to drop fake crash errors and false endings. It’s a completely one-of-a-kind idea, and it’s a shame that it can’t be played without a GameCube. The game was never ported to any other platform, including PC, so it’s just stuck in GameCube limbo. It deserves to be freed.
F-Zero is, essentially, a dead Nintendo franchise. The company seems to be focusing all of its racing game efforts exclusively on Mario Kart, leaving Captain Falcon’s series in the dust. There hasn’t been a console F-Zero game since F-Zero GX in 2003. That’s a shame, because that game is one of Nintendo’s finest multiplayer offerings. It’s an incredibly fast-paced racing game filled with gravity-defying tracks. It was something of a blueprint for Mario Kart 8, which would go on to adopt some of its ideas. Whether or not it holds up is irrelevant; it’s just downright unfortunate that there’s no way to experience it in 2021 without an outdated console.
It’s difficult to explain Killer7. Even when it first came out, it had players scratching their heads. But that’s what we’ve come to expect from Suda51, one of gaming’s most visionary creators. Killer7 is something of an on-rails shooter, where players press a button to move along a set line and shoot enemies along the way. While that makes it especially polarizing, it’s also turned it into a cult classic of sorts. There were rumors that it would come to Switch circa 2020, but those were firmly squashed. Now that No More Heroes 3 is out on Switch, it feels like as good a time as any to bring one of Suda51’s most legendary games to the system, too.
If you love Mario sports games, the Switch has a suitable lineup of games for you. Mario Tennis Aces and Mario Golf: Super Rush aren’t the best entries in their respective franchises, but they get the job done. But Mario’s athletic talents aren’t fully represented on the Switch. The GameCube era brought us multiple Mario sports experiments, which some working better than others. Among those, Super Mario Strikers stands out as a criminally underrated game. The fast-paced soccer game is full of frantic action, with hard hits and strong power-ups. Back in the day, it was a multiplayer staple among my friends. If we’re not going to get a new entry in the short-lived series anytime soon, we should at least get a chance to revisit this one.
Fire Emblem is now one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, but that wasn’t always the case. It used to be a total niche property that didn’t even come to the west until Mart and Roy made waves in Super Smash Bros. Melee. The first 3D game in the series, Path of Radiance, was a turning point for the franchise, setting it up for success on the Nintendo 3DS a decade later. Nowadays, a copy of the game is a sought-after commodity among collectors. A mint copy can run over $500, making it a unicorn in any GameCube collection. Obviously, most fans won’t want to pay that price to play a classic, so Nintendo could really throw us a bone here by bringing it to Switch.
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