Nintendo GameCube Cheat Sheet: Specs, History, Games, & More

The Nintendo GameCube is the best retro console of all time. Okay, that may be a stretch. But it is my favorite.

Codenamed Project Dolphin, the GameCube released in North America on November 18, 2001. It was the immediate successor to the N64, and there were high expectations for the little box-shaped console. Would the GameCube carry Nintendo into the future, or would it be a dud?

Nintendo GameCube Overview

Here’s a quick overview of the GameCube console:

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release: 2001
  • Most Popular Title: Super Smash Bros. Melee (7.5 million)
  • Sales: 21.5 million units
  • Nickname: The Dolphin

Nintendo GameCube Design

The GameCube received mostly positive reviews upon launch, with experts lauding its simple design and intuitive interface. A minority of critics dismissed the console as too toy-like and lacking in features compared to its competitors, AKA the Xbox, Playstation 2, and Sega Dreamcast.

GameCube Controller Design

For the controller, Nintendo stepped back from the three-pronged N64 design and went with a more familiar form factor. Indeed, the GameCube controller features 8 buttons, 2 analog sticks, and a d-pad, just like other popular models at the time. What’s unique about the design is the front-and-center ‘A’ button, which marks a clear distinction as the primary action, as well as the bright color palette.

Nintendo GameCube Specs & Hardware

  • CPU: IBM Gekko PowerPC (485 MHz)
  • GPU: ATI Flipper ASIC (162 MHz)

What about the Nintendo GameCube specs? The GameCube is built atop 128-bit architecture using IBM’s custom Gekko CPU and ATI’s Flipper GPU. It can render up 16.7 million colors on screen at a resolution of roughly 640×480 pixels. Not bad for a small, affordable unit.

In terms of storage, the GameCube was Nintendo’s first commercial foray into disc-based games. But instead of using full-size DVDs like the PS2 and Xbox, the GameCube takes smaller mini DVDs developed by Panasonic, and 512 KB memory cards.

Rounding out the GameCube’s hardware is 43 MB of non-unified RAM and an integrated Macronix audio processor.

Nintendo GameCube Games

Nintendo creates excellent game franchises. They’re responsible for hits like Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, and countless spin-offs. The GameCube continues this trend, introducing several first and second-party titles that impressed critics and consumers alike. Today, many of those games are considered rare and collectible GameCube games.

Smash Bros Melee

Listed below are the 10 most popular GameCube games by sales (rounded to the nearest half million):

10. Mario Party 5 – 2 million

9. Animal Crossing – 2.5 million

8. Pokemon Colosseum – 2.5 million 

7. Mario Party 4 – 2.5 million

6. Metroid Prime – 3 million

5. Luigi’s Mansion – 3.5 million

4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker – 4.5 million

3. Super Mario Sunshine – 6 million 

2. Mario Kart: Double Dash – 7 million

1. Super Mario Bros. Melee – 7.5 million

Nintendo GameCube Legacy

Nintendo GameCube Specs

The GameCube was priced at an ultra-affordable $199, compared to the more expensive PS2 ($299) and Xbox (also $299) systems. This made it an excellent entry-level console for folks just starting their gaming adventures.

But despite its low price, favorable reviews, and stellar lineup of games, the GameCube sold a dismal 21.5 million units during its 6-year lifespan. 

Regardless of sales, the GameCube remains a favorite among millennials who grew up playing its charming library of underrated games. Moreover, the GameCube had a huge impact on Nintendo’s innovative and risk-taking approach towards the 7th gen console best-seller, the Nintendo Wii.