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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Is Nintendo GameCube the Most Underrated Console Ever?

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Now, I will say that I think it took people quite a few years to fully appreciate just how good the GameCube’s library actually was. Yes, titles like Mario Kart: Double Dash, Resident Evil 4, and Super Smash Bros. Melee were pretty much instant classics, but fewer people at the time truly appreciated how special games like Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Eternal Darkness, Viewtiful Joe, and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance really were. Even successful GameCube games like Metroid Prime, Animal Crossing, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Super Mario Sunshine arguably weren’t widely recognized as the classics they very much were until many years after their release and the GameCube’s downfall. In that sense, I think there is a very strong argument to be made that the GameCube was the home of a shocking number of generally underrated gaming experiences.

The question is, “Should more people have bought a GameCube at that time to experience those great games?” That’s where things get a little tricky, but it’s important to realize that the reasons why many people didn’t buy a GameCube when it was on the market (lack of multimedia features, lack of third-party support, lack of online games, and the time between major releases) are all still valid to this day. People weren’t really ignoring the GameCube because they thought it had bad games; they were ignoring it because it was always a tough sell as a second or third console despite the obvious quality of many of its best games.

Again, “underrated” is going to ultimately mean slightly different things to different people, but in the case of the GameCube, it honestly feels like the console eventually became widely enough embraced and criticized for the proper things. The idea that the GameCube had great games and was bad at nearly everything else was always there and has only become more popular in the 20 years since its release. Maybe it should have outsold the N64, but the sales gap wasn’t that big, and the N64 didn’t have to deal with a third competitor as strong as the Xbox.

If the GameCube isn’t the most underrated console, though, then which consoles are worthy of that title? Again, this is all really a talking point meant to inspire debate, but here are a few of the top candidates that come to mind:

Sega Saturn

The Sega Saturn was pretty much “DOA” in the minds of many as soon as Sony confirmed that the PlayStation would be released at the same time as Sega’s console and for a lower price. Given how great the PS1 proved to be, it’s hard to argue against anyone who picked Sony’s console over Sega’s.

Still, the Sega Saturn was a solid and powerful console that boasts one of the most unique and impressive libraries of games ever assembled. If a few things had gone differently, I’d argue that more people would have jumped at the chance to buy a Sega Saturn for the ways it tried to bridge the gap between arcade, console, and PC gaming. As it turned out, though, Sony just had the better debut and, ultimately, the better read on where the industry was heading. The Saturn truly was a great and overlooked video game console, though.

Source: Den of Geek


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