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October 11, 2013 / Jett

My Gamecube Launch Story

With the upcoming releases of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One approaching, I thought I’d recount some of my previous launch experiences. If you’re like me, I remember many of my experiences fondly. First up, the Gamecube. If you’ve got any launch stories, I’d love to see them in the comments!

It was the fall of 2001. The PlayStation 2 was a year old and had already cemented itself as the system to beat. At the time, I couldn’t have cared less. As a diehard Nintendo fan, I had my eyes set on getting a Gamecube.

From the moment the system was revealed, I feverishly followed for all of the latest updates on the platform. For those who don’t know, eventually got rolled into what is now known as IGN. I grew accustomed to the system’s lunchbox design, was cautiously optimistic about the odd controller and couldn’t have been more pumped for the games.

There was one video montage from Space World 2000 that put me over the edge. It featured amazing renders of Luigi’s Mansion, Metroid in 3D for the first time (before Prime was a twinkle in anyone’s eye) and a glimpse of The Legend of Zelda that had Nintendo fans salivating for years. It wouldn’t be until years later when we find out that this Zelda concept would somehow turn into Wind Waker.

I woke up early that morning to buy a black Gamecube, an extra controller and a copy of Wave Race: Blue Storm. Why not Luigi’s Mansion? For one, it was a single player game. My brother and I wanted something we could play together. Two, a lot of people don’t remember this, but the Lugi’s Mansion wasn’t exactly winning over the hearts and minds of critics. Many knocked it for being short and repetitive, so I decided to go with the critically acclaimed Wave Race instead.

Arriving at the mall first thing, I headed straight over to the EB Games. There was no midnight launch event, or even people in line. In fact, the store was empty and I walked right in and asked for a Gamecube. Of course, they wouldn’t sell me one unless I had a pre-order, so I moved onto Zellers. The first customer service rep I asked in electronics was clueless as to what a Gamecube even was. Thankfully, another one saved the day and directed my family to the treasure trove of Gamecube goodies. From there, I grabbed everything I wanted and went home as the happiest guy on Earth.

Though I’d been anticipating this moment for what felt like a lifetime, my first impression of the experience was a bit underwhelming. Wave Race, while a great game in its own right, just wasn’t enough of a step forward to justify next gen to me. It felt essentially like a prettier version of the last one, which wasn’t what I was looking for at the time.

It wouldn’t take long for the Gamecube to hit its stride. There were other launch games I would discover that would provide the next gen fix I craved, and to this day I still hold that system in high regard, even if the rest of the world at the time only saw it as a lunchbox that played kiddie games.

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