1 April 2005 | 0
Looking at the Gamecube, you wouldn’t think that it would do anything spectacular. It just seems, well, too small. It’s dimensions span a diminutive 4.5 x 5.9 x 6.3-in. The games discs are equally tiny – the 1.5Gbyte DVD discs are only three inches in diameter. What could possibly fit into that?
It even has a carry handle — an addition thought up by the console’s designer, Kenichiro Ashida, because he realised people would want to move the console closer while playing. Be warned though – the handle isn’t designed to carry the Gamecube for long distances.
So it’s definitely more portable than the Xbox or PlayStation 2, but is it actually any good? Cue the oft-used cliché, ‘Good things come in small packages’, and it is definitely one that the Gamecube lives up to.
While there may be some features of the console that would lead you to think that the Gamecube is aimed at children (the link-up with the GameBoy Advance being one), there is plenty for the adult gamer to enjoy on the Gamecube. The cartoon style graphics of Luigi Mansion may be what you expect from Nintendo, but that’s not all there is to the console. Check out Star Wars: Rogue Leader, or 2002 FIFA World Cup; the graphics are absolutely superb and the games are so addictive you’ll play until your hands hurt.
This is probably thanks to the 485Mhz CPU and 162Mhz custom graphics chip that the Gamecube hides beneath its oh-so-sleek exterior. Using 1T-RAM technology in the main memory and Graphics LSI mixed memory, the designers have made the Gamecube pretty fast, so hanging around waiting for the games to load up is kept to a minimum. Which ultimately leaves you more time to enjoy the console.
The controllers are also on the compact side, but this just makes them easier to use. Analogue capabilities make it easy to move your character around the screen. There is also a wireless controller, called the Wavebird, for the console, but it doesn’t come as standard with the console.
The Gamecube is ultimately a games console — it’s not intended to be a multimedia device like the PlayStation or the Xbox.
At the end of the day, I have to admit that I am a converted Gamecube fan, and it will take a lot of effort to prise the controller from my fingers. You have been warned.