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Video game console review
GameCube console review
 
Gamermall.com rating:
9.1
The Nintendo GameCube was unveiled on August 22, 2000, one day before Nintendo's SpaceWorld trade show. Shaped roughly like a cube, the console is available in a variety of colors, such as indigo, platinum, and black (also a limited edition Resident Evil 4 platinum and black game console). In Japan, the system is also available in Spice (orange), or in limited edition colors like Crystal White, Mint Green, Copper, and White with black pinstripes.

The Nintendo GameCube uses a proprietary storage medium, the Nintendo GameCube Game Disc, based on Matsushita's optical-disc technology; the discs are approximately 8 centimeters (3 1/8 inches) in diameter (considerably smaller than the 12 cm CDs or DVDs used in other consoles), and have a capacity of approximately 1.5 gigabytes. Contrary to popular belief, GameCube discs are not physically read any differently from a standard DVD disc, but are encrypted with a key derived from the Burst Cutting Area, a 'bar code' unreadable by most DVD drives. This move was intended to prevent unauthorized copying of GCN titles, but was eventually cracked. By exploiting a flaw in Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, users were able to connect their GameCubes to their PCs and run homebrew programming on the console.

The Nintendo GameCube does not have DVD or audio CD support, but Matsushita's Panasonic Q (described below), only available in Japan, does. Common reasons cited by Nintendo for using this format are to reduce copyright infringement, provide faster loading times due to a smaller disc size, make the system cheaper by avoiding DVD-licensing fees, and a more compact console. The lack of DVD movie support did not make it appealing to the DVD playing audiences, who turned to the PlayStation 2 and Xbox due to their built-in DVD support. Despite the protection of a non-standard disc format (essentially a miniature DVD-ROM with non-standard sectors and filesystem formatting), a number of modchips such as the Qoob and ViperGC have been released that, when used in conjunction with a modified BIOS, allow the use of a standard or 8 cm DVD-R to load backed-up, homebrew, bootleg or copied software. The Panasonic Q, released by Panasonic in Japan under license from Nintendo, is manufactured as a modified GameCube unit with added DVD and audio CD playback functionality. It was never released outside of Japan; production ceased in December 2003. Differences in design make the Panasonic Q incompatible with the Game Boy Player; however, the Panasonic Q Game Boy Player was released to address the problem of the extended pegs on the bottom, allowing play of Game Boy games.

The GameCube can connect to a Game Boy Advance or Game Boy Advance SP to transfer game data. The GameCube can also connect to a Game Boy Micro, but the cable required to connect the two must be custom made since it has not been otherwise made available. Examples of this functionality include the use of the Game Boy Advance as a controller for the game played. Information related to game play may be displayed on the Game Boy Advance's color screen for added convenience or to avoid the cluttering of the display on the television screen. This functionality has been used to unlock bonuses such as new levels or characters when certain Game Boy Advance and GameCube games are connected together. Up to four Game Boy Advance systems can be connected to the GameCube through the GameCube's four controller ports for multiplayer play. A Nintendo GameCube-Game Boy Advance cable is required for each Game Boy Advance system that is connected to the GameCube; however, this required a user to buy a GameCube, a Game Boy Advance, and the GameCube version of the title, along with the Game Boy Advance version. Some GameCube titles only used the Game Boy Advance as a screen and did not require a separate Game Boy Advance game.

The GameCube can also connect directly to another GameCube for LAN play. Another television is needed for the second console. The GameCube can connect over LAN with up to eight other GameCubes.

The GameCube was designed for portability, with its small size complemented by a carrying handle; however, this feature over other consoles was minimal since its inexpensive production and selling price were its main advantages. Towards the end of its lifespan many dubbed the console the "purple lunchbox" for its simplistic design and poor lineup of games. Despite being more compact than the original PlayStation 2 model, the GameCube has overall superior graphics processing power and better Pro Logic sound, but no optical output. The GameCube has a front end menu system which can be accessed by holding the 'A' button while the system boots or by booting with no game inserted. This menu controls settings for memory card data, sound, and the internal clock.

The controller has the traditional directional pad, two analog sticks, and eight buttons: A, B, X, Y, Z, L, R, and pause/start. Like the Nintendo 64 controller, it features no select button. The C buttons have been replaced by an analog C stick. The analog sticks do not have added "clickable" button functionality—unlike other such consoles of the era—but both L and R shoulder buttons are analog, able to detect force applied to them before "clicking," essentially doubling their functionality.

Nintendo released a network adapter for the GameCube during the Christmas season of 2002, but did not promote or support online gaming as heavily as Sony or Microsoft. Two adaptors were released: the Nintendo GameCube Modem Adapter for dial-up and the Nintendo GameCube Broadband Adapter for broadband. The only high-profile title that requires the adapter is Sega's Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II. Instead, Nintendo focused more on Game Boy Advance connectivity.

Despite the answer of "no" by Nintendo of America Vice President of Marketing Perrin Kaplan in a Game Daily interview when asked about the production of the Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo UK and Nintendo of America both confirm that Kaplan is incorrect and that worldwide both Nintendo GameCube hardware and First-Party Nintendo GameCube software are still in production, shipped to stores, and sold.

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