As great of a system as it is, the Nintendo GameCube is considered a failure. Often considered low-point for Nintendo in both sales and reception, the GameCube struggled against the monster hit PlayStation 2, and industry newcomer, Microsoft's Xbox. A lot of its problems came down to Nintendo itself, and how they chose to design, brand and market the console. Still as I said, it was a great system with a lot going for it. In many ways, I'd say Nintendo Switch is basically the GameCube, done correctly. Here's why.
It's completely unique from other gaming platforms - A big part of the GameCube's problem was that there just wasn't much unique to it. When you get right down to it, it was a poor mans PlayStation with a weird controller and proprietary media. If you didn't like Nintendo games, then there was no worthwhile standout aspect to the GameCube. Switch on the other-hand, instantly distinguishes itself from literally every mainstream game platform that came before it. A hybrid tablet console with detachable controllers, the Switch offers a tactile experience completely unique from Sony and Microsoft's monolithic boxes. Not only can you take your home console with you, but you can also detach the controllers, hand one to a friend, and play shared screen multiplayer anytime anywhere. It's got a lot of fun gimmicks like HD rumble and free-hand motion control that set itself apart, but it never sacrifices well tested conventions for the sake of novelties. It's a perfect blend of traditional gaming hardware, and that trademark Nintendo quirk.
It's toy-like, but in a good way- Another problem with the GameCube was its appearance. A purple lunchbox doesn't look appealing sitting next to Sony and Microsoft's DVD players from the future. It looked like a Fisher-price toy, which gave it a bad "kiddy" stigma. Nintendo Switch is very upfront and honest in its appearance. It's a dock-able tablet with two candy colored detachable motion controllers. You can obviously tell it's a Nintendo product just looking at it, and like the GameCube, the default color scheme is very toy-like in appearance. So why does it work for the Switch, where it didn't work for the GameCube? Because the Switch actually has a sense of sleekness to it. It's a fun and tactile system to use, like a well made kids toy. But it still has an adult like premium build quality to it as well, making it a console appealing to both kids and adults. The GameCube on the other hand, looked and felt like something primarily made for children. Comfortable as its controller is, the console as a whole felt a bit too childish.
Better innovation with first party games - A controversial aspect of the GameCube was its first party software. Mario and Zelda were taken in weird directions. Link became a Cel-Shaded Cartoon, and Mario suddenly gained a water pack. Sunshine and Wind Waker were both great games, but felt a little too unpolished and weird for most Nintendo fans, causing them to be some of the more divisive entries in their respective series. Meanwhile new properties like Pikmin and Chibi-Robo were often too niche for mainstream appeal, and Nintendo turned to outsourcing for many of their other properties like Star Fox and F-Zero. The Switch on the other hand actually innovates with Nintendo's first party software in ways that don't rely to heavily on excessive gimmicks. Breath of the Wild was a brutal deconstruction of The Legend of Zelda, and it resulted in the fastest selling entry in the series. Super Mario Odyssey took Mario back to the Sandbox style, and gave him the power of possession, but it still felt like a Mario title, and became the Switch's best selling game in less than a year, at a whopping 9 million copies. And Nintendo has lately been on a roll with New IP, releasing unique titles that use the Switch hardware in genuinely fun and interesting ways. 1-2 Switch, ARMS, Snipperclips, and most recently, Nintendo Labo. Good as Pikmin was, it never really demonstrated why exactly the GameCube was different or special, these games do.
It gets the Console-handheld merger right - With the GameCube, Nintendo tried to bring it together with the Game Boy Advance in multiple ways. A link-cable that connected from the GBA to the GameCube for multi-screen games. And the Game Boy Player, an add-on for the GameCube that allowed it to play the vast library of Game Boy Archives. While neat, these felt more like bolted on afterthoughts, rather than actually combining handhelds and consoles together. Thanks to advancements in technology, the Switch improves and refines this concept to such a degree, that it makes the GameCube's attempts look backwards. The Switch is a literal home console you can take with you. You can take your favorite home console titles with you and play where-ever, and when-ever you like. Likewise, you can play some of your favorite mobile/handheld style games on the big screen if you want as well, along with a variety of different ways to use the various play styles. Not only that, but because it's both a home and mobile gaming system, Nintendo can concentrate 95% of its resources on just Switch software, whereas they needed to divide it between the GameCube and GBA.
It targets adults, but doesn't pander to them - With the GameCube, Nintendo attempted to combat the childish stigma of both it, and the company as a whole. Thus, a series of elaborate ad campaigns were created to give the GameCube a more "adult" image. And by a adult, I mean a shallow middle school view of the term. From failed M-rated oddities to "edgy commercials" Nintendo's attempts to "Marture-ify" the GameCube often came off as try-hard and laughable. Not helped by the system's already childish appearance and lack of third party support. The Switch however, doesn't have to try and be "cool", it just is naturally. You see the console in action and it instantly becomes a desirable product. And while Nintendo is pushing for mature content on the system, they're not trying to ram it down people's throats to the point where it feels out of character. It still has that undeniably Nintendo feel, unique and kid-friendly. It just happens to be inclusive for older folk as well.
TL;DR - The Switch IMO, feels a lot like what the GameCube tried to do, but done in a better designed, better marketed, better executed, and all around more polished product. Of course, you can argue that the Switch is Wii U done right as well, which is also correct.Last edited by TheMisterManGuy - on 16 May 2018