Nintendo GameCube

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GameCube logo

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GameCube console and controller

The Nintendo GameCube (Japanese: ゲームキューブ; originally code-named "Dolphin" during development; abbreviated as GCN) is Nintendo's fourth home video game console, belonging to the 128-bit era; the same generation as Sega's Dreamcast, Sony's PlayStation 2, and Microsoft's Xbox. The GameCube was released on:

The GameCube was first introduced in volume #145 of Nintendo Power magazine. Luigi's Mansion was the first cover game (volume #150).



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A Nintendo Gamecube with two controllers, a memory card, and five games.

The GameCube was widely anticipated by many who were shocked by Nintendo's decision to design the Nintendo 64 as a cartridge-based system. Physically shaped similar to a geometric cube, the outside casing of the Nintendo GameCube comes 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 orange, or in limited edition colors like Crystal White, Mint Green, Copper, and White with black pinstripes. The Nintendo GameCube uses a unique storage medium, a proprietary format based on Matsushita's optical-disc technology; the discs are approximately 8 centimeters (3 1/8 inches) in diameter (considerably smaller than a standard CD or DVD), and the discs have a capacity of approximately 1.5 gigabytes. The Nintendo GameCube does not have any DVD-movie support, but a Nintendo GameCube hybrid product containing movie functionality has been released by Panasonic in Japan, named "DVD/GAME Player Q."

The GameCube system also has the unique capability to connect to Nintendo's portable system Game Boy Advance or its SP variant. Such a connection between the two systems allows the transfer of game data. Examples of this functionality include the use of the Game Boy Advance as a controller for the game played. Subsequent 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 also been used to unlock "secrets" such as new levels or characters when two games, a Game Boy Advance game and its GameCube equivalent, 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 special Nintendo GameCube to Game Boy Advance connection cable is required for each Game Boy Advance system that is to be connected to the GameCube. A fair variety of GameCube games implement this innovative functionality, while Nintendo encourages its continued use.

Despite the protection of a non-standard disc format (essentially a miniature DVD-ROM with non-standard sector and filesystem formatting), a modchip has been released that allows the use of a standard DVD-ROM with a GameCube, to load backed-up, homebrew or pirate software. However, it does not work very well, and no commercial GameCube games have been able to be run on a pirate disc.

Software library

Main article: List of GameCube games

Key first-party titles

The Nintendo GameCube software library contains such traditional Nintendo series as Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid.

Some of the more popular first-party titles include:

Approach to third-party developers

One of the defining aspects of the Nintendo GameCube is the rejuvenated relationship between Nintendo and its licensees. Unlike previous generations in which Nintendo was seen by some as bullying its third-party game developers, Nintendo openly sought game-development aid on Nintendo GameCube. Sometimes, Nintendo would merely request that a third-party developer produce a game based on the third-party's own game franchises; other times, Nintendo would request that the third-party developer produce a game based on Nintendo's own game franchises. This effort from Nintendo resulted in many exclusive third-party games for the Nintendo GameCube, and the arrival multiformat titles on the platform.

Major second & third-party titles


Hardware specifications

The following are hardware specifications provided by Nintendo of America. Some benchmarks provided by third-party testing facilities do indicate, however, that some of these specifications, especially those relating to performance, may be conservative.

Central processing unit

  • Name: "Gekko"
  • Producer: IBM
  • Core Base: PowerPC 750CXe, 43-mm² die (modified PowerPC 750 RISC with 50 new instructions)
  • Manufacturing Process: 0.18 micrometre IBM copper-wire technology
  • Clock Frequency: 485 MHz
  • CPU Capacity: 1125 Dmips (Dhrystone 2.1)
  • Internal Data Precision:
    • 32-bit Integer
    • 64-bit Floating-point, usable as 2x32-bit SIMD
  • External Bus:
    • 1.3 gigabyte/second peak bandwidth
    • 32-bit address space
    • 64-bit data bus; 162 MHz clock
  • Internal Cache:
    • L1: instruction 32KB, data 32KB (8 way)
    • L2: 256KB (2 way)

Graphics processing unit

  • Name: "Flipper"
  • Producer: ArtX/Nintendo (ArtX was acquired by ATi Technologies in 2000 and is now a part of ATi)
  • Manufacturing Process: 0.18 micrometre NEC embedded DRAM process
  • Clock Frequency: 162 MHz
  • Embedded Frame Buffer:
    • Approximately 2 megabytes in capacity
    • Sustainable latency of 6.2 nanoseconds
    • RAM type is 1T-SRAM
  • Embedded Texture Cache:
    • Approximately 1 megabyte in capacity
    • Sustainable latency of 6.2 nanoseconds (6.2ns)
    • RAM type is 1T-SRAM
  • Texture Read Bandwidth: 10.4 gigabytes/second (at peak)
  • Main Memory Bandwidth: 2.6 gigabytes/second (at peak)
  • Fill Rate: 648 megapixels/second
  • Pixel Depth:
  • Image Processing Functions:

Aural functionality

  • Producer: Macronix
  • Clock Frequency: 81 MHz
  • Instruction Memory:
    • 8 kilobytes of RAM
    • 8 kilobytes of ROM
  • Data Memory:
    • 8 kilobytes of RAM
    • 4 kilobytes of ROM
  • Simultaneous Channels: 64 channels
  • Encoding: ADPCM
  • Sampling Frequency: 48 kHz

Other system specifications

  • System Floating-point Arithmetic Capability: 10.5 GFLOPS (at peak) (MPU, Geometry Engine, HW Lighting Total)
  • Real-world Polygon Performance: 6 million to 12 million polygons/second (at peak) (assuming actual game conditions with complex models, fully textured, fully lit, etc.)*
  • Main RAM:
    • Approximately 24 megabytes in capacity
    • Sustainable latency of 10 nanoseconds
    • RAM type is 1T-SRAM
  • Auxiliary RAM:
    • Approximately 16 megabytes in capacity
    • 81 MHz in speed
    • RAM type is DRAM
  • Disc Drive:
    • Drive type is Constant Angular Velocity (CAV)
    • Average access time is 128 milliseconds
    • Data transfer speed is between 2 megabytes per second and 3.125 megabytes per second
  • Disc Media:
    • Based on DVD technology
    • Diameter is 3 inches in length
    • Producer is Matsushita (Also known as Panasonic)
    • Approximately 1.5 gigabytes in capacity
  • Controller Ports: 4
  • Memory Card Slots: 2
  • Analog Audio/Video Outputs: 1
  • Digital Video Outputs: 1 *
  • High-speed Serial Ports: 2
  • High-speed Parallel Ports: 1
  • Power Supply: AC Adapter DC12 volts x 3.25 amperes
  • Physical Measurements of Entire System: 110 mm (H) x 150 mm (W) x 161 mm (D). [4.3"(H) x 5.9"(W) x 6.3"(D)]
* The Digital output was removed in a hardware revision in May 2004. Models without the port are DOL-101. [1] (


  • Controller (Standard colours include Purple, Black, Orange, Silver or Purple and clear. There are also many limited edition controllers available such as a split Silver and Red, with the Mario "M" logo replacing the regular GameCube logo seen on standard controllers. There are also specially shaped controllers, such as a blood-spattered chainsaw released to coincide with Resident Evil 4.)
  • Wavebird (RF wireless controller)
  • Memory Card (59, 251 or 1019 blocks. A maximum of 127 files can be stored on a memory card)
  • GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable (for games that support connectivity between the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance)
  • Modem or Broadband adapter (for internet or LAN play)
  • Game Boy Player (to play Game Boy games on the television, using either a GameCube controller or a connected Game Boy Advance)
  • Component video cable (for progressive scan (480p) support) which requires a GameCube with Digital Video Output. Less than one percent of GameCube owners used 480p, therefore the digital output was eventually removed from the design to reduce the system's manufacturing costs. See System Specifications above and Official Information (
  • VGA Adapter. Allows GameCube play on a standard computer monitor. Several are available from Lik-Sang (, however, a game supporting 480p combined with the Component Video cable above, and the VD-Z3 ( (which has a monitor pass-through) or this ( can give Progressive Scan display quality on a computer monitor.
  • In PAL regions, an RF cable for connection to older televisions, and an RGB SCART cable for high-quality connections
  • Bongos for use with the music games Donkey Konga, Donkey Konga 2 and Donkey Konga 3, and the Donkey Kong platform title Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.
  • Microphone, which plugs into memory card slot, for use with Mario Party 6.


Nintendo has used several advertising schemes for the GameCube. The earliest commercials displayed a rotating cube video, which would quickly morph into the GameCube logo. A voice whispered "GameCube". This was usually after the normal commercial for a GameCube game. Later on, Nintendo incorporated a video clip before the normal clip for the GameCube game would begin, similar to the brief PlayStation 2 logo before a commercial featuring the game. It basically rotated around what appeared to be the top of a GameCube console, with the lettering being slightly 3D. The lettering would begin as a wave, only to settle on the top of the pictured console. Game Boy Advance commercials featured a similar style, only to replace the top of the console with the GBA's D-Pad. More recently, Nintendo has been advertising in the "Who Are You" tangent, essentially marketing the wide range of games Nintendo offers. The Who Are You logo is similar to graffiti lettering. Most of the Who Are You commercials advertised different games, yet some developers incorporated the slogan into their own advertisements. One example is the advertisement campaign for Square Enix's GameCube-exclusive Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. One of the newest games with this on its commercial is WarioWare: Twisted!

Nintendo Revolution

Nintendo is expected to release the GameCube's successor, previously code-named named Project Revolution, but now entitled the Nintendo Revolution, in 2006.

See also

Template:Dedicated video game consoles

External links

  • Warp Pipe ( - Application allowing LAN-compatible GameCube games to be played online
  • Xlink Kai ( - Another application that allows LAN-compatible GameCube games to be played onlinede:Nintendo GameCube

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