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A Nintendo video game system.
The Nintendo GameCube; originally code-named "Dolphin" during development; abbreviated as GCN) is Nintendo's fourth home video game console, belonging to the Sixth generation era; the same generation as Sega's Dreamcast, Sony's PlayStation 2, and Microsoft's Xbox. The GameCube itself is the most compact and inexpensive of the sixth generation era consoles. The GameCube was released on:
*September 14, 2001 (Japan)
*November 18, 2001 (North America)
*May 3, 2002 (Europe)
*May 17, 2002 (Australia)
The GameCube was first introduced in volume #145 of "Nintendo Power" magazine. "Luigi's Mansion" was the first cover game (volume #150).
Unveiled during Spaceworld 2000, the Nintendo 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, the GameCube Optical Disc, 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 the 12 cm CDs or DVDs used in competitors' consoles), and the discs 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 and contain a 'barcode' unreadable by most DVD drives. This move was mainly intended to prevent piracy of GCN titles, but like most anti-piracy technology, it was eventually cracked. By exploiting a flaw in Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, users were able to connect their GameCubes to their PC's and run homebrew programming on the console. . Later, a special debug mode in the GameCube drive was discovered which allowed the console to read and play from standard mini-DVD-Rs.
The Nintendo GameCube does not have any DVD-movie support. Common reasons cited by Nintendo for using this format are to lower piracy, provide faster loading times, and to make the system cheaper (to avoid DVD-licensing fees) and more compact. The lack of DVD movie support was also a double-edged sword; it did not appeal to the mass audience that 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, boot-leg or pirate software. There was also a DVD-capable variant released by Panasonic in Japan, under license from Nintendo. Called the "Q", it was a modified GameCube that could also hold standard-sized DVD discs and play back both formats. However, it was never released outside Japan and production ceased in December 2003. The Q's different footprint also left it incompatible with the Game Boy Player.
The GameCube system also has the unique capability to connect to Nintendo's portable system Game Boy Advance and SP. The system does not link to the Micro due to the fact that its slot is too small. 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.
The GameCube was designed for ease of 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. Interestingly, with the addition of the Game Boy Player accessory, the GameCube becomes a nearly perfect geometric cube. Despite being more compact than the PlayStation 2 (being that it was released over a year after and kept the power supply separate from the console), the GameCube has superior graphics processing power and better ProLogic sound, but no optical output.
The controller has the traditional directional pad, two thumbsticks, and eight buttons: A, B, X, Y, Z, L, R, and start/pause. Keeping up with the Nintendo 64, it features no select button, but the C buttons have been replaced by an analog C stick, instead. The thumbsticks do not have added "clickable" button functionality—unlike other such consoles of the era—but both L and R shoulder buttons are analog, being able to detect pressure applied to them before "clicking," essentially doubling their functionality.
The GameCube also had a network adapter released during the holiday season of 2002, but Nintendo did not promote or support online gaming anywhere as heavily as Sony or Microsoft. The only high profile title that required the adapter was Sega's "Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II". Instead, Nintendo focused more on Game Boy connectivity. Two separate adaptors were made, one for dial-up phone lines and one for broadband connections.
The GameCube also has few Easter Eggs included in its startup sequence. Tap the "A" Button repeatedly to spin the GameCube logo. Also, holding the "Z" Button while the system boots will replace the normal xylophone musical sequence with squeaks, followed at the end by a child laughing. If you have four controllers plugged in and hold the "Z" button on all of them, you will hear sounds of a Japanese-style drum sequence ending with a small cymbal sound.
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