Released in 2001, the GameCube followed the N64 and brought with it an impressive library of games. It featured one of the best controller designs of all time (which is still used by dedicated Switch players), but it didn’t work due to a lack of online features and a limited launch library.
Compared to its competitors, the Xbox and Playstation 2, many gamers felt the GameCube was missing something. However, the system contained a library of fantastic games that are still worth playing today – if you can get your hands on them.
This list of the best GameCube games isn’t easy to emulate or find in the wild, but if you do, they’re worth it.
We also made a great video on our YouTube channel where we share our favorite games and show you the gameplay. You can watch it below:
Published in 2001, Animal Crossing magazine has a strange concept: you live in a city and are friends with your neighbors, pay off debts to expand your home, and live a simple idyllic life. The game is played in real time and the seasons in the real world are reflected in the game. Sure, you could “travel in time” by changing the clock on the GameCube, but that distracted from the essence of the game.
If you weren’t able to save before turning off the console, the next time you start playing, a mole named Mr. Shake will appear and start yelling at you. It acquired a cult following that continues today, especially with the recent release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch
TimeSplitters 2 was one of the wackiest games in the GameCube lineup. TimeSplitters 2, one of a limited number of FPS games on the console, had a weird single-player mode with a story spanning ten levels all about traveling through different periods of time and preventing the evil group from destroying the story.
However, the real value of the game lies in its multiplayer mode. It offered entertainment on par with the GoldenEye on the N64, offering levels set throughout history with appropriate weapons. There is a certain charm about roaming Chicago in the early 20th century with a laser cannon. The game also has a Map Maker, with which you can create your own level and characters – from a tank on the body of a robot to a Harley Quinn doppelganger.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker departs from the traditional formula and combines Link with a sentient boat called the King of Red Lions. The world of Hyrule is submerged, with only isolated islands remaining. Wind Waker also departed from its previous name in favor of a more mesh-filled graphic style.
The swimming element is different from anything seen in Zelda before (or after), and it’s worth seeing for yourself. Wind Waker will give you hours of adventure that will secure it as one of the top 5 Zelda games of all time.
Super Smash Bros Melee
Considered one of the greatest video games ever created – and definitely one of the best games for the GameCube – Super Smash Bros Melee took the phenomenon that Super Smash Bros was and took it to the next level. Melee has kept all the characters from the original games and introduced completely new faces, including those from Fire Emblem, a game that has never been released outside of Japan before.
Super Smash Bros Melee introduced new single-player gameplay elements, trophies and multiplayer modes that helped transform it from a fun mixed fighting game to one of the most popular competitive fighting games in history.
Super Mario Sunshine
The Super Mario franchise has always featured new gameplay elements and customizations with every iteration of the game, and Super Mario Sunshine is no exception. Ditching the usual stomp and smash gameplay in favor of F.L.U.D.D., a backpack that shoots water that can clean up the graffiti left behind by Shadow Mario.
All of this takes place on Delfino Island, a tropical resort where Mario, Peach and Toad rest. Super Mario Sunshine is not spoken of like Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy, but it is the best Mario game on the GameCube.
Pikmin is a game that mixes puzzle and real-time strategy elements, and the result is delightful and challenging in equal measure. The game is named after the plant-like creatures known as Pikmin, creatures that inhabit an unknown planet that the protagonist falls on.
You take on the role of Captain Olimar and must befriend Pikmin and use their unique abilities to restore parts of your spaceship before you run out of air. There are several different Pikmin colors, each with different abilities that can be used to repair the ship.
The Metroid series has been a longtime fan favorite, but before Metroid Prime it was always a 2D side-scrolling platformer. Metroid Prime reimagined the series as a first-person shooter, but retained the same feel of previous games.
Metroid Prime is a heavy exploration challenge, with many areas locked behind doors that can only be opened after you gain the ability. You take on the familiar role of Samus Aran and fight your way through the planet Tallon IV, eventually facing old fan favorites like Ridley and Metroid.
While Metroid Prime is definitely different from Super Metroid or any other 2D game, it remains one of the best games in the series. Even now, fans are eagerly awaiting the release of Metroid Prime 4 for the Nintendo Switch, years after the first three games.
Which game did you choose for the GameCube? Have we stopped mentioning any games? Let us know in the comments below.