The Big Question: Xbox vs GameCube

The Big Question: Xbox vs GameCube

In terms of sales, it was the generation that was a complete rout. The PlayStation 2 was just a ridiculous, runaway success. Nothing could compete. But the race for second? That was far more competitive. Which console did you prefer? The GameCube or the original Xbox?

I could legitimately make a case for either.

The GameCube had arguably the best line-up of exclusives of any console ever made. Metroid Prime, Wind Waker, Pikmin, Mario Sunshine, Resident Evil 4 (for a while). The Xbox had the Halo series, Fable, Ninja Gaiden, Splinter Cell.

The Xbox was a powerful machine that ran multiplatform games beautifully and the GameCube had some seriously innovative technology glued to its innards.

As much as I loved the Halo series, my call would have to be the GameCube. The exclusive line-up was too powerfully awesome. There’s the ones I mentioned above, then there were the outliers: Mario Kart: Double Dash, Super Smash Bros. Melee, F-Zero GX. Yep, the GameCube had some serious exclusives.

[polldaddy poll=8342941]


  • Don’t think I ever played a gamecube and I only bought xbox after I bought a 360 and rarely used it.

  • I nearly voted for Xbox purely because of XBMC but had to go with GCN because it was a large part of my childhood.

  • Don’t forget Eternal Darkness.

    And I swear I played a splinter cell game on my GCN.

    Imagine the amazing shit we would have gotten if Rare stuck around.

  • Gamecube was a rare breed of console that did party and AAA games just as well. I loved my 360, but it was pretty hopeless when you want to go beyond FPS party games.

  • Extremely fond memories of my Xbox starting the day I opened it (Christmas Day 2001/2002?). Games like Halo, Blinx, Jet Set Radio, Kung Fu Chaos (this really needs to make a comeback) and so on. Loved the chunky look and feel of the console and the ‘Duke.’

    In fairness, I never owned a GameCube and didn’t have regular access to one. The only game I remember playing on it was Skies of Arcadia. I would have enjoyed it for sure, for games like Mario Part and Smash Bros. However, I don’t think that would alter my decision. I’ve been team Xbox since the day I got one and I’m happy like that.

  • Gamecube…if only for the fact it introduced me to the Tales series and I still love that series to this day.

  • Gamecube for sure. I still remember going to the midnight launch. Rogue Squadron, XGIII, Wave Race, Eternal Darkness, Pikmin, RE4. So many amazing games.

    • I still play this in 4 player split screen co-op on the 360 regularly. Here’s hoping that the new one has it.

  • Xbox for me. I bought one very early on with Halo and it was love at first sight. I imported an Xbox Live kit from the UK before they were released here. Set up an account with a fake UK address and the rest was history. To this day I have not had more fun online than playing games like Unreal Championship, Topspin, PGR2, Rallisport 2, Midtown Madness 3, RB6 Black Arrow and of course Halo 2. Apart from CS and UT on PC I hadn’t played much online before this and being able to play these games and voice chat with my mates was amazing. It also helped all my best friends had an Xbox and eventually Xbox live. Every night we played Halo 2 for 2 years. We even went to MS HQ in Sydney for a Halo 2 tournament. It was a magical time.

    • I found that while going through my garage on the weekend. If only I could remember where my GameCube is.

      • The Wii (but not the Wii U) is backwards compatible with the GC, although the last version skipped the GC controller ports. I wouldn’t expect that finding an unused Wii would be hard.

        In any case, despite not being a Nintendo fanboy in any fashion, I probably have to say the GameCube, if only for Tales of Symphonia and Baiten Kaitos. Never having gotten into FPSes, the XBox’s accomplishments in that area leave me flat.

        • I actually sold my sisters GameCube compatible Wii for her a few months back. Mine is somewhere. I gave it to a friend so it’s probably sitting in a box in his garage. They both look like garbage in terms of picture quality, so I’d rather go with my original GameCube hardware where I don’t have to use a Wii remote to load the game.

  • I loved the GameCube -especially that comfy as hell controller.

    It didn’t have a huge range of great games but the top tier ones -Zelda: Wind Waker, Eternal Darkness, F-Zero GX (need more F-Zero games!), etc- still stand up well today.

    I never played much of the original XBox but found the controller clunky & no games outside of the original Fable grabbed me much (even that was limited in appeal because of Lionhead Studio’s over promising everything as usual).

  • Gamecube for sure, I loved it so much, Rogue Squadron games were fantastic on it as well as the awesome Clone Wars game (those graphics blew me away when Yoda brought down the escaping droid ships and erupted a cloud of dirt across the battlefield) and it had some of the best multiplayer games, all the Mario Games like Golf (seriously Nintendo Golf on Wii U please, it’s a perfect couch multi game so wasted on the 3DS), Soccer, Tennis, Kart. So many good memories like FF Crystal Chronicles (still get the music in my head often) & Tales of Symphonia (my first in the tales series). I still have 90% of my Cube collection, couldn’t bring myself to trade them in & still break them out every now and then for multiplayer fun. One last point, the lighting effects on it were superior to the Xbox & PS2, the best example I can think of is Soul Caliber 2 (featuring super OP link) it just looked so much more vibrant on the Cube. I really wish it had done better.

  • As someone who owned both Gamecube and Xbox, Gamecube no question. Had the best exclusives of all three consoles of that generation.

    Also, as a developer, I just wanted to add that Sony was very lucky the PS2 sold the way it did, which basically forced devs to put their games on it or risk losing significant sales, because that thing was a hulking pile of crap to develop on and Sony’s support was useless unless you were a first party developer.

    • Technically both systems were very similarly specced. The Xbox could do true widescreen but was about it’s only real advantage over the GC. Xbox also had more memory overall, but the GC distributed it’s memory a bit differently.

      Look at a game like Soul Calibur 2 and try to tell me which one was the GC and which was the Xbox (without resorting to looking for the bonus characters :P)

      • The Xbox was more powerful and more importantly, it was more forward-thinking. Built-in hard drive, made using commodity parts and built around network-based gaming. There are games on the Xbox that the Gamecube simply couldn’t have done, but there’s nothing on the Gamecube that couldn’t have worked on the Xbox.

        • “More powerful” is in the eye of the beholder.

          I developed games for both the Xbox and Gamecube and I can tell you that while the Xbox was slightly better specced on paper, in reality the differences between it and the Gamecube were very minor. The Xbox did have its network capabilities going for it, definitely, as well as its hard drive (though not many games actually made good use of it).

          One thing I did love about developing on the Xbox was Microsoft’s developer support and developer tools. It was awesome. Sony’s for the PS2 was abysmal, as I stated in an earlier post. Nintendo’s was somewhere in between.

  • I never owned an original xbox so the gamecube gets my vote.

    Mario Sunshine, Wind Waker and Double Dash were just too good anyway.

  • The Xbox has one exclusive game in my opinion which really made it worth being in support of the console; Midtown Madness 3. A true classic title filled with vehicular mayhem that didn’t need to be outlandishly ridiculous to be enjoyable, although it is in its own way. It’s a shame Microsoft hasn’t worked towards developing a sequel that holds true to the series’ name and delivers the exact same kind of gratification of the other games in its series, or at least considered developing such a game.

    That being said, I cannot deny the enjoyment I get from playing a variety of GameCube titles, exclusive to the console or not, which included very unique mechanics, aesthetic design and stories – I like both very much.

  • Xbox. That original interface… so awesome. Extremely convoluted, but awesome. But I never owned a GC, only experience being playing it at a friend’s house, and didn’t care for it.

    Also, Halo:CE, the game that changed me from “games are a cool way to waste a bit of time, but I prefer to stick my nose in a book” to “I now have nowhere near enough time to read cos I play games instead”.

  • I completely missed this whole generation of gaming. I guess I had a PS2 for a while, though.

  • I was just considering buying a backwards compatible wii just for gamecube games plus nintendo are releasing gamecube controllers for smash soon. I really want to get mgs twin snakes I have a feeling it will never be released again. But at the same time I’m hesitant as im hoping they will release GCN games on WiiU virtual console. Plus rogue squadron looks amazing.

  • I was firmly in the PS2 camp that generation, before switching to the Xbox. I never had a Gamecube, because frankly it never impressed me. I played on one multiple times at friend’s places and it was ok, but never really felt the need to own one.

    On the other hand I wanted an Xbox almost as soon as I played Halo for the first time.

  • The original XBOX always felt like a port machine to me. I know if I had of actually had one it was way ahead of it’s time in terms of the operating system, but the GameCube just had that long list of top tier exclusives that really stood the test of time. The XBOX didn’t really feel like it was offering anything I couldn’t get on a PS2.
    For me it was the first generation where the consoles had enough power to make truly detailed 3D worlds and GameCube really hit home with that. Everyone else was struggling with balancing size and detail, small detailed interiors and wasteland open areas, while Nintendo were spot on. Grab a copy of Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, Luigi’s Mansion, Wind Waker, etc today and you’ll notice they’ve all got way more polished/detailed environments than anything else on the market.
    First and second party developers always have a pretty good grasp on what Nintendo hardware can do but I think with the GameCube they outdid themselves. Metroid Prime plays like it has no hardware boundaries. It’s like there wasn’t a single moment of compromise in the entire games development.

  • My vote is for the Gamecube. Too many titles I love dearly were on that console.
    Own a Xbox as well if only for Steel Battalion and that awesome controller.

  • Wow. Tough one.

    The Xbox was my day to day console and got WAY more use than the Gamecube.
    The Gamecube had a handful of absolute classics.

    MS was doing something that Nintendo wasn’t doing and that was forging new ground and new franchises.
    Metroid (and arguably Pikmin) stands out to me as the only game on the Cube that was undisputedly both new AND clearly better than the versions which existed on the N64.
    Rogue Squadron, Mario Sunshine, Starfox, F-Zero, Wind Waker, Mario Kart, Mario Party….. all great games in their own right but none of which I could say are certainly better than their N64 predecessors.

    Games like Knights of the Old Republic, Forza Motorsport, Halo 1 and 2, Chronicles of Riddick, Project Gotham Racing, Fable and Elder Scrolls III were classics in their own right and were supported by a MUCH better 3rd party lineup than the Gamecube

    I also think that the fact that most of the Xbox’s library had successors that blew them out of the water somewhat tarnishes the legacy of how good they were at the time. KOTOR became Mass Effect, Forza has grown in leaps and bounds, Morrowind became Skyrim….. plenty of those Gamecube games are STILL the benchmarks in their franchise or at least close to it, not because they were perfect at the time but more because they were closer to a golden age when Nintendo was still doing new and interesting things.

    I’m going out on a limb and saying that the Xbox was the better console, and that the Gamecube’s legacy has been better protected by the fact that Nintendo have done so little since.

    • Rogue Squadron II and III were better but they was dragged down by their insistence on making the games movie centric rather than being about Rogue Squadron itself.

      Mario Sunshine was way better than Mario 64. Mario 64 was new, well made and it was great for the first real attempt but it was still experiemental and very hung up on making a 3D experience work. Sunshine was comfortable with it all. It was confident. It’s only major problem was that Nintendo assumed everyone who played it had played enough Mario 64 to be as comfortable in 3D environments as they were. It was a bit of a blow to the ego of some Mario fans and a lockout for new fans.

      Gamecube games are STILL the benchmarks in their franchise or at least close to it, not because they were perfect at the time but more because they were closer to a golden age when Nintendo was still doing new and interesting things.

      I dunno about that. I think the GameCube was just the point where Nintendo finally hit that point with 3D that they were on with 2D on the SNES. Since then they’ve made good use of the extra power but haven’t really needed it for anything.
      I get what you’re saying, it’s not like Luigi’s Mansion was a genre that evolved like Resident Evil did with survival-horror, but when Luigi’s Mansion 2 eventually hit the original didn’t feel dated at all. I think that’s the key. None of the GameCube classics really need more than a resolution patch. The newer Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Mario Party, etc games are great but like Street Fighter II the GameCube versions of those games are all still very playable. It’s not like say, Gears of War where the originals were a ton of fun but it’s tough going backwards.

      • Rogue Squadron II and III were better but they was dragged down by their insistence on making the games movie centricApart from III, which was also dragged down by those god-awful on-foot missions 😛

  • Voting for Xbox because that’s the only one other than PS2 i actually regularly played that Generation (My Cousin had one). i did play a smidgen of GC but not enough to make a real decision on whether its good or not.

  • I voted for Xbox, purely because it was what I got first. Being devastated by the death of my beloved Dreamcast, I jumped ship to Xbox for Shenmue 2, Gun Valkyrie, Jet Set Radio Future, SEGA GT and Project Gotham Racing, Panzer Dragoon Orta and House of the Dead 3. What I got in addition to those SEGA classics was a great, diverse library of games and usually the best multi-platform ports. I love the Gamecube, but I love the original Xbox a tad more.

    EDIT: Also, OutRun 2. How could I forget that?!?!?

    • House of the Dead 3Xbox had a light gun? Did not know this, don’t think I ever saw it.

      It’s the one thing missing from the GameCube’s lineup of ridiculous peripherals. I so badly wish it had a light gun. Would’ve been the last generation for it, too. HotD2&3 Return as well as Overkill on Wii were awesome, letting you scale the pointer movement to give 1:1 aiming and turn the cursor off for a proper light gun experience. But it’s still not quite the same.

  • I think both are great. I’m off work for a couple of weeks so I’m currently catching up with some GC classics like Twin Snakes and Rogue Squadron 2 & 3 and Eternal Darkness. (about to do the final chase in Twin Snakes!)

    I voted Xbox as it was my most played system of that generation. I walked into EB with a bunch of stuff to trade to buy a PS2 and walked out with an Xbox. (it was a better deal at the time for me).

    I didn’t buy a PS2 until the PS3 was almost out and I bought a GC after the Wii had come out (it was about $30 for the silver one!) I now have a Wii that I’m mostly using for GC games at the moment as I can’t find the power supply for the GC. I have to say that the Wavebird is a great controller though. The first to do wireless well – out of the controllers that I’ve used anyway.

    I think they’re all great systems but I had most of my games for Xbox at that time.
    It was my first online console, I had the HDD full of music so I could play it in some of the games (‘Smack my bitch’ up while being chased by cops in GTA was so awesome!) and it was my first DVD player. And with all the music I had on the HDD it was also used as a jukebox for a number of parties in my younger days.

  • as much as i loved my gamecube a sunk many hours into amazing games. most of those games consisted of need for speeds, and mario partys and one of my favourite RPGs – Tales of Symphonia. but i think in regards to games on xbox, i had some really awesome games. the Burnout series, Def Jam Fight for New York, Mashed (available on steam now), Time Splitters 3, Crimson Skies, Halo 1 and 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (one of my all time favourite games) and the remake of Conkers Bad Fur Day, another favourite.

    i had the GC first and still have it today, hooked up to my flat screen while my xbox sits in a box somwhere. i was a huge nintendo fan back when those consoles were at war and didnt get an xbox out of principle. but when i think about the enjoyment i had, by myself and with others – i think the xbox won out for me, as much as i hate to admit it.

    EDIT: oh, and how could i forget GTA San Andreas on xbox.

  • I never owned a PS2 but I bought both the Gamecube and the Xbox at launch. I would go with the Gamecube for mario sunshine / kart, wind waker, f-zero to name a few.

    Favorite game on the xbox though would definitely have been burnout3.

  • Xbox for me only because I had the chance to play more memorable games on it:
    KOTOR, Ninja Gaiden, GTA Trilogy, Forza, PGR, POP Sands of Time

    I didn’t have much time to play with the GameCube. Only memorable game was Zelda Wind Waker.
    Never finished Metroid Prime, Paper Mario unopened, and I bought RE4 Limited Edition second hand for $90 which I still haven’t played to this day yet! :’-(

    I have such a huge List of Shame games to play…

  • Don’t forget all the great SEGA exclusive games on Xbox. Panzer Dragoon Orta, Jet Set Radio Future, Gunvalkyrie

  • Gamecube just on Wind Waker and Rogue Squadron II. The rest of the lineup was just gravy.

  • Personally I ended up going with PS2 (the Budokai games won me over – especially 3, plus backwards compatibility).

    As much as I liked some of the games on Xbox (mainly both Halo’s which I played on friends xbox’s and the port of DOOM 3) and the Controller S over the gamecube controller, I’d say it’s actually the Gamecube that wins out between the two. There’s just MORE interesting and unique games on it – many of which are still interesting and hold up today IMO.

  • Add to the list Baten Kaitos, Tales of Symphonia, Four Swords Adventure and Mario Strikers!

    I remember that throughout the life of the XBOX, the only game that ever managed to interest me was that one set in Oddworld (of Abe’s fame) and that was just riding on the nostalgia of the previous game.

  • I have to give it to xbox just so many halo LAN party’s but the gamecube was amazing both of which I preferred over the ps2 never have really liked playstation but still respect them very much!

  • Halo

    Metroid Prime 1/2
    Twilight Princess
    Mario Sunshine
    Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
    Super Smash Melee
    Pikmin 1/2
    Resident Evil 0/REmake/4
    Double Dash
    Killer 7
    Veautiful Joe (sp?)
    F-zero GX
    Chibi Robo
    MGS Twin Snakes
    Eternal Darkness
    Final Fantasy CC
    Baiten Kaitos

  • The Wii plays a lot of the old Gamecube games if I recall correctly, but if we’re solely basing on their library, I’ll go with the Cube. More interesting library than the Xbox, even though I still got an Xbox recently so I could play Phantom Dust and hopefully find a copy of the Otogi games sometime.

    The Xbox games also had a lot of ports to the PC and the PS2, but the Gamecube’s exclusives don’t reach the PC.

  • Born and bred a Nintendo boy, starting with my NES. Sadly, Nintendo lost me to Sony a year or two into the N64’s life. The appeal of stuff like MGS, FFVII and it’s like seduced me to Playstation. After all the good developers like Squaresoft jumped ship and went to PS – which I primarily blame on Nintendo’s stubborn attachment to cartridges one generation too long – I couldn’t resist.

    An Xbox purchase followed not too long after their release as well. Have a lot of good memories, although honestly, while a great machine, they didn’t have the sense of identity Xbox does these days. But you have to give it to Microsoft – seriously. I remember laughing out loud when I heard they were making a console. ‘Look at these jokers! Silly MS, stick to PC stuff, there’s no way you’ll break into this market.’ How wrong I was.

    Thus, I missed the Gamecube completely. I still, to this day have never even held a GC controller. I wasn’t in the slightest interested in Nintendo’s new, changing direction at that point. Being a teenager, I wanted ‘serious’ (see ‘explosions’, ‘guns’ and ‘CGI cutscenes’) games. But every person I know who’s had a GCN in their lives will sing to the high heavens of it being the halcyon days of gaming – so sometimes I feel like I did miss a special boat there.

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