The Best GameCube Games

The Best GameCube Games

Ah, the GameCube. It might be my favourite console of all time. The tiny discs, its cute little handle, the Wavebird…yeah, we had some good times together. But the best times we had were with these games in particular.

I’ve made this list — with a little input from others here — based on a couple of considerations. Firstly, my own personal favourites from the time, of course. But also, given the fact we’ve got some perspective on the GameCube now, which ones were the most GameCubey games. The kind of titles that defined (or were representative of) a console that saw Nintendo and its friends take some big risks with some bizarre ideas.

Before we begin, though, spare me your sob stories. If your favourite isn’t here, chin up. Just because I didn’t dig a game — or didn’t think it was good or weird enough to make a list called THE BEST (sorry, Melee) — doesn’t make your own feelings on it somehow invalid!


Look at this fucking video game. It’s been over a decade since it came out, and it still looks better than, oh, everything.


Do you know what was the best thing about this game? It wasn’t the course design, which remains a series highlight. It was the multiplayer madness you could string up if you knew someone lucky/dumb enough to have actually bought the GameCube’s broadband adaptor. Double Dash’s LAN mode could support up to 16 players locally if you had enough consoles and controllers. I only ever played with 8, but there are few feelings in video games as competitive and exhilarating as having that many people going nuts in a single Mario Kart race in the same room.


That. Theme. Song.


A fantastic game (albeit a superior port of the Dreamcast original), which these days is often overlooked and forgotten when compared to games on more popular platforms. Hey, just like the GameCube itself.


What a beautiful disaster this was. All frenetic energy and bright colours and crazy characters and bullshit boss fights. I think more than any other game this really set the tone for what the Platinum guys would go and do once they left Capcom. Of all of the Capcom Five, this was easily the most Gamecubey.


It’s easy to forget, since its been ported and re-released and remastered to hell and back, but this game launched first on GameCube, and it was one of the most amazing things people had ever seen. I have old magazines lying around which say it’s the BEST GAME EVER, and I empathise, because at the time it really did feel like some next-gen witchcraft.


People always complain about a lack of third-party support for Nintendo consoles, but in 2001 the GameCube launched with one of the best Star Wars games ever made. A lot of people prefer the sequel, Rebel Strike, but few games have ever made me sit down with a console at launch and say “holy shit this is next-gen” like Rogue Leader did.


Between this and Wind Waker, the GameCube sure had a knack for encouraging (at least when it came to first-party development) timeless art styles over flashy effects. A smarter Nintendo would have turned this into the world’s #1 cartoon show.


A game so fast I want to puke just thinking about it. Why Nintendo hasn’t brought this game back on more recent consoles boggles the mind.


Hahah, Super Mario Sunshine. Hahahaha. Haha. God. It is a marvel of modern video game development that this title went all the way from “fever dream” to “sitting on store shelves internationally”. These days it wouldn’t even get past the “fever dream” stage, and that’s what I love about both this game and the GameCube itself.


So, there was a GameCube music game called Donkey Konga, and it actually came with these giant plastic bongo drums that you smacked on to play. Like Guitar Hero, only…with drums. It was funny, but the other game to use the bongos was as GameCube as it got. Jungle Beat had the player use a bongo drum to play a platforming game, with movement and attacks performed by…playing the drums and clapping.

And it was fantastic.


Why is this game here? I mean, it’s pretty good, but to sit alongside such notorious company? What’s so special about it?

The controller. The GameCube’s controllers had this weird octagonal “guide” cut into their plastic casing that meant instead of allowing for uninterrupted 360-degree movement of the thumbsticks, you’d eventually run into 8-way “points” that locked the stick into position.

In a game that requires the utmost precision, those guides turned what could have been a frustrating exercise into a zen-like video game experience.


Again, it’s a series that’s part of the furniture now, but on the GameCube — the first time the game had been seen outside Japan — this was a revolution. Sure, I mean, you could kill things and race cars on the Xbox and PlayStation, but paying off a mortage, fishing and moving beds around? Oh man.


Of all the dumb shit Square Enix have done over the years, few things were as gloriously defiant as Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. You needed not only four players in the same room, but all four had to have Game Boy Advances plugged into the GameCube! Meaning almost nobody could ever play it as intended. It’s the most Square Enix thing you can imagine for the GameCube.


So, most games above are excellent video games. Some are good video games with a weird GameCube twist. Odama isn’t that great, but it’s 100% weird GameCube twist.

It was a war game that you played by crushing armies using a giant stone pinball. And it came with a microphone, so you could control your own army using your voice.

Just…watch the video above.


I would have been fired if I left this off the list.


An oddball console deserved an oddball Nintendo series.

This story was originally written in 2015, and has been republished to celebrate the console’s 20th anniversary.


    • Twin Snakes was okay, but it wasn’t as amazing as people made it out to be, and this is someone who spent an extensive amount of time getting his copy. The new cutscenes were just silly most of the time (jumping off a missile and then firing a rocket in the air, really?), and the additions from MGS2 (first person, hanging, etc.) killed a lot of the game’s challenge.

      • If you don’t think silly and MGS go together then I don’t even know what to tell you.

        The newest game lets you steal sheep with a giant balloon while your dog wears an eyepatch and hits people with a taser who were distracted by a cardboard cut-out of a bikini girl and a helicopter blares The Final Countdown.
        In the future, your character’s clone-son will kill a levitating psychic in a gasmask who can read memory cards and then fight your friend who is possessed by the ghost of your other clone son through a transplanted hand.

        MGS is utterly bonkers.

        • Oh I’m completely for silliness in MGS. It’s a major trademark of the series, and one which the series would truly be lesser for not having it. I’ve personally loved it from day dot. But the difference between a Kojima-directed Metal Gear and one that he hasn’t directed is that a lot of the silliness he tries to play straight. Raiden performing breakdance moves with two cow-themed Metal Gears cabled to his legs while a nanomachines-powered kinda-vampire casually dodges them is bonkers as hell, but Kojima plays it off as something that can happen in his games’ universe, and that makes it even more entertaining (Revengeance, for all its failings, somehow manages to get this right a lot of the time, despite being one of the most OOT games ever).

          Twin Snakes, on the other hand, manages to separate the story told through the codec and the more subdued storytelling the more talky cutscenes from the over-the-top action in the rest of the cutscenes. I hate to invoke the guy, but it follows the Michael Bay school of story telling; here’s a bit of story, and now here’s a bunch of shit blowing up and the main characters doing ridiculous shit that takes you out of the experience until it’s time for the next chunk of story. It attempts to ape the cutscenes from the original MGS, but inadvertently removes the substance and soul from them by doing so.

          It’s really the difference between “Snake is going to perform this spectacular stunt in the face of adversity to show his superiority over his opponent and subtly highlight the similarities between himself and his genetic father” and “Snake is going to jump off of a rocket because fuck it, it’s cool as hell”. Not great examples, but I think I’m making my point clear.

          Also, I’m not saying Twin Snakes was a bad game. It was pretty decent. It’s just that the changes (particularly adding some of the additions from MGS2 to a game that wasn’t designed around them or really adapted well enough for them) makes a final product that I argue is at least a bit worse overall than the original.

  • No mention of a game in which you can engineer a scenario where Mario can brutally beat the stupid out of Princess Peach while the crowd calls for blood?

    • Have you tried to play it since then at all?

      I gave it a try a couple of years back, a bunch of us wanted to show a friend. It was just… man. How did I ever play this? At all?

    • Perfect response to that ridiculous list. I kept scrolling and scrolling, ran out of article and just thought, you are kidding me aren’t you pal?

  • In a list of “the most GameCubey games”, no mention of one where you make an ape combo-parkour his way through the jungle by slapping a pair of plastic bongos. Tsk 😛

    Still a great list though. I love my GameCube so much, it really is the best.

  • There are some HUGE omissions here.
    Smash Bros
    Eternal Darkness

    I also love the response about Donkey Konga. That was such a strange game.

    • I was referring to Jungle Beat, but Konga was ace too 😛

      I’m still super salty that Barrel Blast got shifted to Wii, and remain convinced that if it were actually released as a bongo game instead of a waggle game it would’ve been great. And hold similar theories about Super Paper Mario, and how it would’ve been much better off without the stupid sideways remote scheme and without having to flip the damn thing around all the time to point your searchlight at the screen.

      Also completely on a tangent, I really wish the Cube had a light gun. It’s like the one thing it’s missing, in what seemed like a golden age of weird but awesome peripherals.

      • “Also completely on a tangent, I really wish the Cube had a light gun. It’s like the one thing it’s missing, in what seemed like a golden age of weird but awesome peripherals.”

        They did, it’s called the Wii-remote, it functions via IR though and you had to buy this new Gamecube called a Wii. They also re-released the Gamecube as a handheld called the Nintendo 3DS.

  • Metroid Prime. For realsies.

    I wish I could say Wave Race because it’s one of my favorite N64 games but the GameCube one simply didn’t live up to it’s predecessor.

    • Really? I thought Blue Storm was great, spent so much time fighting to beat it all. It’s funny how it seems to have such a groove to it, it’s really hard to revisit it after a long absence and not totally suck. You really seem to learn how to handle the waves and everything while you’re into it.

  • Does Skies of Arcadia count? That’s a DC port with some features added but also had a weaker sound track to keep it on one disk.

      • The encounter rate on the Dreamcast wasn’t actually that bad.

        To me, it felt like the durability of the bosses were still the same thus the reduced encounter rate actually made them harder and one had to spend more time grinding so one could beat them.

        Don’t get me wrong, it was still a great game but I think the DC version is actually better because of the sound track.

        Heck, I even got the US version because they took the 60Hz mode out of the PAL version rendering it incompatible if one use the VGA box (those luckier than me who actually have one).

    • Nice. I’ve only got the two, myself. It’s just a shame the LAN mode is so unbelievably barebones :/

  • I have to disagree with this list.

    Super Smash Bros. Melee, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, Metroid: Prime, StarFox: Adventures, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess… these games should be on this list.

    I wasn’t a fan of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II Rogue Leader. It looked amazing, sure, but all of the levels were very repetitive, e.g. “destroy in the correct time period, or else you fail because they blow up your “.

  • How has no one mentioned Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance?!?!?!
    where are all my JRPG peeps?
    Tales of Symphonia was amazing and i still havnt tried Skies of Arcadia.

    • Hello there, do try Skies of Arcadia: Legends! It’s in my top 5 along with Tales of Symphonia.

  • i also feel like there should be a mario party game in the list.4, 5, 6 or 7. every version since is shit.
    whats with making everyone move at the same time – im looking at you 9?! and 10??!!

    • oh shit. i forgot Fight For New York and vedetta. Fight for New York was better IMO, but those games did play better on the original XBOX too…

  • Looks like this list has been updated since it was originally published, as a few of the games people are mentioning seem to be on it now. However, there’s still a lot missing. Yes, every one of these kind of lists will get replies saying “You left out game X! This list sucks!” but seriously the fact that these aren’t even mentioned is almost criminal:

    Super Smash Bros Melee
    Killer 7
    Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
    Tales of Symphonia
    Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
    Super Mario Strikers
    Resident Evil (remake)
    Luigi’s Mansion
    Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes
    Starfox Adventures
    Starfox Assault
    Pikmin 2
    Baton Kaitos
    Bomberman Generation
    Lost Kingdoms
    Lost Kingdoms 2
    Soul Calibur II (was multiplatform, but the GC version was the best one)

    Such an awesome machine, so many good games.

  • At first I was like “How is this an article on IGN? This is por even for their standards.” Then i realised I was linked to Kotaku. I think it was the “Hahah, Super Mario Sunshine. Hahahaha. Haha. God.” that gave it away.

  • I’m looking forward to the Wii U version of this in about 10 years time – “there were so many good game on the system!”

  • Was tossing up between Crystal Chronicles and Wind Waker back in the day. Should have gone with Wind Waker because Crystal Chronicles was terribly boring, traded it in for WW after a week.

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