The sales numbers for the Gamecube were a slight disappointment for Nintendo, with ten of their consoles selling better. But at almost 22 million units sold, it’s hard to think of it as a flop, by any means.
With its incredible controller design and large collection of fan-favorite games, the Gamecube has come to be celebrated by the retro gaming community.
Retro handheld consoles are *nearly* there when it comes to Gamecube emulation. And with the abundance of modifications available for the original hardware allowing for custom controllers, sd card game loading and hdmi video output… it has never been a better time to revisit this console.
At a glance, it is easy to see why the game collection offered on the Gamecube has been a very convincing reason to still have this device under your television, over twenty years after its release.
So which of the 600+ games did consumers snap up most? Let’s find out which are the best selling Gamecube games of all time.
Table of Contents
1. Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)
The true king of “you can’t beat me” party games on the Gamecube, Super Smash Bros. Melee was the follow up to the Nintendo 64 classic.
Taking that game’s original fighting style and simple controls, and amplifying it to the umpteenth power… it was widely praised and awarded…eventually being thought of as one of the greatest video games ever made.
The game is still played regularly by fans to this day, making appearances in competitive tournaments as recent as 2018.
With single-player modes, twenty six playable characters from beloved franchises throughout Nintendo’s colorful history, up to four-player tournaments, and infinite replayability (though you might need to find some new friends if a night of play gets too personal)… it is easy to see how this game easily found itself at the top of the list of best selling Gamecube games of all time.
2. Mario Kart: Double Dash (2003)
Mario Kart: Double Dash had some pretty large britches to fill. The game sits in a vital position in the Mario Kart series.
The smash hit for the Nintendo 64 releasing in 1996, the less favored release for the Game Boy Advance in 2001, and the ultra successful release on the portable DS systems in 2005… “Double Dash” was the home console successor to Mario Kart 64, giving it a lot to live up to in the party game arena.
The game introduced many new features, including co-op play where two players could occupy the same kart (one driving, one tossing obstacles at other drivers), online multiplayer modes (if you were one of the rich kids who had a LAN adaptor for your Gamecube), and an impressive roster of playable characters.. now in full 3d polygon graphics… another first for the franchise.
While its sales in the series are not the highest, and certainly coming nowhere near the sales of the Nintendo DS outing… this game received almost unanimous praise, making it a commercial success for Nintendo, and absolutely making it one of the must-have games on this list.
3. Super Mario Sunshine (2002)
Speaking of Nintendo Switch HD remasters, Super Mario Sunshine is one of the games to receive history’s stamp of approval with a modern re-release, as a part of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection on the Nintendo Switch in 2020.
I managed to pick up a copy of the collection while living in Osaka, Japan, and Super Mario Sunshine was the game I was most excited to jump into, as I never had any knowledge of it before the announcement of the collection.
To me, everything about this game just feels fun and exciting!
Following Super Mario 64 and preceding Super Mario Galaxy, this game holds an important place in the 3d Mario series. And to many, it did the series justice.
The game literally and figuratively is a vacation… and fans were ready to take the trip with Mario… over 5 million consumers buying a ticket.
Praised for its gameplay, music, and graphics, the game is truly a treat for the senses, and shines on the Gamecube. This was another Gamecube classic whose reputation only continued to grow… receiving near perfect scores from most critics (Nintendo Power calling it a “10/10”).
4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2002)
I am a Zelda fan, through and through. When my grandparents gifted me a Super Nintendo for Christmas, I got the bundle that had one controller and no game, because I told them I wanted The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, not Super Mario World.
When they bought me a Nintendo 64, I got The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, not Super Mario 64. So I did kind of miss out on those two games growing up, and had to experience them much later in life.
Much like Luigi’s Mansion, I missed out on The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker when it was released for the Gamecube… and it is still one of the few Zelda titles I have never played.
Which is a shame, cause it seems like every Zelda game I play ends up being one of my favorite games of all time.
While “The Wind Waker” shares gameplay concepts from the previous titles in the franchise (“Ocarina of Time”, “Majora’s Mask”), developers chose to implement an entirely new visual style for the game, opting for a cel-shaded cartoon look.
Critics praised the release for its unique graphic style, level design, music and story (all elements that the Zelda series has been known for).
Though the game is one of the best sellers in the history of the Gamecube, and widely considered a classic, Nintendo ultimately decided to switch gears with the following release in the series (“Twilight Princess”). But the reputation of “The Wind Waker” grew over time, eventually resulting in two sequels and an HD remake for the Wii U in 2013.
To this day, its standing in the history of gaming seems to be on the rise, making its way to many “Top” lists; Nintendo Power naming it the fourth best game to ever appear on any Nintendo console.
Surely the growing reputation and final sales numbers are evidence enough that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is a must-play for any Nintendo fan, Zelda fan, and anybody with a Gamecube.
For those without a Gamecube, rumors of an HD remaster for the Nintendo Switch are still appearing regularly, so we can only hope *fingers crossed*.
5. Luigi’s Mansion (2001)
I was late to the party when it comes to a lot of franchises on this list, because I did not own a Gamecube growing up. There are a handful of classics that were just never on my radar. When Luigi’s Mansion 3 was announced in late 2018, I thought it looked cool, but I did not have that nostalgia for the series.
I did end up getting that game, and *oh. my. god*. What an amazing experience. It ended up making its way on my top 10 games of all time list.
So I envy those who were able to have that new experience when it first hit the Gamecube in 2001.
Luigi’s Mansion for the Gamecube was the first of the series, dropping players in a spooky mansion full of ghosts (à la Super Mario World), armed with a flashlight, Game Boy “Horror” (Color) and spirit-sucking vacuum cleaner.
The early concepts for Luigi’s Mansion essentially started from a tech demo for the graphic capabilities of the Gamecube.
The reception for that demo was so positive, Nintendo decided to turn it into a full game for the launch of the system. Nintendo credits Luigi’s Mansion as a huge driving force behind the successful launch of the Gamecube (the game sold half a million units in the first week of launch).
Critics praised Luigi’s Mansion for its graphics, music, gameplay and fresh ideas (only criticizing its shorter length in comparison to other Mario games of the time).
To this day, it is still one of those games that has that legendary “started it all” status, and is a must-play if you own a Gamecube.
6. Metroid Prime (2002)
Whether you are a Metroid fan or not (I am one of the ostracized few who just cannot get into it), it is an undeniable force in the gaming world. And Metroid Prime is one of those titles that demands universal respect.
The fourth in the franchise, and the first to see players enter into first-person perspective in a fully 3d world. Nintendo classifies this entry as a “first-person adventure” rather than a first-person shooter. Its gameplay putting emphasis on the formula of exploration and back-tracking that the Metroid franchise has come to be known for.
It was also intentionally designed to be approachable and encourage exploration without risk of punishment for doing so, with its more challenging moments occurring primarily at the boss battles.
To this day, Metroid Prime is still one of the most critically acclaimed video games ever created, appearing on nearly every “Top” list in gaming and the sales are clear evidence of the support of gamers making it a must for this best selling Gamecube games list.
7. Animal Crossing (2001)
Animal Crossing on the Gamecube was developed as an enhanced version of the Japan-only release “Dōbutsu no Mori” from the Nintendo 64. It was a unique approach to a simulation game focusing on non-linear role playing, with little obligation to fulfill any particular tasks in the game. This release defined the “cozy” genre of gaming, giving players a casual experience void of anxiety, pressure or difficult challenges.
Besides establishing a new style of gameplay, Animal Crossing also came packed with many features not fully utilized on the Gamecube before it. It introduced many unique multiplayer options, including the ability to travel to eachothers village. Using the Gamecube’s Game Boy Advance link cable, players could visit an exclusive island and trade those islands with other players.
You either love it or hate it, but sales and reviews seem to prove that this attempt at trying something new was a wild success for Nintendo. And this game laid the foundation for what eventually became one of the most successful games in Nintendo’s history with Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
8. Mario Party 4 (2002)
The first of the Mario Party series to be released on the Gamecube, it is easy to see why this game is the most beloved of the franchise. While still critiqued for its possible lack of new ideas (what sequel isn’t?), the game proved that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it (maybe?).
Winning the Family Game of the Year award at the Interactive Achievement Awards of 2003, and being THE game to invite your friends over on the weekend for a mini-game marathon. It is no surprise that the title sold over a million units in its lifespan.
If you were a familiar player in the franchise, you may have longed for more. But for new players to the series… Mario Party 4 was the pinnacle of party games at the time, besides the number one game on this best selling Gamecube games list.
9. Pokémon Colosseum (2003)
The first game in the Pokémon series to break away from the familiar mold of random monster encounters, Pokémon Colosseum introduced a brand new battle-mode style of gameplay that felt right at home on the console that came to be that friend-vs-friend Saturday night activity.
Its single player mode allowing players to develop their skills and monsters, then invite their friends over for up to four player tournaments and Pokémon trading making it one of the best Pokemon games out there.
The game was well received, both for its originality in the series and its high quality graphics & music.
Pokémon director Junichi Masuda was noted for saying that the series needed a change to the core gameplay style when developing for home consoles versus previous portable entries. And both critics and players were in consensus that this was a step in the right direction for the franchise.
10. Mario Party 5 (2003)
The Mario Party franchise is probably one of the first to come to mind when you think of the Gamecube. The first three entries made their appearance on the Nintendo 64, but it was the semi-portability of the Gamecube that made Mario Party a true party game.
The console had a carrying handle, for heaven’s sake! Clearly Nintendo knew you would be meeting up with friends to battle it out for bragging rights, and the loser likely paying the pizza bill.
Sticking to its familiar gameplay popularized by previous titles in the series, the game was received with mixed reviews.
Some criticizing its lack of originality and perhaps being a little stuck in the past. But nitpicking aside, over eight hundred thousand consumers were convinced that this release was well worth the purchase.
And the countless hours spent at the friends house who had the most lax parents and an ample stock of juice boxes and fruit snacks should be a testament to the game’s cemented spot in this best selling Gamecube games list.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.