As a lifelong Nintendo fan, the notion of the GameCube Mini makes me feel incredibly excited. I can remember opening up my classic grey GameBoy at Christmas and slotting in Super Mario for the very first time, and the days I spent playing the barrel ride level on Donkey Kong Country with my cousin on the SNES. Christmas 1996 was the year I opened my Nintendo 64 and started collecting the best N64 games on the planet, but it was 2001 when gaming finally turned all the way up to 11.
Sure, we had all seen discs on the PlayStation before, but not ones that were the size of your palm. All of that gaming goodness on such a little disc; it blew my eleven-year-old mind! Games like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Golf suddenly became brighter and clearer. We were introduced to AiAi and GonGon in Super Monkey Ball, and Mario and Link returned with brand new adventures that we had all been waiting for. The GameCube had it all, but will we see a more portable GameCube Mini in 2020?
So how do you make a console that comes with its very own carry handle even more portable? It’s a tough question, but we assume that the GameCube Mini would be half the size with twice as much firepower. The GameCube was an instant hit with its easy-to-hold and ergonomically designed controller, built-in rumble, improved C-button functionality with the C-stick, and no increased weight from rumble paks or memory cards. So how can you improve on that? As a bonafide Nintendo nerd who prides himself on his collection of the best Nintendo 3DS games and every classic controller that the Japanese gaming giants have ever produced, I have a few ideas as to what we might be able to expect from the new classic mini console. Here a few thoughts that I’ve had and a couple of features we at Retro Dodo would like to see.
Improving A Classic – What We Would Want To See From The GameCube Mini
Let’s Start Off With the basics. The GameCube was an instant hit because it was so portable; you didn’t have to carry around multiple cartridges when you wanted to play games at your friend’s house, and the discs could fit inside a CD wallet-sized case that you could stick in your back pocket. The console was big enough to fit inside a backpack or you could transport it via the carry handle if the weather was being kind. The GameCube Mini would have to make these features even more impressive. We’re not talking about going as far as making a roll-out-console that doubles up as a scarf (although that would be something). Still, it would be a nice touch if the GameCube Mini could sit on your hand or fit inside your coat pocket. Think about it; with no need to put game discs inside, the entire catalogue of games could sit on a small memory bank. This thing could be the lightest console on the planet!
The Gamecube played games at a resolution of 480p, which felt like the pinnacle of HD viewing back in the day. In the same way that trying to play classics like Super Mario 64 and Goldeneye on a HD TV feels like a strange ‘Minecraft vs Tetris’ hybrid nightmare, playing GameCube games on a modern 50″ TV will be hardly the same as cruising through Hyrule in BOTW or seeing those crisp-looking Chewtles in Pokemon Sword and Shield. There are numerous HDMI upscaling cables and adapters that you can buy to push the output of your Gamecube to 720p HD quality, but a lot of these cables rely on your TVs ability to upscale content. To cut a long story short or to give you the ‘TL, DR’ version, some are good, and some do ‘naff all. The GameCube Mini has to have a resolution of at least 720p as standard, if not 1080p. There is no reason why it wouldn’t have the power or the ability to be able to give our favourite games the clarity that we have come to expect from other HDMI consoles, and with the technology available to the Nintendo bigwigs, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Can you imagine playing Metroid Prime online co-op? Ok, I would rather play it in the same room as a friend rather than sitting on the sofa alone, but modern lives and busy schedules don’t always allow for those kinds of luxuries. I don’t see why the GameCube Mini couldn’t hook up to the internet; it would be great for downloading new game data or updating your games list, and you could even throw in apps like YouTube and Netflix too. If the Creoqode Lyra can fit all of this and more in it while still looking sleek and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, then there’s no reason why the GameCube Mini couldn’t do it better.
Which Games Would It Include?
The list of the best GameCube games is a long one, and whittling it down to just 15 took me a long time. The other classic mini consoles such as the SEGA Mega Drive Mini and the SNES Mini have between 20 and 30 games, so we can expect to see some of the original launch titles such as Pikmin and Rogue Squadron II on there. Green plumbing fans everywhere would love to see the return of the original Luigi’s Mansion on the GameCube Mini, and classics such as Star Wars Bounty Hunter, The Windwaker, and Super Mario Sunshine would have to make an appearance.
The GameCube was synonymous with multiplayer action. The amount of time that I spent playing Mario Smash Football and Super Smash Bros. with my friends when I should have been studying or breathing fresh air doesn’t bear thinking about, but they were some of the best times of my childhood. Imagine a world where, in a similar vein to the Nintendo Switch, you could port multiple consoles together to give you twice the number of players. Eight players on Super Smash Bros., eight people fighting to play as Bond on Nightfire. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of!
Speaking of multiplayer functionality, we’d need to get rid of those wires if the GameCube Mini was to take off. The WaveBird was the most exciting thing to happen to gaming since Young Link woke up from his stay in the Sacred Realm and realised he was a bad-ass dude with a big-ass sword. We would want to see wireless controllers as standard and for the Bluetooth receivers to be built into the console itself. That would make those Super Smash Bros. free-for-alls with your mates even more epic! It would be nice to see the memory card slots removed in favour of internal storage inside the GameCube Mini console too. Removing all ports from the front of the device would help with making the console a lot smaller too; are you listening to these ace ideas, Nintendo?
I never had the GameBoy Game Player for the GameCube as I already had every GameBoy from the Classic to the SP. Still, if we’re talking about bringing out a GameCube Mini with HD resolution, then it would be nice to see this backwards compatibility pre-built into the device. A little slot for sticking in GameBoy Advance games would allow you to play your favourite Pokemon titles and classics like Grunty’s Revenge up on the big screen without turning your mini console into a gaming battle tank. It’s a nice touch and would be in keeping with Nintendo’s affinity for paying homage to previous consoles.
A Flip-up Screen?
Maybe this is just me getting a bit excited now, but would it be possible for the GameCube Mini to come with a flip-up screen for portable gaming? That would make it an incredible bit of kit to take with you on top road trips with friends or long holidays with the family. The Intec flip-up screen allowed gamers to carry on playing their favourite titles while their parents watched Catchphrase or Juventus VS Man City. I suppose it could have been the early inspiration for the Wii U remote and eventually the Nintendo Switch, or it could have just been an aftermarket accessory that had no part to play whatsoever. I’ll let you decide.
Cost & Release Date
Unfortunately for both you and me, this entire article has been conjecture from start to finish. We don’t even know if Nintendo is actually going to go ahead and turn their purple portable powerhouse into a miniature version of itself. We’re basing this on the hopes and wishes of avid Nintendo gamers and our own ideas as to what features we would like to see in this new console. As for the cost, we would expect the price to be around the same as the SNES Mini but maybe a little more due to the higher resolution – around £150. It is true that we’ve seen self-made GameCube Mini devices on the internet, though whether these are real and reliable or fake and frustrating to play remains to be seen.
Will we see a release date in 2020 or 2021? Only time will tell. If Nintendo is going to make more classic mini consoles, then the next logical project to work on would be the N64 Mini. Whether we see a GameCube Mini or GameCube games appearing on Nintendo’s Online Subscription platform remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though; the GameCube mini would 100% be on my Christmas list if it did make it from a concept theory into a real-life product. We might even treat a lucky reader to one too!
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