It’s hard not to view Nintendo’s aesthetically unique GameCube console as a disappointment in sales terms.
The console saw the company make a long-overdue shift to optical media, but stopping short of using standard size DVDs – instead taking the very Nintendo-esque move of using smaller, proprietary discs, mainly to reduce piracy but also to avoid paying licensing fees to the industry’s DVD Forum.
The small discs and toy-like console aesthetics didn’t endear the console to an audience that had been maturing in average age since the introduction of the PlayStation in the mid-90s, which perhaps accounts for the fact that – despite a good number of excellent titles that are still highly regarded to this day – the GameCube simply didn’t fulfil its destiny as Nintendo’s expected comeback (though that has since come to fruition – which is a story for another day, perhaps).
The proprietary discs and overall sales of the console were likely a big factor in many games seeing much smaller print runs and a higher level of rarity and desirability for collectors nowadays, which makes for a sometimes baffling and unexpected list of rarities, as you’ll see.
Note: I’ve kept bundles and limited edition titles out of the list, instead opting for standard editions of games that should have been available at normal retail channels during the console’s lifespan. So let’s take a look at some rare Gamecube games!
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Criminally overlooked on all formats upon release, Rayman creator Michel Ancel’s third person adventure Beyond Good and Evil has since become one of the most highly acclaimed games ever.
An oft-delayed, still not released sequel is still languishing in development hell, but is much anticipated even now.
Though an HD remaster was made available for Xbox Live and PSN in 2011 (and is still playable on current Xbox platforms thanks to backwards compatibility) collectors – aware of the game’s cult status and acclaim – have ensured that the GameCube version is highly sought after, with sealed copies often available for around $81.
Who would have thought that a licensed game featuring Nickelodeon’s perennially popular sea sponge would appear on a list of highly sought after rarities?
A pretty standard 3D platformer – no surprises there, for a game based on a cartoon – which wasn’t exactly met with a glowing reception by critics at the time, the game seems to now be scarce enough that it can command prices in the region of $170 for sealed copies on eBay. Madness!
The low demand is what has now caused units to be a rare find because in all honesty, nobody bought it back in the day, as it certainly wasn’t one of the best Gamecube games around.
Though often incorrectly thought of as a Pokémon rip-off, Digimon was actually conceived as a combat-focused alternative to the more laidback Tamagotchi virtual pet devices – more spin-off than knock-off, as both product lines were created by Bandai.
The popularity of the toy has seen expansion into TV with a cartoon, along with movies, comic books and action figures – so, naturally, the franchise has also seen plenty of entries in the video game world too.
Digimon Rumble Arena 2 is another game that wasn’t particularly warmly received by critics and likely didn’t sell massively upon release, but the continuing popularity of the franchise and small print run on the GameCube has driven prices up for this particular entry – with, at the time of writing, sealed copies available online for around $180.
Another victim of the Dreamcast’s forward-thinking design and sadly premature demise, Phantasy Star Online felt like a game that arrived too soon and reached a far smaller audience than it deserved, at least upon initial release on Sega’s console.
The series has since seen great success on other platforms and its current incarnation – Phantasy Star Online 2 – is still played by millions of players worldwide, even on current gen platforms.
The game’s humble beginnings can be investigated on GameCube by fans, however and – even though the official servers are, understandably, long gone – there are still ways to play online using private servers. Sealed copies are currently selling for hundreds of dollars – with some reaching as high as $274.
Of all the surprising entries on our rare Gamecube games list, the appearance of a Sega college basketball game is perhaps the most astonishing.
Though not the only basketball game available, this game was the only college basketball game for the GameCube and, due to its limited print run, it’s undoubtedly one of the rarest titles for the system.
It was met with a pretty positive contemporary critical response too, which means that NCAA College Basketball 2K3 has the distinction of being highly regarded as well as highly sought after. Only one is listed on eBay at the time of writing, with the pretty steep price set at $350.
Go Go Hypergrind is another game that looks like it should be amazing when you first look at it. A skateboarding game designed by the artists behind Ren and Stimpy sounds great, right?
Well, it feels a little lacklustre once you start playing, and to be honest in a world where Tony Hawks has monopolised the skating market, there’s no real need for another skating game no matter how creative it is.
This game never came out in Japan or Europe either, so its market was limited to just the US. As such, the price to get hold of a copy is now ridiculously high, with mint condition copies coming in at around $499!
Chibi-Robo is one cute customer; that much is apparent from the cover alone before you even start playing the game.
And, like many of us tech-hungry humans, he also has to carry a plug around with him to charge up on the go!
Tasked with making sure the family he lives with are always happy, he’s basically an electronic house-elf that has to do little challenges and carry out tasks in a world that is so, so big for a tiny little dude.
With a cute demeanour comes a big price tag, or at least that’s the case for Chibi-Robo. Prices start at around $140 and can go all the way to $799!
This Sonic Adventure 2 Pack is the first of two titles to ship with 2 games in this list. It’s a rare number, combining Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and Sonic Adventure DX together.
You could easily buy these two games for much cheaper, but that’s not the point of having the ultimate GameCube collection now, is it?
Players that want to bag this rare double-trouble pack will have to pay upwards of $799 for a mint condition copy!
Intelligent Systems are known in the West primarily for their two turn-based strategy franchises – Advance Wars (which began as Famicom Wars) and Fire Emblem.
Though Advance Wars takes a modern, militaristic approach (albeit with a cute veneer), Fire Emblem takes place in a fantasy milieu.
With Fire Emblem seeing a lot more love in recent years than the sadly ignored Advance Wars – latest series entry Fire Emblem: Three Houses on Switch released to great critical and commercial success in 2019, becoming the best selling entry in the series to date), it was inevitable that earlier entries would draw attention from players looking to delve into the history of the series.
Again, the relative scarcity of GameCube games means that Path of Radiance is one of the most difficult entries in the series to acquire – and sealed copies sell around the $799 mark at present.
The next 2 pack on our list of rare GameCube games is a rather strange combo – Metroid Prime and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
Hey, it’s a weird combo, but they’re two of my favourite GameCube games, so I’m not complaining!
Anyone wanting to bag this collection will have to get ready to part with some serious cash. Prices start at $510 and can go all the way to around $879!
PlayStation masterpiece Metal Gear Solid was given a fantastic update for the GameCube with The Twin Snakes, which was developed by Silicon Knights and overseen by series creator Hideo Kojima, along with Nintendo’s peerless Shigeru Miyamoto.
With the addition of game mechanics previously seen in PS2 sequel Metal Gear Solid II, new cutscenes and improvements to enemy AI, it was much more than a straightforward remaster.
The fact that it has only ever been released on the GameCube – with a relatively limited print run, given the enduring popularity of the series – has made The Twin Snakes a highly sought after game for collectors.
Consequently, prices are currently in the region of $74 for copy in used condition – and can go much higher for copies in mint condition. Not bad for affordable rare Gamecube games!
The Dreamcast was a console released way ahead of its time – and didn’t get the recognition or success it deserved during its all-too-brief lifespan.
Not only did it play host to some of the finest arcade ports and best Dreamcast games in history, but it was also home to some absolutely beautiful first party games that – following Sega’s exit from the hardware market – thankfully got a second chance by being ported to other systems.
Though Skies of Arcadia Legends is a little more than ‘just’ a port of Dreamcast RPG Skies of Arcadia, it’s essentially a beefed up version of the game – billed as a Director’s Cut by Sega themselves. It’s a beautiful game that, to this day, is still criminally under-appreciated and unfairly forgotten.
Yet the rare GameCube games version is highly sought after by collectors – with prices that can reach $999+ with seeming ease these days.
I’ve never put Mickey down as being a great basketball player, but he must be with a price like this on his title!
Disney Sports Basketball got pretty poor reviews back in the day, which ultimately led to it selling poorly.
Now, however, like so many other games that sold poorly, it’s making the most of a second, or in this case a ‘first’ surge in popularity, with prices for a sealed copy rocking up to around $1,199.
On the surface, Gotcha Force should have been a massive success. Using robots to battle always makes for good gameplay right?
Well, critics didn’t think so on this occasion.
Luckily, in recent years, fans have seen past the game’s inevitable flaws and found it pretty exciting to play, rekindling interest in the title.
Now, collectors can expect to pay upwards of $172 for the disc or up to $2,200 for a brand new copy!
The sole purpose of Pokemon Box: Ruby & Sapphire is to store Pokemon from previous games on it.
Ok, that’s not only it; you can also play Pokemon Ruby or Sapphire on the GameCube so as long as you have the game cart, a GBA, and a link cable.
Store up to 1,500 from Pokemon FireRed, LeafGreen, Emerald, Sapphire, and Ruby, all for the cost of $1,750 for a used copy.
So what is number one on our top rare Gamecube games list?
Originally in development for the Nintendo 64’s ill-fated 64DD peripheral – which explains the game’s dated, low-resolution look compared to its contemporaries – Cubivore was published by Nintendo in Japan, but picked up by Atlus to release in the US when Nintendo decided not to localise it themselves.
Players control a ‘Cubivore’ – a very basic cuboid-creature – with the intent of rising to the top of the food chain by mutating until they’re strong enough to defeat the powerful ‘Killer Cubivore’.
Mutations are gained by eating other animals and mating, breeding stronger attributes through successive generations of Cubivores. Despite a very adult sounding premise, the lo-fi visuals and whimsical presentation give the game an almost relaxing ambience, with a deep and satisfying mutation system as part of the game’s compelling feature set.
These days, this one-of-a-kind game has seen its value skyrocket, with listings on eBay up to $3,275 depending on its condition. Not bad for a game that Nintendo didn’t think was worth localising for the West.
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Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.