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31/31 Day 3: Memories of a Companion (Game) Cube

       Hello everyone, and welcome to day 3 of my 31 for 31! Today’s focus is a look back at my Gamecube, which not only is my favorite gaming system I’ve ever owned, but also my first console I’ve ever owned.
       
       I got my Gamecube for my 5th birthday. I remember after my friends headed home, and I was in the process of opening my presents, my mom and dad showed me one last unopened present. It was very large, and had a lot of wrapping paper on it. As a kid, both of these things give the present a lot of allure. I ripped open the packaging, only to notice the big Nintendo logo on the side of the box. I was thrilled. After having had my Game Boy for a few years at that point, and loving that system, I was super excited to get started with my new console. The console was a brand-new Black Gamecube, and it had a memory card, and a black controller. The console also came bundled with Mario Party 4, which yes, has a horrible reputation among the Game Informer staff, but is a series that I personally enjoy. 
              
       One hour of setup later, I was ready to play my new system. I put many hours into Mario Party, always choosing Donkey Kong or Luigi. Those two were my absolute favorites. About a year into getting the console, I had a few games for the system, including Animal Crossing, Nascar Thunder 2003, and Fifa World Cup 2002.  Even more years passed in my childhood, and I continued to put hours into that GameCube. NBA Live 2004, Madden 2005, Madden 06, Madden 07, Madden 08, Super Monkey Ball, Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Kart Double Dash, Mario Super Strikers, Mario Superstar Baseball, Lego Star Wars, Backyard Football, Sonic Super Star Collection, Sonic Riders, and The Legend of Spyro all found their way onto my shelves.
 
       One of my favorite things about the system at that time of my life was that many of my friends had the system as well. So any time I would go over to a friend’s house, we would all bring our games, our controllers, and of course, our memory cards. The result was many hours playing some great multiplayer games.
 
       But why do I love the system so much? Well, it all starts with the games. In my opinion, a great system has a great games library to go with it. Metroid Prime, The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Madden 05 and 08, FIFA World Cup 06, NHL 06, NBA Live 04, NASCAR Thunder 2003, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Strikers, Mario Kart Double Dash, Sonic Heroes, F-Zero GX, Star Fox Assault, Kirby Air Ride, Beyond Good and Evil, Animal Crossing, Pokémon Coliseum, Metal Gear: The Twin Snakes, Pikmin 1 and 2, and many, many more amazing games were played, and had many hours put into them. 
                                             
       The controller of the system wasn’t half bad either, with two bumpers, an analog stick, a d-pad, and 4 face buttons. It also had a Z button that was semi-useful, and of course, the absolute monstrosity of the C-stick. However, C-stick aside, the rest of the controller was great. It still falls behind the Xbox and PS2 controller, but it did the job just fine.
 
       The system also had solid graphics for its time, and actually held up to the standards set by Sony and Microsoft, which sounds insane to think about nowadays. In fact, my Madden 08 game for the system still beats the graphics of all of my sports games on the Wii. The graphics also hold up well in the signature cartoony style that Nintendo is well known for. Games like Super Mario Sunshine and Wind Waker are still impressing gamers with their graphics to this day.
 
       The system also had a memory card saving system that was functional enough. While it was frustrating to manage the memory card, most could hold enough data for 12 or so games, more so if you weren’t playing sports games. This was nice, and was especially cool in games like Animal Crossing, when you could just bring your memory card over to a friend’s house and have them visit your town.
 
       The Gamecube also had LAN connectivity, which might pale in comparison to online play of today, but back then, it was awesome to have a bunch of Gamecubes hooked over LAN. Mario Kart Double Dash is a game that has some fond LAN memories with me; for I would have big 8-player LAN races with my friends.
 
       In addition to all of this, the Gamecube also had some cool extra features as well. If you would press the Z button on controller one while the system was starting up, a dolphin noise would play, which was a tribute to the codename Nintendo gave it during development, “Project Dolphin”. In addition to this, if all 4 controllers held down the Z button during start up, the Gamecube would make a Japanese Samurai noise, which was always my personal favorite. Not only did the system have these cool extras, but it was incredibly reliable too. I’ve had my Gamecube for 12 years now, and it still works like new. No red ring of death, no nothing.
 
       To sum it all up, the Gamecube is a console that I have fond memories of. It might be remembered by many as an average console, especially given how great the PS2 was and how the Xbox had internet connectivity, but the Gamecube holds its own in my opinion. The Gamecube has one of the best game libraries around, a solid controller, memory cards that were functional for the time, local internet play, good graphics, and of course, a cool little touch in the start-up sounds.
 
       What do you think of the Gamecube? Do you have a favorite console? Please feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll answer back as soon as I can. (Also, all images used are not mine; please give credit to the original creators. Thanks.)
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