entertainment/gamecube.gifThere is fierce competition in the gaming arena between the three top players, the Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Microsoft Xbox. Deciding which hardware to purchase is an important decision because the games for these machines are platform specific.

Once you purchase the game console, you will be purchasing the games to go with it and you are more or less locked into your decision.

Nintendo’s GameCube platform has both good hardware and an excellent assortment of games. It is a compact system that is just plain fun. The cube is 4.3” high, 5.9” wide and 6.3” deep. The set up is easy. Just plug the GameCube into your television, put the game in and turn the cube on. An enclosed pamphlet and on-screen prompts will get you on your way. The GameCube has a standard audio/video-out port as well as a digital-out port for HDTV.

I was amazed by the quality of the graphics. My daughter-in-law came in while we were playing a football game and she thought it was a real game. The graphics move smoothly and the sound is excellent. Although this game console doesn’t have a hard drive like the Xbox, it works quite efficiently without one. The games come on small  3”, disks which are inserted into the top of the console.

Some game makers like Electronic Arts and Sega make games for all the major game systems. Nintendo, however, has a wealth of games that play only on Nintendo systems. These include popular titles like Donkey Kong, Mario, Metroid, Kirby, and Pokémon. Nintendo has the strongest software line-up of the big three, but the thing that I like the most is that there is something for everyone. It is not necessarily a kid’s system since there is plenty for grown-ups to like. Some games like Kirby, allow my three-year-old grandson to play right along side his father and grandfather and all have a good time.

For a compact system, the GameCube has amazing expandability. The Cube has four built-in controller ports, so you can easily plug in extra controllers. A game called Mario Kart had four of us playing and enjoying the game at the same time. There are also 2 memory card slots, 2 high-speed serial ports, and a high-speed parallel port. There are plenty of add-ons including wireless controllers and memory cards for saving your progress in complex games. You can even hook up a GameBoy Advanced to the GameCube for more expandability. There are also adapter ports for modems, but they aren’t available yet. For online play you will want to check out the PlayStation or Xbox. See the Nintendo Web site for complete system specifications.

The controller has two grips and controls for the left and right hand. The placement of the controls allows for comfortable play.  Everything about the Cube seems to be well-designed. There is a handle for easy transfer from one place to another. The ventilation is on the side of the Cube making it easy to play on a thick carpet or bed. I also liked the fact that the Cube itself doesn’t get hot to the touch.

At $99  the GameCube is the cheapest of the three top competitors, and that makes it the best value.


Manufacturer:  Nintendo

Price:  $99