It’s the Right Time for GameCube Virtual Console

Gamecube VC 2

This article is opinionated. You are allowed to disagree.

The Nintendo GameCube, released in 2001, is somewhat of a fan-favorite when it comes to the Nintendo fan base. Mostly due to the various titles it churned out in its entire lifetime. With games such as Super Mario Sunshine, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door and Super Smash Bros. Melee, it essentially gained a following of people who fondly look back at those titles with astonishment and excitement.

Due to that, there has been a massive outcry of wanting this console to appear on the Wii U Virtual Console for quite some time as it would fit quite fondly with the rest of Nintendo’s consoles that are already on the service. Not to mention, Nintendo removed GameCube support from the console, so there’s currently no official method of playing these games with the Wii U Gamepad which is what fans have been clamoring for.

With the Wii U on the way out and the NX about ready to get revealed, it would seem like that Nintendo could care less about the Virtual Console when their focused heavily on the next console. In truth though, this might be the right (and only) time for Nintendo to finally announce GameCube Games for the Wii U’s eShop which could highly benefit them in the short term. I feel this is mainly due to 4 factors which could really help GameCube Games actually become a reality on the eShop and help Nintendo in a short time span.

1. The Wii U


This year’s holiday for Nintendo is going to be extremely scarce for the Wii U when it comes to first-party titles. The only known Nintendo game coming out for it is Paper Mario: Color Splash which is not a really good line-up for the console. Even if the NX is coming out in March of 2017, Nintendo still wants people to get enticed on playing the Wii U so the owners of that consoles don’t feel that cheated in having to buy an NX. In essence, trying to ease people into their next console.

The best way they could do that is if they announce at least one new exciting thing for the Wii U before they completely switch over to the NX. Padding out titles with VC releases is what Nintendo seems to be already doing, but adding a new console to the lineup last minute would definitely make a lot of buzz. This would also allow Nintendo to make more money on the Wii U platform before they move on from that.

Not to mention, Nintendo have made recent developments in their Virtual Console service by announcing SNES VC for New Nintendo 3DS owners and bringing over TurboGrafx-16 games to the west on Wii U. So that shows that Nintendo is still willing to support their Virtual Console late into a system’s life cycle.

2. The Hardware

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Being that the Wii U is Backwards Compatible with Wii software, it contains some things from the original Wii inside it (such as its OS and 512 MB Flash Memory.) Internally on the original Wii, it was an upgrade and more enhanced GameCube which is why most of the models on the market had Backwards Compatibility with it. With that in mind, the Wii U is actually capable of playing GameCube software on an hardware level (with slight emulation needed.)

Nintendont and Devolution are notable examples of software that can play these games at a hardware level on Wii U. Due to the slightly enhanced processing power the Wii had, you can run background patches while GameCube games are playing so they can match the Wii’s system processes (in summary, a virtual machine) within the Wii Mode on Wii U. Other functions (such as Memory Card and Controller Inputs) are emulated in the background which can allow things such as Memory Card Emulation. You can also use a Classic Controller or Wii U Pro Controller instead of a GameCube Controller.

This is something Nintendo could (most likely) easily develop and test for in each game as well as do in a short amount of time. The Wii U has so many things going for it when it comes to hardware, and it’s surprising Nintendo hasn’t really taken advantage of it. Heck, they could always use Nintendont’s code and use that as a base since the source (which has no restrictions due to there not being a license attached to it) for that has been released for quite some time (although this would probably be unlikely considering Nintendo has always used their own tools to makes things from scratch.)

On another note, they also released Super Smash Bros. for Wii U with a special USB GameCube Adapter that has the signature 4 ports the GameCube was known for. They could easily add support for the adapters since it would only require a minimal amount of emulation (and the fact that Nintendont already supports them) making for a truly authentic experience.

Other than that, the hardware makes it easier for them since they don’t have to deal with the struggles of emulation and allow for more compatibility with these games.

3. Wii Downloadable Software


Wii have Gaems.

The distribution of Wii Software on the Nintendo eShop was announced in the first Nintendo Direct of 2015 where it was explained that instead of using standard emulation, each piece of software was playing natively in the backwards compatibility mode. The only difference was it was being played off the Wii U’s Internal Storage/an HDD connected to a Wii U and having gamepad support for games that support for the Classic Controller.

With the Wii U being able to play GameCube games on a hardware level within Wii Mode, all Nintendo would have to do is include special software (similar to Nintendont or Devolution) that runs a virtual machine allowing the GC game to boot. This makes it so they don’t have to change anything when distributing software titles that require the Wii U’s Wii mode.

This really helps Nintendo once again as it allows them to get GC games running with the tools and resources they already have. It then make them efficient in their distribution method.

While Nintendo doesn’t like to be too keen on releasing titles under the “Virtual Console” name without some sort of brand new feature (such as save states or suspension points), they could always just have it be its own thing just like Wii software is at the current moment. It wouldn’t really hurt the branding at all and they could always upgrade it to a “Virtual Console” banner once they possibly get those extra features working on the NX if they do happen to pursue GameCube emulation on that console.

Overall, they easily have the tools and distribution methods in place to get this kind of thing up and running in a short amount of time.

4. The Nintendo eShop Platform

Listen to dat sweet music…

This is probably one of the most important things for Nintendo when it comes to distributing their software. Nintendo’s digital platform is what determines at what prices software is meant to be sold, and this could honestly be detrimental if they add GameCube to their distribution service.  Right now in the GameCube retail market, games keep on soaring and the modest prices right now for high-in-demand games seem to be about $50. Heck, there’s barely a selection of GameCube software at certain used game stores here in recent times.

Nintendo selling GameCube Games around the price of Wii games or even below it would attract a lot of people to the VC platform. They could generate a lot of income if they were to put the high-in-demand titles onto the Nintendo eShop. It’d be easy and convenient for a lot of people to access without having to resort to things like eBay.

Doing this could even help settle the retro market just a little bit too as people wouldn’t have to buy as much from Amazon if all the high-in-demand titles are on the eShop.


With everything factored in, Nintendo has all the tools and hardware to pump GC software onto the Wii U without much expense. Doing it could highly benefit them in the short term and help them in their successes in the future. Right now, is just the right time where all the puzzle pieces are sitting there waiting to be put together.

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  1. Alright, here’s my crazy idea! Launch Gamecube VC as a big deal via Nintendo Direct, with…*drumroll*…Amiibos! It’s the perfect way to drive up hype for the games and IP, re-newing interest in older IP, like F-Zero. But the real question is, what would the amiibo do?
    USE: New amiibo would launch with the game, unlocking new challenges in-game to unlock Mii-verse stamps. It would grant a in-game challenge involving the EXISTING game (no need for new content!), like how a achievement works on Steam or PSN. A example would be “complete __ level in Sunshine without losing a life” to get a stamp, or “Pass ____ staff time in Double Dash”. All the challenges would be based on what already exists in the game, with the reward being Miiverse stamps.
    SELECTION: So it’s safe to say this would be an easy way of creating new amiibo of existing characters too! Rolled-up Sleeves Mario with F.L.U.D.D., Luigi with Poltergust 3000, Wario-World Wario, and a classic-looking Olimar with Pikmin are only a few of possible amiibos. These amiibos would all work like their Smash and Mario line counterparts, so the older amiibos can be used with the GCN titles (Even Chibi-Robo!), and the newer ones can be used with Smash, etc.
    But what about those Animal Crossing cards? Well, how about using them as E-reader cards? This is something I understand would require a bit of extra work, but it would be a nice payoff. I understand this might not even be possible though, as I doubt a 15 year old game could be edited, as the resources are most likely not available. (This is why I think support around existing content would work best.) This one is a stretch, and highly unlikely, but hey, a AC fan can dream?

    Here’s some ideas I have for the line-up:
    -Wave 1: Mario with F.LU.D.D. Luigi with Poltergust, Metroid-Prime Samus, Captain Olimar, and AiAi from Monkey Ball
    -Wave 2: Warioworld Wario, Tetra, Kirby-on-Dragoon, Viewtiful Joe, and Paper Mario (3 figures like G&W, can be swapped out for other characters, i.e. Koops, Vivian)
    -Wave 3: Assault-Fox Mcloud or Krystal, a new Chibi-Robo, GX Captain Falcon, and classic Tom Nook

    There’s easily a ton more options, with even more with more 3rd party support. This has potential to be a large line-up, and maybe even pave the way for a N64 line of amiibos.

    So i conclusion, I believe a amiibo line-up and amiibo support for GC would be a massive sales boost for Nintendo, both in amiibo units alone and GCN VC sales. It would ramp up hype for older games and older IP, renewing interesting in what i consider to be a golden age of Nintendo gaming. I’d buy a whole set!

  2. yeah, the GCN is old enough and as you said, the WiiU has the “capability” to emule GCN games with little problem.
    and even more, maybe having GCN games for the NX could be a great idea to accompany Zelda BotW as launch titles.
    like Super Mario Sunshine (that could even get a remake, like the two Zelda GCN games)
    I hope we got them soon, it isn’t a crazy idea.

  3. This should have been on the Wii U from the beginning. There is literally no reason why this can’t happen. Gamecube controller adapter for Wii U anyone? Plus they’re still selling those Smash Bros. Gamecube controllers.

  4. I always assumed it was because none of the controllers compatible with the Wii U at the moment have analog triggers. The GameCube pretty much invented (or more likely “popularized”) the idea of shoulder buttons doing different things depending on how much pressure your finger put on the button. Games like Super Mario Sunshine would have a problem being emulated if no current controllers could output that kind of information to the TV.

    Of course, I don’t believe this reason to be GOOD, per se, since Nintendo went all out and created those GameCube controller adapters for Smash 4 but NOTHING ELSE for whatever reason. I just believe it’s that sort of picky, pedantic, incomprehensible move that Nintendo is known for making.

    I was hoping GameCube Virtual Console would happen since I missed out on games like Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Chibi-Robo, Resident Evil Remake, Killer 7, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes…a lot of great GameCube games, essentially. Looks like I’ll have to wait even longer though, since the Wii U is nearly at the end of its life and there’s still no sign of them on the horizon. Truly a missed opportunity.

  5. I have no clue why there’s no GameCube games available on Wii U. Reggie’s teased us about it, and it’s easily possible, yet we still don’t have them. I really wish GameCube games were on the eShop so I can more easily find games that I want at a ridiculously good price rather than scouring the internet for a $50 used copy.

  6. From a Technical Side, I agree that the GCN VC is feasible. The GBA VC on the 3DS is also Possible as shown via the Ambassador Program. The Good news is that the GCN VC doesn’t have to worry about Online play, but I wonder if the GBA Support that several of the popular GC games that Nintendo made has GBA support could limit it. (Zelda:4 Swords Adventures, and Pokémon series are the biggest names that used it.) However given that the GBA games that have Locked components from the GCN games are being sold I don’t think that would be a major issue. (Mario Golf GBA requires you to connect to a GameCube to Unlock Luigi and several other Chracters.)

    Like the GBA VC on the 3DS, I personally think the reasons are either Business or someone not liking the way it has to be done to get to work. (The Latter is probably is why the GBA isn’t on the 3DS.) I could see them needing to Modify the GCN roms to work with the VC system, and that could take time and effort that the VC team hasn’t got time for, or facilities to make those changes.

    Personally, I’d like to See Doshin the Giant get a world wide release (It was shown in Melee as two Trophies, and never made it to the US) and Baten Kaitos pair of games to reach Europe. (The unreleased game Origins had a remix on Wii U’s Guar Plains.) (Seriously, what’s up with Monolith Soft games not releasing everywhere!)

  7. It would be a good idea to release certain GC games during a surprise announcement or something. Many fans would like to see more variety in the Virtual Console space before the console’s life cycle. But let’s get Mother 3 in the states first before any GC games please.

  8. Honestly, I was always under the impression that they couldn’t. It was once explained to me (and I never bothered to look it up to confirm if it was actually like this) is that backwards compatibility in most consoles essentially meant emulating the console itself, or something like that. So I just assumed that they left that off the table when developing the Wii for whatever reason, but decided that the Wii itself was still recent enough that it was worth including compatibility for it. I think it could be a good idea, though I guess since Gamecube controllers aren’t natively supported on the Wii U, it wouldn’t be worth the effort for the people without the adapter (the Gamepad and Pro Controller don’t have quite the same button layout, even if they have more total buttons). Still, I’d like to have the option, and then maybe I could play Path of Radiance without forking over a ludicrous amount of money on Amazon.

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