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Opinion Platform The GameCube tried too hard to be "Edgy"

Jubenhimer

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The Nintendo GameCube is one of my favorite consoles of all time. It's a gem of a platform with some of the best games of its generation, a very comfy controller, and some unique oddities like the DK Bongos and Game Boy Player. But it was also a console that continuously faced an uphill battle throughout its life. The GameCube suffered from mediocre third party support, lack of DVD, Virtually no online services, and a mini-DVD format that limited the scope of its games. All things that its competitors, the PlayStation 2 and Xbox didn't have to worry about.

One big criticism by gamers back then, was that the GameCube was simply too "Kiddy". The console was perceived to be filled with E-rated platformers and family-oriented games, while the PS2 and Xbox sold themselves on gritty action games and shooters. That was the perception of the GameCube, but what people won't tell you was that the GameCube was the period where Nintendo was trying too hard to be "Edgy", "Hip", and "Cool" to keep up with the industry.

Let's look at the signs.

* Commercials such as This

and this

That tried to make a purple lunchbox look like the most badass and "hardcore" thing on the plannet

* A fully voiced Mario adventure in Super Mario Sunshine, IMO, a blatant attempt to try and copy the cinematic platformer experience the PlayStation popularized.

* Edgy M-Rated experiments such as Eternal Darkness and Giest, with Nintendo hoping to shake its reputation as a "children's" publisher.



* Games such as 1080 Avalanche and Donkey Konga 2 relying on cheesy punk and emo rock to appeal to angsty teenagers.

* Discontinuing Indigo (purple) half-way through the console's life in favor of using Silver and Onyx to try and make it look more "Grown-up"

* The next Zelda game for the system going for a more realistic and gritty art style to avoid Wind Waker's "kiddy" perception.

You get the idea. I love the GameCube, but it felt like Nintendo during this era gave off a heavy air of "How do you do fellow kids?" trying one desperate "2edgy4u" scheme after another to avoid the dreaded "Kiddy" label. The GameCube was like a 6th grader who desperately tries to put on a façade of Maturity and coolness, but can never shake the image of being seen as childish.

Say what you will about Nintendo's later consoles like the Wii and Switch, those systems knew how to appeal to older audiences in a more natural way by going after a completely different audience from that of Sony and Microsoft. The Switch doesn't have to try and be cool for adults, it just is cool.
 
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Shut0wen

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I mean nintendo tried to do what xbox and ps2 tried to do and cqter for everyone, yeah launch games like smash bros and luigi mansion looked pretty good and realistic at the time but you also had your dunshine and wind waker as well, twilight princess came newr at the gamecubes life cycle and they tried to be more like OOT since everyone bitched about the wind waker style at the time
 
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JOEVIAL

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Being "edgy" was the trend of the early 2000's all the way to the mid 2000's. It wasn't just Nintendo... both PlayStation and XBOX were also doing this. Part of the reason for this was that teens and young adults were the biggest market share at the time. Anywho... I really enjoyed the edgy 2000's, and the Gamecube's edgy and "mature" offerings are some of my favorite games of all time. I wouldn't trade it for anything else...

.
 

Punished Miku

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It was partially a course correction to try and keep up with Playstation and Xbox. Made sense to try honestly. The fact that it didn't work for them is partially why they realized they need an entirely different approach than the competition, and thus followed it up with the Wii.

This trend is bigger than just being a response to competition though. Sega did this beforehand. 90s era gaming advertising was almost exclusively going for this edgy or comedic vibe.
 

Jubenhimer

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Being "edgy" was the trend of the early 2000's all the way to the mid 2000's. It wasn't just Nintendo... both PlayStation and XBOX were also doing this. Part of the reason for this was that teens and young adults were the biggest market share at the time. Anywho... I really enjoyed the edgy 2000's, and the Gamecube's edgy and "mature" offerings are some of my favorite games of all time. I wouldn't trade it for anything else...

.
Yup, some great games came out of these attempts. Still doesn't change the fact that it made Nintendo look desperate compared to Sony and Microsoft, who made being "edgy" look natural in comparison.
 

LRKD

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The 90s early 2000s was all about being edgy here in 'murica. It only makes sense that even the Big N would try and cash in on that popularity to a limited extent as well. Xbox was Edge, Playstation was Edge, Sega had been edgy since the Genesis. Hell if they did a better job of appealing to that group the console might've actually sold well, instead of being the cheap kiddy toy everyone thought it was.


* A fully voiced Mario adventure in Super Mario Sunshine, IMO, a blatant attempt to try and copy the cinematic platformer experience the PlayStation popularized.
I don't think Mario going fully voiced was at all a attempt to cash in on Sony's success. That seems to be a really stupid take, Mario games have had implemented limited voice acting for a long time before that. All the Mario games on N64 had voice actors. IMO was a logical and natural evolution for bigger Mario games, to get more voices. Especially with them no longer being limited by the N64's small cartridge size, and poor audio. All games were getting more voice acting as consoles, and game storage improved.

* Edgy M-Rated experiments such as Eternal Darkness and Giest, with Nintendo hoping to shake its reputation as a "children's" publisher.
They already had games like 007, Perfect Dark, Killer Instinct, and Conker on the N64, they already had various levels of edgy or mature games they allowed, or even created on their platform. Eternal Darkness was Nintendo's first "M" game, but honestly Killer INstinct was pushing it really close to M. Turok was console exclusive to the big N during the N64 era, wasn't a 'nintendo' game, but it was on their console.

* Games such as 1080 Avalanche and Donkey Konga 2 relying on cheesy punk and emo rock to appeal to angsty teenagers.
Sports games often had these kinds of soundtracks it'd be more out of place if it didn't have either rock or rap. Idk about Donkey Konga, never played them.

* Discontinuing Indigo (purple) half-way through the console's life in favor of using Silver and Onyx to try and make it look more "Grown-up"
Discontinuing indigo for more popular colors makes sense. If you have three colors of Consoles on the market, and only one of them is collecting dust on shelves of course you would discontinue it, don't blame Nintendo for that one, blame the consumer.


I think you're reading too much into most of these, it was a time of edgy, and even then Nintendo was the kids console. I'm sure if I picked out some N64 games and commercials I could try and make it look like the N64 tried too hard as well. Some of the games and advertising might've gone a bit edgy, but I think overall saying they tried too hard is reaching.
 

Impotaku

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Totally a western thing, as someone who bought a japanese gamecube close to launch and delved into the library from that side i didn't see any of this edgy cringe shit. Gamecube in japan was about fun in it's adverts and it's game library reflected that. Makes me laugh when people brand the cube kiddy when it got all the biohazard games including 3 exclusive biohazard games, zero and remake been exclusive for the life of the console & bio 4 been exclusive for quite a while at least.
 
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It's my forever wish I had never purchased it console. I don't ever recall it trying to be edgy but I also didn't watch a lot of TV at the time. I didn't like the majority of the games I played on it. The Resident Evil remake, Metroid Prime 3, Twilight Princess (more of a Wii game imo), Super Monkey Ball, and SSX Tricky were my favorite games, but everything else just didn't resonate with me.
 
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NeoIkaruGAF

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It was the only way they could try to stay relevant in an age of edge. And they failed anyway, not least because the Cube was irredeemably branded as kiddy before it even came out. And, if your star is Mario, there's only so much you can do to make him edgy, while Sony could put out a totally derivative game like Jak and immediately beat Nintendo in edginess 200 to 1. That battle was lost before Nintendo even put a foot on the field.
 

e&e

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Point to this thread anytime people wonder why Nintendo did what they did. They lose more money going toe to toe with bigger corporations that have bigger pockets. They tried catering to that crowd and lost big time! The market can only sustain 2 super powerful consoles (I think closer to 1). They need to be diversified otherwise what is the point. Look at all the people who are constantly arguing about which console is the most powerful…in year 2021 for gods sakes, when both consoles a powerful to run any game. I find it hard to believe these people are older than 20 years old when I read the posts here.
 

Yoboman

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It was the only way they could try to stay relevant in an age of edge. And they failed anyway, not least because the Cube was irredeemably branded as kiddy before it even came out. And, if your star is Mario, there's only so much you can do to make him edgy, while Sony could put out a totally derivative game like Jak and immediately beat Nintendo in edginess 200 to 1. That battle was lost before Nintendo even put a foot on the field.
Didnt help that Jak and Daxter was also a better game than Mario Sunshine
 
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Platinumstorm

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I always think these retrospective threads are difficult. I'm sure Nintendo had advertising for different groups of people. It's not like they showed a cube coming out of a guy's throat while they're watching Rugrats.

Nintendo had problems because it was behind technologically. Required different specifications for manufacturing their media, which probably cost more, and they had a content drought. We also witnessed the advent of online play to consoles, which Gamecube might not have even participated in? I never had good enough internet to do that with a console anyhow.

This also might be unpopular, but I always thought the Gamecube controller looked like a really complicated toy. The Xbox controller also looked like a toy, but less complicated.
 

Blackkarot

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It's my forever wish I had never purchased it console. I don't ever recall it trying to be edgy but I also didn't watch a lot of TV at the time. I didn't like the majority of the games I played on it. The Resident Evil remake, Metroid Prime 3, Twilight Princess (more of a Wii game imo), Super Monkey Ball, and SSX Tricky were my favorite games, but everything else just didn't resonate with me.
Metroid Prime 3 is a Wii game. 1 and 2 were on the Cube.
 
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It was partially a course correction to try and keep up with Playstation and Xbox. Made sense to try honestly. The fact that it didn't work for them is partially why they realized they need an entirely different approach than the competition, and thus followed it up with the Wii.

This trend is bigger than just being a response to competition though. Sega did this beforehand. 90s era gaming advertising was almost exclusively going for this edgy or comedic vibe.

The big difference is Sega pulled it off spectacularly, this was just sad.
 
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Thabass

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Weird way to say N64. The GameCube seemed to be marketed more for the kids or families (not as much as the Wii, but still)

The N64, however, was aimed right at the hardcore and was more teen-friendly. It had a good amount of edge to it back in the '90s. I miss those days.
 
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Bakkus

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Don't forget Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, and Super Paper Mario which was an early Wii game originally planned for the Cube. Both those games are waaaay out there in terms of story and setting.
 
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Amory

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GameCube was up against 2 monster systems, especially the PS2. None of my friends contemplated buying a GameCube, whether the ads were good or not.

I did eventually get a GameCube when they were $100. What a steal. System had some amazing games
 

ACESHIGH

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I miss that edgy era of the late 90s through mid/late 00s. Those games really pushed tech, gameplay systems and storytelling instead of the Fortnitey crap that's popular today.
 
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TheInfamousKira

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This is an unpopular opinion, probably, but the GCN was probably my favorite iteration of Nintendo, with SNES a close second, despite OoT being my favorite game of all time. It gave me:

Metroid Prime
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
Wind Waker
Four Swords Adventures
Twilight Princess
Eternal Darkness
Super Smash Brothers: Melee
REmake
RE0
RE2
RE3
RECVX
RE4
OoT/Master Quest
And the GOAT, Crazy Taxi

And yes, I'm aware some of those are ports, but it was my introduction to RE. Metroid, too. Banger ass console.
 

Kokoloko85

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It was an awesome console regardless of what they were trying to do. They defo made it more mature than the N64, even though I love the N64 too.

I loved the Gamecube, some amazing games. It was my first midnight launch console with Luigi’s Mansion and Batman.
Great era, PS2, Xbox and Gamecube was a great generation. Also the Dreamcast, all amazing consoles
 
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RoadHazard

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In some ways the Gamecube is still my favorite console. I have such fond memories of it. Maybe it's partly because I enjoyed that time of my life (being in my late teens), but it was also a simpler time when a console was just about popping a game in and firing it up, nothing else. It was fun. And the Cube had a lot of really great games.
 
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Weird way to say N64. The GameCube seemed to be marketed more for the kids or families (not as much as the Wii, but still)

The N64, however, was aimed right at the hardcore and was more teen-friendly. It had a good amount of edge to it back in the '90s. I miss those days.
Both consoles were seen as kitty. GE is the only thing hardcore cared about not for kids. Maybe also the Dinosaur game. Conker was sad attempt to fix problem.
 

kiphalfton

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Can't say I've ever heard anybody say the GameCube came across edgy. There's a difference between edgy, and trying to appeal to a more mature audience...
 

Unk Adams

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Gamecube and Nintendo were considered "lame" during the Gamecube era. If you were playing Mario over GTA and Halo then you were considered one of the dorks so these were probably just attempts to hang with the cooler kids. It's funny how that changed just a few short years later, though.
 
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JayK47

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I loved it and it had a better controller than the N64. I liked how small it was. Made it easy to pack and play when traveling. The last Nintendo system that had first party titles that I really enjoyed.
 

Hulk_Smash

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Nintendo critics: The maker of baby’s first console needs to stop catering to the kiddos and pedos.

Also Nintendo critics: ‘Member that one time they tried to be all adult and edgy and stuff? lol CRINGE.
 
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Elysion

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All those examples of ‚edginess‘ pale in comparison to the fact that Zelda, the biggest Nintendo IP that could‘ve appealed to teens and young adults back then, had fully embraced a ‚kiddy‘ aesthetic. Wind Waker‘s artstyle came at the worst time possible.

Here‘s a quote of mine from another thread:

I still remember the ‚Celda’ comments, lol. I genuinely believe that Wind Waker‘s artstyle was a huge factor for the Gamecube‘s lackluster sales; it cemented Nintendo‘s ‚kiddy’ image at the worst time possible. If there had been a Zelda game that looked like Twilight Princess (or the Spaceworld 2000 demo) early in the Gamecube‘s lifecycle, people would‘ve went absolutely gaga over it. I’m pretty sure the GC would‘ve outsold the XBox due to stronger early momentum, which could‘ve carried the system for the whole generation (like Halo did for XBox). As it was, Twilight Princess came out way too late, and most people (myself included) got it on Wii.