GameCube Make Or Break Time

The last few weeks have been pretty slow for me as far as new releases are concerned. It seems that once the whole Christmas rush is spent, there really isn't much for me to look forward to. I've already gone through the best games this past holiday had to offer (Metroid Prime, Splinter Cell, and Vice City to name a few) and until E3 there isn't really much to look forward to.

I do know of one title that I will be keeping a close eye out in the next month when it is released, and that is the Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Why am I keeping an eye out on this title, you may ask? It is definitely not because of the new graphic makeover that created such heated controversy (heck we went through this with Metroid Prime being a First Person Adventure developed by an American second party developer, and you know how well that turned out), but as far as I'm concerned, this may be the end all, be all, make or break title for the Nintendo GameCube.

As many of you know, though I love the system, I have been a harsh critic of the GameCube's software library, or as I consider, the lack of quality titles for the system. Sure, Rogue Leader was amazing, and Metroid Prime will most likely win our Game of the Year award (unless either Vice City or Splinter Cell beat it), but aside from that, I just haven't been interested.

For instance, I couldn't really get into the concept of Pikmin that much. A unique concept yes, but one I couldn't spend a lot of time on. Animal Crossing might have its share of followers, but I have never been into that whole Sims-like virtual neighborhood genre, even if it takes advantage of the Game Boy Advance and its unique e-Reader peripheral. And lastly, I know I'm going to get some major heat for saying this, but as far as Super Mario Sunshine is concerned, I will quote Simon Cowell of American Idol, the game has that "so what" factor to it.

Thus, I am very interested in the final turnaround of Zelda: the Wind Waker. I would be a fool to say that this game will fail, as I think otherwise, it will be very successful. In fact, it is doing something that I've never seen any other game company do.

Well, let me change that a bit. Publishers have a tendency of giving away "tchochkes," special little knickknacks, in order to plug their products. I've seen them all: t-shirts, note pads, little foam GameCubes, miniature baseball bats, hell even Activision gave out oxygen bottles for their O2 extreme sports lineup. Attend any E3 booth and they will have tchochkes galore to give out to those who want them.

Nintendo has taken it one step further. Anyone who preorders a copy of Zelda: the Wind Waker will receive a game disc not only containing video clips of upcoming GameCube titles (definitely check out the FZero trailer, it looks like it will be amazing), but also includes the full version of the N64 Ocarina of Time, as well as a second "Master Quest" that was only released for the 64DD Bulky Drive that never saw the light of day here in the States.

Usually I don't preorder titles. I have a philosophy that if I preorder a game that is scheduled for a certain release date, it will not arrive on that day, and the moron behind the counter will claim that it is the day after. Been there, done that, but this extra disc is an offer I couldn't pass up, and I'm sure a lot more GameCube owners will be doing the same thing.

I must ask though if Nintendo is doing this as a courtesy for their long time fans, or if this is the work of a company who is hurting badly and would do anything to bolster sales. Recently sales of the Xbox exceeded those of the GameCube (in the States, at least. The GameCube is above the Xbox in Japan). To complicate the matter even further, Nintendo has now offered to buyers of a brand new GameCube one of their best four games for free, with Metroid Prime being the key choice by many.

Desperation might be going a little extreme at the moment, but it seems as though Nintendo must do anything it can to survive in a console race being dominated by both the PlayStation2 and the Xbox. I commend Nintendo for making this special offer, and I wish them luck with this endeavor. However I do need to ask that they please concentrate less on the ports and hand-me-down titles, and concentrate more on the Metroid Primes and the Zeldas that we grew up with in the NES/SNES days.

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