|Caption||A purple Gamecube with a Gamecube controller.|
|Launch date(s)|| JP September 14, 2001|
NA November 18, 2001
EU May 3, 2002
AUS May 17, 2002
|Discontinued||June 15, 2009|
|Media||8cm Nintendo Gamecube Optical Disc|
|Backwards Compatibility||Game Boy Advance|
|CPU||IBM PowerPC "Geeko" 485 MHz|
|Top Game||Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)|
|Predecessor||Nintendo 64 (196)|
The Nintendo GameCube is a sixth generation video game console initially released on September 14, 2001 in Japan. It was developed and manufactured by Nintendo and is to date their most unsuccessful interchangeable disc/cartridge based system.
Nintendo first mentioned a successor to the Nintendo 64 on March 3, 1999, a day after Sony's announcement of the PlayStation 2. Two months later, on May 12, 1999, Nintendo of America's chairman Howard Lincoln officially announced the console, which would be codenamed "Dolphin."
In classic form, Nintendo remained quiet for over a year about "Dolphin," preferring to focus on the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color at E3 2000. It wasn't until August 24, 2000, a day before Spaceworld 2000, that the company officially unveiled the GameCube, the end result of the "Dolphin" project.
The heart of the GameCube is a 128-bit CPU called the "Gekko." The Gekko is based on the PowerPC architecture but optimized for game playing. The system's 202.5 MHz video processor, called "Flipper," was designed by ArtX and is being produced by ATi. ArtX is headed by Dr. Wei Yen, who played a major role in the development of the Nintendo 64's graphics chip.
For its storage medium, the GameCube uses 8-cm discs based on a proprietary DVD technology, developed by Matsushita, that can hold up to 1.5GB. Since they are smaller than traditional DVDs, the GameCube is not able to play DVD movies, though through a partnership with Nintendo, Panasonic manufactured and distributed the Panasonic Q, a hybrid DVD-player console with GameCube hardware.
The GameCube's controller combines elements from just about every controller before it, as well as introducing a few innovations of its own. In addition to the standard analog stick, D-pad and shoulder buttons, Nintendo has added an analog C-stick (often referred to as the camera-stick), moved the Z-button to the right shoulder and rearranged the button configuration so that there is a large A button surrounded by the X, Y and B buttons. The shoulder buttons L and R are both analogue, allowing the console to know how far they are pushed in, for things like throttle in racing games. Like the Nintendo 64, the GameCube features four controller ports.
The regular GameCube memory card holds 4 Megabits of data, but the Digicard Adapter will allow for flash memory cards that can hold 64MB to 128MB, effectively giving the console the functionality of the failed 64DD add-on for the N64. A choice between a 56K modem and broadband adapter will be available for online connectivity, but neither of these add-ons is included with the console.
Unlike the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color, which connect using an adapter, the GameCube will interface directly with the Game Boy Advance via the Game Boy Advance to Nintendo GameCube Link Cable to transmit information back and forth.
The last title released for the GameCube was Madden 08, which was released on August 14, 2007 and the system was ceased nearly two years later on June 15, 2009.
Nintendo used several advertising strategies and techniques for the GameCube. Around the time of release, the GameCube was advertised with the slogan "Born to Play." The earliest commercials displayed a rotating cube animation, which would morph into the GameCube logo as a female voice whispers, "GameCube." This was usually displayed at the end of GameCube game commercials.
Like its predecessor, the Nintendo 64, the Nintendo GameCube was available in many colors. The two most common color variants, released during the console's launch, were "Indigo" (the standard color used in most early advertising) and "Jet Black." "Spice" (orange-colored) GameCubes were also offered as standard models, but only in Japan. However, the standard controller was widely available in this color outside of Japan as well. Later, Nintendo released GameCubes with a "Platinum" (silver) color scheme, initially marketed as a limited edition product. Other limited edition colors and styles were also only released in Japan.
A Nintendo tradition, the GameCube's model numbers, DOL-001 and DOL-101, are a reference to its codename, "Dolphin." The official accessories and peripherals have model numbers beginning with "DOL" as well. Another Dolphin reference, "Flipper" was the name of the GPU for the Nintendo GameCube. Panasonic made a licensed version of the GameCube with DVD playback, called the Panasonic Q.
Benchmarks provided by third-party testing facilities indicate that Nintendo's official specifications, especially those relating to performance, may be conservative. One of Nintendo's primary objectives in designing the GameCube hardware was to overcome the perceived limitations and difficulties of programming for the Nintendo 64 architecture, thus creating an affordable, well-balanced, developer-friendly console that still performed competitively against its rivals.
The development hardware kit was called the GameCube NR Reader. Model numbers for these units begin with DOT. These units allow developers to debug beta versions of games and hardware. These units were sold to developers by Nintendo at a premium price and many developers modified regular GameCubes for game beta testing because of this. The NR reader will not play regular GameCube games, only special NR discs burned by a Nintendo NR writer.[Citation needed]
The Nintendo GameCube Game Disc was the software storage medium for the Nintendo GameCube, created by Matsushita. Chosen to prevent unauthorized copying and to avoid licensing fees to the DVD Consortium, it was Nintendo's first non-cartridge storage method for consoles released outside of Japan (the Famicom Disk System and Nintendo 64DD were exclusive to Japan). Some games which contain large amounts of voice acting or pre-rendered video (for example, Tales of Symphonia) were released on two discs. However, only twenty-five GameCube games were ever released on two discs, and none required more than two discs.
The Multi-AV Out port was identical to the one used in Nintendo's earlier Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Nintendo 64 consoles, allowing most cables from these systems to be used interchangeably.
Nintendo found that the Digital AV Out port was used by less than one percent of users, leading to the removal of the port from consoles with model number "DOL-101" manufactured after May 2004.
Serial Port 2 was also removed from all "DOL-101" models manufactured after the first product revision.
All Nintendo GameCube systems support the display of stereoscopic 3D, however this was only ever utilized for the launch title Luigi's Mansion, and the feature was never enabled outside of development. 3D televisions were not widespread at the time, and it was deemed that compatible displays would be too cost-prohibitive for the consumer.
- 486 MHz IBM "Gekko" PowerPC CPU on 130 nm process
- PowerPC 750CXe-based core
- 180 nm IBM copper-wire process, 43 mm² die, 4.9 W dissipation
- Roughly fifty new vector instructions
- 32-bit ALU
- 64-bit FPU (1.9 GFLOPS, usable as 2 × 32-bit SIMD)
- 64-bit enhanced PowerPC 60x front side bus to GPU/chipset, 162 MHz clock, 1.3 GB/s peak bandwidth
- 64 kB (32 kB I/32 kB D) L1 cache (8-way associative), 256 kB on-die L2 cache (2-way associative)
- 1125 DMIPS (dhrystone 2.1)
- 43 MB total non-unified RAM
- 24 MB MoSys 1T-SRAM (codenamed "Splash") main system RAM, 324 MHz, 64-bit bus, 2.7 GB/s bandwidth
- 3 MB embedded 1T-SRAM within "Flipper"
- 16 MB DRAM used as buffer for DVD drive and audio, 81 MHz, 8-bit bus, 81 MB/s bandwidth
- 4 controller ports, 2 memory card slots
- Analog AV Out: interlaced composite video, S-Video (NTSC models only), and RGB SCART (PAL models only), stereophonic analog audio
- Digital AV Out (DOL-001 only): interlaced or progressive scan YCBCR video, decoded to YPBPR using a DAC chip inside component video and D-Terminal cables, stereophonic I²S audio (never officially utilized)
- Resolutions: 480i, 576i, 480p, 576p (Via Softmod)
- High-speed serial ports: 2
- Serial Port 1 is reserved for a broadband adapter or modem adapter
- Serial Port 2 is unused
- High-speed parallel ports: 1 (reserved for the Game Boy Player)
- Power supply output: 12 volts DC; 3.25 amperes
- power consumption Idle 23.00 watts standby 0.10 watts
- Physical Measurements: 150 × 161 × 110 mm / 5.9 × 6.3 × 4.3 in (width × depth × height)
Graphics processing unit:
- 162 MHz "Flipper" LSI (co-developed by Nintendo and ArtX, acquired by ATI)
- 180 nm NEC eDRAM-compatible process
- 8 GFLOPS
- 4 pixel pipelines with 1 texture unit each
- TEV "Texture EnVironment" engine (similar to Nvidia's GeForce-class "register combiners")
- Fixed-function hardware transform and lighting (T&L), 20+ million polygons in-game
- 648 megapixels/second (162 MHz × 4 pipelines), 648 megatexels/second (648 MP × 1 texture unit) (peak)
- Peak triangle performance: 20,250,000 32-pixel triangles/s raw and with 1 texture and lighting
- or 337,500 triangles a frame at 60 fps
- Peak triangle performance: 20,250,000 32-pixel triangles/s raw and with 1 texture and lighting
- 8 texture layers per pass, texture compression, full scene anti-aliasing
- 8 simultaneous hardware light sources, up to 32 software light sources
- Bilinear, trilinear, and anisotropic texture filtering
- Multi-texturing, bump mapping, reflection mapping, 24-bit z-buffer
- 24-bit RGB/32-bit RGBA color depth
- Hardware limitations sometimes require a 6r+6g+6b+6a mode (18-bit color)
- 640×240 interlaced (240i) or progressive scan (240p) - 60 Hz
- 640×480 interlaced (480i) or progressive scan (480p) - 60 Hz
- 640×576 interlaced (576i) - 50 Hz
- 640×576 progressive scan (Via Soft-mod) (576p) - 60 Hz
- Integrated audio processor: Custom 81 MHz Macronix DSP
Storage media: Template:Details
- Panasonic-developed CAV miniDVD-like 8 cm optical disc, 2.000 MB/s–3.125 MB/s transfer rate, 128 ms average access time, 1.5 GB capacity
- Memory cards of varying sizes for saved game storage
Memory and storage
The GameCube features two ports that accommodate memory cards for saving game data. The three official memory card sizes are: 59 blocks (4 Mbit/512 KB, gray card), 251 blocks (16 Mbit/2 MB, black), and 1019 blocks (64 Mbit/8 MB, white). Third-party memory cards were also widely available.
The standard GameCube controller has a wing grip design, and was designed to fit well in the player's hands. It includes a total of eight buttons, two analog sticks, a D-pad, and an internal rumble motor. The primary analog stick was on the left, with the D-pad below it. On the right are four buttons; a large green "A" button in the center, a smaller red "B" button to the left, an "X" button to the right and a "Y" button to the top. Below those, there was a yellow "C" stick, which often serves different functions, such as controlling the camera. The Start/Pause button was located at the middle of the controller face, and the rumble motor was encased within the center of the controller.
On the top of the controller there are two analog shoulder buttons marked "L" and "R," as well as one digital button marked "Z." The "L" and "R" shoulder buttons feature both analog and digital capabilities. Each of these buttons behaves as a typical analog button until fully depressed, at which point the button "clicks" to register an additional digital signal. This method effectively serves to provide two functions per button without actually adding two separate physical buttons.
The WaveBird Wireless Controller was an RF-based wireless controller, based on the same design as the standard controller. This controller was released in light grey and platinum color schemes. It communicates with the GameCube system wirelessly through a receiver dongle connected to one of the system's controller ports. It was powered by two AA batteries. As a power-conservation measure, the WaveBird lacks the rumble function of the standard controller.
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