Since the days of the Wii, Nintendo has used its Virtual Console service to give new life to retro video games. With the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo has teased that it will be adding GameCube games to the Virtual Console library, which opens the door for plenty of classic titles to reach a new audience that may have missed out on them the first time around.
For this list, we decided to favor games that have remained GameCube exclusives, and aren’t readily available on modern consoles. So, even though games like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess are certainly two of the best games in the GameCube’s library, we decided to exclude them since both games were remastered for the Wii U not all the long ago.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Often hailed as one of the sacriest games ever made, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem has remained completely exclusive to the GameCube since its release in 2002. Unfortunately, this means that millions of horror gaming fans have missed out on the critically-acclaimed game and its innovative sanity meter, which taunts players with skewed camera angles and disturbing sounds.
Luckily for horror fans that missed out on Eternal Darkness when it was on the GameCube, there’s already evidence that it will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in some capacity. Just a couple of months ago, Nintendo re-registered its trademark for the game, hinting at a port, or more likely, a release on the Switch Virtual Console.
Another critically-acclaimed game that has remained a GameCube exclusive for well over a decade, F-Zero GX is one of the highest-rated racing games of its time. Notable as one of the first games Nintendo and Sega actively collaborated on, F-Zero GX features a challenging story mode, extensive multiplayer options, and great graphics that help bring its high-speed futuristic racing style to life.
Racing fans should keep their fingers crossed that F-Zero GX will one day make its way to the Nintendo Switch’s Virtual Console, especially since the future of the franchise is unclear at this time. However, those that can’t wait for a potential F-Zero GX Virtual Console release may want to check out Fast RMX, a Nintendo Switch launch title that is inspired by Nintendo’s F-Zero series.
Instead of launching the GameCube with a new game starring Mario, Nintendo decided to take a risk by ushering in its console with a game that had Mario’s brother, Luigi, front and center. Luigi’s Mansion ended up being a smart gamble for Nintendo, as the game sold 2.5 million copies worldwide and earned high marks for its original concept and engaging gameplay. Luigi’s Mansion was a strong launch title for the GameCube, so it would be fitting for the game to be a part of the GameCube library’s Virtual Console launch on Nintendo Switch.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Even though Nintendo Switch will soon have its own Mario Kart game, an upgraded version of Wii U’s Mario Kart 8, we still think Mario Kart: Double Dash!! would be a worthy addition to the Virtual Console lineup. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is unique among games in the Mario Kart series since it features two drivers per vehicle, with one person in charge of driving and the other focused on using items to disrupt the competition. It also has no shortage of multiplayer modes, which could be enhanced if the online capabilities Nintendo is adding to NES and SNES Virtual Console games come to the console’s GameCube offerings as well.
Metroid Prime is the highest-rated video game in the GameCube library. Serving as a remarkable evolution for the franchise, Metroid Prime retained the series’ exploration elements while utilizing a first-person perspective to allow for more action-packed enemy encounters. Metroid Prime put Retro Studios on the map, and solidified it as one of Nintendo’s most valuable second-party developers.
Retro hasn’t put out a game since 2014’s Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, making the timing right for its next game to be revealed – perhaps the rumored Metroid Nintendo Switch game. If Nintendo is bringing a new Metroid to the Nintendo Switch, as has been teased in the past, it’s possible that the Big N will release Metroid Prime and its sequels on the Switch Virtual Console to build anticipation for the new game’s release.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door arguably boasts the deepest plot out of all the games in the Paper Mario series, with a cast of engaging characters that develop over the course of the game’s lengthy journey. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, like most of the other games on this list, has never released for any other system besides the Nintendo GameCube, making it a perfect choice for the Nintendo Switch’s potential library of GameCube Virtual Console games.
The brainchild of legendary game developer Shigeru Miyamoto, there is nothing quite like Pikmin. Sharing the most similarities with the real-time strategy genre, Pikmin stars the clumsy Captain Olimar as he works together with strange alien creatures known as Pikmin to repair his spaceship. Pikmin‘s challenge comes from managing the creatures while simultaneously racing against the clock, as Olimar only has 30 days to repair his ship and head home.
Besides unique and engaging gameplay mechanics, Pikmin has also earned significant praise for its visuals, particularly the environments players explore in the game. Pikmin‘s gorgeous graphics help it stand the test of time, making it easy for gamers to still pick it up and play to this day.
Most of the games on this list are GameCube exclusives, but SoulCalibur 2 is the exception. SoulCalibur 2 was notable for having a different guest fighter depending on which platform players purchased the game on, with PS2 and Xbox owners having exclusive access to Heihachi Mishima and Spawn, respectively. However, the GameCube version of SoulCalibur 2 had the most high profile guest character out of the bunch, with Nintendo allowing Link from The Legend of Zelda to join the fray. Link’s appearance in the game helped make the GameCube version of SoulCalibur 2 more popular than its PS2 and Xbox counterparts, standing as the highest-rated version of the title.
Super Mario Sunshine
At the time of this writing, the Nintendo Switch library is largely devoid of any Super Mario games. That will change this holiday season when Super Mario Odyssey launches for the console, but in the meantime, it would be nice if Nintendo made Super Mario Sunshine available to help fill the void. Whereas most other Super Mario games have been released multiple times across a number of different consoles, Super Mario Sunshine has remained completely exclusive to GameCube, meaning many gamers may have yet to play it.
Super Mario Sunshine is similar in style to Super Mario 64, but has some key differences to help it stand apart. Perhaps the most notable feature in Super Mario Sunshine is the FLUDD device that Mario uses to clean up Isle Delfino. Not only does FLUDD serve as a weapon against the enemies Mario encounters in the game, but it can also help him hover across gaps as well as reach high running speeds to access hidden areas.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
The crown jewel of the GameCube library is Super Smash Bros. Melee, a game that is still a common sight at fighting game tournaments to this day. Super Smash Bros. Melee is the best-selling GameCube game for good reason: it features some of the most popular characters in video game history; adds a slew of new game modes to the Smash Bros. experience; and is filled with secrets to keep fans playing for hours on end. If Nintendo wants to get fans excited for the GameCube Virtual Console lineup on Nintendo Switch, then Super Smash Bros. Melee is the way to do it.
These 10 GameCube games would make the Nintendo Switch’s Virtual Console a major selling point for the new system. Of course, the GameCube library was filled with plenty of other titles that would make great additions to the Virtual Console lineup as well, so hopefully Nintendo shares details on the service soon so fans can start planning on which classic GameCube game they’re going to purchase for the Nintendo Switch first.
Nintendo Switch is currently available.