GameCube games are finally coming to Virtual Console on Switch, if a reliable rumour is to be believed. We’re excited to be getting some early-2000s classics for the first time as digital downloads on Switch (others, like Super Mario Bros., we must have bought eight times by now). In fact, GameCube was the only home console not available on Wii U (officially). NES, SNES and N64 games were all available on the Virtual Console, and it was backwards compatible with Wii. With news GameCube games are finally making a return comes hope and speculation the most popular, and some cult favourites, will be re-released. I’m not here to suggest a list of games I want to play on Switch – the top GameCube games are fairly universally agreed upon – but rather suggest why some will, and others won’t, be released on Switch, and which are a long shot at best.
But before we get to that, there are a couple of things to consider.
What we have learnt, and assumed, so far
Nintendo hasn’t actually announced this yet – we’ll have to wait until January for that – but Eurogamer is fairly confident, and has a track record of accurately reporting Switch information. Let’s assume it’s true.
If GameCube games are coming to Virtual Console, Switch must have legitimate triggers that can be depressed to varying degrees, like Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Wii U Pro Controller has binary on or off buttons for its L and R triggers; they can’t be pressed slightly or even halfway. That’s a problem, because the GameCube’s analog triggers could be pressed lightly, and functionality was required in several games. Take Super Mario Sunshine, one of the rumoured games, for example. The water cannon and jetpack of FLUDD requires the left trigger to be pressed lightly, for a less powerful stream, to conserve limited water and complete some puzzles. This wouldn’t be possible with the Wii U’s triggers.
Nintendo promises quality with Virtual Console releases, with features such as save states and full system functionality. That’s why they require a surprisingly amount of power – and why the original 3DS is powerful enough to play an enhanced Majora’s Mask as a native 3DS game, but not SNES Virtual Console games. With that in mind, we hope GameCube games are upscaled to 1080p (720p as a handheld) on Switch. It’s how PlayStation 2 games are presented on PS4, and makes them much more palatable on a HDTV.
Super Mario Sunshine
Likelihood: Very likely
Assuming the rumour of GameCube on Switch is true, the chances of Super Mario Sunshine are excellent, as one of the games included in the report. Aside from that, it’s also an obvious choice, and could even be available from day one. Mario games feature strongly on the current editions of the Virtual Console, and Nintendo favours having one available at or around launch. Super Mario 64 launched Virtual Console on Wii. Super Mario Land was there from the inception on 3DS, and Super Mario Bros. 2 showed up within a month on Wii U.
Unless Nintendo is planning to do a proper HD remaster, it’s highly likely to be one of the first GameCube games on Switch Virtual Console. Considering, in the era of constant remasters, Ninty has only touched up two games in high definition, Sunshine seems destined to remain a GameCube exclusive. Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel are much more likely to receive a complete overhaul, if it ever happens for the portly plumber.
Likelihood: Very likely
The second game included in the rumour is just as likely as Sunshine to come to Switch. As the Gamecube’s flagship launch title, it met a mixed reaction for being a spin-off in the Mushroom Kingdom, rather than a core Mario game, but it’s excellent. It was one of the best-selling games on the console, and eventually spawned a sequel over a decade later on 3DS, which also sold well.
Luigi’s Mansion is exactly the type of game Nintendo would look at re-releasing. Younger players may have only been exposed to the sequel, never able to play the original; for older players, it oozes nostalgia as the only GameCube game many early adopters had to play for months. Its vibrant style would also benefit from a simple HD upscale more than most games, and we anticipate it would look great on the Switch’s internal screen.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Likelihood: Very likely
The third game on the rumour card, had it not been there, I wouldn’t have thought was a likely candidate, at least not early in the generation. There have been rumours Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS will be remastered for Switch, so I doubt both are priorities, if true, and this seems more likely. Nintendo has barely remastered any games, and has traditionally favoured releasing one new instalment each generation. If that remaster doesn’t happen, and a new Super Smash Bros. is destined for Switch, Melee as an early Virtual Console game makes perfect sense to stem the tide.
The original Super Smash Bros. was released on Wii Virtual Console, so we know Nintendo is happy to appease fans’ desire to return to classic brawlers. In that respect, Melee seems an obvious candidate. Its inclusion in the initial rumour adds weight to reports Nintendo is testing the GameCube controller adapter for Wii U with the Switch (presumably connected to the dock). We couldn’t possible play it with another controller.
There’s a seperate rumour floating around this is already happening, and it’s not hard to see why. There will almost definitely be a new Animal Crossing on Switch, but until then, the GameCube original would fill a gap. It’s where it all began, and is similar yet different enough to both appease players that joined the series later, but not preclude them from buying a new instalment.
Star Fox Adventures
How cool would it be to have a Rare-developed game on Switch? Nintendo owns the rights, no problems there, and there’s something special about Rare’s only GameCube game, before it packed its bags for a new life with Microsoft. Of course, we’ll probably get a bunch of Rare-made Donkey Kong games, but that’s happened before.
Sure, its origins as Dinosaur Planet for the N64 and much later being crafted into a Star Fox title are well known – and why it’s nothing like a Star Fox game. But that could be a great way to reintroduce the franchise, following the disappointment of Star Fox Zero.
Nintendo has almost no interest in continuing the F-Zero Franchise, instead giving us themed courses in Mario Kart 8. With nothing on Wii or Wii U, 2003’s F-Zero GX is the most recent console instalment. The last game released at all was F-Zero Climax on GBA in 2004, before the series embarked upon an indefinite hiatus.
A new F-Zero game seems about as likely as PewDiePie actually quitting YouTube. However, two of the three GBA games have been released on Wii U Virtual Console in western regions (and the third has in Japan). Nintendo seems happy to throw F-Zero fans a token gesture, and will surely do the same with the GameCube edition on Switch.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Eternal Darkness quickly ascended to the status of cult classic, as one of the GameCube’s first games – and a rare game published by Nintendo with a mature rating, at the time. Breaking all the rules, it defied traditional gaming conventions and engaged the player like never before, by actually making them connect with the insane characters and almost believe they were going crazy. It’s a game you have to play to truly understand its terrifying power.
On the surface, it seems a little niche for the Virtual Console, but it depends on Nintendo’s commitment to its classics. Will we see it fully support the concept on Switch like we did on Wii, or a repeat of the pointless trickle of games, as we did with N64 on Wii U? If it’s the former, it’s the perfect candidate. Developer Silicon Knights is no longer operational, but Nintendo has had a passing interest in keeping the franchise alive. Nintendo owns Sanity’s Requiem regardless, but has continued to keep the Eternal Darkness trademark active. It’s nearly 15 years since it was released, and Nintendo still regularly renews the trademark, retaining faint hope of a sequel. There have been a lot of rumours that never eventuated, but at the very least it seems likely a Virtual Console re-release is on the cards. Who knows, perhaps strong digital sales could be the catalyst for that long forgotten follow-up.
Head to the next page to see titles that may possibly make a reappearance on Switch.