GameCube’s manage and purple shade manufactured it the best manner accent of the early 2000s

It is Oct 2002 and you’re at Hollywood’s most popular get together. To the still left you see Paris Hilton, clad in an aqua-and-lime-swirled halter dress that would make a 2022 Depop-er swoon. To your suitable is Christina Aguilera, whose newsboy cap perches on her head as her cargo gauchos swing gingerly on her hips. At any other occasion, these divas would have all eyes on them, but right here they are just specks amongst the rest of Hollywood’s early 2000s glitterati — Leonardo DiCaprio, Alicia Silverstone, the solid of Scrubs — all of whom have the season’s hottest accent:

The GameCube.

Comparable to its successful contemporary, Apple’s clamshell iBook, GameCube was designed with a quirky, techy flavor that ruled the 2000s, right down to the completely ergonomic cope with. Each have been marketed as equal sections vogue and perform, every single employing (and paying for) the highly effective early-aughts celebrity motor to draw in attention and ad. It worked for the iBook, but can the same be claimed for Nintendo’s second-worst-promoting console?

In 1998, Nintendo started do the job on a best-magic formula initiative it dubbed Challenge Dolphin. The console later identified as GameCube was Nintendo’s attempt at setting up a game process in a different way than its competitors: Sony’s lengthy-awaited PlayStation 2 and Microsoft’s newcomer, Xbox. Nintendo Japan wished to build something for good friends to perform together that prioritized entertaining and whimsy — and distanced by itself from the edgier lineups on PS2 and Xbox.

As part of that, Nintendo would have to convince avid gamers to get guiding a radical thought:


“It was not that you could not provide out hardware that was a diverse shade, it was just a very… ‘female’ hunting colour. It just didn’t sense masculine,” claimed Perrin Kaplan, former vice president of advertising and company affairs for Nintendo of The us, in a 2021 interview with Video Game titles Chronicle.

Mariska Hargitay holds up a black GameCube in front of a large GameCube banner while smiling

Mariska Hargitay at a advertising event for the GameCube.
Photograph: Evan Agostini/Getty Visuals

Kaplan went on to say that lots of in the Western division of Nintendo attempted to influence Nintendo Japan to go in a diverse direction — but their issues went unheard. Just after a copious sum of marketplace exploration, in which Kaplan says every single colour from “poopy brown” to sizzling pink was regarded as for the console, Nintendo’s GameCube launched in its trademark indigo, together with black, platinum, and spice orange versions.

Several players, hundreds of thousands of whom experienced previously secured their smooth PlayStation 2s, extra or significantly less scoffed at the quirky purple box. Aesthetics apart, the GameCube was criticized for its deficiency of adult (see: violent) game titles, deficiency of a DVD slot, and lack of online connectivity. Nintendo was geared up for people criticisms it was often aiming to generate something functionally distinctive than its rivals. But many at Nintendo felt the structure of the console was keeping it from staying taken critically by “real gamers.” Small discs and multicolored controllers accessorized the GameCube, amping up the cuteness of the console and supplying it a “Fisher-Price” aesthetic, in accordance to Shelly Pearce, previous head of PR at Nintendo of Europe, also conversing to Online video Video games Chronicle. To some extent, this “cuteness” aspect extremely linked the console with young children, but Nintendo experienced a larger demographic obstacle:


According to figures from a Nintendo-conducted survey produced at Nintendo’s 2007 E3 push convention, 42% of GameCube end users have been female — when compared to 32% for PlayStation 2 and 11% for PlayStation 3. It was a statistic that was effortlessly observable expanding up in my center-class community. Employing my GameCube’s legendary purselike manage, I carried the console from sleepover to sleepover, while its bunched-up wires and controllers knocked all-around in my Vera Bradley duffel. As the nights went on, more mature brothers could be heard screaming on their Xbox headsets although their sisters and I performed by Mary-Kate and Ashley: Sweet 16 – Accredited to Travel. Each so frequently these brothers would make their way to the kitchen or toilet, stopping in to sneer at us or dive on the very easily reachable reset button to see their sisters cry.

As a kid, I by no means designed the connection between these brothers’ vitriol for GameCube and the joy I bought from slipping the console onto my little one-sized wrist and parading it all the way to my mom’s minivan the up coming early morning. But now it appears clear: As a lot as the more mature brothers liked Smash Bros. and Mario Kart, there continue to wanted to be a difference involving them, the real players, and us, the faux gamer ladies. As gamer culture progressed, the mounting idea that we have to only be using video games to accessorize ourselves and our personalities designed it apparent that GameCube, with its sociable games, high cuteness variable, and freakin’ purse cope with, was our accent of preference.

Thankfully for Nintendo, GameCube would be a quick-lived failure for the firm. In 2006, Nintendo unveiled Wii, which offered 101 million units over its lifetime, as opposed to GameCube’s 21 million. Mastering from its blunders, Nintendo mainly presented Wii in a modern white, with the occasional constrained-version colour, positioning the console not just for women, but for every person. With its fragile sensor bar, Wii was barely a get-and-go console, so it typically sat on our entertainment center, mixing alongside my brother’s equally sleek PS3. When I went to my friends’ homes to play Wii, their older brothers would fight for a transform to use the new gaming technological innovation — however they would later on return to their shooters on Xbox and go away us with our toy.

I as well was amazed by Wii’s abilities, but I didn’t feel substantially possession about it. As significantly as I was involved, Wii was just element of the Tv. My GameCube, whose color I picked out and whose controller hues had been divided among pals in regardless of what interior hierarchy I set them in that week, felt much more own, a lot more me.

And, like with my beloved Vera Bradley duffel, I observed myself continuing to drag my GameCube together to sleepovers, then faculty, and last but not least I settled it into a drawer in my comprehensive-fledged adult condominium.

My brother marketed his three PlayStations, and all their games, to GameStop for $78.

So it is effortless to say GameCube failed. And financially, certain, that is tough to argue towards. But for these of us who got hooked on it for far more individual explanations, it grew to become a symbol that I’ll maintain on to for years to arrive. The purple coloration alternative could not have resonated with the market, but I wouldn’t have experienced it any other way.

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