Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
13 January 2007
Wii expands the GameCube market? Feh.
Mike pointed me to an article I missed in Thursday's updates to O3 Still Loving GameCube. It brings up an angle on backward compatibility that I don't recall being raised back when we last discussed its importance: it expands the base of the older platform, and therefore opens possibilities for smaller publishers to make some money.

O3 is bringing a Japanese shooter on the GameCube called Radio Allergy and depending on the Wii to expand the potential audience. That's a neat theory, but I don't think I really believe Wii players will be browsing the GameCube section of their stores enough to pick up cheap games. Sure, I know that I will do precisely that, but one thing the commenters on this blog have made painfully clear is that my habits are often widely divergent from the typical consumer habits. I suspect this is one of those cases.

We have a precedent, of course: the PlayStation 2 transition period. There we had nearly perfect backward compatibility and a successful system leading into yet another successful system. However, the kind of games that smaller publishers brought out were often quite poor. In O3's defense, I have no idea whether their game will be brilliant or ridiculously bad.

I hate to pick on Mud Duck Productions, since they at least have a nifty name, but their post-PS2 output for the PSOne is typical of what I expect will happen to publishers who look to the GameCube and Wii as one platform: cheap, one-off games like Qix Neo and Puzznic that sell for $10 and languish on shelves for years. (I think their pre-PS2 game Gubble falls into the same category, but I digress.) I just don't see Wii players jumping at the chance to own similar quality GameCube games.

There might actually be a profit in such ventures, especially if the production values are low enough and the number of gullible buyers is high enough*, but this isn't some sort of GameCube renaissance waiting to happen. The next time you see a really great game on a GameCube, it will probably be a homebrew title created by a fan somewhere around 2012.

* Yes, I own Qix Neo. I'm making my own library of games, for crying out loud, and that means getting everything, good and bad. I try not to pay too much for the dreck, naturally.

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--Matt Matthews at 00:57
Comment [ 5 ]

Comments on this post:

Now that I have the Wii, I've been looking for cheapening Gamecube titles that I've passed up before because of the cost. They don't seem to be going down as much as I want them too. I do, however, plan on checking out Radio Allergy.

By Blogger Bigelow, at 13 January, 2007 02:48  

Radirgy (Radio Allergy) is supposedly better than Chaos Field. But being better than Chaos Field isn't necessarily an achievement.

By Anonymous Baines, at 13 January, 2007 04:23  


You can play it on DC or you can play it on GC. At least it seems to have a good sense of visual style (IMHO, but I like cartoons).

But what else is there to play on Wii right now? Really?

I mean, even if you dig back into the Gamecube library, there aren't all that many games that you have to own.

I mean:

Smash Bros. Melee
Super Mario Sunshine
Pikmin 2 (you can probably live with just one)
MarioKart Double Dash
Metroid Prime
Metroid Prime 2
Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door

Resident Evil 4 (cross platform)
Animal Crossing (might as well get the DS version)

You've got Twilight Princess, but since you've droppped the $250 on the Wii, you might as well get that version of it.

Beyond that, you've got some interesting titles that are DC ports (Ikaruga, Radirgy, Skies of Arcadia), which you maybe own already, and a bunch of titles that are mega multiplatform, and may or may not deserve your attention on GC/Wii.

I haven't had a gamecube in a while, but I've been trying to fill my shelf with some GC games to drive a Wii purchase, and I'm having a lot of trouble doing so.

Three of the four are SEGA games (two DC ports and a multiplatform title) and the other two are Zelda (one's the multipack). At that moment that's not enough to spend $250 on, or even $60 for a used GC when I've got over 30 retail 360 games and a full arcade staring me down.

By Blogger Jeremy, at 13 January, 2007 08:17  

I think it'd be important to add some small Wii-exclusive bit to the game to make it intriguing to new system-holders, and possibly get some shelf space with Wii games.

Think Space Invaders on Super Game Boy, or the weird easter eggs of putting old games in your DS at the right time or whatever it was. Or the Burger King games, which play on Xbox and 360.

By Blogger rufbo, at 13 January, 2007 17:43  

Wii-exclusive bits?

Given the choice, Nintendo chose to port Twilight Princess to the Wii directly. And then handicapped the Gamecube version with a late limited release.

Heck, they went as far as excluding the GC control scheme from the Wii version just to make sure people used the Wii control scheme.

Right now, Nintendo probably prefers anything given even a brief nod towards the existance of the Wii be released on the Wii specifically.

As for Wii-extensions to a Gamecube game in general, are they even a viable possibility? The Wii supposedly runs in a reduced GC-compatible mode when it senses a Gamecube disc, similar to how the DS handles GBA carts (which didn't offer the ability to "enhance" the GBA experience.) The Burger King games supposedly simply include two separate versions of the code on the same disc, but can the Cube and Wii handle even that form of dual format?

By Anonymous Baines, at 13 January, 2007 22:50  

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