10 GameCube Games I Want to See on the Switch’s Virtual Console

After reading through a EuroGamer post stating the Nintendo Switch may potentially include GameCube games in its Virtual Console lineup, I started thinking back to all of the incredible experiences and overlooked gems that graced my favorite boxy-shaped console that doubled as a melee weapon in times of need. That’s what the handle was for, right?

According to EuroGamer’s Tom Phillips and his three unnamed sources, GameCube support is already tested and working on the Switch. Not only that, but three of the GameCube’s most well-known games are currently ready to roll as of his December 7th posting: Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion, and Super Smash Bros. Melee., with Animal Crossing being worked on as we speak.

As Phillips points out, Animal Crossing is an interesting choice, as it offers fully playable versions of NES classics like The Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros., and Donkey Kong inside of the game itself. Playing a GameCube game on the Switch while playing an NES game inside of a GameCube game on the Switch is a rad way to think about it.

Taking in to account that we may already see the likes of Animal Crossing, Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion, and Super Smash Bros. Melee on the Switch, I wanted to go over the top 10 games I’d like to see make their way over to The Big N’s shiny new toybox.

Before we get started though, I’d like to point out why I don’t have either of the Metroid Prime titles on this list, despite them being my favorite games on the console. I’m sincerely hoping that since the Metroid Prime Trilogy is already a part of the current Wii U Virtual Console lineup that it’ll be available in that format instead.

That being said, here’s my top 10.

killer7

#10 – Killer 7

A bizarre action game where you control an elite team of 7 assassins who are all manifestations of a man’s multiple personalities. It’s not the most technically sound game in the world, but Killer 7 proved to be one of the most stand-out GameCube titles thanks to its unique aesthetic and overall wild design by way of SUDA 51’s intense imagination.

lostkingdoms2

#9 – Lost Kingdoms 1 & 2

Long before Dark Souls, or even Demon’s Souls, From Software developed this unique pair of action RPGs (known as Rune in Japan) for the GameCube. They’re not as well known as their distant cousins, but if you dig up screenshots on Google, you might notice some similarities in the UI that eventually made its way to the Souls games.

This short-lived series hearkens back to the Summoner series, where your typical hack and slash action is instead replaced by summoning protective monsters using a magical deck of cards. Think of it as a real-time Magic: The Gathering.

batenkaitos

#8 – Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean

One of the few original IP RPGs to grace the GameCube, Baten Kaitos’s beautiful world and charming characters garnered a cult classic status among its player-base.

The combat on display is quite similar to the above Lost Kingdoms, where party members issue attacks using a deck of cards rather than using traditional menus and weapons. However, the action is turn-based instead of real-time, and the game’s aesthetic is far more appealing (Chrono Cross is an appropriate visual comaprison).

pso

#7 – Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II

Although the online features are long dead, the local 4-player co-op is alive and kicking. This action RPG/MMO-no-more features tons of weapons, characters, quests, enemies, and alien worlds to explore, packed with hundreds of hours of content across both of the included episodes.

Even without the ability to meet up with friends online, Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II is a pretty incredible experience.

fzerogx

#6 – F-Zero GX

The last F-Zero to grace a Nintendo home console was perhaps the best it’s ever been. We’ve seen its inspiration in games like Fast Racing NEO (along with the upcoming Switch release, Fast Racing RMX), but F-Zero GX was way ahead of its time in 2003.

The sense of speed was intense, elevated by the electronica soundtrack that accompanied it. Its track design also presented some of the best in the series. There’s a reason why Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett considers it his favorite racing game of all time.

If Nintendo isn’t going to show their futuristic racing series any modern love, then at least let us relive the glory days with F-Zero GX. Or just hand over the reins to Shin’en Multimedia, who’ve done a bang up job with Fast Racing thus far.

ikaruga

#5 – Ikaruga

Widely considered among the greatest shoot-em-ups of all time, Ikaruga is the spiritual sucessor to Radiant Silvergun and was developed by a small team of just three people over the course of two years.

What makes Ikaruga so unique is how it approaches combat. The game still features a top-down viewpoint with vertical scrolling, but it requires the player to switch between two different color variations to both negate oncoming damage of the same color, while dishing out double damage to enemies of the opposing color. The end result is one of the most frantic and enjoyable shmup experiences I’ve ever had.

eternaldarkness

#4 – Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Silicon Knights’ psychological horror game spans across twelve different time periods after Alexandra Roivas discovers a mysterious book in her grandfather’s Rhode Island mansion. The story itself is clearly quite unique, but it’s the game’s sanity mechanic that really drove the experience home.

As each of the characters slowly lose their minds, they begin witnessing supernatural events; skulls floating in the air while quoting Shakespeare, or odd camera shifts. There’s even some fourth-wall effects, simulating corrupt saves and the dreaded blue screen of death.

Eternal Darkness not only told a compelling narrative of old gods, but it was yet another GameCube title entirely ahead of its time.

pathofradiance

#3 – Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

Although popularized in 2013 (2012 in Japan) with the stellar release of Fire Emblem: Awakening, Path of Radiance introduced fans of Super Smash Bros. Melee to the series that brought them Marth and Roy. Granted neither are actually in Path of Radiance, as the hero Ike wouldn’t make an appearance until Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii, but the series in name itself would’ve been a lot more attractive.

Path of Radiance sold well enough for Nintendo to consider the series viable for home console release, though Fire Emblem is now considered a handheld franchise. It’d be nice to see this gem live again through the Switch’s Virtual Console instead of suffering the series’ mainstay permadeath on GameCube.

papermario

#2 – Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

The RPG-hybrid Paper Mario series hit its stride on GameCube with The Thousand-Year Door, but became something else entirely (much to the dismay of the fanbase) with its future offerings. Playing on the paper aesthetic, with the ability to fold himself in to a boat to cross water and blow away hidden panels with gusts of wind, it offered a truly unique take on the otherwise standard Super Mario experience we’d gotten used to.

With a lovely 2D papercraft world, the ability to play as Bowser and Peach (instead of plain ol’ Mario), and a charming narrative, The Thousand-Year Door is highly deserving of a second chance on the Nintendo Switch.

skiesofarcadia

#1 – Skies of Arcadia

Skies of Arcadia is one of the most beloved JRPGs of all time, originating on the Sega Dreamcast and later finding a home on GameCube. This updated version features improved graphics, slightly more content, and a toned-down random encounter rate, though some would argue the Dreamcast version offered a higher quality soundtrack. I’ll happily take lesser sound quality over the Dreamcast’s infuriating encounter rate any day of the week.

Skies follows the story of a ragtag band of heroes as they sail the skies against the Valuan Empire. These big baddies seek to gain control of some powerful ancient weapons with enough blasting power to destroy the entire world. That’s clearly not good. There’s sky pirates, airships, and tons of adventure to be had along this 50+ hour adventure.

The sky-ship seems to have sailed in hopes of an Arcadia sequel, but there’s few GameCube games on the planet that I’d love to revisit on Switch more than Skies of Arcadia.

***

When I proposed the question on Twitter, I received a fair amount of requests for things like Resident Evil 4 (which I avoided including, since it’s been ported to everything under the sun), Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes and Mega Man X: Command Mission. There were a few shout-outs for Viewtiful Joe, Evolution Worlds, Pikmin, Mario Party, and Mario Kart: Double Dash.

This is a testament to the overall quality of the console’s lineup and the memories instilled within its user-base over the last 15 years. It’s a legacy well worth preserving digitally (yes, I realize how nonsensical that sounds) and even introducing to a new generation of Nintendo fan.

Should the rumors prove true, which GameCube titles do you want to see on the Switch’s Virtual Console? Feel free to elaborate down in the comments!

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34 thoughts on “10 GameCube Games I Want to See on the Switch’s Virtual Console

  1. For once I can’t disagree with anything you posted. Everygame you mentioned is a great and I would love to see them on the Switch. Phantasy Star would be at the top of my list. So would Mario Sunshine, and Lost Kingdom.

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  2. Gamecube was the one major Nintendo console I missed out on so I’m EAGERLY awaiting this functionality. Awesome list man, thanks for writing it. (By the way, ping me on Twitter about PSO if you want to play it on PC with online component for free)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that there was a way to play PSO on PC, which is something I’d like to do at *some* point. Loved that game on DC. Right now my console backlog is so damn atrocious, and with Switch coming out I’m doing my best to narrow it down. Maybe with the lull between Breath of the Wild and Splatoon I’ll take you up on your offer!

      Thanks for checking out the list. The GameCube had a lot of great stuff on it, so hopefully Nintendo isn’t daft and actually puts an effort in to the Virtual Console this time around. GameCube games on the go is what I imagine heaven is like.

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      1. I hear you on the backlog man. I’m actually considering artificially “limiting” myself to a single console for like 6 months to a year. It sounds insane, but I’m normally paralyzed by choice.

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        1. I’m the same way. I get anxious trying to keep the backlog straightened out, and sometimes it feels irrationally crippling. This year I’m buckling down and severely limiting my game purchases in hopes of playing things I’ve already paid for and neglected. I know I’ll be all over the Switch, but otherwise I’m chipping away at the Wii U stuff.

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  3. one game that’s not on your list, and i’m biased since i love the movies so much, but rogue squadron 2 has definitely got to be there for me.

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    1. Yeah, they only have six more weeks until launch, so hopefully they start answering some of these questions sooner rather than later. If the console launches without a virtual console, it’s going to be slim pickings out of the gate.

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  4. Great breakdown. I’d love to see Viewtiful Joe again, along with most of the ones you’ve listed. The GCN had a lot of really cool, esoteric stuff. On New Year’s Eve some friends introduced me to a game called Ribbit King. If I ever find a copy for myself, I’ll have to review it. But the rounds played with everyone were awesome. It’s like arcade golf, except the golf balls are frogs, and you get all kinds of points for landing in certain areas even if it sometimes seems arbitrary. If you haven’t played it, and collect for the GCN look into it.

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  5. Well done picking out the more obscure RPGs! Those were seriously some of my favorite moments with the system! Skies of Arcadia Legends is a game that I repeatedly think about returning one day. And Baten Kaitos is so underrated. Glad Monolith Soft went on to do even bigger and better things, but it’d be nice if Nintendo acknowledged this one more (and Origins!). Same with Lost Kingdoms 1 and 2 – Great games that don’t get any attention. Awesome picks! I’d love to see pretty much any of these games on VC. Oh, and Cubivore, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I used to own Lost Kingdom 2 and thought it was decent. Surprised that Yu-Gi-Oh or Magic the Gathering haven’t copied those mechanics to make their own action RPG.

    Skies, Ikaruga, Fire Emblem and Phantasy Star Online would be great retro additions to the Switch’s library.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeahhhhh, Path of Radiance is ridiculously expensive now. So is Lost Kingdoms 1 & 2. We could seriously benefit from the GameCube entering the Virtual Console space, much in the way we did the Wii entering Wii U’s with Metroid Prime Trilogy and Xenoblade Chronicles.

      Fingers crossed!

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  7. I was going to mention Thousand Year Door since that was the last game I recall playing on my GameCube and my favorite. I’m hoping to see that ported and holy shit I totally forgot about Skies of Arcadia! My brother played that game long ago in the Dreamcast days. I never personally played it myself, but it would be wonderful if it would up on the Switch.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Some times I really wonder about their marketing departments. I mean not that I know anything about it, and I certainly couldn’t work out the details, but I DO have an understanding of what the gamers want. You’d think they’d have people working on that, because it seems that any long time Nintendo fan understands this, too.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I don’t understand it either. It’s like their marketing team is sleeping or they don’t realize how times have changed. I hope everything works out for them. I’ve loved the Big N for even longer than I’ve loved Final Fantasy *fingers crossed*

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  8. Oh! So that’s why the GameCube had a handle. I guess it would make a decent melee weapon in some situations, lol. On a side note I really want to see a new Metroid Prime game! Please Nintendo, don’t make me beg…

    Great list though! I loved Thousand Year Door a lot. It was the first Paper Mario game I beat. I’ve missed out on the rest. I prefer physical copies of games, but the Fire Emblem titles are so overpriced on eBay since they are rare. It would be nice to get a virtual version on the Switch.

    Resident Evil 4 was amazing! I have the Wii version as well and played both extensively. I was obsessed with it in High School actually (hence why my PSN username has Ada Wong in it, lol). I’ll never forget the first time chainsaw guy snuck up on me *shudders*

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    1. RE4 is a great game, and I’m sure I’d happily buy it again on Switch just to have it available on the go lol. I actually found a complete copy of Fire Emblem on Wii a few years back, but it was $60 and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Definitely kicking myself right now.

      I’d love a new Metroid Prime. I thought that was the perfect direction for the series. Axiom Verge was an incredible love letter to Super Metroid, so I’m not craving a new 2D experience right now. Prime was just so damn good.

      Liked by 1 person

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