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Current Situation

Nintendo Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Reggie Fils-Aime is very clear about the company’s present console strategy: “We continually put games out there that show off what GameCube can do, show it off in a very strong way, and continue to push the envelope.” Problem is, Nintendo is usually the only one believing in its approach, as third parties continue to throw most of their support toward the competing home systems in early ’05. GameCube scored a major coup already this year with Capcom’s Resident Evil 4, but all other notable exclusives due in the next few months come from the house that Mario built: Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, Nintendo Pennant Chase Baseball, and Fire Emblem.

Looking Ahead

Basically, look for a repeat of last year: GameCube will see only a fraction of the games that come to PS2 and Xbox, Nintendo still won’t jump online (even though that whole GC-GBA connectivity feature turned out to be a bust), and strong first-party games will leak out every couple months. Probably no other title is more anticipated in ’05 than the next Legend of Zelda adventure, which has a new, realistic visual style. Nintendo will also appease pocket-monster trainers with the first full console Pokémon RPG. As for the rest of the lineup, you’ll see a number of familiar Nintendo characters and franchises in the form of Mario Baseball, Advance Wars: Under Fire, and a new Kirby game.

Notable Games

Advance Wars: Under Fire • Fall ’05 The GBA-born strategy series gets more actiony with its move to the big screen.

Kirby • Fall ’05 — The pink sucker returns to Nintendo’s game box in an all-new action-adventure title. Expect some multiplayer modes, too.

Mario Baseball • Fall ’05 — The gaming icon hopes a storylike challenge mode helps him clear the fences.

Odama • Fall ’05 — It’s a war-themed pinball game where banging on the DK Bongo controller raises your troops’ morale. Yep, it’s a weird one, all right.

Pokémon RPG • Fall ’05 — Just like the GBA games, but now in 3D.

The Legend of Zelda • Fall ’05 — Link gets a fresh coat of mature-looking paint. And the game may receive a Teen rating due to the increased violence—who says GameCube is only for the kiddies?

Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.





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