Nintendo is never one to balk at trying something different, and the GameCube is perhaps the greatest proof of that. It offered a completely re-imagined console and controller. Nintendo even ditched cartridges in favor of mini discs. It was such a departure from the rest of the company’s catalog that you might not even recognize it as a Nintendo if the name weren’t written on the box. Despite its mid-life crisis style makeover, the console was popular in large part because it was affordable. A GameCube cost consumers $199.99 at launch, but the price dropped to $99.99 for the 2003 holiday season (via CNET).
If you’ve got an old GameCube in the closet or you’ve picked one up at a yard sale, there are plenty of great games you can get your hands on without breaking the bank. We recommend "Viewtiful Joe" as a good starting place. Used copies are affordable on the secondary market, and its unique movement mechanics are a treat. If you’re looking to complete you GameCube collection, however, there are a few titles that could put a considerable dent in your savings.
"Chibi-Robo" is a third-person platformer made by Bandai and Skip. You play as the titular four-inch tall robot, living and working in the Sanderson home. Your job, and the job of all Chibi-Robos, is to earn happiness points by completing menial tasks around the house. You’ll clean stains or pick up trash. What a joy to be a household robot! At least, that’s how the game begins.
As reported by GameSpot, you quickly realize that the Sandersons are no ordinary family, and this is no ordinary home. As the game progresses, things get progressively weirder. You’ll attempt to save the Sandersons’ rocky marriage while communing with aliens, traveling through time, and defending the family from the violent Spydorz.
Four additional games in the series have been released for the Nintendo DS and 3DS, which may have contributed to the game’s lasting popularity, despite few copies of the original being available. At the time of writing, there are no actual games available on eBay, but you could pay $150 for the case and manual.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
Initially, the "Fire Emblem" series was only released in Japan, but a slowdown in game releases may have prompted Nintendo to translate some of its trunk titles for an English-speaking audience, according to IGN. If you’re a fan of the "Fire Emblem" series, you know what you’re getting with "Path of Radiance." It’s a turn-based RPG with a fantasy feel and maintains most of the game mechanics of its predecessors. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s worth noting that "Path of Radiance" is a text-heavy game, with most of the worldbuilding happening through dialogue between characters, as opposed to cutscenes. If you don’t want to read while playing games, look elsewhere.
"Path of Radiance" was the ninth entry in the "Fire Emblem" series, but only the third to be released in the United States. You play as Ike who, along with a group of companions, must fight evil forces to save the world. The game was popular at launch and the series remains popular today, driving its continued rarity. These days, you’re likely to pay $200 for the game on the secondary market, more if you want a case to go with it.
Released in 2003 and published by Capcom, "Gotcha Force" puts players in a third-person combat setting with a variety of unique creatures. You play as a young kid name Kou and your world is in the process of being invaded by the evil Gotcha Borgs. With the help of some friendly Borgs, you’ll form the Gotcha Force and build an army to save the world from alien invaders.
With each new battle won, you’ll be rewarded with new Borgs, or pieces of Borgs to add to your growing army. You’ll then take your renewed forces back into the fight to square off with an array of enemies and bosses (via Nintendo World Report). There’s also a multiplayer mode that pits the armies of up to four players against one another. "Gotcha Force" aims at the same audience who plays Pokémon or Digimon, leaning on the addictiveness of completing your creature collection.
Sadly, "Gotcha Force" didn’t make a huge impact when it was released, but that didn’t prevent a committed following from forming. Today, the game regularly goes for $300 or more on the secondary market.
Go! Go! Hypergrind
"Go! Go! Hypergrind" feels like a fever dream, but it was very real. The game was developed with artistic help from Spümcø, the animation studio behind "The Ren & Stimpy Show." The influence is clear in the artistic direction. The characters, the world, and even the lettering would all feel right at home in the famously crude Nickelodeon cartoon. That might be enough to get some fans through the door, but this game gets even weirder.
The Spümcø animation studio also exists inside the game and they’re casting for a new cartoon called, you guessed it, "Go! Go! Hypergrind." You play as a cartoon character auditioning for a role on the show and you’ve got to showcase your cartoon acting chops through the power of skateboarding (via GameSpot). Your goal is to enter cartoon scenarios and get your character into as many slapstick hijinks as you can, stacking up combos for point bonuses, all in the hope of becoming the star of the show. It’s equal parts "Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," which more than explains its popularity. If you want to play it today, it’s going to cost you. It regularly sells for $400 or more on the secondary market.
NCAA College Basketball 2K3
We probably don’t need to explain this one. You’ve been aware of basketball since you were a kid, and this isn’t all that different. Only now, your favorite sports stars have been shrunken down, digitized, and plopped inside your television like they won a trip to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
As the name suggests, in "NCAA College Basketball 2K3" you play as some of the biggest names in the sport from 2003 (via Sports Gaming). What makes this game special among GameCube collectors is it was the only game in the series to be released for the console. In fact, it was the only college basketball game of any kind released for the GameCube. So, if you’re looking to shoot college hoops on your GC, this is the only shot you’ve got.
Unfortunately, getting a hold of it is no easy layup. Because of its unique position in the GameCube catalog, it remains popular on the secondary market with copies selling on eBay for roughly $600.
Resident Evil 10th Anniversary Collection
The "Resident Evil" franchise got its start on the PlayStation in 1996 but quickly spread (almost like a lab-created virus) to other consoles, including the Nintendo GameCube. For the tenth anniversary of the series, the game makers released a collector’s bundle bringing together some of the most beloved series entries from the first 10 years.
The bundle included a remake of the original "Resident Evil," the prequel game "Resident Evil Zero," as well as "Resident Evil 4" (via GameSpot). It should be clear that the bundle is not comprehensive of the entire series up to that point, but it’s a great place to start if you’ve never played the series before or if you’re just trying to round out your collection.
The only real problem is that copies are hard to come by and used copies aren’t cheap. They regularly sell on the secondary market for about $600. It’s a little easier to swallow than some other high-priced games, because you’re getting three for the admittedly steep price of one. But that’s still sure to take an infected bite out of your bank account.
Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest
"Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest" is an action-adventure game released for the GameCube in 2002. You play as a cube-shaped creature called a cubivore, locked in a battle for the prosperity of the world. Your goal is to fight and eat other cube creatures in without being eaten yourself. The combat is reminiscent of an arena brawler with a three-dimensional combat space and real-time attacks.
With each new meal you’ll grow bigger and stronger, mutating into something even more powerful. As you make your way up the cube-shaped food chain you’ll eventually challenge and hopefully defeat the current tyrant king. It’s a cute and admittedly simplified evolution simulator with graphics that are honestly questionable even for 2002.
"Cubivore" has, so far, managed to maintain its niche in the video game ecosystem by establishing a symbiotic relationship with collectors. Today, used copies go for more than $700.
Interactive Multi-Game Demo Disc Version 14
Nintendo’s Interactive Multi-Game Demo Discs weren’t the sort of thing you’d find on the shelves of your favorite game store. Instead, you’d find them locked inside the demo display systems. These multi-game discs were provided to retailers by Nintendo so that consumers could try out games in the store before they bought them. It was like test driving a car, only you could do it while your mom picked out toilet paper.
Despite being intended only for in-store demos and clearly marked as being for display only and not for re-sale, some copies have found their way into the hands of consumers, and, because of their rarity, they are popular among collectors.
While any of these demo discs command reasonably high prices, disc 14 is particularly popular. It includes demos for "Custom Robo," "Mario Kart: Double Dash," and "Sonic Heroes," as well as trailers for a bunch of other games (via Gamespy). It regularly sells for about $850, which is pretty steep considering you’re only getting small snippets of a few games. Being rare and a little forbidden goes a long way toward increasing value.
Digimon Rumble Arena 2
If you grew up in the ’90s, it’s likely you had a Tamagotchi or two. If you didn’t, you probably had one of the dozens of copycat toys which offered a version of the same experience. While Tamagotchi was the reigning champ of digital pets at the turn of the millennium, Digimon was close on its tail, and for good reason. After launching Tamagotchi, the toymakers realized it wasn’t as popular among young boys, so they repackaged the toy with monsters and called it Digimon (via CBR).
Those digital monsters have since broken out of their plastic casings to inhabit cartoons, video games, and more. And in 2004, the franchise made its way to the GameCube with "Digimon Rumble Arena 2." Unlike other Digimon games, this one isn’t about collecting creatures and battling foes one at a time. Instead, it takes a battle royale approach similar to "Super Smash Bros." in a last ‘mon standing contest.
The game got mixed reviews at launch with some critics recommending you rent it, while others suggested skipping it altogether. But Digimon has a fervent fanbase that persists to this day, allowing even an average title to retain popularity among collectors. Today, you can get a used copy for a few hundred dollars, but a factory-sealed copy goes for upward of $850.
Disney Sports Basketball
During the early 2000s, Konami had an agreement with Disney to license some of its characters in Konami games. The company used that license to pump out a suite of sports-based games featuring popular Disney characters. Over the course of a single year, they released titles featuring football, soccer, skateboard, and of course basketball, all under the "Disney Sports" name.
In "Disney Sports Basketball," you play tournament games of three on three. Players can choose from Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Huey, Goofy, and Max, and each character has their own attributes allowing you to customize your play style (via IGN). "Disney Sports Basketball" got mixed reviews, but it’s exactly what it purports to be: Disney characters shooting hoops.
While you can get your hands on the football, soccer, and skateboarding games for between $30 and $100 on the secondary market, if you want to round out your collection, it’s going to cost you in the neighborhood of a thousand dollars. You have to ask yourself just how badly you want to see Mickey dunk on Donald.
Metroid Prime and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker combo
This is where the world of game collecting and rarity gets a little weird. "Metroid Prime" and "The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker" are both stellar games, they are also both readily available for anyone with a few bucks to spare. At the time of writing, you can pick up both games for the GameCube separately for about $100 total. And you could certainly buy them separately and enjoy them, but for a brief moment during the 2005 holiday season, gamers could get both games in a bundle.
Inside, you would find two discs in a single clamshell case. Once you pulled off the plastic and cracked open the case, you’d find mini discs which were indistinguishable from any other copy of the games. The rarity and the cost come from the novelty of having both games housed together. If you want one, it’s going to run you a small fortune. But can you really put a price on joy? Yes, and that price can be more than one thousand dollars plus shipping.
"Pikmin" is one of those rare franchises that is almost a license to print money. Fans of the series are nearly guaranteed to come back for the playstyle and world they know and love. "Pikmin 2" continued a lot of what made the original game so popular, while also offering players new mechanics including a second captain. That allowed you to control two groups of Pikmin as they carried out different activities at the same time. It streamlined the play experience by removing a lot of the waiting for things to happen (via Nintendo World Report).
You play as a captain controlling your loyal Pikmin army as they solve puzzles, find treasures, and defeat dungeons. "Pikmin 2" released on the GameCube in 2022 but never made its way to the states on that console, driving its popularity among North American gamers. It would eventually come to the region on the Wii in 2012, but the GameCube version can only be purchased used. Today, sealed or graded copies of "Pikmin 2" list for between $750 and $1,325.
Super Monkey Ball 2-Pack
"Super Monkey Ball" is as fun as its premise is ridiculous. You play as a monkey inside of a ball, navigating an increasingly complex array of mazes. The gameplay mechanic is unique and brings some additional complexity to the play experience. Instead of moving your character, you are instead moving the maze beneath them, tilting it this way and that to move your character around.
The combo pack included the original "Super Monkey Ball" as well as "Super Monkey Ball 2" in one convenient package. But each game came in its own clamshell case with a thin cardboard slipcover slid over the top. Once that slipcover was removed (and probably discarded), it had no difference from any other copy you might find. The value and rarity come not from the games, but from that slim piece of printed paper. Today, you’re likely to spend between $1,500 and $2,000 (via Price Charting) for the privilege of pulling off that paper slipcover and throwing it away yourself.
Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II
"Phantasy Star Online" was originally released on the DreamCast and later repackaged for the GameCube in an expanded form, subtitled "Episode I & II." It included a complete port of the original game as well as "Episode II," which offered an entirely new story (via Nintendo World Report).
You play as a character arriving on the alien planet of Ragol. You’re a crewmember aboard the colony ship Pioneer 2. When you arrive, you attempt to contact the Pioneer 1, which arrived ahead of you. Obviously, things go wrong, and it’s up to you to fix them.
When the game was ported to the GameCube, it incorporated an online play element but didn’t have an efficient way of typing using the GameCube’s otherwise stellar controller. Despite its technological limitations, it remains one of the rarest and most valuable games on the secondary market and factory-sealed copies carry price tags in the thousands.
Sonic Adventure 2-pack
Thanks in part to the popularity of the two live action "Sonic" movies, the character and the franchise is more popular than it’s been since we were debating over whether Nintendo or Sega was the better console. Consequently, some gamers are looking back on the titles form the series’ past to round out their collections.
"The Sonic Adventure 2-Pack" included the Player’s Choice versions of "Sonic Adventure 2: Battle" and "Sonic Adventures DX: Director’s Cut" (via Sonic Retro). Much like the "Metroid" and "Wind Waker" combo, this bundle included both games in their own clamshell, enclosed in a cardboard sleeve. Once again, the sleeve is the thing that gives it value and the prices are staggering.
At the time of this writing, there is a used and moderately damaged copy listed at $2,000 while a graded copy will run you $5,200. At least shipping is free.