GameCube’s controller and purple color make it the hottest fashion accessory of the early 2000s

It’s October 2002 and you’re at Hollywood’s hottest party. On the left you see Paris Hilton, wearing a glass and lime swirl two-piece dress that would make a 2022 Depop-er swoon. To your right is Christina Aguilera, whose leopard cap perched on her head as her cargo gauchos swayed gingerly on her hips. At any other event, these divas would be noticed by everyone, but here they are just blobs among the rest of Hollywood’s glitterati of early 2000s – Leonardo DiCaprio, Alicia Silverstone, the cast of Rub – all wearing the season’s hottest accessories:


Similar to Apple’s successful clamshell iBook, the GameCube is designed with quirky taste, the technology that dominated the 2000s, right down to the perfectly ergonomic handle. Both are marketed as equally fashionable and functional parts, each using (and paying for) the powerful motives of the early celebrity to attract attention and advertisement. It works for the iBook, but can the same be said for Nintendo’s second best-selling console?

In 1998, Nintendo began working on a top secret initiative it named The Dolphin Project. The console later known as the GameCube was Nintendo’s attempt to build a game system that was different from its competitors: Sony’s long-awaited PlayStation 2 and Microsoft’s newcomer, Xbox. Nintendo Japan wanted to build something that friends could play together, prioritizing fun and whimsy – and setting itself apart from the lineups featured on PS2 and Xbox.

As part of that, Nintendo will have to convince gamers behind a radical concept:


“It’s not that you can’t make hardware in a different color, it’s just a color that looks very… ‘woman’. Perrin Kaplan, former vice president of marketing and corporate affairs for Nintendo of America, said in a statement 2021 interview with Video Game Chronicles.

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

Mariska Hargitay at a promotional event for GameCube.
Photo: Evan Agostini / Getty Images

Kaplan went on to say that many in Nintendo’s West division tried to convince Nintendo Japan to go in a different direction – but their concerns were not heard. After a large amount of market research, Kaplan said that everything from “gray brown” to hot pink was considered for the console, Nintendo’s GameCube came out with its signature indigo color, along with the sessions. Black, platinum and spiced orange versions.

Many gamers, millions of them have protected their sleek PlayStation 2, more or less mocking the odd purple box. Aside from aesthetics, the GameCube was criticized for its lack of adult games (see: violence), lack of DVD slots, and lack of internet connectivity. Nintendo was prepared for such criticism; it’s always about creating something functionally different from the competition. But many at Nintendo felt the console’s design made it unappreciated by “real gamers”. According to Shelly Pearce, former head of PR at Nintendo Europe, small discs and multicolored controllers have graced the GameCube, enhancing the console’s cuteness and giving it a “Fisher-Price” aesthetic. “. also talked to the Video Game Chronicle. To some extent, this “cute” factor over-associates the console with kids, but Nintendo ran into a bigger demographic challenge:


By number from a survey conducted by Nintendo released at Nintendo’s 2007 E3 press conference, 42% of GameCube users are female – compared to 32% for PlayStation 2 and 11% for PlayStation 3. That’s a statistic that can easily be observed growing up. in my middle area. Using my GameCube’s iconic controller, I brought the console from sleep to sleep mode, while its bundled wires and controllers swirled around my Vera Bradley duffel. As the nights went on, the older brothers could be heard shouting on their Xbox headsets while their sisters and I played through Mary-Kate and Ashley: sweet 16 years old – Licensed to drive. These brothers regularly come to the kitchen or bathroom, stopping to taunt us, or plunging into the easily accessible reset button to watch their sister cry.

As a kid, I never made the connection between these brothers with the GameCube and the joy I had from strapping the console to my kid-sized wrist and marching all the way to my mom’s pickup truck. me the next morning. But now it seems clear: As well as those he loves Smash Bros. and Mario Kart, there still needs to be a distinction between them, the real gamers, and us, the fake gaming girls. As gamer culture evolved, the growing idea that we should only use games to equip ourselves and our personalities made GameCube, with its sociable games, high cute factor. and the unique wallet handle, our accessory of choice.

Fortunately for Nintendo, the GameCube will be a short-lived flop for the company. In 2006, Nintendo released the Wii, selling 101 million units in its lifetime, compared with the GameCube’s 21 million. Learning from its mistakes, Nintendo primarily offered the Wii in glossy white, occasionally in limited edition colors, positioning the console not only for girls but for all. everyone. With its delicate sensor bar, the Wii is hardly a carry-on console, so it’s mostly on our entertainment center, paired with my brother’s equally sleek PS3. When I go to friends’ houses to play Wii, their older brothers will struggle to get access to the new gaming technology – even though they’ll come back to the Xbox shooter and leave us the our toys.

I was also impressed by the Wii’s capabilities, but I didn’t feel much ownership over it. As far as I know, the Wii is just a part of the TV. My GameCube, the color I chose and the controller color split among friends in whatever internal hierarchy I put them in that week, feels more personal, more like me.

And, just like with my beloved Vera Bradley duffel, I find myself continuing to drag my GameCube to sleep, then college, and I end up settling it in a drawer in my adult apartment his full.

My brother sold three PlayStations and all of their games to GameStop for $78.

So it’s easy to say that the GameCube failed. And financially, sure, that’s hard to argue with. But for those of us who have become attached to it for more personal reasons, it has become an icon that I will keep for years to come. The purple option may not resonate in the market, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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