The GameCube is one of Nintendo’s most legendary consoles, and the last time this company went head to head with Sony in terms of power. Ever since then, Nintendo has given up on competing in the same space as Sony and Microsoft. Because GameCube is such a unique product that will never be replicated again, gamers are lining up to buy copies of its games on the used market.
But could Gamecube games be a fake? It is certainly a possibility, and you might run into a bootleg copy if you buy games in bulk from 3rd party sources. A used game shop or local reseller won’t check every single unit they receive, and modern bootlegs look very close to the real thing.
There is no easy way to tell if a Gamecube game is fake at first glance. It isn’t until you put the disc into your system that you run into issues. Subtle things like artwork might give you clues as to whether your disc is authentic or not.
Could Gamecube Games Be A Fake?
GameCube games have exploded in popularity during the past few years. Mostly because it was Nintendo’s last attempt at creating a direct rival to Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox. Ever since then, Nintendo has always released a console with weaker hardware that’s designed specifically around a unique theme or feature.
You had the 3DS with its stereoscopic 3D display and stylus. There was the Wii with its motion controls. And now, Nintendo’s betting everything on the Switch which is a hybrid that combines couch gaming with handheld gaming.
However, the GameCube was just… a console. It had no special gimmicks and was actually more powerful than the PS2. The controller was an evolution from the N64, featuring two analog sticks.
There wasn’t anything outlandish about the design. Other than the form factor, which resembled a small cube. Hence the name- GameCube.
Interestingly enough, Nintendo chose the miniDVD format to combat piracy. Even these days, you’re going to run into fake PS2 or Xbox games more often than a fake GameCube game. Regular DVD is a lot easier to find than mini DVD, which has nearly died out as a format (because nobody uses it).
Bootleggers download GameCube ROMs and write them onto mini DVDs. Then, they package the whole thing inside a case and print out a copy of the original artwork. Even though it might look like the real thing, your GameCube won’t read it.
Only a modded GameCube can read these bootleg discs. Sometimes, the counterfeiter doesn’t even make the effort of putting an actual GameCube ROM on the thing and sells you a blank. Fortunately, sites like eBay and Amazon have a robust refund policy and an excellent seller review system.
Do GameCube Games Suffer From Disc Rot?
GameCube discs can suffer from degradation or rot over time, much like any other type of optical disc. To understand why this happens, we must first take a look at how optical discs store data. Whether it’s a laser disc, CD, DVD, or Blu-Ray, all discs use microscopic pits to store bits of binary data (0s and 1s).
It’s kind of like morse code, with reflective parts and non-reflective parts. The reflective surface conveys a 1 while the non-reflective surface is a 0. The length of each groove or pit can vary, hence you get sequences of 0s and 1s.
A laser emitter shoots a beam at the data layer. If the laser falls on a reflective part, it will get reflected into a receiving lens.
Reflective sections are made of a thin metal layer. On ROM (read-only) discs like the ones you get in games, these are aluminum. And aluminum can react with oxygen in the air to form aluminum oxide.
All discs have a protective lacquer or plastic layer on top of the metal data layer. Over time, this protective layer degrades and lets air through. Even minor imperfections in the adhesive used to bind the various layers together can cause a disc to lose its data.
When a disc starts rotting, little spots will start forming on its surface. You can sometimes see light shine through these spots. Rot takes a long time to form, anywhere from 10 to 20 years.
If you store your discs in a low moisture environment at room temperature, they are less likely to succumb to rot. And there are archive-grade discs that are designed to last anywhere from 20 to 100 years. But game developers don’t print their games on such discs, and you get what you get.
Was The GameCube Considered A Failure?
The GameCube wasn’t a commercial success, that’s for sure. It was outsold by the Microsoft Xbox, which is quite a blow if you’re Nintendo. A Japanese company that had been dominating the global video game market for over 2 decades was outsold by a North American newcomer.
And while the Xbox outsold the GameCube, the PS2 destroyed it. Nintendo had some excellent games that generation, with titles such as Super Mario Sunshine and Metroid Prime. But a feature deficit (no online gaming or DVD playback) combined with the lack of third-party games were the downfall of this otherwise excellent console.
Why Were GameCube Game Discs So Small?
Nintendo’s first console to use discs chose a rather weird format. MiniDVD was new at the time, and very few people used it. Both the PS2 and Xbox chose regular DVDs.
But GameCube was a tiny console, much smaller than the Xbox. And because of its cube-shaped design, it couldn’t accept regular DVDs. Using a less popular disc format also made GameCube more resistant to piracy and bootleg game copies.
Did The GameCube Have Good Graphics?
For its time, GameCube produced some excellent visuals. And because it was faster than the PS2, games often contained more detail in the lighting and textures. Resident Evil 4 is a nice example of this, it looks better on GameCube compared to PS2.
What Are The Rarest Games On GameCube?
Since we’re talking about bootleg GameCube games, there are certain titles that you don’t want to buy from 2nd-rate sellers. Genuine copies of these rare Gamecube games cost a fortune on the used market. Hence, you should make sure you’re purchasing them from a reliable source.
One of these games is Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. You can expect to pay over 300 dollars for a boxed copy of this game. Gotcha Force is another rare game, with sealed copies fetching over 600 dollars.
I hope this article gave you some insight into how to detect and avoid fake GameCube games. Your chances of running into a bootleg copy are low, as long as you buy from trusted sellers with a good rating. And most marketplaces or shops will refund you if you can prove that you got a fake disc.Always document your first time running a game disc, with video. And pay attention to the box art, fakes usually have a different color grade and paper type. Check out this video to know how you can detect fake GameCube box art.