Backwards-compatibility with games from the previous consoles of Nintendo has always been a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey situation. And the situation with GameCube games on Switch is no exception.
With the Switch Online app serving up NES and SNES games aplenty, with new releases every few months, eyes have slowly been drifting as to what other games could appear on the service (and on the console at large).
We spoke before of N64 games coming to the Switch, both officially and unofficially, but the GameCube era of Nintendo has always been an intriguing concept, especially as there’s already been proof of the console being able to run both consoles at full speed.
With that, let’s go into how GameCube games could be possible on the Switch...
A Flipper Moment
Being able to play GameCube games in other ways, beyond the console itself, was made possible in 2003 through an emulator called Dolphin.
After some false-starts and transfer of ownership, it became open-source in 2008, and since then, it’s thrived to become one of the most accurate applications for mimicking a console.
But even though this can be used to have games run in a 5K resolution and even have some games modded to use keyboard and mouse controls such as Metroid Prime, the allure of being able to play these games on the go has remained, and that’s why hopes have always been a constant of GameCube games running on Switch.
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A Hylian Shield Effort
We need to go a bit forward here first, and look to the Nvidia Shield. We have spoken of this device before, and it features the same ‘Tegra’ CPU chip that is also in the Switch. But what’s surprising, is that there are games on this device that have been sanctioned by Nintendo, due to the deal both companies made.
Super Mario Galaxy, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, New Super Mario Bros Wii and Punch Out all run on an official ‘Wii emulator’ on this device, and at a 1920x1404 higher resolution, all at full speed.
The result of this shows the games looking fantastic, with crisp textures and even the motion controls that were present in some games, now relegated to a joystick on the Shield.
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Of course, at the time of these games being released, the Switch was only a year into its release, with NES games barely a possibility for an official release at the time.
But now, with it being three years in, and with NES and SNES games on the Online service, it seems like it’s time for certain games to come to the Switch.
As the GameCube and Wii share almost the exact same hardware, this is almost an open secret that Nintendo and Nvidia have had for two years now.
Will Super Mario Sunshine open the door to Gamecube games on Switch?
In a recent 16-minute live stream about Mario's 35th anniversary, Nintendo confirmed that Super Mario Sunshine is coming to Nintendo Switch as part of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars bundle.
This product is launching on 18th September 2020, and it will mark the first time that a major Gamecube game has been remastered and re-released for the Switch.
You'd expect to see, if the Super Mario Sunshine on Switch experience is a big hit in terms of sales and fan response, more Gamecube games following in its footsteps.
There is, after all, a big Zelda anniversary coming up next year. So here's hoping that Sunshine marks a bright new dawn for the Gamecube back catalogue.
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GameCube Games on the Switch eShop
Well, it’s already been proven that games can run on the Tegra chip, and in turn, on the Switch, so there’s no danger of major compatibility issues or slowdowns.
The Online service has now come to a slight T-junction; to see whether N64 games can come to it, or if an ‘N64 Classic Console’ will be first.
And so, with Wii and GameCube games, we could see them appearing as separate games to purchase on their own through the eShop. There's no reason it can't be done.
All in all, GameCube games on the Switch will be possible, and it's already been proven to run perfectly with the emulator on the NVIDIA Shield.
It’s simply a matter of ‘when’ for Nintendo, and what games will be released. Watch this space, folks!
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