Nintendo thinks that good things should come in small packages, and the affordable GameCube, about the size of a squat lunch box, certainly proves that point. Unlike the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox, which aspire to be DVD players and living-room minicomputers, this is exclusively a game machine--and a fun, powerful one at that, offering games suited to a broad audience. playback, but you'll need the $30 component-video connector and an HDTV to take advantage of the superior picture quality. We tried out a third-party S-Video connector and found the picture to be quite sharp with titles such as Metroid Prime and Monkey Ball 2 on a standard 4:3 TV, as well as an HD-ready Samsung set. So long as a game is optimized for the GameCube, its graphics best that of the PS2, and, in some cases, match that of the Xbox. Overall, however, the Xbox offers slightly superior graphics and performance.
While the GameCube is a decent performer visually, it lacks the big audio dynamite of digital-audio outputs. This is likely another cost-cutting maneuver that can hopefully be addressed with a different cable output. Presently, however, none is available
Some expansion underway
Unlike the Xbox, the GameCube has neither an internal hard drive nor the promise of one in the near future. Instead, you'll need to buy extra memory cards to save your progress in games. No card is included, but it is worth noting that we did like the one peripheral that ships with the system: the bundled controller, which fits comfortably in hands both large and small and handles well, too.