Dreamcast vs. GameCube

Dreamcast vs. GameCube

Sega and Nintendo re-enter the ring

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Versus on

Around the turn of the millennium, Sega and Nintendo released their 6th generation consoles so let's see which one holds up better.

Photo of a Dreamcast and GameCube along with a bunch of games
No matter which one wins, gaming wouldn't be the same without both of these amazing consoles

Hardware

Dreamcast and GameCube are both solid disc-based consoles that are a joy to play even nowadays. First of all, Dreamcast was the first 6th generation console and is capable of displaying fantastic graphics that still don't feel all that dated. Its most notable accessory is the VMU (or Visual Memory Unit) which is basically a memory card that you plug into the controller. Some games utilize it as a second screen and you can play portable mini-games on it, too. Heck, you can even plug 2 directly into each other to play multiplayer games.

GameCube's graphics are similar to Dreamcast's although undeniably improved. It uses 3 inch Nintendo optical discs which is pretty neat but I'd rather have larger discs than have to swap them in games like Baten Kaitos, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, and Tales of Symphonia. Anyway, when it comes to accessories, GameCube went above and beyond. The coolest one by far is the Game Boy Player which is basically adds a Game Boy Advance to your GameCube. I still wish it supported Super Game Boy features like game-specific borders and colour palettes but I digress. Speaking of GBA, hooking one up to your GameCube via a link cable makes games like The Wind Waker and Mega Man X: Command Mission much more fun and you couldn't play the awesome multiplayer Pac-Man Vs. without it. I think it's fair to say that GameCube wins when it comes to hardware with its clever accessories and GBA connectivity.

Controllers

There's no doubt that the controllers for Dreamcast and GameCube are unique. Dreamcast controllers have 2 expansion slots which is cool but they require a Jump Pack for vibration functionality while GameCube controllers have it built in. The controller designs are quite distinct as well. Holding a Dreamcast controller can be quite awkward due to its rigid handles and circular design. Meanwhile, playing games with a GameCube controller is an absolute joy. Nintendo put a lot of effort into making it ergonomic and intuitive and I find it to be a huge step up from the somewhat clunky Nintendo 64 controller. In fact, it's such an awesome controller that you can use it on Wii, Wii U, and even Switch so GameCube clearly wins best controller as well. I'm glad I still have a bunch of them!

Crazy Taxi 2 screenshot
Playing Crazy Taxi 2 on Dreamcast makes me feel like a teenager all over again

Games

Let's discuss the only thing that gamers care about: the games! Dreamcast is definitely a more niche console with plenty of incredible obscure titles in its library. Stylish in-your-face games like Jet Grind Radio and Crazy Taxi defined late '90s 'tude and oddities like Space Channel 5 and ChuChu Rocket are supremely enjoyable. Of course, there are also top-notch games such as 2 Sonic Adventure titles, Shenmue, SoulCalibur, and a couple of Power Stone fighters that made arena combat with friends an absolute blast. Also, what about the shoot 'em ups? Gunbird 2, Mars Matrix, and both Giga Wing games are great fun. And who could forget the excellent RPG Skies of Arcadia? There's even a whole subset of Dreamcast homebrew games such as Pier Solar, Fast Striker, and Volgarr the Viking.

Funnily enough, a lot of Dreamcast games were ported to GameCube like the Sonic Adventure games, Skies of Arcadia, Ikaruga, Crazy Taxi, and even Phantasy Star Online. On top of that, you get a whole line of amazing first-party games like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, 4 Mario Party games, Mario Kart: Double Dash, Luigi's Mansion, Chibi-Robo, and the highly underrated Wario World. GameCube also had a ton of awesome third-party exclusives such as the cool remake Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, the phenomenal RPG Baten Kaitos, the super-scary Eternal Darkness, the retro throwback Bomberman Generation, the goofy Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, and the fantastic Mega Man Network Transmission. Oh, and I should mention Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metroid Prime, Animal Crossing, Pikmin, F-Zero GX, and Star Fox Adventures.

With a huge library of games that includes a bunch of Dreamcast titles and top-notch first-party games, it's clear that GameCube has the better collection of games although there's no denying that it's still worth owning a Dreamcast for its assortment of timeless classics.

Wario World screenshot
Wario World is perhaps GameCube's most underrated game

Well, GameCube won every single category which is a first for our Versus articles so I don't need to say this but the winner is...

Winner GameCube

Whenever you're in the mood to enjoy some awesome games from the past, you can't go wrong with either Dreamcast or GameCube. That being said, with its exceptionally cool Game Boy Player and Game Boy Advance connectivity as well as a library that's full of outstanding gaming experiences including a handful of top-notch Dreamcast ports, GameCube easily wins this match. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some Shine Sprites to collect... Where's my Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device?

That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!

Gameplay video playlist for Dreamcast vs. GameCube 13:16
GameCube games Trivia

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