A Guide To The GameCube’s Rarest Games In 2018

Whilst Nintendo are usually good with making classic titles available for new players to purchase via their Virtual Console system, the majority of games from the GameCube era have yet to surface digitally – and as a result, the original physical versions of these gems are worth quite a bit of cash. Let’s take a dive into some of the wonderful, weird and wacky titles that could either cost or earn you a small fortune

Gotcha Force

VALUE: £50+

Capcom’s one-off gacha fighting IP Gotcha Force was met with mixed reviews upon release, but it’s become somewhat of a cult classic thanks to a ravenous group of robo fanatics. Whilst certain aspects of the game definitely don’t hold up today – the kiddy, bootleg voice acting being the first that springs to mind – there’s a lot of fun and replay value to be found in what’s essentially the video game prototype for Gundam Build Fighters. Worth copping if you’re a total mecha nerd.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

VALUE: £55+

Heralded by many as the last truly excellent instalment of the Paper Mario franchise, The Thousand-Year Door is a real treat for any diehard RPG fans out there. Its turn-based battle system spiced things up with real time events and a staged performance scenario, its characters were colourful and its wit was unlike anything seen in a Mario title up to this point. With the last two entries in the series being torn to shreds by fans, it’s no wonder people are clamouring to snap up this relic of old.

Pokémon XD: Gale Of Darkness

VALUE: £65+

The sequel to Pokémon Colosseum – the first 3D console adventure for the series with an actual story – Pokémon XD: Gale Of Darkness was difficult to come by in Europe even during the game’s launch period. Expanding on the somewhat dark plot line of purifying Shadow Pokémon – a feature some older fans of the series have been yearning to make a return – the game was an eye opening look into the potential of the series outside of its portable pixel home. Although Game Freak are planning to release a console version of Pokémon on the Switch in the near future, Genius Sonority’s excellent take on will be a difficult one for Masuda & co to live up to.

SeaWorld Adventure Parks: Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures

VALUE: £62+

One of two bizarre cases in which a seemingly random European third party title has skyrocketed in price following the GameCube’s discontinuation, SeaWorld Adventure Parks: Shamu’s Deep Sea Adventures is . If you thought SeaWorld’s villainy only applied to real life dolphins and whales, just wait until you see the bullshit they force their virtual counterparts through. An awful game, but a valuable one nonetheless.

Evolution Worlds

VALUE: £70+

As a result of the console’s relatively short lifespan, Dreamcast JRPGs found a new breadth of life via ports to the GameCube. Sting Entertainment’s Evolution Worlds has not aged particularly well – its ragtag group of heroes are jank and goofy even by old school JRPG standards – but it’s an invaluable (yet pricey) addition to anyone looking to round out their ‘Cube RPG collection.

Skies Of Arcadia Legends

VALUE: £70+

Another high value revitalised Dreamcast JRPG, Skies Of Arcadia Legends is certainly the more reputable of the two titles on this list – receiving critical praise both with its initial release and its Gamecube port. If a grandiose swashbucklin’ adventure through the skies on a flying ship seems like your thing, Skies Of Arcadia Legends might just be worth the investment.

Kirby Air Ride

VALUE: £78+

Although Masahiro Sakurai might be most well-known as the genius behind Super Smash Bros., he’s also responsible for one of the ‘Cube era’s most renowned and interesting titles. A jovial racing alternative to the routine platforming of the lovable pink blob, Kirby Air Ride is beloved by many old school Nintendo fans – and its high resale value only reinforces that notion.

Chibi-Robo!

VALUE: £92+

Before Chibi-Robo became a sacrificial pawn in Nintendo’s rollout for their latest Mini Direct, the minuscule robot was the star of its own platforming adventure series. As is the unfortunate case with many undervalued stars, the public’s interest in the house appliance hero rose exponentially following its passing – and the GameCube debut of Chibi-Robo has become one of the console’s most valuable titles. Rest in peace, little buddy.

Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance

VALUE: £105+

Released at a time where the majority of Western Nintendo fans’ only frame of reference for Fire Emblem was the inclusion of two sword-wielding princes named Marth and Roy in Super Smash Bros. Melee, it’s not surprising that Path Of Radiance has become one of the ‘Cube’s most sought after titles following the franchise’s massive spike in popularity outside of Japan.

Frogger Beyond

VALUE: £185+

Forget Mario, forget Link, forget Pikachu – Frogger is the grandaddy video game character with the biggest net worth from the GameCube era. Like stumbling upon 99 Rare Candies without using a GameShark, the PAL version of Frogger Beyond is so rare it often fetches around £200 on eBay – which is like, £80 off the retail price of a Nintendo Switch. One of the best consoles of the last decade or a mediocre 3D platformer? That’s your call.

Joshua Pauley

UTM’s First Wave Of Picks For Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards

It’s easy to be cynical when it comes to award shows, and even more so when they factor public voting polls into their decision process. Crunchyroll’s inaugural Anime Awards was met with a lot of criticism last year when Yuri!!! On Ice – the romantic figure skating show that garnered a devout audience within and outside the anime community – ended up sweeping in most categories. Whilst a vocal backlash shouldn’t serve to deny what was undeniably a special moment for anime, it’s also easy to empathise with those who feel like a lot of fantastic shows missed their shot at recognition because of its overwhelming presence throughout the categories.

The Anime Awards are making a return this year, however, and it’s looking like they’re making improvements. There’s more categories, a vast range of nominees, no bias towards shows in which Crunchyroll have streaming licenses for and a fancy live event to announce and congratulate all the winners. As it becomes increasingly clear that a lot of traditional film and media award institutes have little interest in recognising the outstanding effort that goes into anime production every year, the presence of a ceremony dedicated to highlighting its diverse display of handiwork and arranged by people with a vested interest in the medium does not go unappreciated.

We neglected to publish an end-of-year anime editorial for 2017, so as compensation we thought we’d list our picks for first round of voting for the Anime Awards 2018!

BEST ANIMATION

– Land Of The Lustrous (Orange)
– My Hero Academia S2 (Bones)
– Little Witch Academia (Trigger)
– March Comes In Like A Lion S2 (Shaft)
– A Silent Voice (Kyoto Animation)
– Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (Kyoto Animation)

There’s certainly room to question whether it’s fair game to include an anime with a film budget against a bunch of shows made for weekly television broadcast, but when said film is Kyoto Animation’s soul-stirring masterwork A Silent Voice it’s difficult to justify voting for anything else. Beyond its blooming seasonal scenarios and emotive depictions of characters, its evocative use of drawing techniques to represent social anxiety and the hallmarks of adolescent growth is a testament to just how powerful a medium animation can be when it comes to visualising our deepest feelings.

BEST CGI

– Land Of The Lustrous (Orange)
– KADO: The Right Answer (Toei Animation)
– RE:CREATORS (TROYCA)
– Attack On Titan S2 (Wit Studio)
– Knight’s & Magic (8 Bit)
– Inuyashiki (MAPPA)

The increasing prominence of CGI and 3D animation within anime is not a change that has necessarily been welcomed by its community en masse. Besides fan preference for the hand-drawn animation that has long been the lifeblood of the medium, there’s definitely a case for the sudden usage of CGI in a mostly 2D environment being jarring to the point that it breaks immersion. But if there was ever a show to sell the merits, Land Of The Lustrous is indisputably the one. For a show with a malleable, mineral-based cast that offers an intriguing take on the concept of body horror, the extra dimension does wonders to add depth – in both senses of the word – to pivotal moments in the story. Lustrous’ crowning achievement, however, lies in its expertly choreographed battle scenes, which utilise 3D movement to showcase levels of fluidity and intensity most action shows can only aspire to match.

BEST FILM

– A Silent Voice (Kyoto Animation)
– Your Name (Comix Wave Films)
– In This Corner Of The World (MAPPA)
– Girls Und Panzer Der Film (Actas)
– Kizumonogatari III: Reiketsu-Hen (Shaft)
– Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel – I. Presage Flower (Ufotable)

The inclusion of Your Name in this category personally feels a little outdated – especially since in the UK its initial theatrical run was at the end of 2016 rather than 2017 for US viewers – but even if the body-swapping tale was monumental enough to earn its place as Japan’s fourth highest-grossing film of all time, it’s still second fiddle here to A Silent Voice. Besides the obvious points of it being an endearing story of redemption and an absolute tearjerker, the sincerity in which A Silent Voice handles the personal repercussions of bullying for both the perpetrator and their victim makes for a uniquely thought-provoking theme. Special props to its impeccable sound design, too, which implements aspects of Shouko’s hearing disability in its delivery of the smallest of background noises and tracks.

BEST OPENING

– ‘Shadow And Truth’ by One III Notes (ACCA 13: Territory Inspection Dept.)
– ‘Here’ by JUNNA (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)
– ‘Shinzou Wo Sasageyo!’ by Linked Horizon (Attack On Titan S2)
– ‘Peace Sign’ by Kenshi Yonezu (My Hero Academia S2)
– ‘The Other Side Of The Wall’ by Void_Chords ft. MARU (Princess Principal)
– ‘Imawa No Shinigami’ by Megumi Hayashibara (Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju S2)

Whilst it’s not exactly clear whether the criteria for Best Opening includes both the song and its accompanying animated sequence, the clarification wouldn’t do anything to make this category any less of a knife fight between two nominees. Void_Chords‘ bombastic ‘The Other Side Of The Wall’ serves as the perfect opening roar for an anime that slickly pulls off the arduous task of making steampunk cool again, but the casually cool jazz licks and rollicking, vocoder-led hook of ‘Shadow And Truth’ from One III Notes just about coup d’état’s the competition. Apologies for, uh, any butchering of the French language for the sake of references there.

BEST ENDING

– ‘Step Up Love’ by DAOKO x Yasuyuki Okamura (Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond)
– ‘Ishukan Communication’ by Chorogonzu (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid)
– ‘Kirameku Hamabe’ by Yukiko Ohara (Land Of The Lustrous)
– ‘Hikari, Hikari’ by Yuuka Aisaka (Recovery Of An MMO Junkie)
– ‘Behind’ by Karin Isobe, Yuna Yoshino and Lynn (Just Because!)
– ‘Kafune’ by Brian The Sun (March Comes In Like A Lion S2)

Anime endings generally tend to fall on the more sombre or pensive side of the musical spectrum, so it’s always a treat when a show signs off with a bonafide bop existing for the sole purpose of lodging itself in your brain for the next few hours. Bubbly and highly memorable, ‘Ishukan Communication’ is a wonderful encapsulation of all the things that made Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid a delight to watch. Perhaps its only fault was its partner visual’s inclusion of a calendar segment detailing a week in the life of its main ensemble – a painstaking reminder that it would be a whole week before we were reunited with our fun-loving dragon friends.

BEST SCORE

– Made In Abyss (Composed by Kevin Penkin)
– Little Witch Academia (Composed by Michiru Ōshima)
– Land Of The Lustrous (Composed by Yoshiaki Fujisawa)
– The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Composed by Junichi Matsumoto)
– ACCA 13: Territory Inspection Dept. (Composed by Ryo Takahashi)
– RE:CREATORS (Composed by Hiroyuki Sawano)

Australian composer Kevin Penkin takes on a role akin to that of an artful puppet master with his score for the devastatingly beautiful Made In Abyss. For the duration of Riko & Reg’s descent into the unknown, he’s constantly manipulating the atmosphere and emotional tone to define the mood of every moment. There’s the unshakeable eeriness of ‘The First Layer’. The folksy rush of ‘Swings And Roundabouts’. The awe-inspiring choral sweep of ‘Hanazeve Caradhina’. It’s every bit as fantastical and magical as the show’s Ghibli-esque setting, and every bit as unpredictable as the show’s winding plot.

Want to have your say? You can find additional information and vote for your picks at the Anime Awards website before the ceremony takes place in Los Angeles on February 24th.

Joshua Pauley

 

Higher Brothers’ ‘Journey To The West’ Reveals Their Worldwide Takeover Plans

In a time when right wing manbabies are causing IRL borders to become more restrictive, URL borders are essentially non-existence, worldwide musical notoriety is no longer limited to a select few countries. Continue reading “Higher Brothers’ ‘Journey To The West’ Reveals Their Worldwide Takeover Plans”

Games We Grew Up On: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

There was something uncannily familiar about the package I received on Christmas day in 2003, perhaps the memory was so intense that it transcended conventional time, or perhaps I just recognised the PS2 box shaped packaging. Continue reading “Games We Grew Up On: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”