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Wii U Countdown: 22 days, and a final adventure with the GameCube

Sections: Columns, Consoles, Features, GameCube, Originals, Wii, Wii U

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I think about death quite often for a fellow who has no desire to learn about it firsthand. I think about my funeral, and what songs should be played, and I’ve decided it should all be JPop by Puffy, because I don’t want anyone to have any idea what the hell the songs are about.

See? A little Puffy De Rumba going on as people mourn (possibly..still awaiting the verdict on the mourning). Even better if I can get an actual chamber orchestra in military gear to perform live.

Also, my tombstone is going to read, “Here lies Kirk Hiner, Earthling, executed by Ming.” That’s it. No dates necessary. Not important. My wife thinks it’d be funny if her tombstone just read, “Ming,” but it’d be more appropriate for hers to read, “Here lies Tieraney Leigh Hiner. Devoted siter. Beloved Friend. She saved the world a lot.”

What does any of this have to do with the Nintendo GameCube? Well, I’ve been trying to come with the proper way to remember it. It was kind of an important system for me, as it’s what got me back into gaming. I was a kid of the ’80s, you see. I was all about the Intellivision. When it and INTV faded into gaming oblivion, so did my interest. Some friends got the NES in college, and I played, but it all seemed so archaic compared to the games on the computer at the time.

Jump ahead to the early ’90s when a friend and I moved into our New York City apartment. I had a job, he didn’t, so we could barely afford to eat ($2.00 got us a hot dog, banana and Sprite from a nearby street vendor, and that’s pretty much what we lived on). When it came time to furnish the apartment, we bought two bar stools, a TV, a Sega Genesis and Sunset Riders. The TV sat on a milk crate we found on the street, and that’s how we lived for two months before my friend gave up the big city and I ended up with a roommate who looked so much like Stephanie Seymour that her father once called to yell at her for posing for an underwear ad that hung in Time Square.

Stephanie Seymour

That’s not the actual ad, but look, if my wife thinks I spent my entire evening staring at photos of Stephanie Seymour in her underwears, I’ll end up needing that Flash Gordon tombstone sooner than widely predicted.

Anyway, the point is that I didn’t play the Genesis much after my friend left the city, so I sold it, content with Macintosh gaming (which, in the ’90s, was sometimes no gaming at all).

Jump ahead yet again to the late ’90s when I moved back to Ohio, met a girl, fell in love, got married, and found myself enjoying that one Star Wars game they always had on display on GameCubes at the local Best Buy. My wife, because she loves me and knew she was about to say, “Hey, Kirk, I want three babies starting now,” bought me a GameCube, and I’ve been a dedicated Nintendo guy ever since.

That GameCube got us through a lot. When Tieraney was laid up with with what we suddenly discovered was pre-ecamplsia towards the end of her first pregnancy, we passed the time playing Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and Hunter: The Reckoning. When Tieraney had to stay up all night before a brain scan because of the seizures she had at the very end of that pregnancy (mom and baby made it through just fine, thanks), we stayed awake playing Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds

Mario Party 6 became a New Year’s Eve tradition for us, and one that we’ve carried on this day.

But of course, we sold the GameCube when the Wii came out, because whatever. We’re not sentimental people, and the Wii played GameCubes anyway.

It did, anyway. The Wii U ends that compatibility, and that’ll likely turn off the lights and shut the door on my final season of GameCube gaming.

So, again, how to remember it? How to pay my final respects? By playing through a GameCube game one more time, of course. Problem is, I don’t have many around anymore. Most of those still sitting on my shelf are Zelda games, and you know damn well that they’ll resurface multiple times as distribution methods change.

I’d love to find an old copy of Baldur’s Gate or Hunter to play through with Tieraney, but she ended up getting those three kids she asked for, and after a day of dealing with them, the last thing she wants to do is take on more mindless zombies and screaming goblins. So, it’s just me and a game rooted in the past, but one that also looks towards the future: Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. It’s decidedly Nintendo, and although the franchise spans generations of systems, this particular entry is rooted perfectly in the GameCube era. So, it’s time to get out the WaveBird (and a walkthrough for that one prison level, if I recall) and send the GameCube era to its great reward.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

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