At one time, the name "Star Cube" seemed like a lock as the NGC's final name. Even after it looked like the system wouldn't be call Star Cube, the name persisted. Here's a look at the rumors from this time...
What All the “Star Cube” Nonsense about?
During the time before Spaceworld, the name “Star Cube” was appearing with alarming frequency in association with “Project: Dolphin.” There are several clues that suggested that “Star Cube” was going to be the final name for Nintendo’s next system, or possibly the name of a product or service associated with the console. Several reports surfaced that made the “Star Cube” name impossible to ignore.
Despite the “Star Cube” name being rooted in rumor, there was a fair amount public distaste with a name. Apparently American distributors were among the people who did not like the name, causing it to eventually be dropped by Nintendo and replaced with the GameCube moniker.
NCL’s President, Hiroshi Yamauchi was a strong supporter of the Star Cube name and was apparently very disappointed when it was changed. This is perhaps one reason that Yamauchi himself did not introduce GameCube during Space World 2000.
The Star Cube name was never confirmed as a system name for Dolphin/GameCube by any means, though for awhile there was every indication that’s what the system was going to be called. Appearances can be deceiving though. Because the “Star Cube” moniker was a prevalent rumor, the FAQ carved out a section for the topic.
This section of the FAQ covers what the “Star Cube Mystery” was and reviews why we all went nuts over the name that could mean everything, or nothing. The evidence & wacky theories are all here. With Nintendo’s tight lips, journalists have had to dig deep for clues & the hard work of crafty reporters provides the FAQ with its foundation. Although the name “Star Cube” had been floating around for awhile, Tendo Box dove to the source and uncovered a great deal. Their article, Revealing Star Cube solidifies the Star Cube name, what it could mean and helps confirm several suspected functions likely to be included in the console. They led the way in gathering the clues in the “Star Cube Mystery” & predicted the “cube” shape before anyone else. Salud, guys!
Nintendo Registered Three Trademarks for “Star Cube”
Upon investigating the name “Star Cube” in the U.S. trademark database, TB discovered that Nintendo had registered the name “Star Cube” three times. Comparing seven trademark registrations (comprising of three Star Cube, three Game Boy Advance and one Nintendo 64) Tendo Box found astounding results. Full trademark comparisons and analysis are listed Revealing Star Cube on Tendo Box.
The similarities between the “Nintendo 64” trademark and the 1st “Star Cube” trademark are impossible to overlook. Services and functions between N64’s trademark and Star Cube Trademark 1 (or SCTM1) are slightly different yet contain nearly the same wording. The trademark indicated that Star Cube could very well be the final name for the next system.
Check out the Star Cube Trademarks. Although the documents may not have been correct about the name in the end, they still remain an informative source on what Nintendo’s onlin plans are.
This Tendo Box article examines a mysterious logo, which was released just prior to Space World, intended for either the Star Cube system, or for the Nintendo Spaceworld show that it will be revealed at. This image, appearing in a 64 Dream article speaking about the release date for Dolphin, ran alongside the following caption:
"There are rumors all across the Internet that Dolphin's official name has become "Star Cube". If you look at the side picture, which we received from a reader, you will see the letter N looks like the letter S from the word "Star Cube", but isn't this over-analyzing?"
It’s psychedelic, yet also sleek, less motley than the N64’s “3D” N. Many wondered if this odd design would replace the big 3D N as the logo for Nintendo’s next generation system.
Reasoning that the inverted “N” looks like an “S” on its side, it could be a logo for Star Cube. There’s no real “C” or Star imagery, but the inner layer of circles may symbolize/ correspond with the theory that the system may have a cache for Nintendo’s proprietary-mini & standard size DVDs, but now we’re really overanalyzing. More likely, the N.S. could stand for “Nintendo Space World.” Or it could mean nothing as a 64Dream reader of questionable reliability reported it. After Spaceworld, no clarification was offered so it’s impossible to say for sure what it meant, if anything.
It does look somewhat like a Silver GameCube system, on an orange background…
The Iconography of the Star
Star Cube could have been a great name if you think about it. One great reason is the iconography of the Star. The Star is actually quite a popular Nintendo icon, first appearing as a power-up way back in first Super Mario Bros. The Star, like all power-ups, could be found in blocks… “cubes” if you will. We all remember what happened when Mario would knock Star – he was invincible. Charged with Star Power, he’d whip all that stood in his way, all to an upbeat ditty.
Forgive so geeky an analysis readers, but it works. Stars have appeared as objects of power and conquest in every Mario game & a few other popular Nintendo titles as well. Considering the power & potential Nintendo is shooting for (“shooting stars” –stop me!) with the system, the name Star Cube could have worked out really well.
That said, the GameCube name seems to work really well too.
The “Apple Box” Idea
After shedding light on the Star Cube logo & name, Tendo Box was quick to shoot out another crazy idea after Apple Computers announced their upcoming line of PowerBooks that are 8-inch cubes in shape. Combining this sleek design with the RUMOR that Apple is helping Nintendo work on development kits, Tendo Box proposed that Nintendo & Apple are cooking up a similar design for “Star Cube.”
Nice theory! If this is what Apple computers of the future are looking like, Tendo Box was wise to suggest that Nintendo’s may also craft its new system to resemble its namesake—regardless of Apple not being involved with Nintendo whatsoever.
As for the rumors concerning Apple helping Nintendo with GameCube development kits –it was junk (MetroWerks are the people actually helping). All other hardware developers have been publicly named and are listed throughout this FAQ document. Overall, an Apple / Nintendo partnership had almost no basis in reality, which is further explored in the Apple section.
The Tendo Box theory proposing that the actual “Cube” part of the name referred to its shape turned out to be very accurate, as evidenced by the final appearance of the GameCube.
Another rumor surrounding the “Star Cube” fiasco was that if the system was going to be called Star Cube, the accompanying online network was going to be called Star Road. Planet GameCube broke this news item from a report found on Nintendo Sweden’s website, seemingly confirming the Star Cube name and companion title, “Star Road” for online service. This online report read as follows:
Sources from Nintendo in Japan have now confirmed that Nintendo’s new videogame, earlier called Project Dolphin, will be named Star Cube. The network, over which you will be able to play against people all over the world, will be named Star Road. Much more about Star Cube and Star Road will be presented at Space World 24-27 of August.
When Billy called NOA for comment on the Nintendo Sweden posting, there was an uncomfortable pause before the Nintendo Representative he spoke with replied: “this is all speculation.” We’d love to think our beloved Editor-in-Chief caught this poor Rep. off guard (always a surefire indication you’re asking the right questions), or was the Rep. just baffled by this crazy talk?
After the story ran, NintendoExpress wisely cautioned that the Nintendo Sweden website may be inaccurate, as Nintendo’s European divisions have a tendency to turn to fans for info. Was the Star Road thing a rumor out of control? The original report’s use of “Nintendo of Japan” (it’s NCL!) makes it shady, though maybe we just wanted to kill the messenger… Overall, it turned out to be a bunk rumor. Might it have been a proposed name if the Star Cube name took off? We may never know.
Since we originally heard about this story, the only names related to the online aspect of Nintendo’s next-gen online plans is GBA's “Mobile Adaptor” with cell phones and an online network currently known as "Nintendo Online."
Does it all amount to “Star Squat?”
Reviewing the assembled evidence, a very good case can be made that “Star Cube” was indeed the name of Nintendo’s Project: Dolphin at one time.
Just before Space World IGN64’s “Ed the Janitor,” returned from obscurity (much like this FAQ has) to do a Rumor Report, which included a tidbit on the Star Cube name. Janitor by name & by nature, Ed is usually good about getting the dirt. According to Ed, developers close to Nintendo have stated plainly: "Star Cube isn't the name of Nintendo's next-generation console." Not surprisingly, after this report ran, a lot of the “Star Cube” hullabaloo quickly died down. Soon after, Matt C. proved he can do any janitor’s job & called up a bunch of first-, second- and third-party developers who collectively assured the IGN64 editor that Star Cube would not the name of the Dolphin system. Reprised in the editorial No Star Cube for You. Upon hearing the news, Billy sadly laid to rest his beloved “Star Cube World” logo (RIP lil’ logo).
To echo a popular Mario Party cry, “Oh, I miss.”
Of course, as we all know now, the final name was revealed at Space World as the Nintendo GameCube. As mentioned before, the “search for Star Cube” was quite a bit of excitement in during a time of an ongoing dry spell of Nintendo news. Even if we were chasing a wild goose with this one, it was at least something to go after. It now seems clear that “Star Cube” was set to be the system name for awhile but was ditched for a new moniker; something that happens all the time with systems in-development.
Overall, it looks like it's "case closed" for the Star Cube Mystery.