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GameCube FAQ

The Name Game

by the NWR Staff - June 16, 2001, 2:01 pm EDT

Before we knew Nintendo's next system as GameCube, there were several names floating around. Surprisingly, "the name game" turned out to be a big part of Nintendo coverage for awhile. What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Believe it or not the final name of Nintendo's next system was a hotly debated newsitem over a span of about two years! Here are some of the many answers to what was once a very big question...

What will Nintendo's New System be Called?

It depends when and who you ask. Tracking the progress of Nintendo’s next system, several names have been attached to it. Even though we now know that the final name will be "Nintendo GameCube", it's nice to look back on a time when Nintendo fans had to give the system a title while they waited for news between sporadic announcements. Still, here’s a chronological list some of the fun things it’s been called & why:

“N2000” (AKA “N200X”)

When reports of Nintendo’s next system began to surface, the system-in-progress was nicknamed “N2000” by the gaming press; apparently early in its development stage, this is what Nintendo called it too, as they intended to release it at the dawn of the new millennium. However after it became clear that Nintendo was bluffing on the 2000 date for launch, the press threw in the “X” to designate the uncertainty of the time. Nintendo has never publically or offically reffered to the GameCube as the "N2000" and even before the "Dolphin" handle was known, NCL and NOA merely called it "part Nintendo's Next-Generation plans".


“N2000” is where fan sites such as OperationN2000, N2000HQ & PlanetN2000 drew their names… (Those three specific sites combined like Voltron & evolved to PGC) Pre-dating the announcement of the name “Dolphin” and any real system specifics, a lot of us were already digging for info!

“Dolphin” (AKA “Project: Dolphin”)

Just before E3 1999, fan site OperationN2k, reported an insider rumor that NOA was calling the system in development “Dolphin.” Within weeks, this was confirmed by Gaming Media worldwide and the “codename” was made official at Nintendo’s Press Conference at E3 ’99. In fact, even to this day, most professional developers still call the GameCube "Dolphin".

Why Did Nintendo Call it Dolphin?

When asked why the system was called “Dolphin,” Howard Lincoln claimed to have no idea why the Dolphin name was used. "Perhaps the programmers like dolphins,” he coyly speculated.

Dolphins also symbolize life, fluidity, freedom and happiness—a good mascot for Nintendo and their new home console. Who knew they were so darn elusive & mysterious though?

It’s also possible that Nintendo uses “Aquatic Nicknames” for works-in-progress, a la the Gameboy Advance’s nickname for Project: Atlantis.

The industry insider who broke the news to OpN2k speculated that the “Dolphin” name originated from some of the wonderful demos / Waverace sequel. Of course, this was just a guess, albeit a slightly educated one, as it now seems that Wave Race: Blue Storm will indeed be a launch title.

Was "Dolphin" ever considered to be the Final Name?

No. “Dolphin” AKA “Project: Dolphin” was only the working project for Nintendo’s Next-System. This came from Howard Lincoln when the name was first announced:

“The code name for this product is ‘Dolphin.’ That's not the name of the product, but I'll use the Dolphin name this afternoon when I refer to our new hardware system.”

Whatever the reason for the Dolphin moniker, it’s obviously not the system’s final name. After the unveiling at Spaceworld 2000, the final name was announced as "GameCube".

Might Nintendo Still Use the Dolphin Name in some fashion?

Probably not. However, according to www.htloz.com Nintendo has apparently registered an internet web domain which includes the name DOLPHIN. It may have been considered as a final name, but nothing came of it.

Additionally, poking around IBM’s webpage, we found this

A “Dolphin” presence at Nintendo & IBM may not have any importance whatsoever, yet leaves room for the slight possibility that the Dolphin name may pop-up again.

"Star Cube"

This name had been rumoured for some time before SpaceWorld 2000. In fact we even have an entire section on what would turn out to be a false rumour.

“Nintendo Advance”

With Nintendo’s focus on Gameboy Advance and the connection it would have to Nintendo’s next console, some speculated that the system would be named Nintendo Advance. It’s a good guess but was really only that. It holds the honor of being one of the last speculative names attached to the system though.

“Nintendo GameCube” (AKA “N-Cube”)

The crazy chaos of the name game has finally come to a close, as IGN64 has learned that the final name for “Project: Dolphin” will be Nintendo Game Cube which can also be called NintendoCube, or even N-Cube. Many People have their own nicknames for the system that have to do with the "Cube" aspect. However we're not going to list them all here.

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