In the United States, the Nintendo GameCube is the undeniable underdog of the "console wars." Sony's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft's Xbox certainly sell better, and they tend to get more media attention. Toward the end of 2002, for example, the PlayStation 2 stirred up a lot of controversy with its new game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Microsoft had a hit with Xbox Live, its online gaming program. Once the undisputed king of home video games, Nintendo seems to be struggling just to hold its own.

Photo courtesy Nintendo
The GameCube

But if you've actually spent any time with a GameCube, you may be confused by its reputation as a third-rate system. It's hard to see ground-breaking GameCube games like Metroid Prime and Super Mario Sunshine as anything less than state of the art. No matter how it fares in sales, this console is definitely a remarkable technological achievement.

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll find out what the GameCube has under the hood, and we'll see how it stacks up to the competition.