Remember one of the Nintendo GameCube's launch titles, Luigi's Mansion? That's the adventure in which Luigi used a special vacuum device to play ghostbuster while searching for his missing brother. Ten years after its release, it turns out that there's still secrets hiding inside it. As revealed in the latest Iwata Asks column in which Nintendo's top brass discuss amazing things, Nintendo has been working on 3D gaming for a long time. We all know about the Virtual Boy and we're all waiting for the upcoming Nintendo 3DS, but it turns out that the GameCube has an untapped 3D capability and — get this — Luigi's Mansion exists as a functional 3D game to go with it. Shocked? I know I am. Here's Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Shigesato Itoi discussing the grand revelation:
Iwata: To go back a little further, the Nintendo GameCube system actually had 3D-compatible circuitry built in.
Iwata: It had the potential for such functions.
Itoi: Nintendo GameCube did? And all the Nintendo GameCubes systems around the world?
Iwata: Yeah. If you fit it with a certain accessory, it could display 3D images.
Itoi: What a secret!
Iwata: Nintendo GameCube was released in 2001, exactly ten years ago. We’d been thinking about 3D for a long time even back then.
Itoi: Why didn’t anyone ever know?
Iwata: The liquid crystal for it was still expensive. Simply put, Nintendo GameCube could display 3D images if you attached a special LCD, but that special liquid crystal was really expensive back then.
Itoi: Yeah, we’re talking about ten years ago.
Iwata: We couldn’t have done it without selling it for a price far above that of the Nintendo GameCube system, itself! We already had a game for it, though—Luigi’s Mansion, simultaneously released with Nintendo GameCube.
Itoi: The one in which Luigi shoulders a vacuum cleaner?
Iwata: Yeah, that one. We had a functional version of that in 3D.
Itoi: That was 3D?
Miyamoto: It would jump out at you pretty nicely.
Iwata: Even without special glasses, the 3D looked pretty good. But we considered how much the liquid crystal would cost, and it was just too expensive. We figured the market just wasn’t there for it.
Itoi: So you gave up. Whew! And now you’ve done it. I see! You never give up!
Iwata: Yeah. We never give up. (laughs)
This explains a lot regarding how the 3DS seems to have popped out of nowhere. Despite the critical and financial drubbing that happened the last time the company tried to market a 3D gaming product, Nintendo never stopped working on the concept after the end of the Virtual Boy (in fact, this article also mentions a 3D screen for the Game Boy Advance SP that never saw the light of day due to resolution and cost issues). I wonder how many other "failed" technologies the company is still working to refine... Anyway, now we can add Luigi's Mansion 3D to the list of legendary lost games in the Nintendo vault that fans worldwide are frothing to see. Say, do you think we might see Luigi's Mansion 3D make a comeback for the new handheld unit after all this time in some form? Map the C-stick from the GameCube game to the touchscreen and it just might work from a control perspective. I don't necessarily want to see the 3DS library cluttered with too many remakes and re-releases, but for a development gag like this, I'd make an exception.