Nintendo’s latest major firmware update for the Switch (version 4.0) added a lot of interesting features. Some were proudly announced, like video capture. But others were kind of sprinkled in as little surprises, like compatibility for wireless USB headsets and….the Gamecube controller? Yes, the Gamecube controller can now be used with the Switch via the GC Adapter that was originally released for Super Smash Bros. on Wii U. But the question is—why?
After the weird design of the Nintendo 64’s controller which I’m sure Nintendo must have created for aliens (or anyone with three hands), the engineers went back to the drawing board for a more refined design suitable for 3D games. The result was the Gamecube controller, which has been hailed time-and-again as one of the best controllers to ever be created.
I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people rave over this controller. I can totally appreciate its legacy for being the first truly wireless controller for a major console (the Wavebird model), but the GC controller’s prestige seems to go a lot farther than that. Even though the Gamecube wasn’t the best-selling system of its generation, there was obviously enough love for it for Nintendo to basically build the system into the original Wii, controller ports and memory card slots included. This effectively kept the GC’s legacy pushing onward long after the original system went out of production. Even after that backward-compatibility feature was ditched in a slight revision for the Wii, that wouldn’t be the end of the Gamecube.
As mentioned before, Nintendo released a Gamecube controller adapter for the Wii U exclusively for Super Smash Bros. The return of the GC controller was even considered to be special by Nintendo itself, who released a very stylish trailer to announce the adapter. Now the adapter has made to be compatible with almost every game on Switch via the aforementioned recent update.
This just leaves me floored because Nintendo has gone through the effort to refine the Gamecube’s controller design multiple times now. The Classic Controller/Classic Controller Pro was created for the Wii. Then the Pro Controller was released for the Wii U. That then evolved into the Switch’s very own Pro Controller. That’s four revisions, and yet, here we still have the Gamecube controller ironically running for four generations at this point.
Personally, I find the GC controller to be okay, but I still don’t understand why it’s loved so much. It’s comfortable, but is it really the best? It’s been debated many times that Microsoft was inspired by the GC controller design for the Xbox controller, which evolved into the 360 controllers and now the Xbox One controller. Although, it is fair to note that it has officially been stated by Microsoft that it actually took design cues from the SEGA Dreamcast’s controller, rather than the Gamecube. In any case, both the Xbox line of controllers and the Gamecube have been considered to be the best designs again and again by gamers all over the world.
Still, I can’t help but be surprised that Nintendo actually went through the trouble of making the GC adapter compatible with the Switch. It’s not perfect since the controller has slightly fewer buttons than the Joy-Cons/Switch Pro Controller, but it’s still there anyway. Perhaps this is the Big N’s sneaky way of teasing the heavily rumored Gamecube Virtual Console for Switch? Who knows. But one thing I can say is this: can we please have analog triggers again on the modern controllers? That’s one thing the GC controller definitely got right!
(Note: this article has been edited since its initial posting)