How to Use a GameCube Controller With Nintendo Switch

Whether you're nostalgic for the early 2000's (someone is, right?), or, more importantly, deep into the Super Smash Bros. scene, the news that you can now use a GameCube controller with a Nintendo Switch will bring a smile to your face.

Public Domain photo by Evan-Amos, Vanamo Media

Public Domain photo by Evan-Amos, Vanamo Media

Support for GameCube controllers is in Switch System Update 4.0, though you won't see it in the changelog. A number of enterprising gamers on social media, though, figured out that it works.

To use a GameCube controller on Switch, you'll need a special adapter that Nintendo initially made to connect GameCube controllers to the Wii U. Once you connect your GameCube controller via the adapter, the system will recognize it as a USB controller.

It's virtually impossible to find new GameCube pads in stores, though, and if you find the adapter online, it will be for a steep markup.

Videos going around show that GameCube support isn't fully baked. The layout is different from the Pro Controller, but it takes inputs literally. Y is still the Y button, even if it's in the wrong place, and there's no home button or ZL shoulder button. You can play any Switch game with it, but you'll have to give up some controls (ZL is the shield in Zelda, for example), keep another controller on for the home button and get used to awkward mapping.

The big question that this brings is whether or not we'll see a new Super Smash Bros. game sooner rather than later. It's the franchise that has almost single-handedly kept the Gamecube controller alive, as that's the preferred controller for the title in the fighting game community. Additionally, this update brings up questions as to whether we might see a virtual console full of GameCube games.

Among the Switch System Update 4.0's other changes are the ability to transfer saves, use USB headphones, capture local video and pre-order in the eShop.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is an editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.