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Surprise! Nintendo adds Gamecube controller support to the Switch

Now, we’re not saying fans of a certain Nintendo fighting game should be getting excited, but…

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Gamecube controller

Now, we’re not saying fans of a certain Nintendo fighting game should be getting excited, but…

Nintendo recently released version 4.0 of the Switch consheld’s operating software. In it were some headline items, like video capture support and the ability to transfer saves from one device to another, but there was another item that didn’t make the patch notes. One that a certain section of Nintendo fans will be really excited about.

The Nintendo Switch now supports Gamecube controllers.

We’ll get to the implications of that momentous announcement in a moment, but first, the details.

To begin with, you’re going to need at least one Gamecube controller. Obviously. They don’t have a way of interfacing directly with Nintendo’s latest hardware, but the Switch does have USB support.

Which means if you insert the Wii U’s USB Gamecube controller dongle into the equation – and of course, you have update 4.0 or higher – then your Gamecube controllers will be detected as USB controllers on the Switch.

It’s worth pointing out that this had been tested before and, until GameXplain spotted the change with version 4.0, didn’t work. It also doesn’t work for all controllers – an Xbox One controller won’t show up, for example – so this is a targeted decision to make the Gamecube controller work with the Switch.

A caveat: the Switch supports the Gamecube controller for pretty much any conventionally-controlled game, but there is no equivalent for the ZL button. This means that, for instance, you’d have to play through Breath of the Wild without a shield. Tricky, but not impossible.

Now, lets get onto the rampant speculation as to why Nintendo might have added Gamecube controller support to the Switch… it’s Smash Bros., right?

It’s got to be Smash.


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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.