How to use a GameCube controller on your Nintendo Switch

When Nintendo released the new 4.0 software update for the Switch console it seems that it left some interesting new features from the changelog. After the discovery that the console now supports a selection of wireless USB headsets, some enterprising users at GameXplain have found that it’s possible to use GameCube controllers too. 

There’s a little bit of a catch to this capability in that you need to have one of the old Wii U GameCube adapters that Nintendo now no longer sells. To get one of these if you don’t already have one, you’re probably going to have to look to re-sellers on websites such as Amazon

Once you have one of these adapters, the process of using the GameCube controllers is fairly simple. Once you’ve plugged the adapter and the chargers into your Switch you can access the controller settings page from the main menu.

Retro revival

In here you simply press the L and R buttons on the GameCube controller as you would when pairing your Joy-Cons or Pro controller and it’ll be detected as a USB gamepad. After that you should be ready to play!

One limitation with using the GameCube controllers is that they don’t have a left Z button, just a right one, and there’s no home button either. 

This means that if you’re trying to a play a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for example, you’re going to have to play without the ability to use your shield. Just think of it as a new difficulty setting. 

Naturally this has left Nintendo fans wildly speculating about the possibility of a GameCube virtual console eventually making its way to the Switch, giving more credence to reports that have been circulating since December 2016

It’s worth noting that GameCube controller support for the Switch was discovered earlier in 2017 but the support wasn't quite as comprehensive. 

After the console’s 3.0 update it was discovered that the third-party adapter produced by Mayflash could be used to play with a GameCube controller, but not the official Nintendo adapter. 

However, the controls were even more limited than they are now as the pad appeared to emulate a Pokken controller, meaning the D-pad and Analog stick both worked as D-pads and the C-stick didn’t work as a stick at all. This made the controller pretty much completely unusable with most Switch games whereas now it appears to be much more manageable. 

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.