If you want the nostalgic feel of the classic GameCube controller, you can use an old GameCube controller in place of the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Cons. It’s the perfect accessory for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Edition, but you can use them in just about any game.
Update the Nintendo Switch
The GameCube controller is supported on Nintendo Switch consoles running at least system version 5.0.0, released in March 2018.
To ensure that your Nintendo Switch is up to date with the latest system version, double-check that your system is connected to Wi-Fi, and navigate to “System Settings” from the Home menu.
Once you’re in System Settings, navigate to “System”, and your current version will be listed under “System Update” to the right.
GameCube Controllers and the Nintendo Switch
In autumn 2017, when Nintendo released the 5.0 software update for the Nintendo Switch, the company quietly included a new feature: the ability to use old GameCube controllers with the Nintendo Switch system.
You can connect your old GameCube controller through a Wii U GameCube Controller adapter like Nintendo’s official GameCube Controller Adapter. The official GameCube Controller adapter costs around $20 at retail.
Place the Nintendo Switch console in TV mode, and connect both of the USB plugs from the GameCube Controller Adapter to the Nintendo Switch dock.
On the Nintendo Switch model, there are two USB ports on the side of the Nintendo Switch dock where you’ll connect the GameCube Controller adapter.
After you’ve connected the Gamecube Controller adapter to the USB ports, just connect your GameCube controller to the adapter and press a button on the GameCube controller with the Nintendo Switch turned on.
On the Nintendo Switch console, navigate to the “Controller Settings” menu on the Home screen, using your Nintendo Switch controllers.
Under the “Controllers” menu, select “Pairing New Controllers,” and the Nintendo Switch will begin searching for a compatible Nintendo Switch controller.
You’ll be prompted to select the L and R Trigger buttons on the GameCube controller, just like you would normally do with the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, and that’s all there is to it.
The Nintendo Switch “Controllers” menu will show a preview of the attached USB controller.
GameCube Controllers and the Nintendo Switch Lite
You can also use a GameCube controller with the Nintendo Switch Lite, but it gets a little complicated. The Nintendo Switch Lite does not have a docking system, so an additional cable is required.
This will let you plug into the Switch Lite’s single USB-C port and connect your wired controller to the device. As covered above, you’ll need to configure the GameCube controller through the “Controller” menu.
Compared to using the Nintendo Switch in docked mode, the Nintendo Switch Lite does not connect to a TV display, so you may want to find an alternative method to prop the device up while you play. Of course, you could always just lay it flat on the floor. We won’t judge you.