First things first, you need a GameCube controller (we're assuming you've already got the Switch but you definitely need that, too). You can buy an original GameCube controller used if you don't have one already or look for third-party alternatives like this GameCube controller by Cippon.
The original wireless controller for the GameCube was known as the WaveBird. You can also use this version to play games on the Nintendo Switch.
The big question I'm sure you're asking yourself is, "Where do I plug this thing in at?"
Well, you don't. At least, not yet. You need a special adapter that converts GameCube controller input into a readable USB signal that the Switch can understand. There are plenty of adapters on the market but this GameCube controller to Switch adapter at Amazon also supports the Wii U and desktop PCs.
You can shop around for a different one but definitely check reviews before buying from a third-party. Make sure the adapter you buy is Nintendo Switch compatible.
Connecting everything should be straightforward but we'll break it down to be extra clear:
- Connect the adapter to the Nintendo Switch using an open USB port on the console.
- Connect the GameCube controller to the adapter.
- Set the adapter to Nintendo Switch mode.
At this point your controller should be detected and responsive to input. Try using it in a game that works with classic style controllers.
If something isn't working right, don't worry! We've been there before and we have a few tips to get you back on track and gaming within minutes. Here are the most common issues that occur when using a GameCube controller on the Switch.
No input from the GameCube controller
Double-check the check adapter settings and make sure it's set to Switch. If it is, unplug and replug all of the connected cables. You may need to test the controller on another console to make sure it's still working.
No response from the WaveBird
If your WaveBird isn't working, double-check to make sure the batteries are fresh. Verify the channel on the controller matches the receiver. Worst case, test it using another console or system.