GCN controller adapter enables interesting control options on Switch when used with adapters

Back in the day, when Wii Virtual Console was new, I bought a ton of adapters to use in the Wii’s GCN controller ports from a site called Raphnet.

If you haven’t heard of Raphnet, definitely check him out. He sells the lowest lag and most accurate controller converters on the internet.

Anyway, recently, I made a discovery. All of these adapters work with the GCN controller adapter and are recognized the same as Switch Pro Controllers.

What does this mean? I am able to use NES, SNES, N64, Genesis, and the Hori Digital controllers to control games on my Switch. Amazing!

There’s no greater feeling than playing Sonic Mania with a real Genesis controller. Or playing Puyo Puyo Tetris with a nicely functioning D-Pad (in comparison to the Switch Pro controller).

Raphnet even sells an adapter that lets you connect a Wii Classic Controller to the GCN port. And all of it feels magically responsive.

The only lag created is with the official adapter itself. Raph’s adapters are under 1 frame of lag each. And many of them also allow for multiple button layouts (like the N64 adapter).

So I just thought I’d share that because people do seem to have issues with the Switch Pro Controller’s d-pad. And many of us already had the materials necessary from the Wii U Smash days as well as our classic setups to remedy this issue - I just didn’t realize it until recently.

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This feature is what sold me on a switch. It is really nice to play games with a SNES controller or GC controller when appropriate.

There are some minor caveats. No matter how many buttons your controller has it will be limited by the map from GC buttons to Switch buttons. So the Z button will always be mapped to ZL + ZR. If you’re using a SNES controller that’s not a big deal but for other adapters that can be a problem.

Depending on the game you may just not have enough buttons. If a game needs ZL or ZR separately, or uses the click on the analog, or uses - button, you need an alternative way to access those features, a button remap, or you just won’t be able to use the GC controller or adapters to GC.

Another minor problem is the lack of home button.

Agreed on all accounts. Thanks for the qualifiers @poptart. It’s not perfect. But good enough for certain games that are more retro in nature like Sonic Mania, and Puyo Puyo Tetris. I have not tried others.

I imagine it would be great for arcade releases though.

I found it really great to use a GC controller in Mario Odyssey and in Mario Kart 8, and OK for Ittle Dew 2 and I Am Setsuna.

SNES controller I like for Sonic Mania and Azure Striker Gunvolt. I think this will be my default for anything with a limited control set.

Unfortunately neither was workable in Fire Emblem Warriors, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Xenoblade 2, Mario and Rabbids, and Dragon Quest Builders.

Using a Saturn controller for Dead Cells would be nice! Does such an adapter exist?

Yes that would be cool. I don’t know if one unfortunately.

Can you use the USB Saturn controllers?

By default the adapters have 6ms of lag, 3ms is only possible if you are have one of the more recent adapters and are using it with a PC and Raphnet’s configuration tool.

Was curious about this and tom is right:

There are two variables:

  • USB Latency: raphnet advXarch adapters are USB Full Speed devices configured to be polled at 1ms intervals (the maximum frequency) by the host PC. The latency introduced by USB is therefore fixed at 1ms.
  • Controller poll interval: That is, how often the adapter reads the controller status. This parameter is configurable using the Adapter manager. The default for most adapters is 5ms, but it can be lowered down to 2ms.

The total latency is therefore 1ms + [configured poll interval]. This results in a minimum total latency of 3ms , and of 6ms by default.

And this is only for the newer advxArch adapters and hitting that minimum will certainly need to be on a PC with fast USB polling. The Switch supposedly has slow USB polling, such that a wireless Pro controller actually has faster response time than the Pro over USB. The fastest Switch input method is actually portable mode with connected joycons!

edit: Double-checked the MMX:LC input lag tests and this is incorrect. Docked Switch is the fastest, followed by portable Switch with Pro Controller.

Anyway I’m sure this setup works well, I have a couple of Raphnet adapters myself, but it must be somewhat higher controller lag on Switch.

That is both amusing and infuriating. Seeing as how I had bought a longer cable just to keep my pro controller attached.

The GC-N64 adapter is 5ms of input delay as noted here:


It’s a great article to read as well.

5ms + whatever the usb adapter adds and I bet it’s still under 1 frame of lag (16ms) which is totally playable and unnoticable for 99% of the population.

Infact most arcade sticks have more input delay then this adapter setup.

I’ve edited @Peltz post to avoid confusion.

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Going by the tests here, going from Switch wireless to USB adds 13ms lag (18ms total with the adapter?). Not a crazy amount but still worth noting.

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Thought I read under 1 ms. I guess it was under 1 frame? My bad for the confusion everyone! Thanks for the correction

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This is insane. I’ll definitely check it out. This also means it’s possible to play smash ultimate using an n64 controller…

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I used a wavebird for Zelda when the firmware was first updated to support the Wii U GC adapter. Only for a couple of minutes as the button arrangement was weird and it din’t have enough buttons. My SNES to GCN adapter didn’t work.

Now I’m using the DIY original SNES controller with the 8bitdo bluetooth kit for 2D games. Sticking to joycons for modern games, separate hands is just too good.

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Sticking to joycons for modern games, separate hands is just too good.

I agree with this. I’m trying to train my body to enjoy playing Switch games with my arms rested relaxed at my sides to help mitigate the inevitable bad posture associated with gaming. Easier said than done.

I like the Joycons, but don’t love them. The short throw of the analogue sticks in particular make controlling something like Rocket League nearly impossible for me.

They just lack the nuance (or perhaps have too much nuance?) compared to normal sized analogue sticks we’ve grown accustomed to over the years starting with the N64. I cannot, for the life of me, get a feel for that game on the Switch even after tinkering with the sensitivity options.

It bums me out because I really do want to play that version more often when traveling. Other games feel fine with them though.

I absolutely love the Joycons, I rarely put them in the holder either, the split controller design is too comfortable (I loved it on Wii too). The smaller thumbsticks have actually been really comfortable for me, I’ve found I can hold the run button (B) in Zelda with the tip of my thumb, while still being able to move the right thumbstick with my thumb, meaning no more claw grip!

I’m a new Switch owner, so I’m still grappling with the asymmetrical sticks and the lack of a real D-pad. I like the weight and feel of the system, though. (Sorry if a bit OT.)

Semi-related, I have an NES-style 8bitdo controller that I ripped apart and threw in an old ASCII Saturn stick for shits. I plan on using that with my Switch. I’ll post some pics at some point.

A little OT but I’ll join in on the joycon discussion.

For 3d games where I’m using the analog sticks I absolutely adore the split joycons but for 2d platformers or puyo puyo where I’m using the Dpad I find it hard to use the split joycons.