Using a GameCube controller to play Switch games

A bit over a year ago, I picked up a Nintendo Switch and a copy of Mario Odyssey largely due to the addition of support for the GameCube USB adapter for Wii U in firmware 4.0.

I have been using a GameCube controller to play as many Switch games as it makes sense to, and have since picked up the HORI Battle Pad and 8bitDo Gbros adapter.

Since the GC pad is awesome and I think it’s an interesting topic, here’s my impressions, tips, and anything else I think is relevant to playing with a GC pad on Switch. I will note that I don’t play Smash! But feel free to discuss how these or other options are in that game here as well.

GameCube USB Adapter


  • Works in nearly all Switch games just out of the box
  • Adapter for Wii U as well as the new one for Switch work well
  • Third party adapters seem fine (I’m using a Mayflash one)
  • Works with Other-to-GC wired adapters; I can use my SNES to GC adapter and use a fully wired SNES controller
  • Supports four controllers that you probably already have


  • Not enough buttons! Missing:
    • ZL (pressing Z gets you ZR)
    • Minus button
    • Stick clicks
    • Home button
    • Screenshot too but whatever
  • L and R need to be depressed to the button click to get the digital L/R input to Switch
  • L and R are in the “wrong place” relative to the Switch shoulder button layout
  • Needs two USB ports; I recommend getting a USB3.0 hub to use with this
  • Some lag; it made parts of Megaman 11 unplayable for me vs the Switch Pro Controller
  • No way to wake the Switch from sleep from this controller
  • Only really usable in docked mode and of course wired

This adapter has been really great for me. I found for example playing Mario Odyssey to be very natural with this controller, with good remaps for everything aside from the motion controls. It’s also great for Mario Kart 8. I really enjoyed being able to use a SNES controller with Sonic Mania as well.

8BitDo GBros Adapter


  • Works in more games than the GC->USB adapter
  • Works with Classic Controllers, including Wii CC, Wii CC Pro, NES CC, and SNES CC
  • Also works with Other-to-GC and Other-to-CC wired adapters
  • (Mostly) wireless
  • Built-in Home & Screenshot buttons on the adapter
  • Can maps L/R to ZL/ZR (more on this later)
  • Seems to have slightly less lag than the USB adapter (don’t quote me on that!)


  • Once again not enough buttons! Missing:
    • ZL (pressing Z gets you ZR by default)
    • Minus button
    • Stick clicks
  • L and R need to be depressed to the button click to get the digital L/R input to Switch
  • No way to wake the Switch from sleep from this controller
  • Only one controller per unit

I’ve been playing around with this thing for one evening now so I may need more time but overall, while it has some quirks, I think it’s an improvement over the GC USB adapter.

For one thing ZL and ZR are the primary shoulder buttons on Switch. And while you are stuck with L+R+ZR on the USB adapter, here you can re-map L/R on the GC pad to ZL/ZR which usually makes more sense:

It even remembers your choice between power up/down. Being able to run like that but still put L/R on the L/R buttons when you need to is the right way to go here. You wouldn’t want to switch that on the fly but some games make those indispensable but don’t do much with ZL/ZR.

For another thing, being able to use classic controllers is A+. The dpad on the CC and CC Pro is my definition of perfect; it’s slightly looser than the SNES dpad which I find a bit too rigid in diagonals. But if you prefer that for a certain game, like Tetris, you can just plug in an SNES Classic Controller! Or go ahead and play Megaman 9 & 10 with an NES Classic Controller.

This is the main reason I bought it really; I hate the joycons and even though the dpad on my pro controller is fine, great even, I hate how the controller feels and have never been satisfied with it.

A Classic Controller Pro, however, is a near perfect match for the Switch! ZL/ZR and L/R are in the right place, you get the excellent dpad, those nice feeling analog sticks with the classic octagon around the sticks, even the home button on the controller works. You are still missing clicking the sticks, which is useful if not necessary for some games, but I think this will be a compelling option for use in a lot of games.

Overall if you’re only looking for a 1 player authentic GC controller solution with extra features I highly recommend this adapter.

HORI Battle Pad

I know you’re thinking why would I want this over a real GC pad. But stick with me, this is perhaps the best option there is.


  • Fully wired USB controller w/ 10 foot wire
  • All buttons present! Has ZL/ZR, R/L, plus/minus, home/screenshot all present
  • Even has clicky sticks!
  • Has fully digital shoulder buttons with no superfluous analog movement
  • Has a larger, improved, nearly usable dpad
  • Button feel while slightly different from an OEM GC controller is very close and feels very nice
  • Nice stipple pattern on the grips which has a nice feel
  • Cool color options featuring Nintendo favorites


  • Wired; I prefer this but it’s a deal breaker for some
  • GC button layout sometimes not a good match for tradition ABXY (for example games that use BY for jump + action similar to Mario World)
  • L/R, ZL/ZR are in the wrong place (more on this below)
  • No way to wake the Switch from sleep from this controller

I’ve been playing around with this for a few weeks now and I’m really impressed.

Some of you may remember that a few years ago HORI put out a similar pad for Wii U which connected via the Wii remote expansion port and operated like a Classic Controller:

I have that pad as well and some impressive improvements have been made in the last 4 years. The addition of clicky sticks is the first and most obvious; the new pad is even better than using the above via the GBros adapter in that regard.

Beyond that I had some complaints with the button feel with the Wii U version of the Battle Pad; the face buttons required just a bit more force than the real deal GC pad, the analog traction (?) seemed just off, and the dpad was a bit mushy. All of these issues have been fixed on the new Switch Battle Pad; the face buttons and analog feel like a great match to the real GC controller, and the dpad while still having the characteristic HORI mush is not quite as mushy.

I can’t overstate how much having a full complement of buttons really helps; no more guesswork on if the game will be a good match, no more fumbling with remaps, just plug it in and have fun with my favorite controller layout.

But it can’t all be great. As mentioned above, L/R and ZL/ZR are in the “wrong place.”

Sidenote but this really ought to have been the “right place” but somewhere between GameCube, the Classic Controller, and the Classic Controller Pro Nintendo got the L/R buttons shoved into the secondary position :frowning:

Thankfully for games where that feels unnatural, as it does for me in Civ6 switching between docked and undocked, you can swap the shoulder button map:

So if you’re OK with going with a non-OEM GC pad and a wired solution, this thing is really the best option out there.


There’s also some GC-like controllers out there from PowerA and PDP, perhaps among others. If you have any experience with those I’d like to hear about it.


How considering a Battle Pad…

Is the Hori Battle Pad dpad still inferior to other Nintendo dpads like a real Gamecube controller is also inferior for dpad?

There’s a reason folks use other controllers than the first-party Gamecube controllers to play Gameboy on Gamecube. Hori digital Gamecube controller etc.

Woah, that battle pad…Nintendo-quality GC/Wii-era analogue sticks with the octo-gate AND clickable?


It iss still not something you’d want to play d-pad heavy games with. But I find it a lot more passable for light d-pad use.

Awesome post, thank you!! Would love to hear some impressions on that wireless PowerA one if anyone has one.

Awesome post. Looks familiar.

(No worries, yours is way better).

I forgot that thread exists! There have been some great new options in the last few months, though.

Love the extensive break down ! Thank you

Yep, and you gave a great breakdown of them in a great op! :ok_hand:

This sort of thing is what keeps me coming back

Great breakdown! That Hori pad looks great. I’m still hoping for a cheap / plentiful Gamecube controller adapter though, since it seems like the official one is impossible to find again.