PowerA has a good alternative to the GameCube controller for the PC and Switch

    Updated: Feb 19


    So, you´ve grown up with old Nintendo consoles. You love Nintendo games; Zelda, Mario, and Smash Bros, in fact, Melee is probably your favorite entry in the franchise. You ache to relive the good old days, and so you´ve decided to play Smash, either Ultimate on the Switch or Melee with an emulator.


    Problem is, the controller doesn't feel right. Neither the Pro Controller, Joy-Con, or even the Xbox Wireless controller scratches the itch. None of them feel quite right in your hand as the old Gamecube Controller.


    Sad thing is, the Gamecube controller is discontinued. They don´t make them anymore. Even if you had an old one lying around, it will not work with your PC or Switch.


    Luckily, there is a workaround. Several third party manufacturers had tried their hand at making a Gamecube controller replica. One of them, Power A, released a wired GameCube controller that works on both the Switch and the PC.

    So, how well does it work? Does it stack up to the classic Gamecube controller of old?


    What is this controller about?


    If you grew up with the Gamecube, this controller is for you.

    This controller is one of the many third-party gamepads available for the Switch. Like most of it´s wired cousins, it can also be connected to the PC and used there as well.


    The main appeal of this controller is obvious. It is designed to look and feel like the classic Gamecube gamepad. However, it is still is a Pro Controller, at least when it comes to its software and programming. Your Switch will detect it as so, your PC as well.


    That said, it is missing some of the features that the Pro Controllers packs. Namely, it doesn´t have motion controls, HD rumble, an IR sensor nor an Amiibo reader. However, neither did the classic GameCube controller, so this shouldn't be an issue.


    Don´t let it fool you. What makes this gamepad a Gamecube controller is the design, not the inner circuits. In that regard, Power A did it´s best to emulate the original.


    With that in mind...


    How does it work? Does it work on PC?



    Yes, the controller works both on the PC and the Switch.


    Connecting it to the Switch is quite simple. Just plug and play. It will work just like a Pro Controller, but with the feel of a GameCube controller.


    For the PC, it´s a bit more complicated. As we discussed in the past, when connecting a Pro Controller with a USB cable (or something that emulates being a Pro Controller in this case) just plugging it in is enough to get it recognized.


    Using the controller to play on your PC is then as simple as opening Steam and launching the game.


    However, you probably don´t want to use this controller for Steam, right? You want to pair it with an emulator. In that case, as long as your drivers are updated, this controller should connect just as easily as with Steam. You will need to configure the buttons a bit, though.


    Does it hold up? Is it a good controller?



    In other words, does it really feel like a Gamecube gamepad?


    Well, in my experience, it does. The materials feel a bit cheap and light (and they have to be if you consider its price) but the controller is otherwise comfortable to hold. It feels just like gripping a Gamecube gamepad that went on a diet.


    I didn't notice any input lag when I pressed the buttons. The triggers are sensitive enough, the D-pad worked and the sticks were responsive.


    Everything worked exactly as I expected, which is the basic quality that you are looking for when you use a controller. The only thing that disappointed me was the lack of rumble, but then again, that´s not a deal-breaker in my opinion.


    However, some people have reported problems. In fact, if you look at the reviews of these controllers, you will notice that it has a lot 5 stars and 1 star, with few opinions in-between.


    So, what are the complaints that make some people hate this controller?


    What are its drawbacks?


    Remember when I said that this controller was made of cheap materials? Well, the thing about that, is that it makes it relatively fragile. It is not uncommon for this controller to break down, or for some of it´s buttons and sticks to malfunction.


    It requires careful handling in that regard. And if the deliveryman was rough handling its box, then you might be out of luck before you even open it.


    Another problem is that some people report is that their thumbstick drift. Yup, the same old problem that plagues the Joy-Con can happen to this controller. If it does, your stick will constantly move on its own towards a random direction.


    Now, drifting is not the end of the word. As we reported previously, it is mainly caused by little pieces of junk and dirt getting stuck under the flaps of the analog sticks.


    To fix it, you can try our solution as well. Lift the flap of the thumbstick and wipe away any dirt underneath it with a Q-tip or a similar tool. This method is not guaranteed to work, but it just might save you the repair costs.


    This all means that if you are lucky, you will have a perfectly functional and cheap Gamecube controller. If you are unlucky, you might be stuck with a malfunctioning piece of plastic.


    Personally, I think the odds of this controller failing are pretty low, but nonetheless, it´s a danger to keep in mind.


    Summary


    So, is the Power A Wired Gamecube Controller a good purchase? If you want something that will emulate the look and feel of the classic Gamecube controller, then yeah it is. It does the job just right, and your hands will feel at home when you hold it.


    This controller excels at playing Smash Bros, either Ultimate on the Switch, or Melee with an emulator on the PC. It´s good for older games of that generation, as it was made for them.


    However, when compared to the Pro Controller or the Xbox Controller, it falls short. It just doesn't have the features and sensibilities that a modern controller requires. You can still use it to play the current generation games, but it will not be as good.


    The controller itself is quite cheap, but it comes at the expense of its materials, as they make it quite light and fragile. If you mishandle it, it can break with relative ease.


    In short, it´s a good Gamecube gamepad imitation, but only an OK modern controller. It works for the PC, so it´s an excellent choice if you have an emulator and are feeling nostalgic.

    Of course, PowerA are not the only manufacturers that make modern GameCube controllers. You can find the rest of these imitations from other companies on our page about Switch controllers, over here. And we have a guide going into how to use Gamecube controllers with your Switch and PC here.


    And don´t forget to join our mailing list to know when either of these controllers goes on sale.