Nintendo has been criticized for ostracizing gamers with odd business decisions lately. What could be a simple step in the right direction? Unleash the GameCube adapter.
How does the old saying go? “Looking back isn’t going to help you. Moving forward is the thing you have to do.” It’s about time for a new quote then.
In a generation where HD remakes and remastered collections run rampant, it’s time for Nintendo to do something it’s never done: follow suit with their competitors, and release something old as something new. Give us more compatibility with the GameCube controller.
Nintendo’s Wii U is not a bad console. It speaks to consumers the way the company has for years: inexpensive price point, high quality first party games for the whole family, with very little third party help (Wii U’s top 10 games in sales are all published by Nintendo). The issue is they haven’t adapted well in the internet agewith laughably bad online play and confusing branding as two points of contention.
Core gamers felt alienated with a myriad of controller options, none of which felt…right. The GamePad has no business being the packaged controller. The wiimote was replaced by GameCube controllers on its own native console. The Pro Controller, arguably the best option available, feels like an Xbox 360 before it was finalized (the right thumbstick and face buttons being swapped feels unnatural).
November 21, 2014, alongside Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Nintendo released what I assumed would be a saving grace for the console: a USB adapter that would let you play the game with any GameCube controller, arguably the company’s best one ever. I began scouring for the best prices of all the games I had missed, until I saw the Eurogamer article explaining the adapter would only be compatible for Smash Bros.
If Nintendo was ever going to contradict themselves, this is the place to do it. Sales figures for the adapters haven’t been released, but anecdotally speaking, the demand was there for it. GameStop stores were sold out. Twitter pages went up with alerts of when Targets and Walmarts had any in stock. The announcement sits in the top 20 all time posts in the company’s subreddit. This ingenious product that was clamored for now sits on shelves, begging to be utilized.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD? Its founding father was perfect on the controller. Splatoon? A wonderful game that I had to put down because the gamepad I was using broke my immersion with the game, constantly looking down wondering what trigger did which task. Mario Kart 8 is a perfect fit. With almost every top game being a franchise we saw on previous consoles, we have an idea of exactly how well the controller would hypothetically work.
One could argue how hard it’d be to add this to older Wii U games, and that argument stands against someone that is ignorant to that side of the business. Even if the back catalogue can’t be corrected, implementation for future releases would not only be a sign of good faith for consumers that feel held hostage, it’d be a reason to dust off a neglected system.
I suggest a new quote for Nintendo. “Study the past if you would define the future.”