Prior to the Nintendo Switch event this past Thursday evening(Friday morning for some.) there were rumors that the Switch would receive GameCube titles as part of its virtual console library, specifically Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. This sparked speculation that the triggers on the Joy-Con’s were in fact analog triggers which haven’t been used by Nintendo since the GameCube. This was seemingly backed up by patents Nintendo filed which seemed to indicate analog triggers. This got many people hyped because GameCube titles on virtual console is something that a lot of people have wanted. Up until now those games have been hard to get and play if you don’t have a GameCube sitting around collecting dust, so having them easily accessible, even for a price, was great news. However, no mention of GCN virtual console was made at the Switch event. In fact, the only mention of the virtual console came via a statement after the presentation in which they stated that, as part of their online service, they would offer free NES/SNES games each month, though they aren’t permanent, more like rentals. So the Switch will have a virtual console, but what systems it will support at launch or even this year is up for debate.
Now, the Joy-Cons may not have analog triggers, and many people already guessed that due to the size of the triggers, and I had a bad feeling about it when Nintendo never referred to them as triggers, they were considered shoulder buttons, so I and many others thought: Well, if the Joy-Con’s don’t have analog triggers, then the pro controller must, right? Well, apparently not. According to press and gamers who got to try the Switch at events Nintendo held after the conference, the pro controller, like the Joy-Cons, has digital triggers. It was also revealed by Nintendo that no previous peripherals will be supported by the Nintendo Switch, meaning you can’t connect your Wii U GameCube controllers or GameCube controller adapters to the Switch and play GCN games. And while there are some games from GCN that can be played without analog triggers, some of the best games for the system made great use of them and would be hard to adapt to digital triggers without possibly taking something away from the overall experience. Simply put, if Nintendo has any plans of giving the Switch GCN VC support, they’ll likely need to release another GameCube controller peripheral that supports Switch, or make variants of the Joy-Cons and/or pro controller that have analog triggers.
It has already been confirmed that Nintendo has more games to announce between now and the Switch’s launch, so it’s entirely possible that GCN VC support will be announced within the next month and a half with peripherals to fully support it, but at this point that is a big if and it’s a lot to ask for people to go out and buy ANOTHER controller just for GCN games. Then again, this IS Nintendo we’re talking about. They love having fifty different controller options these days.