I Ditched the GameCube Controller for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and I Can't Go Back

I Ditched the GameCube Controller for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and I Can't Go Back

Old habits die more easily than I thought.

We develop innumerable habits from babyhood that help us move more efficiently, work quicker, or just comfort us when the chips are down. When it comes time to bid farewell to a habit, we often do so without premeditated intent.

Sometimes we have our parents to thank for moving in suddenly to break us of habits they regard as childish and unnecessary. One day you're a happy three-year-old sucking on a pacifier, and the next day your parents throw that pacifier off the balcony and tell you to do without. Sometimes, though, it's just odd circumstances that send us flying from our comfort zones. I never envisioned a time when I'd comfortably play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate without a GameCube controller, and yet, here I am.

When I secured my copy of Smash Bros. Ultimate, my husband asked, "Are we playing with the GameCube controllers?" Damn right we played with the GameCube controllers, son. May as well have asked me "Are we playing while breathing oxygen?"

We'd purchased a GameCube controller adapter for the Wii U edition of Smash Bros., so that was already done. It was simply a matter of finding it (in the cupboard under our coffee table) and finding our GameCube controllers (also in the cupboard under the coffee table, tangled in a white plastic graveyard of Wiimotes and Wiimote accessories). We fired up Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Switch and played like the pros, or at least pale imitations thereof.

Something funny's happened to me since those early rounds, though: I no longer use the GameCube controller when I play Smash. In fact, I find the odd controller's springy shoulder triggers and chunky buttons hinder me more than anything. Instead, I Smash with—and past-me is shuddering at the very suggestion—the Switch's Joy-Cons.

What caused this slide into degeneracy? Same thing that's causing most of us to re-think our long-held gaming habits: I acquired a taste for playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in handheld mode. The Joy-Cons are mandatory for proper handheld gaming with the Switch, so I said, "Now's as good a time as any to force myself to get used to these tiny face buttons." And I did.

A Falcon Punch is a Falcon Punch regardless of which input device you use.

Smash Bros. Ultimate's robust single-player content helped wean me off the GameCube controller. The World of Light quest is a slog, but weirdly addictive. It emulates RPGs with limited success, but, like an RPG, it's a good "curl-up-on-the-couch-and-play" experience. World of Light is also long, meaning I couldn't simply turn back my GameCube controller after a three-hour tour.

After all that time operating through World of Light and Classic Mode with Joy-Cons, my Smash game feels sharper than ever. That doesn't mean much; if I ever go up against a moderately-skilled player, I'm still going to get obliterated. Regardless, I still comfortably hold my own against my husband, who continues to use his GameCube controller.

Interestingly, my (wireless) Joy-Cons perform well versus his (wired) GameCube controller. There's a lot of talk in the Smash community about the Joy-Cons and Switch Pro Controller suffering input lag in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but I haven't noticed a problem. That could possibly be because I'm a filthy Smash casual, but it's also possible Nintendo's been quietly working at the problem through its semi-mysterious updates.

"Hi, I'm Donkey Kong, welcome to Jackass. Today, we're punching live ammunition."

Am I the only one who's figuratively thrown her GameCube controller off the balcony? Has anyone else out there adopted the Joy-Cons as their Smash controller of choice because they're hopelessly addicted to handheld gaming? Maybe some of you who preferred the Nintendo 3DS version of last generation's Super Smash Bros. games (I know you're out there) understand where I'm coming from. Talk about "small-A" Smash Attacks with me. Come on. Don't be shy.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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