For practically as long as the Nintendo Switch and its removable Joy-Con controllers has existed, fans have been mocking up and wishing for Joy-Con-style GameCube controllers to use with the portable console. But hardware mod YouTuber Shank did more than just dream: he spent months turning the idea into reality, combining Joy-Con internals with original GameCube hardware to build the ultimate Switch accessory.
For the best look at the entire modification process, you should check out the full video on the Shank Mod YouTube channel, which gives a detailed and well-explained breakdown of the process.
The ultimate portable Smash Bros. device
The basic idea is simple. To start, Shank took original GameCube WaveBird controller shells, and carefully split them down the middle. Rail attachments scavenged from original Joy-Cons were added on using customized 3D printed components, along with modifications to the triggers and thumbsticks to accommodate modern controller innovations like clickable joysticks. Shank also had to drill holes to add additional buttons for the plus, minus, home, and screenshot buttons required by the Switch.
The project also required some help from other modders: Shank commissioned GameCube controller expert BassLine to help cut out a left-side Z button so that the GameCube Joy-Cons could be used to play regular Switch games and also got help from YouTuber Madmorda for both custom resin Joy-Con buttons and a classic GameCube purple paint job.
After that came all the wiring to match the Joy-Con circuit board to the GameCube buttons and sticks, which due to the Joy-Con’s complex hardware was apparently particularly challenging.
The best of both worlds
But Shank Mod’s finished product is nothing short of stunning, offering wireless, detachable GameCube controllers that can be affixed right onto a Switch. Since Shank used original Nintendo hardware from Joy-Cons, all the Switch functionality, including HD Rumble, Amiibo support, and gyroscopic aiming all still work, but with a gamepad that still feels exactly like an old-school GameCube controller. Shank even custom designed a center grip piece, allowing the two halves to be used wirelessly as a single regular controller (just like the normal Joy-Cons can).
Unfortunately, Shank warns the mod is likely too complicated for all but the most seasoned of hardware modders to attempt. But it’s hard to watch his video and not hope that Nintendo would make an official version for the ultimate portable Smash Bros. device.
The only question left is when Shank will take up the ultimate challenge and make the internet’s N64 Switch controller dreams a reality, too.