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Is it Possible to Play Pokémon Unite With a Gamecube Controller?

Finding alternatives to play the game aside from Joy-Cons and the Pro Controller.

by Elliott Gatica

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Pokémon Unite really took the MOBA landscape by storm, being at the top of Twitch charts for a good while and stirring up a lot of good and bad press alongside it. The game would be best categorized as the perfect MOBA for starters. I’d almost call it a MOBA-lite, but Pokémon Unite has all the main elements of what the genre entails. 

The game was first released on the Nintendo Switch back in July 21. I always wondered what would be the optimal way to play the game. Would it be in handheld mode? Playing the game docked with Joy-Cons attached to the Joy-Con grip? With a pro controller? What about a standard Gamecube controller hooked into the adapter? 

Can you actually play Pokémon Unite with a Gamecube controller?

The short answer is yes, but to an extent. The game will accept a plugged in Gamecube controller with the adapter, but will recognize it as if it were a Pro controller. The layout will assume that this will have all the features and buttons of a Pro controller. This means that it’ll assume there is a second Z button and clickable sticks. 

The Gamecube controller is perhaps one of the most timeless pieces of Nintendo hardware to date, but it doesn’t come without its caveats translating into modern gaming. I actually took to a few matches playing with it and performed fairly well. Hell, I even snagged a few victories along the way. However, while the game is very much playable with this controller, some minor adjustments have to be made to optimally play.

The standard controller scheme for the game has players utilizing the shoulder and trigger buttons as a chunk of their moves. The original binding for the Unite Move is ZL, a button that the normal Gamecube controller does not have. You can swap that with the View Map button (L) so that there is now a bound option for it. 

With this one little fix, you can play Pokémon Unite in its entirety with little to no problems. However, you will be missing features like viewing the map, checking the minimap, and viewing details of others who defeat you in the middle of a match. If you are not fully on board with playing with Joy-Cons due to possible drift problems in the future, the Gamecube controller is a passable alternative, but I would recommend just playing the game with up-to-date hardware that has all the features. 

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