Like any Smash Bros. fan, I've taken in the news of a Wii U iteration with great joy. Look at the awesome new characters! No tripping? Hooray! It'll find a sweet spot between casual and hardcore play? Excellent! And yet, there's a tinge of melancholy about it all: the Wii U doesn't have a GameCube controller port.
If someone is a hardcore Smash Bros. fan, I'm willing to bet that they likely play Super Smash Bros. Brawl with a GameCube controller. That's because the Wii Remote and Nunchuck don't make the cut when it comes to serious play, nor does the Classic controller. Of course, I don't doubt there are some players who are fiends with those controllers, in the same way there are excellent fighting game fans who don't use a fighting stick, but on the whole, I'd say the Smash community has a preference for the GameCube controller's ergonomic design. In fact, I'm guessing that most sales of GameCube controllers in the last few years are largely coming from Smash fans who refuse to play with anything else. Based on anecdotal experience, Smash, more than any other franchise out there, feels like the last thing keeping the GameCube controller alive.
Here's the thing: the GameCube controller came out in 2001. Nearly 12 years ago. (Holy shit...) To expect Nintendo to keep supporting it, especially when they're trying to sell systems on the novelty of the new controllers, is absurd. Their reluctance to include the port is, in a way, a sign to move on — no? And yet I suspect that many of us can't help but anxiously think about what Smash Bros. is like without a GameCube controller. Smash Bros without the GameCube controller seems...wrong, somehow. And playing with the GamePad on the Wii U seems way too cumbersome; I can't see myself enjoying that.
I'm guessing that some of you will want to keep the past alive and will rush out to buy GameCube controller adapters with your copies of of Smash Bros. for the Wii U. They exist, and they're pretty affordable. I wouldn't blame you for going that route.
As for me...maybe it's just that I feel that I'm in a stage of transition — wanting to move away from pining to sit in my college dorm with my friends, all hoping to not come in fourth in Brawl because that meant giving up the controller — but I think it's time for me to let go of the GameCube controller. I'll still remember it fondly, of course — the awe of using the Wavebird for the first time; playing Smash until the rubber on the control stick wore off; buying and destroying enough GameCube controllers to fill up a closet; becoming a filthy, filthy C-Sticker in Smash. But it's 2013 now — so, hey, Wii U Pro controller. How's it going? I think it's your time to shine.
Image via Wikipedia Commons