The GameCube controller is used to play Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube. The Wii is also compatible with the GameCube controller, meaning that Super Smash Bros. Brawl can be played using a GameCube controller, and the Virtual Console release of Super Smash Bros. can also be played using the GameCube controller. Certain third-party GameCube controllers are not recognized by Brawl.
The Wii U is compatible with the GameCube controller through the use of an official adapter, however, it is only compatible with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Additionally, a GameCube controller was specifically made for SSB4, which is sold separately from the adapter unless a bundle is purchased.
The Family Edition and Wii Mini versions of the Wii do not utilize the GameCube controller as the hardware for backward compatibility was removed. The GameCube controller option still appears in-game, since it's compatible with the software, but only the Wii Remote-based options are possible.
The GameCube is the most commonly used controller in competitive Smash, usually being used over the other options for Smash 4 and Brawl, for not only being the same as the Melee controller but for being wired (unlike all Wii Remote possibilities) and having an effective layout. Using the Raphnet Tech adaptor, it is possible to use the GameCube Controller for Smash 64, and any other N64 game. Despite being the most popular Smash controller, it is also known for being rather inconsistently manufactured; every GameCube controller has slightly different calibrations and imperfections, which can cause differences between controller performance across microscopic distances. These discrepancies have caused issues particularly in competitive Melee, due to the game's more precise technical skill requirements and less forgiving input command system. On certain controllers, it is harder to angle the Control Stick in a precise direction, and certain techniques that require frame perfect inputs, such as dashbacks and shield dropping, are more difficult or impossible to perform on certain controllers. As a result, only a small percentage of all GameCube Controllers are considered usable for the highest level of play. Most professional Melee players use modified controllers with notches around the Control Stick, which allow them to more easily find the angles required to perform perfect wavedashes, shield angles, precise angles on Fox's and Falco's up special, and other advanced techniques.
GameCube Controller support is also available for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It requires the use of a USB Adapter in the same manner as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Nintendo is also selling a new adapter along with new GameCube controllers. Unlike the Wii U, however, the adapter also supports every game available on the Nintendo Switch if the game has support for the Pro Controller, (rather than exclusively Super Smash Bros. series games), although some games may not function well due to the GameCube controller missing some buttons. In addition, Nintendo sells a licensed, wireless version of the GameCube controller, produced by PowerA, which keeps the original controller layout while adding on the additional buttons used with the Switch. Like the wired version, it can be used with every game on the console. Oddly enough, the console recognizes the wireless GameCube controller as a Pro Controller instead of a GameCube controller.
Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. (Virtual Console)
All buttons use rubber dome-switches, though L and R use a sliding potentiometer for analog control as well. Both analog sticks use potentiometers to measure the directional input.
GameCube controllers have the lowest latency of any Smash-related controller when used with Melee — albeit with high variance — experiencing lows of 44.25ms (2.5 frames) and highs of 75.91ms (4.5ms). If used in Brawl, the latency increases to lows of 86.91ms (5.1 frames) and highs of 102.75 (6.1 frames). If used in Smash 4 with the GameCube controller adapter, it experiences lows of 69.53ms (4.1 frames) and highs of 88.7ms (5.2 frames). When used with a GameCube controller adapter for Ultimate, however, the latency drastically increases, roughly doubling compared to Melee; it experiences lows of 87.86ms (5.1 frames) and highs of 109.53ms (6.5 frames).
If a wireless Wavebird controller is used on the Channel 1 setting for Melee, the latency amounts to lows of 53.11ms (3.1 frames) and highs of 78.78ms (4.5 frames), making it strictly outclassed by a wired controller. If used in Brawl, this exponentially increases, reaching lows of 92.28ms (5.5 frames) and highs of 106.45ms (6.2 frames). If used with Smash 4, the latency is a bit lower, being about the same as the Wii U GamePad in the lower end of the spectrum; it experiences lows of 71.2ms (4.1 frames) and highs of 92.86ms (5.5 frames).
The sliding potentiometers of the shoulder triggers use values from 0 to 255. Values from 0 to 73 take no in-game effect at all. In Melee, values from 74 to 174 scale inversely proportionally to shield size. Values of 174 and higher produce the same shield size as digital presses (all the way down through the click threshold), but only the digital press triggers techs and air dodges. In Brawl, only the digital press has any effect in gameplay, as every other controller option does not use analog input for their shoulder buttons. However, in Smash 4, the analog input now counts as a digital input, making the actual digital press of the shoulder buttons unnecessary. The analog input in Smash 4 works similarly to Melee, as there must be some distance traveled before the action mapped to L or R is recognized.
Control stick and C-stick use two potentiometers that induce values from 0 to 255 with 128 being considered the center. An input of (0,0) would be diagonally down and left (225°). Values from 106 to 150 are generally considered neutral inputs and behave just like 128. In many player's states, this range expands even further. For example, during the standing animation (WAIT), y (vertical) values from 73 to 180 take no effect, while at the same x (horizontal) uses the standard neutral range (106-150).
Control stick and C-stick make up the three most important parts: the stick itself, the stick box it is attached to, and the potentiometers the stick box is attached to. The shape of the stick box prevents the value extremes from being achieved, and the octagonal shape on the outer shell of the controller further cuts down the effective input range to approximately 25-230. This range varies from controller to controller and decreases with use as the friction between the inner stick box parts creates a gap and thus a loose zone. Because of this, a worn-down controller's stick will push the potentiometer less than a fresh controller's stick.