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Today, Nintendo of America revealed what is probably the biggest news I could hope for in regards to the highly anticipated mascot brawler, Super Smash Bros. Wii U. It's official: the company is releasing an adapter that allows you to plug GameCube controllers into the Wii U console. Despite all the controller innovations it seems that Nintendo agrees: nothing beats playing Smash using a normal-sized controller that features a big, green, responsive A button. But why stop at GC controller support for one game? There's plenty more Nintendo can do with the new-found support for such an old controller.
If Nintendo is smart, it'll look into any avenue it could use to make the failing Wii U a more attractive home console. The new adapter could provide a highly desired new feature, if it's used for more than just a Smash Bros. peripheral. What's one thing gamers always seem to want? The ability to play old games on new consoles. With GC controller support on the Wii U, it looks like the first step towards getting downloadable GameCube games on Virtual Console has already been achieved.
Granted, the Wii U doesn't have the old GC tech built in like the Wii did. But Nintendo could work its magic with emulation and bring old games like Metroid Prime and Luigi's Mansion to the Wii U if it's willing to dedicate the time and resources to make it happen. The size of the games wouldn't be a problem. If I can download a copy of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on the eShop, there's no reason that the file size of a 10-year-old GameCube game would be an issue. Having a GameCube library readily available would be a huge boon to the Wii U, especially if Nintendo actually starts to adding old console games to the Wii U's VC--not just old handheld, Game Boy Advance games.
The good news is it seems the company is pulling in more support for the hardcore gamer crowd. The inclusion of a GC controller adapter, along with Nintendo backing down from the Smash Bros. Brawl stance of "look, Smash is just as good with a Wii-mote and nunchuck" is definitely a step in the right direction. I mean, it’ll definitely get those who want to play Smash (the right way) to buy more Nintendo controllers--though maybe not enough to get Nintendo profitable again.
However, if Nintendo begins to manufacture GameCube controllers--which, by the looks of that Smash Bros. logo on the press images, could very well be the case--what happens to all the existing Wii U controller models? The Wii U will have four official control options for its system: Wii remote, Gamepad, Pro Controller, and now the GC controller. It's not that options are bad, but having so many controllers might be confusing to Nintendo's family-friendly, casual audience. The Wii U is already a confusing name for those who don't know console generations--and now it'll support a controller from two systems prior. That's a lot to unpack if you're not a core gamer.
If Nintendo doesn't take advantage of the controller support outside of the next Smash Bros.--like introducing a GameCube branch of the Virtual Console shop--it would be a waste of potential. Smash Bros. is a great series, but not every Wii U owner is going to buy a controller and adapter play it. Wii U gamers are going to need at least a few excuses to justify going out and buying four shiny new controllers--and one game alone, no matter how awesome, might not carry enough weight.