Mods Keep The WaveBird Kicking In The Switch Era

Nintendo made some questionable decisions during the early 2000’s, but developing the WaveBird certainly wasn’t one of them. Years before wireless controllers were the standard on home game consoles, the WaveBird gave GameCube owners a glimpse into the future. It managed to deliver lag-free gaming without resorting to easily-blocked infrared, and had a battery life and range long enough that there was really no downside to cutting the cord aside from the lack of rumble support.

In fact, the WaveBird was such a good controller that some fans just can’t put the thing down even in 2019. [Bill Paxton] loves his so much that he decided to modify it so he could use it on Nintendo’s latest money printing machine, the Switch, without having to fiddle with any adapters. While he was at it, he decided to fix the only serious drawback of the controller and hack in some rumble motors; arguably making his re-imagined WaveBird superior in just about every way to the original.

It might be counter-intuitive, but the trick here is that [Bill] actually took the internals from a standard wired GameCube controller and fitted it all into the case for the WaveBird. That’s how he got the rumble support back, but where does the signature wireless capability come from?

For that, he took apart a “GBros. Wireless Adapter” from 8BitDo. This gadget is intended to let you use your existing GameCube controllers on the Switch wirelessly, so all he had to do was shove its PCB inside the controller and wire it directly to the pads on the controller’s board. Thankfully, the WaveBird was rather husky to begin with, so there’s enough space inside to add all the extra hardware without much fuss.

Between modifications like this and efforts to reverse engineer the controller’s wireless protocol, hackers aren’t about to let this revolutionary accessory go gently into that good night. You might see a GameCube slaughtered for a meme, but WaveBirds never die.


11 thoughts on “Mods Keep The WaveBird Kicking In The Switch Era

      1. Just because a simple factual statement isn’t oozing with flattery doesn’t make it hateful. I see no prima facie evidence of complaint/denigration in [Greg Eshelman]’s declaration, nor do I think it’s logical to assume from it he is incapable of building modified game controllers. You might be right, but you risk being the “hater” yourself if you misread his intentions.

        1. How? Where would the extra electronics go?

          Going rate for a “parts only” Wavebird on eBay seems to be about $15 USD, so not exactly like raiding the Smithsonian to get a donor case for this project.

  1. Does it’s original function (wireless GameCube) remain?
    If not would it be possible to toggle from one to the other using a physical switch (elec component not console.

  2. Don’t get me wrong this is an excellent and cool idea….

    But it’s so much easier and cheaper just to buy a hori stand in a mayflash adapter along with your wavebird do the same thing AND you get the adjustable kick ass stand to angle it anyway you like without it falling

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