Wavebird 2.0 For The Nintendo Switch Promises To Be Drift-Free

Wavebird 2.0 For The Nintendo Switch Promises To Be Drift-Free

Image: Nyxi

Like many others, the GameCube Wavebird was the first game controller I ever seriously loved. Everything that came before was good; at best a novelty, at worst a huge pain, but mostly a means to an end. Now there’s a new controller for the Nintendo Switch that looks exactly like a spiritual successor to the 2002 peripheral and claims to have none of the stick movement issues that the Joy-Con have become notorious for.

“The Nyxi Wizard combines the retro look of our long-running NGC controller with a much more ergonomic design and works perfectly with any Nintendo Switch console,” Nyxi recently tweeted. The controller retails for $70, with replaceable joysticks and adjustable turbo and mapping options. But the real attraction are the hall-effect levers that use magnets to prevent movement.

As Chris Person points out at The Verge, Sega used this technology for the Sega Saturn 3D and Dreamcast controllers. By using parts that are less prone to wear, the sticks should last longer without subjecting to movement, with the directional controls locked even when the stick is left in the rest position. As someone whose modern controllers only seem to last a few years before the pin springs break or the rubber starts to disappear, it’s an attractive proposition and one 8bitdo and other specialist controller manufacturers are working to deliver.

Joy-Con issues are known at this point. I went through three pairs in six years. There have been problems with the locking mechanisms on the sides and the button springs, but the movement is the most notorious, resulting in lawsuits, regulatory investigations and overwhelmed repair centers. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Sony’s DualShock 4 and the new PS5 DualSense haven’t worn well over the years. Meanwhile my old Wavebird? Still good for a friendly game of Smash Bros.

And that’s the Nyxi Wizard’s other big appeal: offering production polish to a nostalgic design that modders have been mimicking for years now. While the look immediately conjures up images of late-night GameCube sessions, it also traces the footsteps of a controller that would become the wave of the future, from the lack of wires to the offset levers. Almost exactly 20 years later, we’re still living in the future Nintendo’s Wavebird built.

Having not tried it yet, I have no idea if it will actually feel as good, or last as well, as the company boasts. But it’s great to see the current renaissance in gamepad design continue to unfold.

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