EXPERT INSIGHT & TRUSTED REVIEWS

EXPERT INSIGHT & TRUSTED REVIEWS

What in Tech is a user-supported site. When you purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more

How to use a Gamecube Controller on Steam

Did you know you can use a GCN gamepad for pretty much any PC game that supports the Xbox 360 controller (and others with a bit more effort)?

We’ve put together the below steps as an easy guide for you to achieve this.

We’re assuming you already have a USB Gamecube adapter (see the links below if not).

This guide is for both the official Nintendo adapters (Wii U / Switch) and the unofficial adapters that support WUP-028 (don’t worry if you don’t know this term, a majority of the adapters, including Mayflash, use this).

Step 1 – Install Wii U USB GCN Adapter / vJoy Device Driver

Firstly, go to Massive’s Gamecube adapter blog and download the latest version of the Wii U USB GCN Adapter (there will be a link near the top of the page).

Once downloaded, you’ll get a standard install prompt, follow the first basic steps as below:

Install wherever you like.

Choose your shortcut preference.

We’ll access the app later so you may like to create a desktop icon.

After these basic steps, you should see the below, click Install.

The program will then run through a brief install and pop-up with the below window.

Note: Please follow this instruction carefully – Ensure you have “WUP-028” selected in the dropdown box (as per the green box below, NOT something else like the red box highlight).

Once WUP-028 is selected, click the “Replace Driver” button (sometimes “Reinstall Driver”).

You should shortly receive the below message after doing this.

Once you close that window, the vJoy Device Driver setup will appear. Click Next.

In the next window, leave the below components ticked/click Next.

Then install.

You may be presented with a Windows Security prompt. If so click “Install” again.

Following this, you’ll get another successful install prompt.

Note: you may receive the below error message (or something similar) after this install. Please disregard this, it doesn’t affect the functionality.

And with that, step 1 is completed! This was required for your PC to “recognize” the Gamecube controller and its inputs.

This first step is also all you need to use a Gamecube Controller on Dolphin (and many other popular emulators). We’ll need to go a little further for Steam/PC games though.

Optional step (recommended)

After following step 1, you should:

  1. Install the latest Microsoft .NET framework available here (very simple/small install similar to the above).
  2. Restart your PC to ensure the software is fully recognized before moving on.

Step 2 – Install x360ce

Next, what we’re going to do is get your adapter/controllers recognized as Xbox 360 gamepads using the x360ce Gamecube config.

This allows Steam to pick them up for its wide library of 360-compatible games.

Go to the x360ce website.

At the top of the page, you should see something similar to the below.

2021 Update: x360ce has released a brand new version (4 or higher) that is suitable for both 32 and 64-bit games in one .exe and is much easier (does not require step 4 of this guide).

We highly recommend trying to download/use version 4+ first, continue to follow the below instructions but ignore the need to download/extract separate 32-bit & 64-bit versions and simply follow the steps for the single 4+ version download.

If you have any issues with version 4+, download the 32-bit & 64-bit versions and follow all steps below.

Download both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions (each is used depending on if the game you’re playing is 32/64-bit).

Once downloaded, we recommend unzipping the files into 2 separate folders. 1 for the 64-bit version, 1 for the 32-bit version.

Our unzipped x64 version is displayed below.

Once that’s done, we’ll then install both versions separately. The process is the same for each version, we’ve used the 64-bit one to demonstrate below.

To start, click on the _x64 file, you will be presented with the below warning.

Click “Create” and it will generate the necessary file/close the warning.

After this, you will receive the below window.

This means the program picking up your “vJoy Device” (i.e. Gamecube adapter controllers) and recognizing it needs to be configured.

With the same ticks as the below (including “search the internet”) click Next >

What this does is search the internet for the necessary x360ce Gamecube controller driver (you’re far from the first person to do this!).

You’ll receive the below window, click Finish.

Note: After clicking Finish, you may receive another “New Device Detected” window. Don’t worry, this is just the same thing happening for each of your adapter ports. Just click “Next” and “Finish” multiple (usually 4) times until it has concluded.

Once these are done, you’ll be presented with the below screen.

Notice the 4 green squares next to each Controller? That’s x360ce picking up your adapter. Try restarting if these don’t appear.

 

Step 3 – Enable Gamecube Driver / Configure x360ce

Keeping the x360ce window open (we’ll come back later), open the Wii U GCN adapter.

If you added a desktop shortcut, simply click that.

If not, just press the Windows key and type “GCN” and it will appear in the search as below:

You’ll see the below once you open the app. Click “Start”.

The below message (or some similar notification of success) will appear.

Now, return to x360ce.

With your controller plugged into port 1, on the “controller 1” tab, you will now see the Xbox 360 controller buttons on your screen respond when you press down on the Gamecube pad and analog stick!

Nearly perfect, the last thing we need to do is change some of the analog stick sensitivity settings.

For each of the controllers (1-4), go to the “left thumb” tab and change the Anti-Dead Zone settings to 80% and the Dead Zone settings to 30% (as per the green boxes).

This will ensure your analog stick behaves exactly like it would on the Wii U/Nintendo Switch.

And that’s step 3!

Make sure to complete the same setup for the 32-bit version.

Step 4 – Add Necessary files to Steam game folder

2021 Update: If you are using the newest version of x360ce (4 or higher) then congrats, step 4 shouldn’t be required!

When using version 4+, make sure to keep x360ce running in the background when playing games.

If you have issues with version 4+, then follow the above steps to download the 32-bit and 64-bit versions and continue with the below once you reach step 4…

You’re close! The last step to play Steam games with a Gamecube controller is placing the x360ce files into the game folder.

After you complete step 3, go back to the x360ce folder (either 32/64-bit) and you will now see 3 files as below:

What we’re going to do is copy these files to the game’s root Steam folder.

This is most commonly “Local Disc (C:) – > Program Files (x86) – > Steam -> Steamapps – > Common – >*Game Name*“.

If it isn’t exactly that, don’t worry. Have a little look around in your files/search and you will find it.

For this example, I am using Super Meat Boy.

Super Meat Boy is a 32-bit game.

For these, you need to copy the 3 32-bit x360ce files and paste them into the Super Meat Boy root folder, it should then look like the below.

This is what allows the game to recognize the “Xbox 360” controller.

And that’s all there is to it!

Once you’ve done this, open the game via Steam and you will now have a working GCN controller to use with PC games!

32-bit vs 64-bit games

If you’re wondering how you know whether a game is 32 or 64-bit, simply open the x360ce .exe file once you have put the 3 files in the game folder.

If it is the wrong bit-type, you’ll get a warning message and can then simply replace the 3 files with the other bit version.

The below is me trying to put the 64-bit x360ce version in the Super Meat Boy directory as an example:

Not working?

If the above steps are not working, I would encourage you to try the below (in order):

  1. Retry the steps, ensuring you complete the optional/recommended sections (restarting after step 1, etc).
  2. Check out our alternative option below for non-Steam games (will work with Steam games also).
  3. If none of the above works and you have tried your GCN adapter in multiple ports, there may be an issue with your adapter. Try a replacement version (either official or non-official).

How to use a Gamecube Controller on non-Steam games

If you want to use a Game controller for PC games other than Steam, there’s a couple of other options.

For Xbox 360 compatible non-Steam games

If the game you’re trying to play still supports the 360 controller, a majority of these will work by following the same steps above and placing the 3 32 or 64-bit x360ce files into the games root folder.

The only change is that the location of the root game folder will be different from the “steam – > steamapps – > common” layout above, but search for the game in your Program Files and you should find it.

For all other games

If you’re trying to play a game without Xbox 360 controller support, your best option is likely controller mapping software.

This allows you to “map” your Gamecube buttons to the mouse and keyboard actions your game users (e.g. you could map “right-click” to the green “A button”).

We would recommend Xpadder to do this (the best software in this space for many years, and is good for other controllers too).

If you’re looking for a free version, however, AntiMicro is also great.

This approach takes a bit more configuring but if you Google something like “Gamecube Xpadder config” you will find other people who have already mapped out the controller for popular games.

What's Next?

About the author

Kaelum Ross
Kaelum Ross
Kaelum Ross, BSc is the Lead Writer at What in Tech and a leading authority in PC hardware and software. With a career as a senior IT professional, Kaelum has led multi-million dollar projects covering everything from bespoke software development to complex Windows hardware upgrades. Today, Kaelum uses his expertise to serve What in Tech's readers and has been featured in numerous global publications including New York Magazine and Lifewire.

16 thoughts on “How to Use a Gamecube Controller on Steam”

    • Hi there – I’ve just re-ran through these steps and it still works, including step 3 – I can only think something has gone wrong during the vJoy driver install, uninstall everything and re-run through the steps, if you get the problem again, try running it on another PC to ensure it’s nothing to do with corrupted files/drivers hanging around on your original machine causing problems.

      Reply
  1. Hello, I follow the guide, everything works except one thing:

    on Steam in the setting for the gamecube controller, steam doesn’t recognize the X axe for the left stick,

    i can’t move to the right or left in select or most of the game.

    Doesn’t anyone know why ?

    I have tried with different controler and different game.

    Reply
    • Hi there, that’s a very weird problem to have – I can’t help but feel like the most likely problem (if other controllers have the same issue) is the Gamecube adapter, have you tried using a different Gamecube adapter with the same controllers/PC? If not, your second option would be to try the same adapter/controller on another PC, it sounds like it’s either going to be the adapter or some interference within the PC (drivers etc) – good luck!

      Reply
  2. Hello Kaelum,

    I originally started playing Rocket League on the switch with GameCube controllers before switching over to Pc. I’ve been venturing throughout the internet in hopes of a method when I stumbled across your post. I was hoping you can troubleshoot some things with this guide if its still pertinent. First off I was curious as to if this guide still applies to Rocket League ever since Epic Games acquired it over from Steam. I’ve tried the guide multiple times with every iteration of x360 (Ie. 32 bit, 64 bit, all version) but always failing at Step 2 where it I have to ‘search the internet’ for the automatic settings. That option also doesn’t even show up for the x360 all version. Also regarding the first step I download and install everything fully, but whenever I try the GameCube emulator it stops at port 2 for some reason ( enabling…). I hope this wasn’t too long of a post, and I appreciate any feedback you can send my way. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Oh I also forgot to mention I’m using a third party GameCube adapter. It has the option to switch from (switch/wiiu) to (PC). I’ve tried both but not sure where the hiccup occurs. If it helps the model is MOD:BX-W201C

      Reply
      • Hey Jem,

        All steps of this guide should still work today yeah (the x360 all version was however not around when I made this guide, will be updating at a later date). Some questions/next steps:

        When you say the emulator stops enabling at port 2, does that mean port 1 works fine? A weird error to recieve if so, if at all possible it would be great to test your controller/adapter with a different PC, and your current PC with a different adapter if you have a friend with one.

        In terms of using for RL via Epic Games, I’m not 100% sure on this one and don’t have it to test myself. But (if you can get at least some controller working outside of RL via steam/emulator) you’ll have a couple of options:

        1. If you can get the controller to work with a steam game: Try and add the epic games launcher to steam as a non-steam game (“Add a game” at the bottom of your steam library page) – when launching through Steam, it may pick up Steam’s native controller support.

        2. If you can get the controller to work with Dolphin/at least get your inputs “picked up” by your PC (or the step with Steam above doesn’t work), your best option will be to follow the last part of this guide “using GC controller with non-steam games” – > I would recommend buying Xpadder (very cheap and a great tool) – what this does is allow you to map any controller that is picked up by your PC to mouse and keyboard commands. In other words, you could play rocket league by doing things like mapping your GC A button to be space bar, the analog stick to be WASD, etc.

        Good luck and all the best 🙂

        Reply
        • Thanks Kaelum,

          First off, very much appreciate the speedy response time! Ironically also read about your workaround using the steam library page, and hearing it reiterated by you certainly makes it the first thing I’m going to try when the adapter functions.

          In regards to the adapter questions: the times that the software for the adapter did work, it would sometimes read out ‘port one OK,’ whilst other times would get stuck and hang on ‘port one enabling’ Only when I plugged a second GC controller into the second port would the ‘port one OK’ be followed with a ‘port two enabling.’ Oddly enough even when the port one read out ‘port one OK’ I was never able to receive input from it into the xbox360 software. (Also will be trying out a friend’s GC adapter port in a few days to see if this effects it in anyway.)

          That brings me to the hiccup I ran into the xbox360 software. After downloading and installing both 64 bit version and 32 bit versions, I get to the page where ‘new device detected’ and it fails to find the ‘Internet: default settings’ after searching locally and online. I’m wondering if the first port relating to the Adapter port issue is somehow connected to this. Although I’m not sure if the two are linked whatsoever.

          Regardless I will run the steps over again with both another GameCube controller adapter as well as my laptop and pc separately. I’ll drop a post back once I run these steps again both for my Pc as well as my laptop individually to hopefully isolate if the issue could be a hardware one.

          Thanks again, much appreciated!

          Reply
  3. Hi! I followed the steps as shown but when x360ce is scanning for device configurations on the internet it says it found nothing and won’t work. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling everything but same result. Any idea of what I can do?