WaveBird Wireless Controller

Last updated
WaveBird Wireless Controller
Silver WaveBird Wireless Controller + receiver
Manufacturer Nintendo
Type Gamepad
Generation Sixth generation
Lifespan2002-2002 [1]
Units soldUnknown
  • 2 ×  Analog sticks
  • 2 × Hybrid analog triggers/digital buttons
  • 6 × Digital buttons
  • Digital D-Pad
Connectivity900 MHz/2.4 GHz wireless RF
Power2 ×  AA batteries
Dimensions2.5 × 5.5 × 4 inches
65 × 140 × 100 mm
Mass7.4  oz/210  g (with batteries)
5.8 oz/164 g (without batteries)

The WaveBird Wireless Controller (stylized as WAVEBIRD, commonly abbreviated as WaveBird or WaveBirdcontroller) is a radio frequency-based wireless controller manufactured by Nintendo for use with the Nintendo GameCube home video game console. Its name is a reference to Dolphin, [2] the GameCube's codename during development. [3] The WaveBird was available for purchase separately as well as in bundles with either Metroid Prime or Mario Party 4 , which were exclusive to Kmart in the US. [4]

Radio frequency (RF) is the oscillation rate of an alternating electric current or voltage or of a magnetic, electric or electromagnetic field or mechanical system in the frequency range from around twenty thousand times per second to around three hundred billion times per second. This is roughly between the upper limit of audio frequencies and the lower limit of infrared frequencies; these are the frequencies at which energy from an oscillating current can radiate off a conductor into space as radio waves. Different sources specify different upper and lower bounds for the frequency range.

Nintendo Japanese video game company

Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. Nintendo is one of the world's largest video game companies by market capitalization, creating some of the best-known and top-selling video game franchises, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon.

A home video game console, or simply home console, is a video game device that is primarily used for home gamers, as opposed to in arcades or some other commercial establishment. Home consoles are one type of video game consoles, in contrast to the handheld game consoles which are smaller and portable, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place, along with microconsoles and dedicated consoles.



Nintendo had attempted to create a reliable wireless controller since the development of the Famicom. Its first attempt was for the Advanced Video System (AVS), the precursor to the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which included two wireless controllers but was never released. [5] [6]

Nintendo Entertainment System 8-bit home video game console released by Nintendo in 1983

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit home video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It is a remodeled export version of the company's Family Computer (FC) platform in Japan, commonly known as the Famicom, which was launched on July 15, 1983. The NES was launched in the test markets of New York City and Los Angeles in 1985, with a full launch in the rest of North America and parts of Europe in 1986, followed by Australia and other European countries in 1987. Brazil saw only unlicensed clones until the official local release in 1993. In South Korea, it was packaged as the Hyundai Comboy and distributed by Hyundai Electronics which is now SK Hynix; the Comboy was released in 1989.

Nintendo later developed an infrared (IR) adapter called the NES Satellite for the NES. Released in 1989, it used infrared to extend the length of up to four wired controllers, which would plug into the base of the unit rather than the console. The base could then be positioned anywhere within a certain range of the NES without the need for a cable. [7] [8] However, the extension base still needed a direct line of sight with the NES console; line of sight is a significant limitation of IR technology, requiring a clear space between an IR port and controller. [9] [10]

Infrared electromagnetic radiation with longer wavelengths than those of visible light

Infrared radiation (IR), sometimes called infrared light, is electromagnetic radiation (EMR) with longer wavelengths than those of visible light, and is therefore generally invisible to the human eye, although IR at wavelengths up to 1050 nanometers (nm)s from specially pulsed lasers can be seen by humans under certain conditions. IR wavelengths extend from the nominal red edge of the visible spectrum at 700 nanometers, to 1 millimeter (300 GHz). Most of the thermal radiation emitted by objects near room temperature is infrared. As with all EMR, IR carries radiant energy and behaves both like a wave and like its quantum particle, the photon.

NES Satellite

The NES Satellite is a Nintendo Entertainment System multiplayer adaptor accessory (multitap), created by Nintendo and released in 1989 as a part of the NES Sports Set.

Radio Frequency controllers were not possible in the late 1980s as the early digital RF links were bulky and used too much power to be useful in battery-powered devices. However, advancements in integrated circuits made radio controllers for game consoles commercially viable only a decade later.[ citation needed ] The WaveBird, released in 2002, solved previous usability problems of wireless controllers by relying on radio frequency communication instead of infrared, allowing the controller to be used anywhere within 6 meters (20 ft) of the console. [11] Although Nintendo only certifies the WaveBird to work within this 6 meter (20 ft) range, tests have proven that they may work as far as 27.5 meters (90 ft) on all 16 different channels. [12]


The WaveBird Wireless Controller is designed and sold by Nintendo. [1] Unlike most wireless controllers of its era, it relies on RF technology (first used in gaming with Atari's CX-42 joysticks [13] ) instead of infrared line-of-sight signal transmission. [1] Early versions of the controller's radio transceiver run in the 900  MHz unlicensed band [14] , while later versions of the controller use a transceiver that operates at 2.4 GHz. [15] The range of the WaveBird controller is officially 6 meters (20 ft) [16] but some users have reported ranges of 18-21 meters (60–70 ft). [1] The WaveBird includes a small receiver unit which must be plugged into the controller port of the GameCube. Made of the same gray-colored plastic as the standard WaveBird, it features a channel-selection wheel and an LED to indicate when a signal is received. Up to sixteen WaveBird controllers may be used in the same area if each is set to a different channel. [16]

The WaveBird Wireless Controller maintains the same overall aesthetic design as the standard GameCube controller. The components (analog sticks, buttons, and triggers) and layout remain the same, while adding wireless functionality and space for two standard AA batteries. [16] It is somewhat larger and heavier than a standard GameCube controller, with a channel selector dial, an on/off switch, and an orange LED power indicator on the face of the controller in place of the gap between the D-pad and the C-stick. Functionally, the only feature the WaveBird controller lacks compared to the standard controller is the rumble feature, the motors of which would reduce battery life. [1]

GameCube controller Video game controller for the Nintendo GameCube

The GameCube controller is the standard game controller for the GameCube home video game console. Manufactured by Nintendo, it was released on September 14, 2001 in Japan, on September 18, 2001 in North America and in early 2002 in Europe and Australasia.

Rumble Pak A vibrator for the Nintendo 64 controller.

The Rumble Pak is a removable device from Nintendo which provides force feedback while playing video games. Games that support the Rumble Pak cause it to vibrate in select situations, such as when firing a weapon or receiving damage, to immerse the player in the game. Versions of the Rumble Pak are available for the Nintendo 64, the Nintendo DS, and the Nintendo DS Lite. A select few Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games use a similar technology built into the game cartridge. Force feedback vibration has become a built-in standard feature in almost every home video game console controller since.

Available colors

The WaveBird Wireless Controller was available in most regions only in light gray and platinum colors. In Japan, two limited edition WaveBird models were released through Club Nintendo: 1,000 Special Edition Gundam "Char's Customized Color" WaveBirds (two-toned red with the Neo-Zeon logo) to coincide with the Japan-only GameCube release of Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs. Z Gundam [17] , and a "Club Nintendo" WaveBird (white top with light blue bottom and Club Nintendo logo). [18]

Use on the Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch

Like all GameCube controllers, the WaveBird Wireless Controller is compatible with the Wii, [19] for use with GameCube and Virtual Console titles as well as certain Wii games and WiiWare titles. Since the launch of the Wii, the WaveBird has seen increased popularity due to its ability to control these games wirelessly. [20]

Following speculation that Nintendo might re-release the WaveBird due to the popularity of its use on the Wii, a Nintendo representative confirmed that there were no plans to offer WaveBirds in stores again. [21] Although the representative stated that "original GameCube controllers" would be available directly from Nintendo, there is no listing for the WaveBird. [22]

In November 2014, Nintendo released a GameCube controller adapter for use with the Wii U alongside the release of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. In 2018, shortly after the announcement of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch, the company added support for the Wii U GameCube controller adapter for the newer hybrid console. [23]

Anascape Ltd, a Texas-based firm, filed a lawsuit against Nintendo for patent infringements regarding Nintendo's controllers. [24] A July 2008 verdict found that a ban would be issued preventing Nintendo from selling several controllers, including the WaveBird, in the United States. Nintendo was free to continue selling the WaveBird pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. [25] On April 13, 2010, Nintendo won the appeal and the previous court decision was reversed. [26]

See also

Related Research Articles

Game Boy Advance Handheld video game console by Nintendo

The Game Boy Advance (GBA) is a 32-bit handheld video game console developed, manufactured and marketed by Nintendo as the successor to the Game Boy Color. It was released in Japan on March 21, 2001, in North America on June 11, 2001, in Australia and Europe on June 22, 2001, and in mainland China on June 8, 2004 as iQue Game Boy Advance. The GBA was part of the sixth generation. The original model did not have an illuminated screen; Nintendo addressed that with the release of a redesigned model with a frontlit screen, the Game Boy Advance SP, in 2003. Another redesign, the Game Boy Micro, was released in 2005.

A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.

Wii Home video game console produced by Nintendo in 2006

The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii competed with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others. As of the first quarter of 2016, the Wii led its generation over the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in worldwide sales, with more than 101 million units sold; in December 2009, the console broke the sales record for a single month in the United States.

Game Boy Player Nintendo GameCube accessory

The Game Boy Player (DOL-017) is a device made by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube which enables Game Boy, Game Boy Color, or Game Boy Advance cartridges to be played on a television. It was the last Game Boy-based add-on to a Nintendo console. It connects via the high speed parallel port at the bottom of the GameCube and requires use of a boot disc to access the hardware. Unlike devices such as Datel's Advance Game Port, the Game Boy Player does not use software emulation, but instead uses physical hardware nearly identical to that of a Game Boy Advance. The device does not use the enhanced effects used by the previous Game Boy accessory, the Super Game Boy, which was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994.

A multitap is a video game console peripheral that increases the number of controller ports available to the player, allowing additional controllers to be used in play, similar to a USB hub or a power strip. A multitap often takes the form of a box with three or more controller ports which is then connected to a controller port on the console itself.

Virtual Console, also abbreviated as VC, is a line of downloadable video games for Nintendo's Wii and Wii U home gaming consoles and the Nintendo 3DS portable gaming console.

Wii Remote controller for the Wii video game console

The Wii Remote, also known colloquially as the Wiimote, is the primary game controller for Nintendo's Wii home video game console. An essential capability of the Wii Remote is its motion sensing capability, which allows the user to interact with and manipulate items on screen via gesture recognition and pointing, using accelerometer and optical sensor technology. It is expandable by adding attachments. The attachment bundled with the Wii console is the Nunchuk, which complements the Wii Remote by providing functions similar to those in gamepad controllers. Some other attachments include the Classic Controller, Wii Zapper, and the Wii Wheel, originally used for the Mario Kart Wii racing video game.

This is a list of video game accessories that have been released for the Game Boy handheld console and its successors. Accessories add functionality that the console would otherwise not have.

Classic Controller game controller for the Wii

The Classic Controller is a game controller produced by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. While it later featured some compatibility with the Wii U console, the controller was ultimately succeeded by the Wii U Pro Controller. As of April 2014, Nintendo had discontinued production of both the Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro.

Wii system software operating sytem for Nintendos Wii home video game console

The Wii system software is a set of updatable firmware versions and a software frontend on the Wii home video game console. Updates, which were downloaded via the system's Internet connection, allowed Nintendo to add additional features and software. When a new update became available Nintendo sent a message to connected systems notifying them of the available update.

Nintendo video game consoles Wikimedia list article

The Japanese multinational consumer electronics company Nintendo has developed seven home video game consoles and multiple portable consoles for use with external media, as well as dedicated consoles and other hardware for their consoles. As of September 30, 2015, Nintendo has sold over 722.22 million hardware units.

This is a list of GameCube accessories.

Wii U home video game console released by Nintendo in 2012

The Wii U is a home video game console developed by Nintendo as the successor to the Wii. Released in November 2012, it was the first eighth-generation video game console and competed with Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4.

<i>Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS</i> and <i>Wii U</i> fighting video games

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U are crossover fighting video games developed by Bandai Namco Studios and Sora Ltd. and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U video game consoles. The Nintendo 3DS version was released in Japan in September 2014, and in North America, Europe, and Australia the following month. The Wii U version was released in North America, Europe, and Australia in November 2014, and in Japan the following month.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Wiley, M. (June 11, 2002). "Nintendo WaveBird Review". IGN. Retrieved 2006-08-28.
  2. "Nintendo WaveBird". IGN. September 26, 2001. Retrieved 2006-08-28.
  3. Smith, Tony (August 24, 2000). "Nintendo launches Gamecube". The Register. Retrieved 2006-08-28.
  4. https://www.amazon.com/GameCube-Wavebird-Wireless-Controller-Exclusive-Official/dp/B000RBA6V0
  5. "Nintendo Famicom: 20 Years of Fun". GameSpy. Archived from the original on March 26, 2009. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  6. Goldberg, Marty. "Nintendo Entertainment System 20th Anniversary". ClassicGaming.com. Archived from the original on July 4, 2012. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  7. Brooks, Andree. "Picking Out a Home Video Game System." New York Times: 1.48. New York Times. May 04 1991. Web. 24 May 2012.
  8. "NES Satellite - Nerd Bacon Reviews". nerdbacon.com. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  9. "NES Satellite Wireless Controller Repair". retrofixes.com. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  10. Layton, Julia. "Infrared Remote Controls: The Process - How Remote Controls Work". howstuffworks.com. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  11. "WaveBird Controller - Nintendo GameCube - Support". Nintendo. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  12. Wiley, M. (June 11, 2002). "Nintendo WaveBird Review". IGN . Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  13. "The Atari 2600 Remote Controlled Joystick". Atari Museum. Retrieved 2007-01-27.
  14. Metts, Jonathan (March 6, 2001). "WaveBird Controller Preview". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
  15. Powers, Rick (December 9, 2002). "Mitsubishi to supply 2.4GHz WaveBird chip". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
  16. 1 2 3 "Operation of the WaveBird Controller" (PDF). Nintendo. Retrieved 2006-08-28.
  17. Gantayat, Anoop (November 18, 2004). "Special Wavebird For Japan". IGN. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
  18. . "Club Nintendo WaveBird Picture". Nintendo-Collection.com. Archived from the original on January 10, 2016. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  19. sickr. "Nintendo Wii To Support GameCube Wavebird : No untangling wires on Wii". NintendoRevolution.ca. Archived from the original on 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2006-09-03.
  20. Robertson, Andy (January 25, 2007). "Like a WaveBird from the Ashes". GamePeople. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
  21. "Nintendo has no plans to restock Wavebirds". GoNintendo. December 31, 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
  22. "No plans to restock Wavebirds". computerandvideogames.com. Computer and Video Games. January 2, 2008. Archived from the original on June 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
  23. Owen S. Good, Oct 24, 2017, GameCube controller support comes to Nintendo Switch https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/24/16533932/nintendo-switch-gamecube-controllers
  24. INQUIRER staff (2006-08-03). "Microsoft, Nintendo sued over games controller". The Inquirer. Retrieved 2006-12-08.
  25. Decker, Susan (July 22, 2008). "Nintendo Faces Ban on Some Wii, GameCube Controllers (Update2)". Bloomberg.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
  26. "Federal Circuit Court Vindicates Nintendo in Patent Lawsuit". April 13, 2010. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved 2010-04-16.