WaveBird Controller Review

This is one fantastic device.


Several companies have attempted to make wireless controllers in the past. None of those controllers were particularly effective or popular. Will Nintendo's WaveBird suffer the same fate?
Probably not if you read the article headline :)


  • Comes with two AA batteries that will last approximately 100 hours.
  • 16 channel frequencies.
  • 3-month warranty.

At first look one might think the large bulge in the WaveBird makes it difficult to hold. However, the WaveBird feels exactly like the regular GameCube controller with the exception that is weights just a tiny bit more. Persons with large hands will have no trouble holding this controller.

With that being said, the wireless nature of the WaveBird must now be discussed. Each controller is packaged with a wireless receiver. The receiver is placed in a controller port and receives signals from the WaveBird itself. The WaveBrid can be set to one of sixteen frequencies. For the controller to work correctly both the receiver and the controller must be set to the same frequency. The different frequency settings allow four WaveBirds to be used at once without any signal interference.

The WaveBird signals are awfully strong. The WaveBird manual states that signals can be read from 6 meters (20 feet), however The Nintendo Index has run some tests and found that the WaveBird will work much much farther away then 6 meters. In my residence, I went to the second floor (while the GameCube remained two floors below in the basement) and the controller still worked perfectly. The secret to the strong signals of the WaveBird compared to the weak signals of other older wireless options is that the old controllers used infrared signals (such as the ones used for TV/VCR/DVD converters) and the WaveBird uses and Radio Frequency (RF) connections (such as the ones used for portable phones and wireless LANs). Nevertheless, it is safe to say that the WaveBrid will work just fine in all regular non-ridiculously-large sized rooms.

If there is a drawback to the WaveBird's design, it is the fact that there is no force feedback support. There are two reasons why it is not supported. First, a rumbling device would take a lot of battery power. Instead of lasting 100 hours (quite a long time), they would probably last less then 10 hours. Second, the inclusion of force feedback support would mean that the WaveBird would have to receive signals from the GameCube as well as send them. The number of components in the WaveBird and its receiver would increase and in turn, the cost to manufacture the controller would skyrocket. However, one must mention that for certain games where force feedback is iatrical to the game play (such as the upcoming Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem), once might want to put their WaveBird aside.

If you look at all the pros and cons to the WaveBird you realize that there are many more pros.

The WaveBird controller is priced at $35.95 USD ($49.95 CND). Some may think that the WaveBird price is way to high, while others will argue that it isn't. I personally believe that the price of controllers on all platforms is way too high. However, if you compare the WaveBird price to the PlayStation 2 Dual Stock 2 and the Xbox controller and the Xbox controller S prices, the WaveBird comes out on top. The WaveBird costs just as much as the Dual Shock 2 and is $5 USD cheaper then both Xbox controllers. Considering that the WaveBird is wireless, its price is pretty amazing. However, the main competition of the WaveBird is the regular GameCube controller itself. Once the WaveBird was released, Nintendo dropped the price of the regular controllers. The regular GameCube controllers are the best-valued gaming controller currently available. The question is, are you willing to pay for the wireless feature?

The WaveBird controller comes with the standard 3-month Nintendo warranty that applies to all games and accessories. While such a warranty is nice, other 3rd parties offer better warranty programs.

The only people that won't want this controller are those force feedback obsessive compulsives that think force feedback is everything and those who are very very cheap.

The WaveBird is a great product and another winner for Nintendo.

Design 9.8
 Quality 10
 Operation 9.5
 Durability 10
 Functionality 9.5
Value 8.5
 Price 9.0
 Warranty 8.0
Satisfaction 9.5

Review by Player Guy Forever

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