Over the last few years, concerns over the GameCube controller’s not-so-ergonomic shape have led players to develop alternative controllers that allow competitors with hand or wrist issues to play Super Smash Bros. Melee. The process of development and legalization has been long and somewhat fraught, but recent major events have allowed players to use these “box-style” controllers, and it’s starting to look like this will become the new standard.
There are a number of companies working on box-style controllers—Hit Box’s Smash Box and the B0XX are perhaps the most well-known examples—but with the announcement of a new Kickstarter today, a newcomer has entered the fray: Alt Lab Controllers’ Smash Stick.
Unlike other box-style controllers, the Smash Stick doesn’t use analog buttons for its directional inputs, instead electing to use a joystick that looks similar to that of a standard fight stick. However, the Smash Stick’s joystick is custom-built in order to allow Smash-specific techniques such as shield drops and recovery angles. The button layout on the right side is designed specifically for competitive Smash play and optimized in order to be safe and ergonomic. Using detachable cables, the controller can be used for games on the GameCube, Nintendo 64, and any personal computer game that is set up to use USB controllers.
The Smash Stick Kickstarter currently sells these controllers at an early-bird price of $225, which is about par for the course for box-style Smash controllers. Unfortunately, these orders aren’t scheduled to ship until October 2019, but it looks like they might be worth the wait.
For more information, including images and videos of the Smash Stick in use and testimonials from top players, check out the Kickstarter here.