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I have heard competing answers to the question "What controls work with Wii U Virtual Console". I have heard that the gamepad works, I have heard that you need a Wii U Virtual controller, I have heard that you need a Wii U Virtual Controller for multiplayer, I have heard that you can use your gamecube controller, and I have heard that you cannot.

I want a definitive answer - What controllers can you use for the Wii U Virtual Console, and what controllers do I need to play a 2+ player game with friends on the Wii U Virtual Console?

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  • if you go to the store page and under one of the tabs it will say the supported controllers
    – user118866
    Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 0:36
  • It will also say how many players it can support. Do a quick google search there are plenty of things about this. Commented Jul 19, 2015 at 23:28

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Last night I bought the SNES game Donkey Kong Country for the Virtual Console on my Wii U. It took me some time to figure out how it worked. The first time I ran it I couldn't get any other controllers to work. But they do:

  • The GamePad seems to work for all games by default
  • The Wii remote works, but has limited functionality for most non NES games
  • The Wii remote work with nunchuck attachment and Wii Classic Controller
  • The Wii U Pro Controller works

There may be others I don't have that also work.

Make it work

I have found that to get multiplayer working you have to launch the game with the Wii remote (or Pro?) controller so that the system knows you want to use a non-GamePad controller. Or, someone mentioned holding the 2 button on a Wiimote while the game is loading. Otherwise, the system turns off the other controllers, which happened to me. I could not get them to connect in the virtual console afterword without exiting and going back in.

You may be told the Wii remote will not give you full functionality. This is good since it means the system is leaving the controller connected. However, both the GamePad and your second controller will be set as player one and conflict. So tap the screen or press ZR to bring up the Virtual Console manager. Tap the player port settings at the top and set the GamePad to port 2. Now both controllers will work.

I found Donkey Kong Country works really well with the Wii remote classic controller add on.

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I had this issue as well where I couldn't seem to get any other controller to work in the Virtual Console on my Wii U because the Wii U Gamepad would always be P1.

I figured out the solution by pressing the Home button after the game is launched, selecting Controller Settings, then the Settings for Other Controllers, and then clicking Change Order.

This should desync all controllers (including the Gamepad), which will allow you to sync the controller you wish to use as P1. Afterwards, you can resume the game and the controller should work as intended.

Once you're done with the Virtual Console, be sure to reconfigure your controller order again by pressing the Home button on the main Wii U menu, and going through the same process.

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