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NES Controller is Not Recognised While Attached to a Nintendo Switch Console


After attaching the NES controllers to a Nintendo Switch console, the console does not detect one or both controllers.


  • The NES controllers are designed to work with Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online software. Although it's possible that these controllers can be used to navigate the menus on a Nintendo Switch console and even play other games, we cannot ensure that all in-game options and features are supported.
  • The NES controllers are intended to be used wirelessly with Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online software. While these controllers are attached to the console, not all buttons will be responsive, or the buttons will appear to have a different function when pressed.

What to Do:

  1. Ensure that your console has the latest system version.
  2. Attach the NES controllers to the console. Then, from the HOME Menu, select “Controllers”.
    • If the NES controllers are not responding, you can use the console touch screen to make your selections.
    • When the NES controllers are registering as being attached to the console, they will be displayed in the controllers screen like so:
  3. If the NES controllers are not registering correctly, detach them from the console and try the following with one controller at a time:
    • Reset the NES controller.
      Press the SYNC Button once, then press any other button to power on the controller again.
    • Attach and detach the NES controllers several times.
      Ensure that each NES controller is correctly oriented and inserted all the way.
    • Verify that other controllers can be registered on the console.
      Attach a pair of Joy-Con controllers and verify that they appear on the Controllers screen.

Situation Not Resolved:

If the NES controllers are not recognised on the Controllers screen while they are attached to the Nintendo Switch console but the Joy-Con controllers can register correctly on the same console, then the non-functioning NES controller(s) will need to be repaired.

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