Nintendo’s Pro Controller for Switch is great, especially if you find the Joy-Cons to be a bit small for extended gameplay. But whether you prefer the larger Pro Controller or the convenience of the Joy-Cons, they both have something in common: a lack of speakers. As such, any accompanying gameplay sounds must come from either your TV speakers or the Switch itself. At least, so I thought.
As it turns out, the Pro Controller and Joy-Cons are capable of playing sounds—specifically music, one note at a time. Somehow, it took over six years for this function to be discovered, and it took a famous Italian plumber to crack the code.
It’s all thanks to Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the latest entry in the Mario franchise, which is all about the music. The soundtrack slaps, enemies break into song, and there are even musical tiles that play notes as you run across them. In fact, these tiles are what trigger the Switch’s controller to make music. As you run over the tiles, the haptic feedback in the Joy-Cons and Pro Controller vibrate accordingly. Those vibrations are specifically tuned to the notes you run over, so if you mute your Switch, you can hear the notes from the controller themselves.
It’s a small feature, but an interesting one, and it shows off the capabilities of the Switch’s “HD rumble” haptics. Some games use these haptics more than other (1-2-Switch most famously), but it’d be nice to see more games do what Super Mario Bros. Wonder did here. If you have to play muted, at least you’ll hear a little of Wonder’s musical nature.