'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate' Input Lag: Which Controller is Fastest?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has finally made its long-awaited appearance on the Nintendo Switch. Groups of friends, strangers and coworkers have gathered around their LCD television screens to figure out who's the best Smasher around. There's always one person in the group who just can't take that their Incineroar might not be perfect and has to blame "lag" for why they lost so badly to your Toon Link.

Lag has been part of gaming since its inception (you know there had to be some guy in the 1970s who thought his Pong paddle wasn't moving fast enough.) The Smash games have always had to deal with a certain type of lag called input lag. When you press a button on your controller, it takes the game a few frames to recognize what has happened and to activate the action. For pro players that are inputting multiple button presses as quickly as possible, that lag can be deadly.

Input lag in Melee is such a big deal, that the game's top tournaments are played on old-school CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions. According to an article on Inverse, the lag between a normal LCD and a CRT is 17 to 18 microseconds, which matters when split-second decision making can be the difference between tens of thousands of dollars or going home empty-handed. But like tier lists, input lag really isn't a problem for the rest of us meer Smash mortals.

Even if it won't affect most of our games, it's still interesting to take a look at the input lag in Ultimate . YouTuber GigaBoots has done amazing work cataloging all of the input lag from every version of Smash . In order to test, GigaBoots used a high-speed camera to check the amount of time it takes between pressing a button and a character reacting in game. He did this 30 times and then put an average together.

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Looking at the chart in the video, you can see that the best option for the least amount lag for Ultimate is on a Gamecube controller with an adaptor, which has about six frames of lag. To put that into perspective, games are usually played at 30 to 60 frames per second, meaning that the game lags for under a quarter of a second. Playing with Joy Cons or a Pro Controller is technically slower, but only a frame or two. Top tier players are going to need a Gamecube controller and a USB adaptor if they truly want to compete.

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Ultimate is still new and further patches can potentially alleviate some of the lag. Pro players are going to keep discussing this issue for years, but it's good to be able to look at some empirical data to back up these claims.

Do you care about input lag in Smash Bros or do you just want to have a good time? Tell us in the comments,

'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate' Input Lag: Which Controller is Fastest? | Gaming