A gamepad is a type of game controller that is held in two hands and uses the fingers (particularly the thumbs) to provide input. They are commonly used as the primary input device for video game consoles.
Gamepads typically feature a set of buttons controlled by the right thumb and a directional controller managed by the left thumb. The directional controller, historically a four-way digital cross (also referred to as a joypad or D-pad, never as arrow keys), has evolved with modern controllers often incorporating one or more analog sticks.
- Shoulder buttons, also known as “bumpers,” and triggers positioned along the edges of the pad (shoulder buttons usually function in a digital on/off manner, while triggers are typically analog) are common additions to the standard configuration. Additionally, centrally located start, select, and home buttons, along with an internal motor for force feedback, contribute to the overall design. Analog triggers, as seen on controllers like the GameCube’s, are pressure-sensitive. Games can utilize the degree of pressure applied to these triggers to control the intensity of specific actions. For instance, the force with which water is sprayed in Super Mario Sunshine can be determined by how firmly the trigger is pressed.There exist joysticks that can be programmed to replicate keyboard input. Typically, these joysticks were developed to address the absence of joystick compatibility in certain computer games. An example of such a joystick is the Belkin Nostromo SpeedPad n52. Various software programs enable gamepads to emulate keyboard and mouse actions. These programs include both free and open-source options, such as Antimicro and Enjoy2, as well as proprietary commercial solutions like JoyToKey, Xpadder, and Pinnacle Game Profiler. These software tools facilitate the mapping of gamepad inputs to simulate keyboard and mouse actions, offering greater versatility and adaptability to different gaming experiences. Gamepad History
First Gamepad As An Analog Joystick
In 1962, for the control of the video game Spacewar!, initial input was managed through toggle switches integrated into the computer’s display. Due to the inconvenience and discomfort of using these switches, Alan Kotok and Bob Saunders undertook the creation of a distinct control mechanism for the game. This pioneering device is often referred to as the “first gamepad.”