USB Gamepad

Anyone who has played with a video game console will instantly recognize a gamepad when they see one. Practically every move you make in a game is done by pressing a combination of controls on a gamepad. There are plenty of other game controllers, like the joystick and steering wheel, but none comes close to the popularity of the gamepad. Many gamers prefer using one to a keyboard or mouse, but they also like to play games on both computers and consoles. In the past, that was a problem because of the special ports used by consoles, but the modern USB gamepad has all but eliminated that problem.

The gamepad has been around since the first video game consoles appeared. There have been countless designs over the years but they all share the same basic features. A gamepad is normally held with both hands, or one hand in the case of the Nintendo Wii Remote. The controls on the top surface are pressed with the thumbs, and there may be some buttons on the top edge for the index fingers. The directional controls are either rocker buttons or miniature joysticks, and force feedback may be present on the more expensive models. Some of them even rumble to simulate the force felt by the player from explosions, weapon recoil, and engine vibration.

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) was introduced in 1996 and quickly became the standard connector for computer peripherals, such as the keyboard and mouse. USB is so popular now that manufacturers of video game consoles have stopped using their own connector designs in favor of it. A USB gamepad is a cross platform device, which means it can be used with computers and most consoles. Both the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox360 have USB ports but older consoles generally do not have any. It may be necessary to install software drivers before plugging a USB gamepad into a computer, but most will be automatically recognized by the operating system.

The layout of the buttons and joysticks on a USB gamepad normally follows that of the modern console gamepads. They have the standard layout of two joysticks, directional pad on the left, button diamond on the right, and two or four shoulder buttons. The directional pad is a large cross-shaped button that moves up to eight different ways. Some people prefer to use the direction pad instead of the joysticks for moving. The button diamond consists of four buttons arranged in a diamond pattern, with numbers or letters marked on them. There may also be a few extra buttons that have specific roles, like start or select.

Most past and present computer video games can be played with a USB gamepad. In many cases, it is the best way to play a game that has been ported from a console version, because that is how most console games are designed to be played. If the default setup is not suitable, a player can usually change all the button selections in the game setup, and also change the sensitivity of the joysticks. After installing new batteries in a wireless USB gamepad, it may need to be synced with the computer. This is done by pressing certain buttons and waiting for lights to flash, after which the gamepad can be used as normal.

A USB gamepad should be plugged in before starting a video game on a computer. Otherwise, it might not be recognized by the game even though it appears in the list of game controllers. If a USB gamepad does not appear in the list, then either the software drivers have not been installed or there is a hardware problem. The cause of the problem may just be flat batteries in a wireless model. The great thing about playing video games on a computer is that you can always resort to using the keyboard and mouse if a USB gamepad is not available.

This USB Gamepad Review is Written/Updated on Nov 19th, 2010 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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