Different Types of PC Game Controllers - dummies

Different Types of PC Game Controllers

Because modern computer-game players want a lot more than a joystick and one button, the PC game controller has arrived. Game controllers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A game controller for just about any PC-gaming need exists somewhere. Here are a couple of examples:

  • This game controller model is more like a combination of a mini-keyboard and a gamepad (reflecting the current complexity of PC games, which rely as much on the keyboard as on the pointing device you’re using), rather than a traditional joystick. Your entire hand fits on top of the controller, much like with a trackball, and your fingers press the keys while your thumb operates the gamepad directional control. (You can also use this controller along with your regular mouse or trackball.)

    A game controller with a mini-keyboard.
    A game controller with a mini-keyboard.
  • The Logitech MOMO steering wheel has the same optical tracking mechanism as today’s optical mice and trackballs. It even has its own onboard processor, which keeps track of what’s happening within the game and activates the wheel’s internal motors to provide the matching feedback.

A popular feature of today’s game controllers is force feedback, where the controller rumbles or provides resistance to your hand that matches the action on-screen, such as a steering wheel that gets tougher to turn in curves or a joystick that shakes each time your WWII fighter is hit by enemy fire.