A gamepad (also joypad ) is an input device for the control of computer games, so it is a game controller; this is the generic term for all input devices for games and is not, as is often assumed, synonymous with gamepad. This is held with both hands and has in its simplest form on the left directional pad ( up, down, left, right) and on the right a series of action buttons. D-pad and action buttons are used differently depending on the game, such as jumping or shooting. Since the mid- 1980s, the gamepad is the typical input device for game consoles, which replaced the previously common joysticks.

Development and backgrounds

The first designed for game input devices were paddles, with which, for example, the arcade machine Pong or the Odyssey home console (both 1972) were controlled. The first game console that came with a gamepad, 1983, the Famicom from Nintendo, which was marketed from 1985 as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES ) worldwide. The fundamental key arrangement of the NES controller ( D-pad left, function keys, middle, and right action buttons - since the SNES controller - shoulder buttons ) has been adopted in almost all gamepads in the sequence. Has gradually increased the number of action buttons.

Nintendo has come up in 1985 patented the form of the control cross. For this reason, the shape is different for most other manufacturers gamepad somewhat.

The first gamepads worked purely binary: As the cursor keys on the keyboard are the directional pad only information about whether either was pushed " to the left" for example, or not. For games where in addition to the "if" even the strength of a command is important (such as car racing or flight simulators ) a gamepad was therefore quite unsuitable.

An extensive expansion of functionality came in April 1996 with the controller for the Nintendo 64 ( N64 ) and in June 1996 for the Sega Saturn, where an analog stick was back for the first time available for checking. Moreover, had the gamepad of the N64 is the first one expansion slot. In such a Rumble Pak could be used, which force feedback, vibration gamepad - called Rumble allowed.

The published ever Western 1999 Dreamcast has 2 expansion slots. If you put a VMU memory card into the slot 1, it has become a second display directly on the controller, to the more or less relevant performance data.

Introduced in 2006 Nintendo Wii gaming console does not come with a conventional gamepad, Wii Remote controls namely motion control, the input device detects motion, rotation, and position of the controller and allows commands to movements trigger. Since almost all genres rely on analog stick, Action buttons and D-pad, the majority of the game uses the Wii Remote at the same time as a conventional gamepad - in combination with the Nunchuk these control options are also available. Held cross recalls the key layout of the new controller to the NES gamepad, various games can be played only in this way.

Gamepad over time

Super Nintendo Entertainment System ( 1992)

Atari Jaguar gamepad " PowerPad " (1993)

Nintendo 64 (1996 )

DualShock 2 for the PlayStation 2 (2000)

Nintendo GameCube (2002)

Xbox 360 (2006)

DualShock 3 for PlayStation 3 (2006)

Wii: Wii Remote (right) and Nunchuk (left ) (2006 )

Wii U ( 2012)

PlayStation 4 (2013 )

Xbox One ( 2013)


The domain of the gamepad game consoles. PC games where often many functions must be controlled, such as real-time strategy games, or require very high precision with respect to the absolute positioning of the cursor / crosshair about FPS, are often designed to control with keyboard and mouse. Games, on the other hand require precision regarding Steuerauschlägen, as flight simulators and racing games, preferably with specialized input devices such as Joysticks and steering wheels is controlled, which allow detection of the analog control.