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A game controller, or simply controller, is an input device used with video games or entertainment systems to provide input to a video game, typically to control an object or character in the game. Before the seventh generation of video game consoles, plugging in a controller into one of a console's controller ports were the primary means of using a game controller, although since then they have been replaced by wireless controllers, which do not require controller ports on the console but are battery-powered. USB game controllers could also be connected to a computer with a USB port. Input devices that have been classified as game controllers include keyboards, mouses, gamepads, joysticks, etc. Special purpose devices, such as steering wheels for driving games and light guns for shooting games, are also game controllers.
In computing, an input device is a piece of computer hardware equipment used to provide data and control signals to an information processing system such as a computer or information appliance. Examples of input devices include keyboards, mouse, scanners, digital cameras, joysticks, and microphones.
A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.
In the history of video games, the seventh generation of home consoles began in late 2005 with the release of Microsoft's Xbox 360, and continued with the release of Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Nintendo's Wii the following year. Each new console introduced a new type of breakthrough in technology: the Xbox 360 could play games rendered natively at high-definition video (HD) resolutions; the PlayStation 3 offered HD movie playback via a built-in 3D Blu-ray Disc player; while the Wii focused on integrating controllers with movement sensors as well as joysticks. Some Wii controllers could be moved about to control in-game actions, which enabled players to simulate real-world actions through movement during gameplay. By this generation, video game consoles had become an important part of the global IT infrastructure; it is estimated that video game consoles represented 25% of the world's general-purpose computational power in 2007.
Game controllers have been designed and improved over the years to be as user friendly as possible. The Microsoft Xbox controller, with its shoulder triggers that mimic actual triggers such as those found on guns, has become popular for shooting games.Some controllers are designed to be best for one type of game, such as steering wheels for driving games, or dance pads for dancing games.
The Xbox is a home video game console and the first installment in the Xbox series of consoles manufactured by Microsoft. It was released as Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market on November 15, 2001, in North America, followed by Australia, Europe and Japan in 2002. It is classified as a sixth generation console, competing with Sony's PlayStation 2 and Nintendo's GameCube. It was also the first console produced by an American company since the Atari Jaguar ceased production in 1996.
Shooter games are a subgenre of action video game, which often test the player's spatial awareness, reflexes, and speed in both isolated single player or networked multiplayer environments. Shooter games encompass many subgenres that have the commonality of focusing on the actions of the avatar engaging in combat with a weapon against both code-driven NPC enemies or other avatars controlled by other players.
The racing video game genre is the genre of video games, either in the first-person or third-person perspective, in which the player partakes in a racing competition with any type of land, water, air or space vehicles. They may be based on anything from real-world racing leagues to entirely fantastical settings. In general, they can be distributed along a spectrum anywhere between hardcore simulations, and simpler arcade racing games. Racing games may also fall under the category of sports games.
One of the first video game controllers was a simple dial and single button, used to control the game Tennis for Two . Controllers have since evolved to include directional pads, multiple buttons, analog sticks, joysticks, motion detection, touch screens and a plethora of other features.
Tennis for Two is a sports video game, which simulates a game of tennis, and was one of the first games developed in the early history of video games. American physicist William Higinbotham designed the game in 1958 for display at the Brookhaven National Laboratory's annual public exhibition after learning that the government research institution's Donner Model 30 analog computer could simulate trajectories with wind resistance. He designed the game, displayed on an oscilloscope and played with two custom aluminum controllers, in a few hours, after which he and technician Robert V. Dvorak built it over three weeks. The game's visuals show a representation of a tennis court viewed from the side, and players adjust the angle of their shots with a knob on their controller and try to hit the ball over the net by pressing a button.
A D-pad is a flat, usually thumb-operated four-way directional control with one button on each point, found on nearly all modern video game console gamepads, game controllers, on the remote control units of some television and DVD players, and smart phones. Like early video game joysticks, the vast majority of D-pads are digital; in other words, only the directions provided on the D-pad buttons can be used, with no intermediate values. However, combinations of two directions do provide diagonals and many modern D-pads can be used to provide eight-directional input if appropriate.
An analog stick, sometimes called a control stick, joystick, or thumbstick is an input device for a controller that is used for two-dimensional input. An analog stick is a variation of a joystick, consisting of a protrusion from the controller; input is based on the position of this protrusion in relation to the default "center" position. While digital sticks rely on single electrical connections for movement, analog sticks use continuous electrical activity running through potentiometers to measure the exact position of the stick within its full range of motion. The analog stick has greatly overtaken the D-pad in both prominence and usage in console video games.
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RailDriver is a desktop cab controller for train simulation software. It replaces keyboard and mouse operation as far as possible to provide a more realistic train driving experience. It is designed to be compatible with Microsoft Train Simulator. N3V's Trainz, BVE Trainsim and World of Subways also support RailDriver. Other software may be controlled using downloadable resources.
Trainz is a series of 3D train simulator video games. The Australian studio Auran released the first game in 2001.
Microsoft Train Simulator is a train simulator for Microsoft Windows, released in May 2001 and developed by UK-based Kuju Entertainment. It sold 1 million units worldwide by 2005.
A dance pad, also known as a dance mat or dance platform, is a flat electronic game controller used for input in dance games. Most dance pads are divided into a 3×3 matrix of square panels for the player to stand on, with some or all of the panels corresponding to directions or actions within the game. Some dance pads also have extra buttons outside the main stepping area, such as "Start" and "Select". Pairs of dance pads are often joined side-by-side for certain gameplay modes.
Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), also known as Dancing Stage in earlier games in Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Oceania, and also some other games in Japan, is a music video game series produced by Konami. Introduced in Japan in 1998 as part of the Bemani series, and released in North America and Europe in 1999, Dance Dance Revolution is the pioneering series of the rhythm and dance genre in video games. Players stand on a "dance platform" or stage and hit colored arrows laid out in a cross with their feet to musical and visual cues. Players are judged by how well they time their dance to the patterns presented to them and are allowed to choose more music to play to if they receive a passing score.
A balance board is a device used as a circus skill, for recreation, balance training, athletic training, brain development, therapy, musical training and other kinds of personal development.
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Gamepads typically require device drivers if used on contemporary personal computers.The device may be treated as its own class of human interface device, or by use of a program known as a gamepad translator (or gamepad mapper) translated to key strokes or mouse actions. An example gamepad translator for Microsoft Windows is Xpadder, or antimicro which is free and open-source and cross-platform.
In computing, a device driver is a computer program that operates or controls a particular type of device that is attached to a computer. A driver provides a software interface to hardware devices, enabling operating systems and other computer programs to access hardware functions without needing to know precise details about the hardware being used.
A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Unlike large costly minicomputer and mainframes, time-sharing by many people at the same time is not used with personal computers.
A human interface device or HID is a type of computer device usually used by humans that takes input from humans and gives output to humans.
Sometimes support for mapping to different devices is built into the controller itself, as with the Nostromo SpeedPad n52, which can act as either a keyboard, mouse, joystick or as a hybrid between the three.
A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. A joystick, also known as the control column, is the principal control device in the cockpit of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a center stick or side-stick. It often has supplementary switches to control various aspects of the aircraft's flight.
A pointing device is an input interface that allows a user to input spatial data to a computer. CAD systems and graphical user interfaces (GUI) allow the user to control and provide data to the computer using physical gestures by moving a hand-held mouse or similar device across the surface of the physical desktop and activating switches on the mouse. Movements of the pointing device are echoed on the screen by movements of the pointer and other visual changes. Common gestures are point and click and drag and drop.
Microsoft SideWinder was the general name given to the family of digital game controllers developed by Microsoft for PCs. The line was first launched in 1995. Although intended only for use with Microsoft Windows, Microsoft SideWinder game controllers can also be used with Apple's Mac OS X, Mac OS 9 with USB OverDrive installed, and Linux.
A gamepad, joypad, or simply controller is a type of game controller held in two hands, where the fingers are used to provide input. They are typically the main input device for video game consoles.
In computing, DirectInput is a legacy Microsoft API for collecting input from a computer user, via input devices such as the mouse, keyboard, joystick or other game controllers. It also provides a system for action mapping, which allows the user to assign specific actions within a game to the buttons and axes of the input devices. Additionally it handles haptic feedback (input/output) devices. Microsoft introduced a new input library called XInput specifically for the Xbox 360 controller.
A paddle is a game controller with a round wheel and one or more fire buttons, where the wheel is typically used to control movement of the player object along one axis of the video screen. A paddle controller rotates through a fixed arc ; it has a stop at each end.
A multitap is a video game console peripheral that increases the number of controller ports available to the player, allowing additional controllers to be used in play, similar to a USB hub or a power strip. A multitap often takes the form of a box with three or more controller ports which is then connected to a controller port on the console itself.
The Nintendo 64 controller is the standard game controller for the Nintendo 64 home video game console. Manufactured and released by Nintendo on June 23, 1996 in Japan, in late 1996 in North America, and 1997 in Europe, it features ten buttons, one analog "Control Stick" and a directional pad, all laid out in an "M" shape.
The Classic Controller is a game controller produced by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. While it later featured some compatibility with the Wii U console, the controller was ultimately succeeded by the Wii U Pro Controller. As of April 2014, Nintendo had discontinued production of both the Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro.
Stella is an emulator of the Atari 2600 game console, and takes its name from the console's codename. It is open-source, and runs on most major modern platforms including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Stella was originally written in 1996 by Bradford W. Mott, and is now maintained by Stephen Anthony.
The Japanese multinational consumer electronics company Nintendo has developed seven home video game consoles and multiple portable consoles for use with external media, as well as dedicated consoles and other hardware for their consoles. As of September 30, 2015, Nintendo has sold over 722.22 million hardware units.
Since the release of Nintendo's Wii, many aesthetic, ergonomic and functional accessories have been developed for the Wii Remote by third parties.
The iControlPad is a wireless game controller compatible with a variety of smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. It is designed for use as either a standalone gamepad or attached to appropriately sized devices, such as the iPhone, using a clamp system. Due to this, the iControlPad is able to add traditional physical gaming controls to devices which otherwise rely on inputs such as touchscreens and accelerometers.
The Wii U GamePad is the standard game controller for Nintendo's Wii U home video game console. Incorporating traits from tablet computers, the GamePad has traditional input methods, touchscreen controls, and motion controls. The touchscreen can be used to supplement a game by providing alternate, second screen functionality or an asymmetric view of a scenario in a game. The screen can also be used to play a game strictly on the GamePad screen, without the use of a television display. Conversely, non-gaming functions can be assigned to it as well, such as using it as a television remote.
The Atari joystick port is a widely used computer port used to connect various gaming controllers to game console and home computer systems. It was originally introduced on the Atari 2600 in 1977 and then used on the Atari 400 and 800 in 1979. It went cross-platform with the Commodore VIC-20 of 1981, and was then used on many following machines from both companies, as well as a growing list of 3rd party machines like the MSX platform and various Sega consoles.
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