There are a few common problems that can crop up when using different types of controllers on your Pi. The most common one, is that you just can't seem to get your game to recognize any input. Your first step should be to check
/dev/input and ensure that there is a
jsX (where x is the joystick number) file in the directory.
If you see your
jsX file, type
jstest /dev/input/jsX. You should now be able to press the buttons on your controller and see the different input.
If you don't see anything in here, disconnect your controller, ...