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Repairing and Upgrading Your PC by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Game Controllers

A game controller is a specialized input device optimized for use with games. Unlike keyboards, mice, and trackballs, which are relatively standardized in form and function, game controllers run the gamut in shape, size, features, and purpose. Some game controllers sit on the desktop. Others clamp to the desk, and still others are held in both hands and manipulated directly. Game controllers may provide a joystick, a steering wheel, a flight yoke, foot pedals, or may be what we call "grab, twist, and squeeze" controllers.

A particular game controller may be well suited for one game and entirely inappropriate for another. For example, a game controller with a steering wheel may be perfect for an automobile racing game, but unusable for a first-person shooter (FPS) game like Doom 3. Serious gamers who play diverse games often own several game controllers and use the one most appropriate for the game they are playing at the moment.

Older game controllers used analog sensors and the analog "game port" interface, both of which caused no end of problems. Analog controllers drifted and required frequent recalibration. The game port interface—originally designed for analog data acquisition and to support two simple paddles for playing Pong—was never intended to support the numerous sophisticated features of modern game controllers, and did so poorly. Nearly all current models use digital sensors, and all of them use the USB interface. Although conflicts still arise, particularly ...

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