Video Game Controllers | Gamepads

Video game controllers, also known as gamepads, are handheld input accessories used to interact with video game consoles. Consisting of varied sets of buttons with specific functions and complexities suited for each generation of gaming, game controllers typically include a directional button (D-Pad) for the left thumb, buttons for the right thumb, shoulder buttons (bumpers or triggers) for additional fingers, and assistive ‘Start’, ‘Select’, and ‘Home’ buttons at the center of the input. Since the introduction of early video gaming joysticks and paddles, video game controllers have evolved over time with new features such as additional buttons, additional analog thumbsticks, wireless capabilities, and three-dimensional sensors and accelerometers for an increased level of interaction—as seen in the Wii Remote.

Who invented the video game controller?

The first appearance of video game control can be traced to the switches and toggles used in the 1962 game ‘Spacewar!’, which would lead to the development of arcade machines with similar button-based controls. The first home-based video game controller were the pair of dial controllers included with the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey.

How do you use a video game controller on PC?

While not all video game controllers are cross compatible with out-of-box use on the PC, more modern controllers, those with Bluetooth and wireless connectivity, can be paired to the PC device by accessing your operating systems ‘System Preferences’ and ‘Bluetooth Accessories’ and selecting the discovered controller to be paired.

What is the best video game controller?

Though there isn’t a ‘best’ controller, many gamers have preferences for their favorite gaming controllers. Sony’s most recent DualShock 4 is often considered to be the most comfortable video game controller to hold, while Microsoft’s Xbox One Elite controller may be preferred for their responsive triggers and joysticks. Other gaming controllers have famously helped change the industry by adding innovations like the freedom of the Wii Remote, joystick of the N64 Controller, and feedback of the original Dualshock Controller.

Video Game Controllers

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5” | 127 mm
4” | 101.6 mm
4” | 101.6 mm
8.8 oz | .25 kg
1977
Atari CX40 Joystick
12.700
10.160
10.160
0.250
1977.00
1700
3D
Atari CX40 Joystick
6” | 152 mm
5.8” | 147 mm
3.4” | 86 mm
10.6 oz | .3 kg
1999
Dreamcast Controller
15.200
14.700
8.600
0.300
1999.00
9000
3D
Dreamcast Controller
4.2” | 106 mm
6.3" | 160 mm
2.6” | 66 mm
9.87 oz | 280 g
November 12, 2020
DualSense Controller
10.600
16.000
6.600
0.280
2020.00
18000
3D
DualSense Controller
3.74” | 95 mm
6.18” | 157 mm
2.16” | 54.9 mm
7.4 oz | .21 kg
2000
DualShock 2 Controller
9.500
15.700
5.490
0.210
2000.00
1400
3D
DualShock 2 Controller
3.78” | 97 mm
6.2” | 160 mm
2.2” | 55 mm
6.7 oz | .19 kg
2006
DualShock 3 Controller
9.700
16.000
5.500
0.190
2006.00
4100
3D
DualShock 3 Controller
3.94” | 100 mm
6.34” | 161 mm
2.24” | 57 mm
7.4 oz | .21 kg
2013
DualShock 4 Controller
10.000
16.100
5.700
0.210
2013.00
17000
3D
DualShock 4 Controller
4” | 100 mm
5.5” | 140 mm
2.5” | 65 mm
7.1 oz | .2 kg
2001
GameCube Controller
10.000
14.000
6.500
0.200
2001.00
82000
3D
GameCube Controller
2.096” | 53.2 mm
4.86” | 123.4 mm
.6875” | 17.5 mm
2.6 oz | .07 kg
1983
NES Controller
5.320
12.340
1.750
0.070
1983.00
18000
3D
NES Controller
6.01” | 152.6 mm
6.3” | 160 mm
2.625” | 66.7 mm
10.6 oz | .3 kg
1996
Nintendo 64 Controller
15.260
16.000
6.670
0.300
1996.00
10000
3D
Nintendo 64 Controller
4.01” | 102 mm
9.40” | 239 mm
.547” | 13.9 mm; 1.13” | 28.7 mm (Total)
.88 lb | .4 kg
2017
Nintendo Switch
10.200
23.900
2.870
0.400
2017.00
2100000
3D
Nintendo Switch
3.66” | 93 mm
5.83” | 148 mm
2.1” | 53.3 mm
4.7 oz | .13 kg
1994
PlayStation Controller
9.300
14.800
5.330
0.130
1994.00
19000
3D
PlayStation Controller
2.4” | 61 mm (Estimated)
5.67” | 144 mm (Estimated)
.6” | 15 mm (Estimated)
2.8 oz | .08 kg (Estimated)
1990
SNES Controller
6.100
14.400
1.500
0.080
1990.00
24000
3D
SNES Controller
3.86” | 98 mm (Estimated)
6.5” | 165 mm (Estimated)
1.6” | 40.6 mm (Estimated)
5.6 oz | .16 kg (Estimated)
1988
Sega Genesis Controller - 3 Button
9.800
16.500
4.060
0.160
1988.00
6200
3D
Sega Genesis Controller - 3 Button
3.39” | 86 mm
6.1” | 155 mm
1.8” | 45.7 mm
9.6 oz | .27 kg
1995
Sega Saturn Controller - Model 2
8.600
15.500
4.570
0.270
1995.00
3900
3D
Sega Saturn Controller - Model 2
6.3” | 160 mm
1.43” | 36.2 mm
1.21” | 30.8 mm
3.2 oz | .09 kg
2006
Wii Remote
16.000
3.620
3.080
0.090
2006.00
13000
3D
Wii Remote
5.3” | 13.5 cm
10.2” | 25.9 cm
1.6” | 40.6 mm; 1.98” | 50.2 mm (Total)
17.3 oz | .49 kg
2012
Wii U GamePad
13.500
25.900
5.020
0.490
2012.00
11000
3D
Wii U GamePad
4.13” | 105 mm
6.05” | 154 mm
2.41” | 61.3 mm
9.5 oz | .27 kg
2005
Xbox 360 Controller
10.500
15.400
6.130
0.270
2005.00
44000
3D
Xbox 360 Controller
5.5” | 139.7 mm
7” | 177.8 mm
2.7” | 68.6 mm
19.4 oz | .55 kg
2001
Xbox Controller
13.970
17.780
6.860
0.550
2001.00
90000
3D
Xbox Controller
4.01” | 101.9 mm
6.02” | 152.9 mm
2.4” | 61 mm
9.9 oz | .28 kg
2013
Xbox One Controller
10.190
15.290
6.100
0.280
2013.00
141000
3D
Xbox One Controller
Sega Genesis Controller - 3 Button

The Sega Genesis Controller 3 Button is the official control pad made for Sega Mega Drive and released in 1988 for the Japanese market and 1989 for the North American market. It spots three control buttons on the left and D-pad on the right side.

The control pad evolved from the Master System control pad, replacing the numbers on the buttons with letters and including an extra two face buttons. The Sega Genesis Controller 3 Button was the first ergonomically designed control pad for the user’s hands, having a rounded structure and buttons placed in more comfortable to reach positions and in alphabetical order.

The Sega Genesis 3 Button Controller has an estimated height of 3.86” (98 mm), estimated width of 6.5” (165 mm), estimated depth of 1.6” (40.6 mm), and approximate weight of 5.6 oz (.16 kg).

Dimensioned drawings of the Sega Genesis 3 Button Controller with estimated height, width, and depth labeled in elevation
The Sega Genesis Controller 3 Button is the official control pad made for Sega Mega Drive and released in 1988 for the Japanese market and 1989 for the North American market. It spots three control buttons on the left and D-pad on the right side.

The Sega Genesis 3 Button Controller has an estimated height of 3.86” (98 mm), estimated width of 6.5” (165 mm), estimated depth of 1.6” (40.6 mm), and approximate weight of 5.6 oz (.16 kg).

Dimensioned drawings of the Sega Genesis 3 Button Controller with estimated height, width, and depth labeled in elevation
Sega Genesis Controller - 3 Button
Height:
3.86” | 98 mm (Estimated)
Width:
6.5” | 165 mm (Estimated)
Length:
Depth:
1.6” | 40.6 mm (Estimated)
Weight:
5.6 oz | .16 kg (Estimated)
Area:
Designer
Sega
Released
1988

Drawings include:
Sega Genesis 3 Button Controller front elevation, top, side

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DualShock 4 Controller

The DualShock 4 Controller is an eighth-generation video game controller manufactured by Sony. It has similar features to its predecessor, DualShock 3, and is meant for PlayStation 4’s controller but can also work with PlayStation 3 via Micro-USB cable. Its top of the game features three LED light bars designed by PlayStation VR used to identify players and provide enhanced feedback.

The light bar works with a PlayStation Camera judging movement and position of the players. Other features include support for motion detection, built-in two-point capacitive touchpad, and pressure-sensitive buttons, which is not available in other DualShocks and video game competitors like the Wii and One Xbox.

The DualShock 4 Controller has a height of 3.94” (100 mm), width of 6.34” (161 mm), depth of 2.24” (57 mm), and approximate weight of 7.4 oz (.21 kg).

Dimensioned drawings of the DualShock 4 Controller with height, width, and depth labeled in elevation views
The DualShock 4 Controller is an eighth-generation video game controller manufactured by Sony. It has similar features to its predecessor, DualShock 3, and is meant for PlayStation 4’s controller but can also work with PlayStation 3 via Micro-USB cable.

The DualShock 4 Controller has a height of 3.94” (100 mm), width of 6.34” (161 mm), depth of 2.24” (57 mm), and approximate weight of 7.4 oz (.21 kg).

Dimensioned drawings of the DualShock 4 Controller with height, width, and depth labeled in elevation views
DualShock 4 Controller
Height:
3.94” | 100 mm
Width:
6.34” | 161 mm
Length:
Depth:
2.24” | 57 mm
Weight:
7.4 oz | .21 kg
Area:
Designer
Sony
Released
2013

Drawings include:
DualShock 4 Controller front elevation, top, side

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NES Controller

The NES controller is a gamepad designed for Nintendo Entertainment System with the revised model of the gamepad being rectangular with a nice depth and clickiness, wireless and specifically targeted for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.

A Joy-Con-style rail is also available at the top of the gamepad that users can use for pairing and charging the gamepad by slotting the controller into the switch. This moved away from previous models for the NES and Famicom, which had a rectangular brick-like design with a four-button layout and used the cross-sectional joypad. The NES controller is now available only through Switch Online subscription, and you cannot play games not available under Nintendo titles.

The NES Controller has a height of 2.096” (53.2 mm), width of 4.86” (123.4 mm), depth of .6875” (17.5 mm), and approximate weight of 2.6 oz (.07 kg).

Collection of drawings of the NES Controller with height, width, and depth dimensions
The NES controller is a gamepad designed for Nintendo Entertainment System with the revised model of the gamepad being rectangular with a nice depth and clickiness, wireless and specifically targeted for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.

The NES Controller has a height of 2.096” (53.2 mm), width of 4.86” (123.4 mm), depth of .6875” (17.5 mm), and approximate weight of 2.6 oz (.07 kg).

Collection of drawings of the NES Controller with height, width, and depth dimensions
NES Controller
Height:
2.096” | 53.2 mm
Width:
4.86” | 123.4 mm
Length:
Depth:
.6875” | 17.5 mm
Weight:
2.6 oz | .07 kg
Area:
Designer
Nintendo
Released
1983

Drawings include:
NES Controller front elevation, top, side

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PlayStation Controller

The PlayStation Controller is Sony’s first video game controller released in 1994 as an input device for the PlayStation home video game console. The PlayStation Controller succeeded the Dual Analog controller having a second shoulder button for the middle finger and grip handles to provide a more stable grip while shifting the middle finger.

The controller moved away from the traditional use of the numbers and letters to use geometric shapes as the label actions on its buttons, which later became the Playstation’s trademark. It was then discontinued in 1998 and replaced with the DualShock Controllers.

The PlayStation Controller has a height of 3.66” (93 mm), width of 5.83” (148 mm), depth of 2.1” (53.3 mm), and approximate weight of 4.7 oz (.13 kg).

Collection of drawings of the PlayStation Controller with height, width, and depth dimensions
The PlayStation Controller is Sony’s first video game controller released in 1994 as an input device for the PlayStation home video game console. The PlayStation Controller succeeded the Dual Analog controller having a second shoulder button for the middle finger and grip handles for stability.

The PlayStation Controller has a height of 3.66” (93 mm), width of 5.83” (148 mm), depth of 2.1” (53.3 mm), and approximate weight of 4.7 oz (.13 kg).

Collection of drawings of the PlayStation Controller with height, width, and depth dimensions
PlayStation Controller
Height:
3.66” | 93 mm
Width:
5.83” | 148 mm
Length:
Depth:
2.1” | 53.3 mm
Weight:
4.7 oz | .13 kg
Area:
Designer
Sony
Released
1994

Drawings include:
PlayStation Controller front elevation, top, side

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Atari CX40 Joystick

The Atari CX40 Joystick became the first cross-platform game controller for the Atari video computer system. It replaced the CX10 and was widely used as the primary input device for games on the Atari computer system. Because of its popularity, the Atari CX40 Joystick has remained an iconography in the video game industry and ingredient in many video game discussions.

There were also adaptors made for Apple II and IBM PC. It featured one button and eight directional-stick. However, the Atari CX40 Joystick was not ergonomically designed for the user’s hands. It caused fatigue problems that came from repeated firing and holding down the buttons for extended periods.

The Atari CX40 Joystick has a height of 5” (127 mm), width of 4” (101.6 mm), depth of 4” (101.6 mm), and approximate weight of 8.8 oz (.25 kg).

Set of dimensioned elevation drawings of the Atari CX40 Joystick measured with height, width, and depth
The Atari CX40 Joystick became the first cross-platform game controller for the Atari video computer system. It replaced the CX10 and was widely used as the primary input device for games on the Atari computer system. The Atari CX40 Joystick has remained an iconography in the video game industry.

The Atari CX40 Joystick has a height of 5” (127 mm), width of 4” (101.6 mm), depth of 4” (101.6 mm), and approximate weight of 8.8 oz (.25 kg).

Set of dimensioned elevation drawings of the Atari CX40 Joystick measured with height, width, and depth
Atari CX40 Joystick
Height:
5” | 127 mm
Width:
4” | 101.6 mm
Length:
Depth:
4” | 101.6 mm
Weight:
8.8 oz | .25 kg
Area:
Designer
Atari
Released
1977

Drawings include:
Atari CX40 Joystick front elevation, top

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