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PC Game Controller Definition

 

A PC game controller can have many names, so let's just get a few of those out of the way first.  They can be called input devices, joysticks, joystiks, game pad, joypad, mice, steering wheels, paddle, trackball, plunger, footpad, the list goes on.  Basically a game controller is an input device that is used to control an object within a game environement that is being ran by a computing device or computer.  There are a wide variety of controllers, controller configurations and controller types and brands.  You can use the keyboard you already have as a pc game controller, as mentioned before, you can have a steering wheel, a light gun, even a replica of an aircraft cockpit, a throttle quadrant, a balance board, guitars, drums, how about a set of pedals to go with your steering wheel or a racing seat with wheel, pedals and shifter built in. The possiblities are endless.  Let's look at some of the major manufacturers.

 

Who Makes Game Controllers

 

Ok, first off let's consider that most if not all game controllers are manufactured in China or Japan by companies who's brand you will not recongnize.  So, we will not boil it all the way down to where the plastic in the controller actually comes from so to speak, so we'll just stick on major retail brands you will see at your local store.   Actually, let's skip this part of the conversation, you'll see the brands at the store anyway, which brings me to my next point.

 

Where Can You Buy Game Controllers

 

When some people think about purchasing game controllers one thing that comes to mind is where can I buy them?  I always reply with this, at the store.  Which brings me to my next point.  Actually, that was an incomplete answer.  There are a lot of big box stores out there that sell game contollers.  Some places that come to mind are Best Buy, Circuit City, Frye's, Wal-Mart etc.  However, if you want to get what you really need, you'll want to go to a shop that is more gamer focused.  Think Gamestop or Gamecrazy and if huge national chains aren't your thing, check around your township for a mom and pop video game shop, sometimes these mom and pops will even consult with you on what you want and special order it from one of thier distributors, nice!  Then there is an even more specialized place than that.  If you're into flight simulators, a lot of times, a good hobby shop will have what you need.  Like a place that sells a bunch of RC cars and planes, stuff like that.  These guys a lot of the time will also have that yolk you've been looking for or that throttle quadrant you've been dreaming about.

Then of course you can always shop online, which brings me to my next point.  No matter what controller you get, you're going to want to get your hands on a tube of GhostGrip if you want to unleash it's full potential.  Well, I mean, if you don't like playing with sweaty hands, unleashing the controller's true potential in entirely up to you young Skywalker.  



Controller Grip Is Important to PS3 Players

Recent studies have shown that have a good dry grip on your gaming controller is important.  Not only can it help you become a more competitve gamer, it can also help you avoid Playstation Palm.  A medical condition charactarized by a redness and tenderness of the palm and caused for friction between your hands and the game controller.    

What's Available To Help Get a Better Contoller Grip

Fortunately there are solutions to sweaty hands.  Among them are hand antiperspirants such as GhostGrip.  These are a lotion or liquid that prevent your hands from sweating.  GhostGrip works for up to four hours per application, is none staining, and washes off easily with soap and water.  You can also use other things to keep your hands dry such as talc, rossin, pine tar, saw dust, etc.  Problem with these solutions is that they are messy and will leave a build up on your controller or can leave residue inside the controller leading to controller failure.  There are also other solutions to the problem including perscription medication and surgery, but if you get sweaty hands from gaming, some of these methods may seem to be a little overkill.  

 
So to recap, you've been invited to your friends house for some PS3 action and when you get there you go to give him a handshake and you grab his hand to shake it and he squinches in pain.  You wonder what is going one, so you take a look at his hands and they're all red and sore.  You ask him what's up and he tells you he has Playstation Palms because his hands sweat when he plays PS3. Now let's pause it right there, here is the perfect opportunity to break out the tube of GhostGrip you carry with you and educate your buddy on why it's important to play with a dry set of paws while gaming, however, you have now reached a moral impass.  Do you help your friend out, thus, bypassing all the future trash talking and beat downs you'll be handing him on PS3 because you have dry hands and he has Playstation Palms, or do you keep GhostGrip a secret and continue to own your friend in every game out there?  That my friend is something you will have to answer for yourself.

So let’s take a look at both scenarios to help you better decide how you will handle the issue. Let’s say you go with option A.  You’re going to break out your tube of GhostGrip and educate your friend. 
After all, this is your buddy and it’s the right thing to do, look at him, he’s suffering and you can help.  Possible outcome to this are that he will really appreciate at first, take your advice use GhostGrip and then proceed to either own you in the future because now you are an even playing field or he will take your advice use GhostGrip and provide you with a more worthy opponent, thus increasing the level of your game and working out good for both of you. 


So I guess introduce the dude to GhostGrip unless you’re scared he’s got more skills than you.  Option b is let your boy continue to try to deal with his sweaty hands while gaming, thus allowing you to easily own him and laugh as you watch his anguish in getting defeated while dealing with a slippery controller. 


At this point, this is kind of like Fable, do you want to be the good guy or the bad guy?  Problem with option b is it’s just not right.  While it may offer temporary enjoyment, it’s just not a good long term strategy for you or your friend.  For one, you’re going to get bored owning all the time and for two, that’s not going to help you improve your own skills.  We all know it’s fun laying a beat down on your friend on PS3, but it’s also fun doing it online to a stranger.  Introducing your buddies to GhostGrip will ultimately help you take your game to the next level and showcase your skills in a bigger arena.  So, we choose option b at first obviously.  You beat up on your friend for a little on PS3 and then when he’s crumpled up crying and pouting this is the moment we spring out the GhostGrip and say, check this out.  Be careful here though cause you got to preface your approach.  Don’t get to trigger happy, set it up with something like, “You know Bob, I’ve been owning you all day on the PS3 and it’s getting a little boring, I know that my skills are far superior to yours, so I have no problem letting you in on a little secret…”  That’s when you break out the GhostGrip and say, “Check this out.  This isn’t entirely the reason you’ve been getting thrashed all day, but you’re my friend, and I can’t continue to see you suffer and struggle.  Besides, like I said, I need you to be a little more competitive because you’re bringing my game down by sucking so bad.  I’m going to leave this here for you, take a couple days off and let yourself heal up and then use this next time you play.  Get some practice in, I’ll stop by next weekend to check in with you and this time I don’t want you crying like a little baby cause you’re getting worked.  If you run out, go to GhostGrip.com and order a two pack, one for you and one to pay me back.”That should do it, leave the tube of GhostGrip, you can always order more at GhostGrip.com. 

The key here is to make sure you stay sharp.  Remember, your buddy is now using GhostGrip and his skills may be rapidly improving, you don’t want to go back there and walk into a dang hornet’s nest and get worked yourself.  Tell next time.

 


Did someone say Wii rubber?

 

Ok, ok,, for most of us, ehh,, hmmm,, we can equate the use of the above mentioned substance to equal less sensativity.  Now, I don't know if you can officially say that the slip covers, gel covers, whatever covers that are made for the Nintendo Wii controllers are made out of rubber or not, the fact is, they are rather,, rubber-ish.  With that said, is there an alternative to putting a germ catching jelly jacket over your Wii controller?  I think so. 

 

Nintendo Wii Controller Sweat = Slippage

 

So, why the rubber controllers?  Maybe because the Wii remote was slipping out of players hands, threating LCD and Plasma screens everywhere.  What causes slippage, hmmm, maybe clammy clam shuckers, muggy mitts, greasy grubbers,  basically, sweaty hands.  So if you own a Wii and sweaty hands are causing you problems with controlling your controller, cut the problem off at the pass and get some help for those damp clampers.  For some, putting a bulky cover on the Wii remote is just not right.  It gets in the way, it's distracting, it's not natural.  If that's you, get some GhostGrip, shake it, put a dime size dab in your palm, rub your hands together, clap a few times, and GhostGrip will gently coat your grippers with a moisture preventing barrier, giving you a natural feel and grip on your controller.  

 

No need to wrap it, just get some GhostGrip, clap it and slap it..

 

 


You can get sweaty palms while or from doing a lot of things

 

Sweaty palms happen due to a lot of things.  I'm not professing to be a doctor or give medical advice, but I can say that I get sweaty palms when I play video games.  Why?  Well, because it's a competitive activity, whether your playing against the computer or someone online.  So what can we do to prevent sweaty palms while gaming? 

 

All kinds of advice.

 

Sweaty palms is a common problem among gamers.  I've seen the topic come up time and again on blogs and forums, etc...  They all have pretty much the same ole solutions, solutions which a lot of us just don't find satisfactory.  Things like, wash your hands before playing, or, wipe your hands on your shirt (or pants), or, wear socks on your hands, or, cut the finger tips off some gardening gloves, or, put chalk on your hands,,, etc...   Thing is, we want to PREVENT sweaty palms, not inconvenience ourselves or look like a tool shed.

 

Acceptable solutions.

 

So what's are the acceptable solutions.  We know stopping to wipe your hands off is interruptive to game play, and if you have to pause the game, that's just not right, and if you don't pause, you risk getting plinked in the head by a 3-round burst or getting your lid busted from a sick board check.  Is putting something between your hands and the controller the answer?  I don't think so.  Things like hand gloves and controller gloves make for a bulky feel that is unintended by the manufacturer, not only that, you run the risk of looking like a complete tool if you show up to a gaming session sporting that sorta gear.  Other stuff may work, like chalk or baby powder for example, but that's messy and can cake up and ruin your controller.  How about something that you can rub on your hands and it disappears, preventing your hands from sweating, giving you a natural and comfortable feel for the controller???  Wish you knew where you could find some stuff like that?  Try Ghostgrip.com.

 

Tell next time, hands dry, OUT!


Where do Wii Start? D-pad replaces Joystick.

That's funny, get it.  Well, Wii start with Nintendo, why, because of the NES.  The original NES controller was the first game controller that made a multi-button game pad make real sense.  Sure, it had the pause button, an a and b if I recall correctly, but more importantly, the joystick replacing D-pad, sweet!  The D-pad is that little plus sign looking thing on the NES controller that allowed you to controll the direction of your player by using your thumb instead of holding a joystick in your hand.  It was ingenious, because with a joystick (like the one on an Atari 2600) the player would need to use his entire left of right hand manipulating the player, which would leave very limited use of that hand for any button controll whatsoever.  Yeah, I know, the NES contoller didn't have any buttons on the D-pad side, but, it paved the way for them to exist at least.  There were some joysticks out there that had multi button capabiltiy, but the problem was, you had to stick the controller to a flat surface like a desk or something to even use them (remember the little suction cups on the bottom of the Atari 2600 joystick, who ever used those?).  

Touche, 2 joysticks replace D-pad

It's ironic that the D-pad gets replaced by two joysticks.  Difference is, they're not called joysticks anymore, they're called thumbsticks.  The thumbsticks sit on the left and right side of your modern day console controller and made they're first popular debut on the Playstation controller.  This setup, although not utilized to it's fullest on the original PS1 would lay the foundation for the integration of them into more sophisticated gameplay, and ultimately to their use in the revolutionary twin stick controlls you see on tons of todays hits.  My personal favorite, NHL 2009 by EA Sports.  But tons of games take advantage of this setup, and if you play any first person shooters, you already know what I mean.  So the PS1 controllers gotta rank up there.

 

Commadore 64 and early PC games joystick.

 

This is old school, but I'll throw it in there.  Some of you younger gamers are probably like,, dude, what?  Anyway, you had to use the Commadore one to understand (the early Radio Shack contollers were similar).  Basically it was a joystick with a base like the 2600 joystick, but the stick was a steel rod with a little plastic knob on the end and it didn't return back to it's original postition when you let it go.  So basically it was like playing with a wet noodle attached to a lead base with a little rectagular fire button somewhere on the side.  Perfect!  Click on the paragraph title or here to go to the wooden joystick link, daaaannnnggg.  How sweet is that?

 

Full circle.

 

That brings me full circle to the Wii.  The Wii controller(s) makes the list, because like the ones mentioned above they are groundbreakers and pioneers of what's to come, basically the next step in the evolution of game controllers.  Pretty soon, you'll be able to head down to your local GameStop and they'll have a certified nuero-surgeon on hand to tap right into your brain stem.  Then all you have to do is plug your head into your consol.  Bingo, no more worrying about sweaty controller paws or burning out your plasma screen!!  Awesome!!!

 

Until then, keep your hands off your pants and on your controller.

 


 

Ok, for a lot of you younger peeps, unless you are into history and are extremely estute when it comes to games, this blog post will probably fly right over your emo haircuts, come back around, reflect off your fake metal spike belt, and reflect off your teachers cornea, distracting them for a brief minute, untill they recoup, and finish trying to teach you about Ancient Egypt.  However, that doesn't mean you can't put down the black hair dye for a minute and google two great classics, maybe even download and play the bad boys.  Although, it wouldn't be the same as if you were in an actual arcade in the mid to late eighties, when you didn't need twenty bucks to play a few rounds, back then, a game play was only one quarter, not a buck for five minutes of zombie killing. Although, the pain of a quarter for five minutes back then was probably the same as a dollar for five minutes today, so you got me, we're even on that one, inflation, what can I say.

 Track and Field

Two classics, Track & Field, for one, if there was ever a need to control sweaty hands, this was it.  Track & Field was a button mashing fest the likes the world will probably never see again.  In fact, the entire game was built around who could crush buttons the fastest.  I even maybe firmly believe that these game was the spawner of the first popular game cheat, the infamous turbo button.  Competing on this game was intense action, why, becuase by the time you completed a running event, you had so much emotional and physical energy invested, you were basically ready to tear your opponents head off, literally.  I may be dating this quite a bit now, but loosing at this game time and time again to the same opponent would make you want to turn to him and say,,, I wish you were never flame broiled!

 Karate Champ Kung Fu

Now for an extra classic, and if anyone out there has ever had the priveledge to play this in arcade form, I say we all need to get together and have a reunion of sorts, because it was a trully special experiance to have been a part of.

 

Karate Champ, where you had two joysticks per player, 4 total on the machine, and timing and joystick combinations were everything.  I can't really write on this blog too much about it, it's on the level of kiss and tell really.  But, there are downloads out there that you can try, but, the actual details of the arcade experience and this game,, I just can't bring myself to get into.  If I could turn back the clock, I'd bring some GhostGrip with me when I planned on playing this game.

 

 


Guitar Games and synthesisers

 

Ok, we've all witnessed the tremendous rise of these musical instrument games, is it just me, or is this one of the most ridiculous things you've ever witnessed?  I mean, seriously?  Back in the eighties, they came out with these little synthesizer pianos, even down to key chain size, and I swear, if those hadn't of been brought to market, China would be half the population it is today.  Those little synthisizer gadgets feed half of Taiwan.  So anyway, basically some companies took out some duct tape and taped those things to Playstations and X-boxes and the like everywhere, sheeeesssh, I think they even have a full blown drum set you can buy.  Here's the thing though, to each his own.  Gaming in itself is entertainment, it's escape, it's fantasy, etc... So why not make a little fake guitar and intergrate it's controlls into a bunch of screaming fans and positive feedback on a tv set?  Awesome idea.  All I gotta say though, if you wanna play, I can respect that, fine, but don't go spouting off about your Guitar Hero skills or knowledge of what makes good music or who a kick a$$ band is.  Get a real Guitar and play that like a champ and then come talk to me.  That's like going up to some Marine and talking crap about your Call of Duty score.  Yeah, I'm running smack, and I don't even know how to play a guitar, so what?  Doesn't change the fact that I think there is just something slightly amiss with this whole Guitar-a-Game stuff going on, just sayin...


Console Wars

You've got two major players in the console wars (not counting Nintendo of course, we're not going to talk about that right now, totally different issue), on one hand you have Sony, a huge manufacturer of electronics equipment, on the other is Microsoft, not generally viewed as a manufacturer of hardware.  The difference between these two powerhouses can be reflected as the differences between the people that buy their consoles.  It's rare these days to know someone that has both a Playstation 3 and an Xbox 360, unless they are some kind of spoiled rich kid that gets whatever they want or they'll go crying to their mommy (dude's 25 and living in the guest house for free, hah).  Generally, I've noticed that there are differences in the Playstation people and Xbox people. 

 

Brand loyalty

 

Most people that I know that have a Playstation have it for one reason, brand loyalty.  When the Playstation one came out, it left such a good impression, that these guys didn't want to try anything else.  Dude, at some point you gotta leave your highschool sweetheart behind and go to college. Here's an anology, when the Playstation hit the market, it was to competitors like Kimbo Slice is to some random schmoe on the street.  However, while the Playstation was busy beating the crap out of everyone, the Xbox snuck up from behind with a baseball bat and took a Barry Bonds rip,,, it could be,, back back back back back,,, gone! 

 

Online gaming changes the landscape

 

Microsoft's online community with a little help from a franchise some of us know (eeehhheemmm,,,, Halo), pretty much outclassed the competition, and in my humble opinion, still does handily.  What was Sony's answer?  Well, you gotta admit, the Plastation 3 is an impressive looking piece of hardware and,, whoaaaaaaaa, it's got a blue ray player,,pbbbbbbbbbbbbbhhhhhhhhhh,,,whatever dude.  That's what they decided on to set them apart?  Jacking up the price and forcing gamers to pay for a blue ray player?  Anyway, not trying to bag on something before I've tried it, so recently I went to a friends house to play the much anticipated Metal Gear Solid on his PS3. 

 

Some off the cuff remarks on the PS3, but it's definately becoming a respectable online platform

It was like playing the original Metal Gear Solid on my PSone, but with better graphics.  To put it simply, the game play sucked a$$ by todays standards, and the controller still hasn't changed, what's up with that?  So, to be fair to everyone and not dis to bad on PS3, they are getting better, and it definately has a very bright future.  I look forward to it, and hopefully they'll be an aftermarket controller (if there is one let me know) that is shaped like an Xbox 360 one and not like a wooden back massager.  Who knows, someday, I'll be the guy that's got both systems at my house, subscribing to both online services. 


Who's Cheating who?

We all have experienced the peeps online that cheat, we know that they're out there, maybe even one or two of them will actually stumble onto this and read it, and, like the cheating little punk that they are, try to use some sort of something to try to hack into my blog.  In actuality, who's cheating who?  What's true in life is often true in online gaming.  Like every teacher has said from the beginning of time,,, if you cheat on the test you're cheating yourself. 

Don't know the answers to begin with

 

Which is true, because if you have to cheat on a test, that means you're ignorant to begin with because you already know you don't have the answers and are too lazy to do the work to aquire the knowledge.  So, you may get an A on the test but remain as ignorant as ever, it's a viscious circle, my advice, cut it out or have a happy life flipping burgers.  The phenomena of cheating online is similar, in general, I think it's an overall personality flaw or maybe even bad genetics that cause it.  You may be on top of the leaderboards or you may be able to run a lot of smack in the post game lobby, but then how are you going to explain getting pooned at your friends LAN party?  Oh wait, you don't "attend" those because you already know you'd get owned by everyone there.  So now that we've called these schmoes out, let's examine a few of their "tactics".

 

Cheating tactics 101

 

My first experience in doing battle with a "cheater" had to be on Mortal Kombat on Sega Genissis and I recall to this day, the rapid fire controller.  The rapid fire controller was only the beginning.  At least back in the day, when you actually had to go to your friend's house physically to play against him, you were face to face and could tell him to switch his rapid fire off or you'd be Audi 500.  These days, you can't see the cowards on the other end, and it's not surprising that a lot of them have their rapid fire on.  So what other things are happening in the world of wussies?  How about "glitching" where players find a programming glitch in the game, like a secret hiding spot, or a hole in the bottom of that map that leads to ammo or an ambush point or whatever the case.  They will find the glitch and then abuse it and claim,,, uuhhh, it's part of the game man.  Then there's the lag switch, a switch between the gaming platform and the network. 

Turn it off and on and you're guy can run around the map gaining all sorts of competitive advantages.  I'm not too much into MMO's, but if I was, the player using bots to play the game for him, thus giving him currency to improve his character once he's done working the pizza oven at Dominoes, would piss me off.  Weinesis tend to run in packs because they all share the same character flaw, so it's not uncommon for them to work out some agreement amongst themselves to boost their numbers, status, equipment, perks, whatever the case may be by voluntarily spending time killing and being killed by eachother.  Hey man, let's meet up online tonight, I'll let you off me 200 times and then you me 200 times, that way we can get some better weopons.  Give me a break.  Get a job.  So, it's not to say that I'm some sort of stiff that plays by the rules all the time, I just don't make it a point to put money, time, and effort into being able to be a d--chebag.  


Atari 2600, the beginning 

What the!?  Slam, Atari 2600 controller goes flying across the room.  Then it's off to find a screwdriver to take the thing apart, again, and clean the contacts, especially on the lone "Little Red Fire Button".  If you know anything about old school Atari games, you know that that red button got pounded on more than,,, well, let's just say ALOT!  I don't know about you, but the thing always seemed to hit the picket lines when I was playing Moon Patrol, Dig Dug, or Star Wars (the Empire Strikes Back). 

 

Cool kid on the block

Right in the middle of jumping a crater, facing a flame throwing Fygar (the little green dragon dudes), or trying to get my snowspeeder to hit the little flashing square (said to be an open bomb hatch, put a round here, and you destroy the Walker in one shot) on a Walker.  I don't remember how old I was at the time I would beg my mom to go to the kids apartment that had a 2600, I just remember that that guy was the most popular dude on the block.  Kids would offer him all sorts of perks for some game time, anything from straight out sweaty stinky wet nickels, dimes, and quarters, to cold hard Hot Wheels and Go-Bots (we all knew the value of Transformers back then, come on man, what kind of fool would offer up a Transformer to play an Atari?).  I remember playing Pac-Man so much, I'd wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of the beginning of the game, it was something like,,, doo-nah-ooh-naah.  Who can forget Combat on the 2600, it was like, so many options and layouts, it was crazy and seemed realistic at the time.  

 

Gaming is big time

So now your probably asking yourself, what's the point here?  Video games have been the focus of millions and millions around the world, from the average citizen to being a key issue of political campaigns and government.  So where's the harm?  Looking back on my experiences being a Gamer, starting with the 2600, there are tons of valuable abilities gained.  Gaming isn't a passive event, like watching a movie, it's an active mental and physical challenge.  It requires analytical thinking, strategy, pattern recognition, and bartering skills for those unfortunate enough to not have a machine (these guys sometimes turn out to be very successful in business, having aquired negotion skills at such an early age).  However, that's not the real purpose of this first little blog here, the real purpose is to introduce myself, let you know where I'm coming from.  I have a long history of Gaming, we're talking grass roots (from a consumer's POV, I'm not a programmer, although, I did make a few games in the Basic programming language on my Commadore 64).  This doesn't mean I pretend to know all there is about gaming, or that I'm an authority at all on gaming, because I believe I share a similar background in gaming to a TON of people out there. Gaming transcends alot of things. 

 

My Atari 2600 may be your X-box 360 or PS3

To read or participate in this blog, you don't even have to be my age (you can judge that with the Atari references, Google it if you have too) or even close to it.  My 2600 was your Sega Genesis (or Playstation, or X-Box, etc...), besides half the Mortal Kombat population out there would probably rip my skeleton out and I'm not even gonna talk about Madden or Fight Night.  I would say I'm a slightly above average gamer when it comes to skill, but I have a passion for gaming.  That's basically it, and, oh, one more thing, to all of the younger gamers making fun of us old dudes on X-Box Live or any other online gaming service, save it, and to all you older people thinking gaming is below you, there's nothing like an online multi-player head shot to take your mind off the BS office politics you went through a few hours earlier.  Either way, it's great gaming with people of various origins, race, age, whatever, that's part of the experience.  Gaming brings us all together and allows us to talk smack at the same time.  OUT!!


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