Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Like the Playstation controller, the GamePad has ten buttons and an eight direction pad. Every button on the GamePad is configurable via the appropriate InputSprockets dialog. The direction pad, which sits under your left thumb when you hold the controller, has a hole for installing a small joystick, similar to other wing-style game pads. The controller has the standard ‘start’ and ‘select’ buttons in the center, and four ‘fire’ buttons arranged in a diamond under your right thumb. Under each of your index fingers, which when you hold the controller are on the back, are two large buttons which are really useful for changing weapons or sidestepping in first person shooter games.
Gravis’ GamePad drivers only work with built-in USB, so those using PC Card USB adapters will need to also install the excellent shareware USB-super-driver, USB Overdrive. Another reason to install USB Overdrive over the GamePad drivers is that USB Overdrive allows you to use the GamePad in games that don’t support InputSprockets, while the Gravis drivers work only in InputSprocket-aware games.
Virtual Game Station users will obviously be pleased to play their Playstation games using a controller identical to the one that comes with the real thing, but the lack of force feedback technology and dual analog joysticks are still reasons to get a real Playstation console. Analog joysticks allow you to have finer control over, for example, the steering wheel and acceleration in a driving game, and having force feedback adds to the sense of being in the game.
One feature of the GamePad the bugs me is the direction pad, which is all one piece instead of four discrete buttons. I found myself accidently pressing a diagonal direction when I wanted to go straight up/down or left/right. You personal preferences may vary, but this one-piece direction pad could cause you to move your character in the wrong direction at the wrong moment.
You should be able to get the Gravis GamePad Pro for US$15.95.