Choosing your game controller
Joysticks come in two varieties: for arcade-style combat games and retro
gamers, there are arcade sticks, which are small joysticks on a panel with
a set of six or more buttons. The other joystick type, flight sticks, are
larger and have controls and triggers on the stick itself, emulating the
mechanisms in real-life combat jets. Civilian aircraft flight simulation
fans will want to look into steering yokes and rudder pedals, which mimic
an aircraft cockpit and require hands and feet for full control. Steering-wheel
controls are designed for car-racing games, and the best ones come with gear
shifters, pedals and force feedback, which creates vibrations in the controller
that simulate the feel of actually driving a racecar.
Gaming enthusiasts should keep the following in mind when purchasing a controller:
for durable parts and solid construction that will stand up to heavy
use. Whether you are mashing buttons in an arcade-style combat game or
leaning into a dive in a flight simulation, the physical exertion of intense
computer games requires durable, well-built controllers.
- The controller should feel
relaxed and natural in your hand. The best-reviewed controller might
not be the best fit for your hand or foot, though some controllers have
- Check for customizable buttons and profile memory. Every game is
different, and each requires different play mechanics. That's why it's
nice to have a controller that allows you to customize buttons to maximize
the gameplay experience. Many controllers allow you to save profiles
for specific games.
- Console compatibility enhances the value of your
purchase. Not all game controllers work solely for the PC. Those that allow you
to play on an Xbox or PlayStation as well will enhance your experience
on multiple gaming systems.
- Consider your physical setup. Some game controllers
are massive, simulating real-world steering wheels or arcade games.
If you do not have sufficient desk or table space for mounting your devices,
you should look at smaller, portable options.