Gravis GamePad

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The Gravis PC GamePad.

The Gravis GamePad is a video game controller created by Advanced Gravis Computer Technology and released in 1991. It has an 8-way D-pad, 4 buttons, an optional joystick attachment which screws into the D-pad, a switch to make the gamepad left-handed, and a switch to use four buttons or two buttons and two turbo buttons. It was originally made for PC-compatible computers, but additional versions were made for the Amiga, Atari ST, and Macintosh, and the design was re-purposed for the CDI 910. A later design was made called the Gravis GamePad Pro.

The PC version has a male DA-15 connector while the Mac, Amiga, and Atari ST versions have a DE-9 female connector.

The original PC release included a shareware copy of Commander Keen: Marooned on Mars while a later PC release included a shareware copy of Commander Keen IV: Secret of the Oracle, slightly modified to make better use of the Gravis GamePad.

Personal

I bought the PC version of this gamepad at Babbages around 1992, and my version came with Secret of the Oracle on 3.5" floppy disk, but I no longer have either. I guess my GamePad broken, because I have a memory of going to the store to buy a replacement GamePad (and being upsold to the Gravis GamePad Pro).

I used to own a Gravis GamePad, but no longer do. At some point I must have broke it and thrown it out or lost it.

Review

Good

  • This was one of the first PC gamepads made to support four buttons; most PC controllers of the time only had two.
  • For the few games specifically designed to work with the gamepad, like the included copy of Secret of the Oracle, it's vastly superior to the traditional two-button joystick, or, shudder, the keyboard.
  • The ability to switch to a left-handed gamepad was a very cool feature, though, I don't know if left-handed people actually use it.
  • The turbo switch is really nice, although it only works in two-button mode.

Bad

  • The D-pad is pretty awful. You often find your character moving at an angle when you're trying to move in a straight path.
  • Since 4-buttons weren't standard, very few new games took advantage of the extra two buttons, and even fewer older games were patched to take advantage of it.
  • The detachable joystick is awkward to use, so it's usually left off. Unfortunately, this leaves an open hole in the D-pad which is uncomfortable on your thumb.

Ugly

  • While no one individual flaw ruins the device, all its minor flaws make it a pretty bad product.

Media

Download

This contains the v2.1 utilities with Secret of the Oracle.

Games

This is a table of games that are important to me which have direct support for the Gravis PC GamePad. For a more complete list, see MobyGames.

Game Notes
Commander Keen IV: Secret of the Oracle id released a special version.
Jazz Jackrabbit
Spear of Destiny
Terminal Velocity
Wolfenstein 3D

Links

Link-Wikipedia.png  Link-MobyGames.png