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, a switch to make the gamepad left-handed, and a switch to make the 4 buttons turbo. It was originally made for PC-compatible computers and used a DA-15 connector, but additional versions were made for the Amiga, Atari ST, and Macintosh, and the design was re-purposed for the Phillips CD-i. A later design was made called the Gravis GamePad Pro.

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.

I bought the PC version of this gamepad at Babbages around 1992, and my version came with Secret of the Oracle.

Review

Good

  • This was one of the first PC gamepads made to support four buttons, most PC controllers 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 much better to use than the keyboard or traditional two-button joysticks.
  • 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.

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.
  • Very few games took advantage of the extra two buttons, so they were often wasted.
  • The turbo switch makes all of the buttons use turbo, which is rarely desirable.
  • The attachable joystick is awkward to use, so it's usually left out. 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.

Gallery

Games

This is a table of games known to have supported 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

Links