Gravis PC GamePad
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2014)|
The Gravis PC GamePad is a game port game controller produced by Advanced Gravis Computer Technology. It was the first gamepad for the IBM PC compatible in a market then dominated by joysticks. Included with the gamepad was a shareware Commander Keen game, episode 1, Marooned on Mars, which was later replaced with the shareware episode 4, Secret of the Oracle which supported all 4 buttons. The gamepad is no longer manufactured, as the Gravis company has ceased to exist.
The gamepad's design is similar to that of the stock SNES controller (more so the Japanese and European version with colored buttons), although it lacks the Start, Select and shoulder buttons, and the shape of the controller's chassis differs slightly, with an inverted curve on the left side. As originally found in some versions of the Sega Master System controller, the center of the Gravis GamePad's d-pad allows a small joystick to be inserted. The resulting lever action provides increased directional sensitivity, desirable in fighting games for example.
Both at the top and bottom of the gamepad are switches. One of them removes the normal functionality from 2 of the buttons, and turns them into autofire variants of the first 2. This gave all four buttons functionality even in PC games that only supported two buttons on joysticks or for scenarios when two gamepads are connected with a Y-splitter. The other allows for left-handed operation by turning the workings of the D-pad and buttons upside down. Both switches can be used at the same time.
Later, two variations were made, called the GamePad Pro, and GamePad Pro USB, which resemble the original PlayStation Controller. The GamePad Pro employed advanced signaling techniques to allow for both the use of ten buttons and the simultaneous use of up to four controllers connected by the controller's built-in piggyback plug, but games couldn't detect the gamepad unless they were coded with the device in mind (DOS) or a specific driver was installed (Windows). The latter uses the USB port and the USB Human Interface Device class standards, is not intended for DOS use. Gravis launched other series of gamepads for the Mac, the Amiga, and Atari ST as well.
The Philips CD-i interactive multimedia CD player features a wired controller that is basically the original Gravis PC GamePad in a monochrome, grey color scheme. The Gravis logo is replaced with the Philips logo. There are only two button functions, and the switch at the bottom controls the cursor speed in menus.
One icon from the Nuvola icon set resembles the GamePad. The GamePad also appears in the video game Jazz Jackrabbit as a power-up; it appears in the same game as an advertisement in the background, which reads "All kids love Gravis GamePad". The shareware demonstration version of the game noted that the Gravis Gamepad was the official gamepad of Jazz Jackrabbit.