Gravis PC GamePad

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Original Gravis Gamepad for the PC

The Gravis PC GamePad is a game port game controller produced by Advanced Gravis Computer Technology first released in 1991. It was the first gamepad for the IBM PC compatible in a market then dominated by joysticks.[citation needed] 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 Gravis was acquired in 1997 by Kensington Computer Products Group.


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.


Later, two variations were made, called the GamePad Pro, and GamePad Pro USB, which resemble the original PlayStation Controller, with the addition of four shoulder buttons and the Select and Start buttons that were absent in the original. The GamePad Pro employed advanced signaling techniques (referred to as "GrIP") 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. A switch on the pack of the non-USB pad could be used to allow the pad to function as a standard four-button pad; otherwise, games could not 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, and is not intended for DOS use. Gravis launched other series of gamepads for the Mac, the Amiga, and Atari ST as well.

CD-i with wired controller on top

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.[citation needed]


According to Next Generation, "The Gravis Game Pad, one of the first and probably the best PC game pad, has enjoyed steady sales for several years."[1]


Gamepad.svg One icon from the Nuvola icon set resembles the GamePad. The GamePad was also the official gamepad of Jazz Jackrabbit, as noted in the shareware demo version of the game. The gamepad appears in the game as a power-up, and as an advertisement in the background, which reads "All kids love Gravis GamePad".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Get a Grip!!!: Joysticks Past, Present & Future". Next Generation. No. 17. Imagine Media. May 1996. p. 39.