The typical array of controllers used with video game systems over the years. There are two main classes, universal and specialized, and notable one-off gimmicks worth mention also appear here.

Compare StockControlSettings.
!!Universal (used as the out-of-the-box controller for at least two major gaming systems):
* '''Joystick''': The classic. Simply a small stick (typically sans buttons) with the base's surface bearing any number of buttons, held with one to three digits, and generally digital microswitch-based. Seen as early as the first arcades and the early game systems. Most European computer games were designed around single-button joystick controls until the commercial abandonment of the {{Amiga}} in the mid-1990s. Still seen today as optional controllers for all three seventh-generation home systems and several modern PC games, in both digital and analog varieties. The NeoGeo AES was probably the last major home system to use it as a standard.
** Modern arcade cabinets still tend to use this system. Any given FightingGame with circular inputs (Quarter-circle/Half-circle/Full-circle * X + action button) is likely to have been designed for a joystick first and foremost and ports of such games to D-Pad machines tend to result in skinned thumbs or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
** '''Rotary Joystick''': A special joystick whose handle can be twisted clockwise or counterclockwise to shift the character's aim without altering the direction of movement. Used mostly in 1980s {{Arcade Game}}s by Creator/DataEast and Creator/{{SNK}} such as ''VideoGame/GuerrillaWar'', ''VideoGame/HeavyBarrel'', ''VideoGame/IkariWarriors'' and ''VideoGame/MidnightResistance''.
* '''Keyboard''': It was natural for PC gaming to use the keyboard as a controller, since it was already the standard input device. Many PC games still just require the '''Keyboard'''; keyboards for consoles are typically add-ons supported by few to no games, though the UsefulNotes/{{Odyssey 2}} actually had a built-in keyboard. ''[[VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead The Typing of the Dead]]'' is one of the very few instances of an arcade cabinet with a keyboard. The UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} allows [=USB=] keyboards for use with the Wii channels while the UsefulNotes/{{Playstation 3}}'s USB ports easily accept them, and the UsefulNotes/{{Playstation 3}} and UsefulNotes/{{Xbox 360}} have mini keyboard attachments for their gamepads, not to mention a number of hideous monstrosities designed for ''Videogame/PhantasyStarOnline'' (one of which is basically an official UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube pad stretched apart to fit a full-size keyboard in the middle).
** '''Keypad''' A numeric calculator/telephone layout on the bottom half of the controller. Used mainly on the UsefulNotes/{{Intellivision}}, UsefulNotes/{{Colecovision}}, {{Atari 5200}} and UsefulNotes/AtariJaguar. Not seen since on home consoles, due to its bulk and unnecessary complexity for games at the time (or insufficient complexity compared to a '''Keyboard'''.) Yet it has had a resurgence in the field of mobile gaming, since cell phones of course have keypads.
** '''Keypad-Gamepad''' (Gaming Keypad) Auxiliary controllers for keyboard+mouse or keyboard+joystick schemes -- a non-flightsim counterpart of left hand throttle. Not many keys beyond WASD and fire, but superior ergonomy and extra controls give reasons to use it instead of the good old keyboard. May have mode switch and/or software macro programming and profile loading. Varies wildly, from hand-fitting piece with buttons (Terratec Mystify Claw) to rich keypad + hat switch (Saitek Cyborg Command Unit) and keypads with D-Pad and mouse wheel (Nostromo [=SpeedPad=] N52 or Belkin n52te, [[ Razer Nostromo]] and Genius [=ErgoMedia=] 500--the latter has a built-in ''sound card'' for headsets). A number of them are referenced [[ there]] on TheOtherWiki.
* '''Mouse''' Once mice came along, and allowed precision movement, this became the standard controller requirement for almost every PC game made since. Many old AppleMacintosh games were controlled primarily or exclusively with the single-button mouse. Combined with a keyboard, this immediately found its blood and essence as the default controller scheme for {{First Person Shooter}}s and RealTimeStrategy, to the extent that people who play [=FPSs=] with '''Gamepads''' are all but incapable of beating mouse & keyboard gamers. Some set-top consoles allowed one or the other for certain games. The Super Famicom/[=SNES=], Mega Drive/Genesis, and Playstation had a mouse. The Dreamcast had a mouse and keyboard. The Playstation 2 and 3 allow PC units to be hooked up through their [=USB=] connectors to play some PC ports.
** '''Trackball''': A spherical ball set in a frame, which can be freely rotated in any direction. Sometimes used on computers as a mouse substitute, though less suited to precision movement. In arcades, trackballs are most common with golf or bowling games, with most of the famous exceptions being made by UsefulNotes/{{Atari}} (''VideoGame/{{Centipede}}'', ''VideoGame/MissileCommand'', ''VideoGame/CrystalCastles'', ''VideoGame/MarbleMadness'', ''Rampart''). Trackballs were available as optional input devices for the {{Atari 2600}}, {{Atari 5200}} (set in an enormous box including ''two'' keypads), UsefulNotes/{{Colecovision}} and Phillips CD-i.
** '''Motion Controller''': First well known attempt for home consoles was the infamous Power Glove. Brought the gift of '''Mouse''' to the impoverished wastes of consoledom. Used successfully so far with the Wiimote/Nunchuck, the Sixaxis, Dual Shock 3, and [=iPod/iPhone=]. The PS3 now also has the Move controller.
** '''Mouse-Keypad''': A 101-button mouse could replace your keybord, but moderate numbers seems to be more convenient. [=SteelSeries=] [[ WoWmouse]] -- more of the top many-buttoned mouse than keypad-mice, but it got 15 buttons and [=LEDs=]; was built for VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft fans and for any other purpose isn't better than normal mice. [[ Razer Naga]] -- mildly Sci-Fi design with keypad on the thumb side; 17 buttons. [[ WarMouse Meta]] (aka [=OpenOfficeMouse=]) -- has keypad instead of main buttons on both sides of the wheel-button, mini-joystick on the thumb side; 18 buttons; its software is Open Source and has ready settings for lots of games and applications, including [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin OpenOffice]].
* '''Touch Screen''' (or stylus): Similar to a touch pad on a laptop, this allows greater precision than an analog stick for pointing, but can be cumbersome for movement. Can also function as a '''Keypad'''. Used with [=PDAs=], the NintendoDS, and the [=iPod/iPhone=] and Android. Comes in multiple varieties:
** '''Resistive''': thin film pressed inward creates a signal. Very precise and supports any reasonably pointy object for input, but easy to scratch and usually not multi-touch capable. Most older devices use resistive digitizers, as do the NintendoDS, Nintendo3DS and WiiU [=GamePad=].
** '''Capacitive''': a conductive object pressed against glass that disrupts an electrical grid. Often capable of multi-touch. Requires a bare finger or a special capacitive stylus to use, the latter of which requires a thicker, fatter tip than a resistive stylus by necessity. Popularized by trackpads and especially the iPhone. The PlayStationVita also uses one.
** '''Optical''': a grid of lasers surrounds the screen, and their obstruction creates input. Can be activated by anything that can block said lasers. Most notably featured on some models of HP [=TouchSmart=] all-in-one desktops.
** '''Electro-Magnetic Resonance''': Not a touchscreen in the typical sense, for it relies on generating an electromagnetic field that is used to communicate and get positional information from a specialized pen, as well as powering the pen in some instances. Contact is registered by a sensor behind the pen nib, which is also pressure-sensitive for controlling brush width and/or opacity. Some advanced models can even sense the pen's tilt and rotation. The digitizer board that generates the EMR field sits ''behind'' the screen as opposed to the aforementioned digitizer types sitting in front, allowing a resistive or capacitive digitizer to handle finger input until the pen comes into range and disables the touch digitizer for palm rejection purposes. Wacom drawing tablets and Cintiq monitors are the most prevalent example, along with most Windows Tablet [=PCs=] and all Samsung Galaxy Note devices based on their technology. The [[OtherSegaSystems Sega Pico]] used an earlier version of this technology.
* '''Gamepad''' All of your controls in one piece of plastic, tends to [[FollowTheLeader evolve uniformly across the entire industry]].
** '''D-Pad Controller''' A Direction-Pad (or similar pattern of four buttons) on the left and at least two face buttons on the right (or center and right). Simple, yet still allowing for a fair bit of control, this became the standard for years. Started with Creator/{{Nintendo}} "Game & Watch" series, popularized with the UsefulNotes/{{Famicom}} / UsefulNotes/{{NES}}, and used notably with the SG1000 Mark II & Mark III / SegaMasterSystem (although the pause was left on the console for some reason), UsefulNotes/GameBoy, UsefulNotes/GameBoyColor, UsefulNotes/VirtualBoy (with a second D-Pad next to the face buttons), Mega Drive / UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis, UsefulNotes/GameGear, UsefulNotes/AtariLynx, Commodore CDTV (with many additional buttons for its alternate function as a TV remote), PC-Engine / TurboGrafx16, PC-FX, UsefulNotes/NeoGeoPocket (and color), UsefulNotes/WonderSwan (two or four face buttons depending on how you hold it), and the UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} if you turn the Wiimote sideways.
*** BTW, while Nintendo invented the D-Pad with the Game & Watch, Sega coined the term D-Pad with the Master System (Nintendo seems to prefer the seemingly more trademarkable "+Control Pad").
** '''UsefulNotes/{{SNES}} D-Pad''' Perhaps the most common controller type. It consists of the D-Pad on the left, at least two shoulder buttons or triggers, and at least four face buttons, usually in the shape of a cross. Popularized with the [=SNES=], used with the UsefulNotes/{{Amiga}} [=CD32=], UsefulNotes/SegaSaturn, first UsefulNotes/{{Playstation}} controller, UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance ("Start" and "Select" are face buttons), and {{DS}}. Beginning with the UsefulNotes/{{Dreamcast}}, many were given analog buttons.
** '''Analog''' Same as the '''[=SNES=] D-Pad''', but there is an analog '''Joystick''' near the D-Pad (either above or below it). This was also when rumble feedback became popular. Used with the {{Nintendo 64}}, the UsefulNotes/SegaSaturn analog pad (most commonly featured with NiGHTS), Dreamcast, {{PSP}}, and Nintendo3DS. The Wii's Nunchuck attachment is an unconventional version. (If you count a more basic gamepad and a more TV remote-esque design, the UsefulNotes/{{Vectrex}} and Philips CD-i had analog thumbsticks [[OlderThanTheyThink prior to the N64.]])
** '''Dual Analog''' (Type 1) Same as above, but with a second analog stick just below the face buttons. Used first with the Playstation [[OlderThanTheyThink Dual Analog]], then used with the [=DualShock=] 1/2/3, Sixaxis, and the UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} Classic Controller.
** '''Dual Analog''' (Type 2) Swaps the D-Pad with the analog stick directly below it. This variant appears on the GameCube pad, {{Xbox}} pad, and {{Xbox 360}} pad.
* '''Accelerometer/Tilt Sensor''': Most notably used in the [=WiiMote=], Nintendo3DS and the Apple iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad; allows the user to control the game by moving the entire controller/handheld. Some PlayStation3 games, such as ''HeavyRain'' can also be controlled by tilting the controller. ''VideoGame/{{Kirby}} Tilt 'n Tumble'', ''Yoshi Topsy-Turvy'' and ''VideoGame/WarioWare: Twisted!'' incorporated the tilt sensor into the game cartridge itself. Some third-party Atari VCS/2600 joysticks had a mercury-based tilt sensor and no base.

!!Specialized (seldom an out-of-the-box controller, but has been used for at least two systems):
* '''Floor Pad''' A pad on the floor, so you use your feet instead of your hands. Notable examples are the Famicom/[=NES=] Power Pad, the ''VideoGame/DanceDanceRevolution''[=/=]''PumpItUp'' pad, and the Wii Balance Board.
* '''Zapper''' Named for the [=NES's=] Zapper. A toy gun used to shoot at stuff on the screen.
** '''{{Light Gun}}s''' The first variants, that used the refresh rate to create a point of light to tell where the gun was aiming on the screen. Not used anymore since only direct-view [=CRTs=] have a refresh they can detect. (Rear-projection [=CRTs=] will not work.) Used in arcades, the NES, Sega Master System, Atari XE Game System, the Mega Drive/Genesis (called the Menacer) and Namco's [=GunCon=] 1 & 2.
** '''Sensor Guns''' Uses other methods to detect where the gun is pointing, notably a sensor near the TV. Seen in the SNES (the Super Scope), [=GunCon=] 3, the IR sensor of the Wii Remote (which can become a zapper with an attachment, and technically is the reverse -- it uses a sensor in the remote to see two IR lights in the misleadingly named “sensor bar.”), and even the Playstation Move with the addition of a gun-shaped housing. Also of note are some guns that are actually giant joysticks (like for ''Crossbow'' and ''Silent Scope'').
* '''Microphone''' Rarely used for gaming before the sixth generation, due to voice recognition and broadband not being that well developed before. Even without gaming, it can be used to talk to others online, such as with Xbox Live. For gaming, they have been available for the [=N64=], [=PS2=]/[=3=], [=XB360=], GCN, Wii, and built into the DS and [[OlderThanTheyThink Famicom]].
* '''Camera''' A camera that can be used for gaming. While the Gameboy, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and even [=DSi=] have them, the [=PS2's EyeToy=] was probably the first to be used as a controller in the mainstream (although Intel played around with it years before). Microsoft aims to make this input method mainstream with Project Natal/Kinect.
* '''Paddle/Spinner''': Not the D-Pad in the form of a flat nub, this is a dial you simply spin from side to side. Used as early as the ''Etch-a-Sketch'', this became popular in gaming with ''VideoGame/{{Pong}}'', shipped alongside the joystick in many Atari 2600 bundles, and available as an attachment for the NintendoDS for playing modern versions of ''VideoGame/SpaceInvaders'' and ''VideoGame/{{Arkanoid}}''.
* '''Steering Wheel''' An overgrown paddle, used for racing, [[IncrediblyLamePun of course]]. Seen as soon as {{Driving Game}}s hit arcades and for many game systems since, and it almost always comes with pedals (sometimes even with gear shift, usually sequential via paddles or stick, [[DrivingStick sometimes an H-gate stick shift]]). More advanced models have proper force-feedback to help convey the feeling of traction, as well as greater degrees of rotation (cheaper wheels are generally 180, 240, or 270 degrees, while the higher-end wheels have 900 or even 1080 degrees). The Wiimote counts to some degree, as it can be placed on a steering wheel, as highlighted with ''VideoGame/MarioKart Wii''.
* '''Musical Instruments''' Just that, musical instruments, ranging from simple toys to professional MIDI gear. Most famously used in ''GuitarHero'' and ''Rock Band'', though featured earlier in various {{Bemani}} games. Used for almost any game system for the 7th gen, and earlier for the PlayStation 1, [=PS2=] and Gamecube.
* '''Flight Stick''' Similar to a '''Joystick''' in function, but shaped for [[InnocentInnuendo a firm grip with the whole hand]]. Early examples had only one button (and sometimes a thumb button too, not even a trigger!), but nowadays they can come with four or five ''plus'' trigger. Other additions include a hat switch in four directions, a throttle lever on the base, ''more'' buttons on the base, and mechanisms that allow the player to twist the joystick itself clockwise and counterclockwise on the base, adding a third axis to "front-and-back" and "left-and-right". It's used mainly to simulate flying an aircraft, although it can be used for other games (e.g. ''VideoGame/SpaceHarrier''). Very advanced examples may support force-feedback for more realism in older aircraft and for helicopter trim, or use a force-sensing transducer with a [[FreudWasRight very rigid stick that doesn't budge much]] to better simulate the one used in the F-16 and later jet fighters.
** '''Yoke''' Looks sort of like a steering wheel, except that it can also be [[InnocentInnuendo slid up and down its shaft]], just like the yokes in really big aircraft.
** '''Flight Control System / Hands-On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS)''' Consists of a joystick/yoke/cyclic, rudder pedals (like car pedals, only with toebrake axes and the main pedals sliding forward and back inverse to each other for the actual rudder control) and an independent throttle/collective with one or more big sliders/rotaries, a miniature analog stick or [=TrackPoint=] for mouse or targeting system control, and even ''more'' buttons. [[CrackIsCheaper Can get very expensive]], especially if it's a licensed replica of military aircraft components (see: [[FreudWasRight Thrustmaster]]).
*** Virtual World pods provide those ''and'' a whole bunch of [=MFDs=] to play {{Battletech}} or a racing game called ''Red Planet''.
*** Console gamers got a taste with the {{Xbox}} game ''SteelBattalion'', which required a ludicrous, dedicated two-flightstick controller (the left one moving only left and right to steer, the right one not centering and used to aim and fire weapons) with a sliding manual gear shifter to simulate the cockpit of a [[RealRobotGenre Real Robot]], complete with an [[EjectionSeat eject button]] with a flip-open cover. (The original plan required the player to ''break glass'' to activate it.)
* '''Biological sensors''': Ranging from simple heartbeat monitors to brain [=EEGs=], these are generally rather hard to control, and as such are usually gimmicks. Bio-feedback sensors have also appeared in the medical industry; primarily used as a diagnostic tool, the patient is connected to the sensors and then uses his brain to perform various tasks (such as popping on-screen balloons) in order to measure brain function and alpha/beta wave balance.

!!Unique (Only used once, as a one-off gimmick or merely yet to catch on):
* '''R.O.B.''': After TheGreatVideoGameCrashOf1983, nobody was willing to buy a home game console in the United States, so Creator/{{Nintendo}} originally released the NES bundled with a robot (and [[KillerApp a game]] called ''SuperMarioBros''), who would be the original focus of marketing. Needless to say, it worked. R.O.B. was rather gimmicky and unnecessary in practice, but he did his duty.
* '''Wii Remote''', [[FanNickname more commonly called]] the '''Wiimote'''. It's a NinjaPirateZombieRobot of controllers -- along with the signature motion control accelerometer, it has a pointer/sensor, a built-in speaker and rumble, can be flipped on the side to simulate a NES controller, and has an increasing array of attachments to add a thumbstick and more buttons, more motion control, a classic controller layout, and other features. The Wii Remote Plus (and it's add-on counterpart for the original Wiimote, Wii MotionPlus) added a gyroscope for more precise motion control. Despite the general skepticism of the Wii remote when it was first introduced, Nintendo's runaway success has prompted other developers to FollowTheLeader with their own motion controllers.
** The [[NerfBrand Nerf]] '''Switch Shot''' is a lightgun shell for the Wii where the Wiimote can be swapped for a conventional Nerf dart shooter. Unfortunately it's only really good in the latter capacity, as the trigger mechanism for the B button has a tendency to break.
** The '''PlayStation Move''' is a peripheral controller for the PS3 that works much like a Wiimote in reverse; while the Wii uses an IR emitter near the TV screen and a sensor in each controller for position tracking (in addition to the attendant gaggle of gyroscopes and tilt sensors), the Move uses a camera near the screen and lighted, colored orbs at the end of the controller. This does give the advantage of more precise position tracking, as the Move does not need to be pointed at the camera for it to determine the position. Unfortunately, due to this, the Move is unable to emulate some of the Wiimote's modes, and it has earned the derisive FanNickname "The Lollipop" thanks to Penny Arcade's lampooning of the controller, and statements made by Sony executives about the Wiimote.
* '''Wii U [=GamePad=]''', another NinjaPirateZombieRobot controller by {{Creator/Nintendo}}, taken UpToEleven. Its most prominent feature is its 6.2 inch resistive touchscreen, which can display a video stream sent from the console itself with minimal lag. It also features 3 different types of motion sensors: an accelerometer, a gyroscope (as with the Wii Remote Plus) and a magnetic sensor. Other features include dual analog controls (similar to Type 1, except the sticks are above the buttons and D-pad), a microphone, camera, headphone jack and stereo speakers (similar to the features found on the Nintendo3DS). It can also function as a universal TV remote.
* '''3D Mouse/Motion Controller''': Covers devices like the Spacetec IMC [=SpaceBall=] and [=SpaceOrb=] 360 (which has a PlayStation variant known as the ASCII Sphere), Logitech [=CyberMan 2=], and 3Dconnexion's various "3D mice". (Incidentally, Spacetec IMC was bought by Labtec, who was then bought by Logitech and then spun off as 3Dconnexion, which may explain the similarities.) The distinguishing feature is a ball/puck that senses motion/force on all six degrees of freedom, allowing for intuitive multi-axis control. The [=SpaceOrb=] 360 was even packaged with a demo of ''{{Descent}} 2'', and for good reason-it soon found itself as a must-have controller for ''{{Descent}}'' fans due to the controller matching up well with the nature of the ship's movement. Most of them are designed as professional 3D CAD/modeling input devices with little game support, but software exists to work around that.
* '''Air Keyboard Conqueror''' / '''Mimi Wireless Gaming Keyboard''': In case you thought "101-button mouse" mentioned above was only a joke, [[ this]] weird [[ gadget]] by Veho / Cideko is a close call. It's a gamepad and laptop keyboard melded into one, with built-in gyro mouse.
* '''Motion Capture''': Uses a camera and specialized image recognition software to track selected parts of a player's body, eliminating the need for ''any'' controller and theoretically allowing better interaction. In practice, however, more calibration is required than for other motion sensing systems and a certain type of environment is required for optimal function. Earlier implementations were one-off gimmicks or neat little distractions but the technology arguably caught on (though not in a terribly big way) with Sony's [[ Eye Toy]], which had it as one of the device's capabilities. Microsoft's Kinect uses this system in lieu of a handheld motion sensor.
* '''Card Readers''': Originally used to transfer character or item data from [[RevenueEnhancingDevices collectible cards]] to arcade cabinets, with other systems used for actual control. Improvements in technology have resulted in cabinets with a large reading surface upon which cards can be placed and moved to control in-game entities. The ''[[ Sangokushi Taisen]]'' series is one of the more notable users of this system.
* '''Punch Pads''': Used in the {{Arcade Game}}s ''VideoGame/SonicBlastMan'' and some models of the original ''VideoGame/StreetFighter''. Not seen too often in arcades due to the potential for players to injure themselves and/or damage the cabinets. The "bongos" in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongJungleBeat'' work on a similar principle.
* '''Bike''': An exercise bike which the player rides, spinning the pedals and rotating the handlebars to provide control input. This was used in the SNES game ''Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally'' and the ArcadeGame ''Propcycle''.
* '''VideoGame/VirtualPinball''': A plastic replica of a pinball machine lockbar and flipper buttons, sold by Philips in 1997. It would connect to a computer and send keystrokes to correspond with playing [[DigitalPinballTables PC pinball games.]]

See also [[ here]].