A functionally splendid gamepad produced by the folks at Creative Labs (yep, the SoundBlaster people) in the late 1990s. The gamepad comes with Windows drivers and requires DirectX, although it also works in DOS with some stripped down functionality. The device itself plugs into the game port on the back of the PC. Note that it will not work under Windows XP, as Creative has disavowed all connection to the product and will not offer updated drivers for it.

The gamepad resembles the marriage of controllers from the Super NES and the Sega Genesis. It has an 8-way control pad, three large blue buttons labeled A B & C, three smaller yellow buttons labeled X Y & Z, two shoulder buttons labeled L & R, Start & Select buttons, and a switch to toggle between gamepad and joystick mode.

Gamepad mode is for use in Microsoft Windows. All of the buttons are usable in this mode and the gamepad is configured through the Control Panel's Gamepad application. Any program or game that supports DirectX controllers will be able to access the gamepad.

Under DOS, however, the gamepad must be put into Joystick mode by toggling the aforementioned switch. In Joystick mode the only buttons available are A B C & Z, with the X and Y buttons taking on the roles of Turbo A and B and the L and R buttons becoming another way to access C and D. Plus not all DOS games support all those buttons. Some might only support A and B; it's trial and error to figure it all out.

In the end the gamepad is a nice price-friendly alternative to those of us who are casual gamers and don't require force-feedback and a 3D axis to have fun. I bought mine back in 1999 for $20. Personally I find the gamepad perfect for emulation.

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