First post, by hifidelitygaming
I'm trying to track down or/and create a canononical list of all the alternative controllers which have existed and been supported over the years by various games, even if they were only supported by one game at all.... if someone knows of others who have done this already please tip me off, otherwise please help add to my list or give pointers/rumors for me to track down. 😀 Even rumors or foggy memories is fine, i'm just trying to research them in general... I want to eventually put up a website database/this is preliminary research for now.
My purpose is like my name "high fidelity gaming" - my interest is in tracking down (and eventually publically databasing) the BEST POSSIBLE WAY to play all sorts of older retrogames, in particular focusing on some of the lost branches of history... things that started to grow in a certain direction and were either abandoned or no longer doable on a modern PC. Example - many games play fine on a modern PC, but sometimes things like proprietary graphics API's, "better" sound systems like A3D no longer used on modern systems, and (this topic) - unique controllers gave a better, or at least different experience, of game immersion at the time they were out.
Comments on NONgame controllers, ie controllers intended as input devices for applications (such as light pens, Wacom tablets, Spacetec controllers for CAD and such) can also be mentioned. I'm most interested in games, but also curious what else was out there in the past...
Here's some I know of offhand:
Spacetec SpaceOrb 360 - this 6DOF controller in a gamepad form was pretty much the boss at playing Descent 1/2. Though supported in other games, Descent was really it's killer app.
P5 Virtual Reality Glove - another 6DOF controller, like the Nintendo Power Glove but working far better, I know it was supported in Hitman 2. (as I have hitman 2 and the glove though I never tried playing the game actually, because lag made it harder to play than kb/mouse)
Steering wheels including force feedback is another obvious area of controllers... of note was I think the Act Labs RS series - which had realistic force feedback, support for an H-gate shifter and clutch and was basically considered the ultimate wheel in the late 90's up to 2000 or so. (based off just memory right now)
Flight simulator yokes - multiple of these existed in various forms, though I haven't tracked down a complete list or whether any were notably supported outside flight sims...
Gravis GRiP pads - allowing 4 buttons and 4 players from what I remember, in the age of analog Dsub gameports, they were directly supported by some games but i'm not sure which ones offhand. FIFA and some WWE Raw game I think. Word was they were not the best quality of joypad however. 😜
Force Feedback joysticks often using MIDI or something, I forget exactly who made them or what supported them offhand but a friend had one in the late 90's before USB was popular. Whether games could only use that method (MIDI) and not later USB i'm not sure, i'd like more information if so...
Act Labs light gun - uniquely supported in games like Mad Dog McCree I *think*, from the age of CRT's (late 90's)
Gravis Phoenix - an early multibutton joystick, with throttle and such, usable for flight sims, apparently for games like Wing Commander and similar. Analog and gameport support, with I believe a keyboard plug in for the extra buttons. However I don't know if it added any new abilities (I mean you could use a joystick and your own keyboard and recreate the controller - my biggest interest was for things totally unique/not replicatable without the original controller and hacking) Gravis had a line of other multibutton joysticks as I remember which added buttons often via the keyboard connector.
more recent stuff (XP and USB age and later, even if it's out now, it will eventually become old 😀
Novint Falcon - a robotic force feedback 6DOF stylus of sorts... specific support in Half Life 2 apparently.