A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. Joysticks are often used to control video games, and usually have one or more push-buttons whose state can also be read by the computer. A popular variation of the joystick used on modern video game consoles is the analog stick.
The joystick has been the principal flight control in the cockpit of many aircraft, particularly military fast jets, where center stick or side-stick location may be employed.
Joysticks are also used for controlling machines such as cranes, trucks, underwater unmanned vehicles, wheelchairs, surveillance cameras and zero turning radius lawn mowers. Miniature finger-operated joysticks have been adopted as input devices for smaller electronic equipment such as mobile phones.
A gamepad (also called joypad or control pad), is a type of game controller held in the hand, where the digits (especially thumbs) are used to provide input. Gamepads generally feature a set of action buttons handled with the right thumb and a direction controller handled with the left. The direction controller has traditionally been a four-way digital cross (also named a joypad, or alternatively a D-pad), but most modern controllers additionally (or as a substitute) feature an analog stick.
The gamepad with a trackball for use with the Apple Bandai Pippin
Some common additions to the standard pad include shoulder buttons placed along the edges of the pad, centrally placed start, select, and mode buttons, and an internal motor to provide force feedback. Some models, like Space Orb, have a trackball.
Gamepads are the primary means of input on all modern video game consoles except for the Wii (though the Wii Remote can function alternately as a gamepad). Gamepads are also available for personal computers, although a keyboard and mouse combination tends to be utilized more often for certain genres.
There are programmable joysticks that can emulate keyboard input. Generally they have been made to circumvent the lack of joystick support in some computer games, i.e. the Belkin Nostromo SpeedPad n52. There are several programs that emulate keyboard and mouse input with a gamepad such as JoyToKey, Xpadder, and Pinnacle Game Profiler.