Gaming on a PC with a gamepad can be a lot easier than using a mouse or keyboard if you are accustomed to playing on consoles. However, keep in mind that gamepads are built with a specific gamer in mind, for particular types of games. If you enjoy sports, action or racing games then a gamepad is your best bet. However, for shooters and strategy games, a gamepad won't help because you won't have the programmable buttons or the same selection of button controls as you would have on a keyboard. Plus, when speed is of the essence, a gamepad just won't cut it.
Choosing a gamepad should be a matter of features, comfort and durability. Trust me, throwing a controller around can take a toll on it. Also check for compatibility with your operating system. A lot of controllers don't work with Macs.
Features to Look For
* '''Traditional or force feedback'''. If you want to feel the g-force while flying around a hairpin curve or the jolt when you crash head first into an object, force feedback gamepads will give you the realistic feel that you are looking for.
* '''All around simplicity'''. If all you want and need is the basic D-pad with the standard four or six button setup, opt for a functional but inexpensive gamepad, such as the Wingman Precision USB. While the cord may be a pain for some people, it still allows for button programming and has shoulder buttons (triggers). It also happens to be Mac compatible. Not bad for around $10.
* '''Analog sticks'''. Ask yourself how important these are to you and to the games that you play. They may also play a part in personal comfort. Some basic corded and wireless models come with these analog joysticks
* '''Programmability'''. Decide how many pre-programmed buttons you will need for your most favorite games. An optional shift key support allows for doubling your options.
* '''Trigger happy'''? Decide if you need dual or quadruple triggers (i.e., shoulder pads).
* '''Cordless'''. Few gaming experiences are more irritating than getting cords all tangled up and cluttering up your computer space. Not to mention that wires keep you restricted to sitting in one place. A simple USB connection can have you roaming around without a cumbersome cord.