Whether you played video games in your childhood or still do, you likely know what a joystick is used for. Although it has several applications, including industrial systems and graphics, it is mainly popular for playing games. Principally, it is an input device using which you can control the positions on the screen. The device translates the physical movement (left, right, up, down) into electrical signals, which are then changed into mathematical. This is how you provide inputs to control characters in video games. However, since joysticks are like any other device we use daily, we rarely pay special attention. Thus, for a change, let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of a joystick.
Advantages of joystick
We want you to ask yourself this. If you were given an option to use a joystick or remember different keys on the keyboard, which would you choose? Remember that you would be required to press buttons rapidly but accurately to give various commands. Most of you will likely choose the former for the obvious reason — convenience. It is a very convenient input device, providing you with a higher degree of control and faster reaction time. This is just the beginning, mind you. The joystick has more benefits and some of them are as follows.
1. Quick interaction
The feature that distinguishes the joystick from other input devices is its fast interaction. Meaning, you can easily control the cursor on the screen using hand movements. When you use a joystick, you get more space to physically move around, allowing you to ace video games. This is especially true for game titles that involve racing and fighting. You can provide inputs quicker, and the same will be reflected on the screen in no time. This is one of the reasons it is so popular among arcade game lovers.
The joystick may not be the first choice among input devices for beginners but is undeniably user-friendly. Firstly, it is quite comfortable to use compared to other input devices. Secondly, since it is flexible, it allows its users to increase the degree of control, eventually improving their performance. Finally, it’s designed in a way to fit in the hands comfortably.
Once users get the hang of it, they can easily operate the device while continuously focusing on the screen. Industrial systems also use joysticks to control robots, allowing the operator to command the robot’s movements and positions and complete various tasks. It goes to show how effective and precise these devices are.
There are a bunch of joysticks on the market and each is designed for specific purposes. Thus, getting a joystick won’t be a tedious task and can fit into your budget. The most common types of joystick are digital, paddle, and analog. Most of you might have seen a digital joystick, as it is one of the most commonly used types. It allows the user to provide directional inputs such as up, down, left, and right.
Next comes a paddle joystick, which has been with us for the longest time. It has one button and uses a potentiometer to measure any movements. Lastly, we have an analog joystick that is a combination of digital and paddle. Best of all, you can get these kinds of joysticks at affordable prices.
4. Enhanced gaming experience
Suppose you checked off your to-do list and want to treat yourself with playing games. In that case, you might want to consider purchasing a joystick. With input devices such as a mouse, keyboard, or touchpad, you need to stay closer to the screen to play. In contrast, a joystick provides freedom of movement. You can even carry it anywhere you go.
Be it your couch or staying, the joystick can easily fit in with your other stuff. You get more flexibility if your joystick is wireless, too. The other benefit is that you don’t have to worry about pressing incorrect keys unintentionally, which often happens with the keyboard. This way, the joystick enhances your gaming experience.
5. Provides a fast interface
Joystick takes advantage of the fact that it has limited inputs to offer. As such, the user experiences a fast interface. One just has to tap a button to skip a video or scroll down to the end. This fast interface was what prompted developers to put such shortcuts on keyboards. Any GUI that adopts or can support a joystick is much faster when experienced. The approach is kept simple but without comprising the graphics. That is why a joystick is good for games. Since a player doesn’t need a lot of buttons to input a gaming command, a joystick is much more suitable.
Disadvantages of joystick
We looked at the favorable side of using the joystick, but that is just one part of the discussion. On the other hand, the joystick can lead to technical issues and physical ailments. Let’s discuss each of these in detail in the following section.
1. Compatibility issues
Problems with compatibility arise when the operating system of your computer cannot identify the connected device. Therefore, it is important to check the compatibility before purchasing a joystick. A rule of thumb is that a joystick that comes with the gaming system is only compatible with it. We have an alternative that is USB, though. You can plug it into your computer or smartphone before connecting the joystick to the other end. This way, you can play games that support controllers using a joystick.
2. Not robust
Once you start operating a joystick, you will come to realize that the harder the movements you make, the faster the outputs you get. That’s where the concern of robustness can creep in. When you are focused on bringing your enemy down in the game, the pressure you apply on the joystick is the least of your concern. But in the end, joysticks are not sturdy. Hence, if you apply more pressure than the device can handle, you will surely face performance issues or break it. Also, you need to carefully store and maintain your joystick, as leaving it carelessly can lead to physical damage.
3. Causes strain
People whose profession is gaming can tell you that a joystick, while comfortable and flexible, comes with a list of downsides. The biggest downside of using the joystick for a prolonged period is numbness and soreness in your hand. Staring at the screen for a longer duration without blinking is already bad for your eyes, neck, and back.
Now combine this with the hand strain that you get when using the joystick. These strains can lead to inflammation and, in serious cases, require surgery. This is why it is suggested to take breaks to avoid causing stress to your muscles. To conclude, you should consider the health factor while using this piece of technology.
4. Limited cursor movement
As we have already addressed the issue of a faster interface, users would know that because a joystick has limited cursor movement to offer. Unlike a mouse that offers free movement due to tracking, we have to press a button on the joystick to make the pointer move. Also, know that a mouse can make movements in multiple frames. But to do the same on a joystick, we have to press many buttons. Thus, a mouse is the better choice when free movement is a necessity. And that is why FPS on a PC, with a mouse, is more entertaining than its console counterpart, except Halo! Of course!