In the days of arcade games, arcade sticks, sometimes called joysticks, were the standard of playing games. In recent years, however, we have seen a tremendous increase in the use of gaming control pads. Many people wonder if control pads are really that better that they have almost replaced the arcade sticks. Things are not quite straightforward, however.
Arcade sticks are more intuitive. You only need to move your hand in a specific direction. On the control pads, however, you need to do it with your fingers: not very intuitive way. Same is the case with buttons. On arcade or joysticks, the buttons are bigger and you do not need to think before pressing a button. Neither you need to change your fingers from button to button.
If joysticks are really better than gaming control pads, then why every game manufacturer is pushing control pads? Actually, gaming pads have many advantages over joysticks. Gaming control pads are cheaper to make. In fact, a cheap gaming pad might work better than a cheap arcade stick. A quality arcade stick, however, works a lot better than a quality control pad.
In addition to the manufacturing cost, control pads are small in size. So, they are easy to store, pack, and ship. This is true for manufacturers as well as buyers. Control pads are very durable and may last years. Joysticks are durable, but they might need occasional maintenance.
In a nutshell, control pads have replaced arcade sticks not because they offer a better user experience, but because they have advantages in terms of cost and convenience. Arcade sticks almost always outperform gaming pads. However, some computer games require precise pointing and they can be best played using a mouse and keyboard. When it comes to precise pointing, nothing can beat a good quality mouse.