Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Paddle (game controller)
A paddle is a game controller with a round wheel and one or more fire buttons, where the wheel is typically used to control movement of the player object along one axis of the video screen. How it works: The paddle wheel is usually mechanically coupled to a potentiometer, so as to generate an output voltage level varying with the wheel's angle relative to a start position. The first successful video game console, the Atari 2600, used paddles for several of its games, as did early home computers such as the Commodore VIC-20.
Some famous video games using paddles are Pong, Breakout, and Night Driver. The reason for the name paddles for this type of game controller is that the first game that used it, Pong, was a (somewhat crude, but pioneering) video game simulation of table tennis, whose racquets are commonly called paddles. Even though the simulated paddles appeared on-screen (as small vertical line segments), it was the hand controllers used to move the line segments that actually came to bear the name.
See also: joystick
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