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Windows XP / Windows Vista
Xpadder is a fantastic program that lets you use a video game controller even in programs or games not set up for them. For $10, you can download Xpadder and, within minutes, you can have it configured and ready to go. It works for PS3 and Xbox controllers, as well as many others.
What does Xpadder do? It uses the controller's buttons and thumbpad to emulate your computer keyboard and mouse. Even with only a few buttons on the actual controller, Xpadder has plenty of command options, thanks to support for chorded input, rumble feedback, and multiple profiles. That means you can save different sets of controls for different games, making it easy to jump from game to game without having to reprogram it every time.
The best part about Xpadder is how simple it is to set up and figure out. With no manual or outside instructions, we were able to assign keys quickly and easily to the gamepad and were using it within a matter of minutes to run programs on our computer. You can even use the Xpadder as a sort of remote for non-gaming programs, like Windows Media Player. Set up a profile with the appropriate key assignments, and you can sit back and watch a movie, pausing and fast forwarding with your controller instead of leaning forward to manually click with your mouse. This is great for anyone tired of holding their laptop actually on their lap to watch movies or play games.
Although you can use it for other programs, the primary purpose of Xpadder, of course, is gaming. Once it's set up, you can use the gamepad to play games that you could previously only play with the clunky keyboard-and-mouse setup. It can add a new level of gameplay to originally PC games as well as make old video game emulators a lot more fun.