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Input device for a video game controller / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A D-pad (short for directional pad)[lower-alpha 1] is a flat, typically thumb-operated, directional control. D-Pads are found on nearly all modern gamepads, handheld game consoles, and audiovisual device remote controls. Because they operate using four internal push-buttons (arrayed at 90° angles), the vast majority of D-pads provide discrete, rather than continuous, directional options—typically limited to up, down, left, and right, and sometimes offering intermediate diagonals by means of two-button combinations.

A Famicom controller. The D-pad (cross shape on left) first came to prominence on the controller for the Famicom.
Master System D-pad providing eight-directional buttons

Although D-pads offer less flexibility than analog sticks, they offer high accuracy and can be manipulated with minimal movement by the thumb. They require comparatively little maintenance and their minimal profile makes them ideal for portable devices.

D-pads have appeared on diverse forms of electronic equipment including calculators, PDAs, mobile phones, and car stereos.