The First Control Pad.

A nice anecdote in Walter Isaacson's The Innovators on how the first video game control pad came to be. They were playing "Spacewar!".

One lasting contribution came from two active members of the Tech Model Railroad Club, Alan Kotok and Bob Sanders. They realized that players crammed in front of a PDP-1 console jostling elbows and frantically grabbing at the computer’s switches was both awkward and dangerous. So they rummaged around under the train set in the clubroom and commandeered some of the toggles and relays. These they pieced together inside two plastic boxes to make remote controls, complete with all the necessary function switches and the hyperspace panic button.

A fortuitous improvisation.

Along with music, video games are influencing my explorations to a degree. I grew up playing Super Nintendo, and the classic control pad is full of tactile joy. Perfectly ergonomic, and ever responsive.

Since those days the controls have remained fundamentally the same, though greater nuance was introduced in the thumbstick and accelerometer. Translating some of that control to a keyboard (I concede PC gaming is very popular but peripherals play a major part in that) or a touchscreen has nothing like the same immediacy and responsiveness. Such a contrast is missing in the creative tools sphere I'm examining, the keyboard and mouse / stylus paradigm is all we know.