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A game port is a device port which was available in most personal computer-compatible systems. This input/output connector traditionally allowed users to connect game pads, joysticks or other compatible devices to provide additional functionality to the computer system. With the advent of universal serial bus, production of game ports decreased and has since been discontinued in most personal computers and laptops.
A game port is also known as an analog-to-digital port, game control adapter or joystick port.
Mostly found on the back of the computer, a game port is a 15-pin socket. It was later integrated into sound cards. A game port can be considered as a simple general-purpose analog data acquisition port capable of supporting four variable-voltage inputs and four simple switched inputs. A game controller attached to this interface supports buttons and variable inputs from a joystick or similar devices. A game port uses only one input/output base address, and never needs interrupt requests or mapped memory. Game ports are categorized into single and dual port. The single-port type can only support two-axis game controllers, and in the case of joysticks, cannot support joystick2 functions. In the case of a dual port, it supports both joystick1 and joystick2 functionalities.
One significant advantage associated with the game port is the ability to test the port in Windows-based systems, as they provided a built-in control panel for the purpose.
One of the drawbacks for the game port is that it can only support up to four buttons on any controller. As a game port is not interrupt driven, the central processing unit has to constantly check the game port to detect any joystick movement or pressing of buttons.