A pointing device used to move an object on screen in any direction. It employs a vertical rod mounted on a base with one or two buttons. Joysticks are used extensively in video arcade games, and they were the primary game controller on home computers during the 1980s and 90s. PCs came equipped with a port dedicated to the joystick; however, that game port is no longer used, and the joystick has given way to much more elaborate controllers with several buttons, triggers and dials. The term comes from the main control stick in a small airplane.
Old and New
Joysticks such as the unit on the left used to plug directly into the PC's game port. Today, gamers use Xbox controllers like the one on the right as well as far more elaborate devices, all of which plug into the USB port. See video game controller