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Confronted with this problem, I went on a search. I knew someone must be marketing the converter necessary to use the PlayStation controller on a PC. I found just such aPSX->USB converter at Easybuy2000.com, a vendor I had not heard of. But for $12.50, I figured I'd take a chance, and see what happened.
A few days later, the unit arrived, with a plain (unlabeled) floppy disk loaded with Windows drivers. The unit itself is simply a tiny box with circuitry to talk to USB, a PlayStation connector on one end, and a USB connector on the other. Physical installation is as simple as plugging the device in, and plugging the controller into it. It accepts all PlayStation-compatible controllers from the original gamepad to the latest PlayStation 2 Dual Analog Shock 2 controller.
Once I had it installed, it was a matter of getting the proper drivers -- in this case, I had to get joystick/USB input installed and working. I compiled the input and joydev modules under input core support, and made sure USB human interface devices were supported. I compiled the modules (make modules; make modules_install) and then loaded them with insmod. Once you do this, your joysticks are assigned names like /dev/input/js0 through js31. The easiest way to tell if everything is working at this point is to type cat /dev/input/js0, then press buttons on the controller. This should cause all sorts of text to scroll down the screen. If you get results from this, the converter is set up, and you need only set up whatever game you want to use with the device to see it at /dev/input/js0.
I have never been satisfied with the design of gaming controllers for the PC -- they never seemed to fit quite right, and their directional pads never worked right. The Legend of Zelda is tough to play when Link wants to go up and to the left instead of just up.
The PlayStation controller is the best controller you can get -- Sony has put a lot of time into making them, as did Nintendo in the designs that inspired Sony. With the analog controls for things like flight simulators or other flying games, and a D-pad for those old, but great, NES and SNES games, this is the ideal choice for gamers today. At only $12.50, it is a steal, especially when you can get a used PlayStation controller for as low as $5. I recommend getting the newer analog models, which are still cheaper than some higher-end PC controllers that might not function as well. If you are in the market for a controller to use with emulators, or any game for that matter, check out the PSX adapter, available at EasyBuy2000.com.