A joystick is a computer input or control device that is composed of a stick that is controlled by the hand. The stick pivots off a base and transmits the angle of the pivot two or three dimensions to a computer or video game device.
While not standard, there is usually one or more push-buttons that add to the joysticks capability.
Joysticks were originally created to control airplanes. They were also used in the 1940s in World War II to direct and guide bombs and rockets. The Atari standard joystick, developed for the Atari 2600 was a digital joystick, with a single 'fire' button. Joysticks were commonly used as controllers in first and second generation video game consoles but lost popularity after the Nintendo Entertainment System debuted with its handheld gaming pad.