The Dual Analog controller has three modes of operation: Digital, which disables the Analog sticks, Analog (as also found on DualShock/DualShock 2 controllers) and a unique Analog Flightstick mode that is not available on the DualShock or DualShock 2.
If a PS1 game is DualShock or Dual Analog compatible, the player may press the Analog button located between the two analog sticks to activate the analog mode. This is indicated by a red LED. If the Dual Analog controller is switched to analog mode while using a game which is not analog-compatible, the game will not register any button presses or, in some cases, the PlayStation will consider the controller to be detached.
The ability to emulate Sony’s own PlayStation Analog Joystick by pressing the “Analog” button a second time to reveal a green LED (this was commonly referred to as “Flightstick Mode”) provided a less expensive alternative to the FlightStick Analog Joystick and retailed for an average of US$35 compared to the Flightstick’s retail price of US$70.
MechWarrior 2, Ace Combat 2, Descent Maximum, and Colony Wars were among the shortlist of twenty-seven PlayStation Flightstick compatible games.
The Dual Analog controller features several aspects that remain exclusive to it, and were scrapped or redesigned for the release of the DualShock controller.
- Only the Japanese version features a vibration feedback function. The European and American versions of the controller do however include circuitry and mounts for a rumble motor, a possible leftover from the Japanese version of the controller, and therefore installing the motor is a simple process. Due to a lack of vibration-compatible games at the time, the European and American versions were not shipped with rumble feedback and, as a result, weigh significantly less than their overseas counterpart, and fall somewhere between the weights of the standard controller and the DualShock.
- The hand grips are 3⁄5 inch (1.5 cm) longer than the original controller and the later DualShock controller. The body of the controller is also wider, spacing the pads slightly farther apart. This wider controller body has been retained on the DualShock and all later PlayStation controllers.
- The L2 and R2 buttons have ridges at the top edge to easily distinguish them from the L1 and R1 buttons and are spaced farther apart than the original controller or DualShock.
- The L2 and R2 buttons are also wider than the standard controller but shorter than the DualShock.
- The analog sticks are concave and lack the rubberised coating that has been used on the DualShock and later controllers.
- In addition to the standard digital mode and the regular “red LED” Analog mode, there is a third mode that emulates the layout of Sony’s own PlayStation Analog Joystick, and is indicated by a green LED. This feature is missing on the DualShock.
- The “Analog” button, used for switching modes, is raised instead of recessed like the DualShock’s button and can be more easily hit accidentally.
- The Analog mode cannot be changed or locked by software as it can with the DualShock controller and later.
- The Dual Analog’s rumble circuit will not respond to PlayStation 2 software even if a rumble motor is installed.