Steam Machines: How to fake a gamepad if you don’t have one

This article is about the recent Steam Machines announcement. Part of becoming eligible for beta/hardware participation is playing a Steam game with a gamepad in Big Picture mode, which is a problem if you don’t have a gamepad. But if you have a Windows PC, this will work for you.

Be sure to exit Steam before doing this.

  1. Download VJoy, a free joystick emulator. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and click the top download link (VJoy Virtual Joystick Driver v1.2 (Includes key to joy application)).
  2. Install VJoy, then configure the VJoy application like this (Make sure you check‘Enabled’ at the top left): VJoy configuration screenshot
  3. Start Steam, then click the Big Picture button on the top right. Use the WASD keys to navigate and the 2 key on the numberstrip for ‘A’, and then choose a game like TF2 (which is what I went with).
  4. Launch TF2, and it will ask you if you want to use a gamepad, click ‘Yes’ with your mouse.
  5. Using your mouse, join a server and play normally.
  6. Quit TF2 and Big Picture mode and check your Steam Machines quest status. It should look like this now if you’ve completed all the steps beforehand: Steam Machines quest status

Congratulations, you’re now eligible to be a part of the Steam Machines testing group.


Hi! I'm Luke Harris.

I make websites for people.

I'm based in Corpus Christi, Texas, and I have over 10 years of experience making it easy for small business owners, non-profits, and religious organizations to reach more people online.