After searching high and low, stumbled upon this post on how to install qjoypad, a useful application to turn a USB gamepad into a keyboard for playing games, or for using gamepads as control devices for sports refereeing applications.
http://doc.ubuntu-fr.org/joystick The article is in French. Search qjoypad in the page (it is at the bottom). I was not able to use apt-get to retrieve the package as stated, but adding the repository to synaptic, giving it the GPG authentication key, and using synaptic to retrieve the package all worked just fine.
Much easier than downloading half the universe to compile the thing.