I haven't done it myself but a friend of mine actually uses a 360 controller (afterglow iirc) to play his ISOs anr ROMS on his playstation1 emulator.
I have used PC gamepads. If you plug in a USB device and your machine recognizes it, it's probably fine to use but it may require a bit of custom configuration, trial and error. Plus what's more is it may not always be 100% of what it was on a console. There may be some definite differences and changes to control schemes.
I've tried it for GTA games on gamepads but because the control configuration is somewhat different in the software itself w.r.t. controlling the walking direction versus strafing and backing up. On console whatever direction you press would face your character that way and be moving forward--not so much for PC versions. So I could only assign and retain so much in terms of features.
Possible?: yes. Reducing hassle?:not necessarily.