September 5, 2011

Aiming With a Mouse… Old Habits Die Hard

I’m one of those, a PC Gamer and when I can pur­chase a title (out­side of sports and rac­ing games) on the PC plat­form I do.  Hav­ing said that, I real­ize the indus­try as a whole has shift­ed to con­sole as a pri­ma­ry devel­op­ment plat­form.  While I much pre­fer gam­ing on a PC I do own all the major gam­ing con­soles (Wii, PS3, XBox 360) and own a good num­ber of titles on each of the sys­tems.   Most of my friends also play on con­sole sys­tems and as such a few years ago I branched out to play games that I tra­di­tion­al­ly would only play on PC such as FPS and RTS.
Grow­ing up (I’m 26 by the way) the PC was the dom­i­nant plat­form when it came to mul­ti­play­er gam­ing online and indus­try stan­dard.  It was also the leader in graph­ics, per­for­mance and mod­ding.  The con­sole phe­nom­e­nom has tak­en away the major­i­ty of what made PC gam­ing great dur­ing the late 90’s and ear­ly 2000’s, push­ing the lim­its of hard­ware, user cre­at­ed con­tent and online com­mu­ni­ties.  These are all things that have tak­en a back­seat with the cur­rent gen­er­a­tions of gamers. 
For the most part, I have come to terms with this how­ev­er there is one thing that I sim­ply can­not put my mind around and that is using a con­troller instead of a key­board and mouse for gam­ing.  This is espe­cial­ly true for FPS and RTS titles that seem to be flood­ing the con­sole mar­ket.   I’ve had a the lat­est and great­est con­soles back to the reg­u­lar nin­ten­do days and I have tried, real­ly tried, to get my mind and fin­gers around the con­cept of aim­ing with a joy­stick instead of using a mouse and key­board.  I actu­al­ly took the time one day to cal­cu­late how long it took me to aim for a head­shot on a stand­still tar­get on a con­sole vs a mouse and the dif­fer­ence was stag­ger­ing.  It took me at times, to get a pre­ci­sion shot almost 2 — 3 sec­onds (yes I had my wife time me) with the con­troller to less then a sec­onds on the same title on the PC (I used Mass Effect 2). 
I have noticed that on con­soles the aim­ing mechan­ics are a lot less per­cise.  For exam­ple on Halo 3, with the bat­tle rifle, you could swing the gun from left to right on the screen and as long as you passed over your oppo­nents head you would get a head­shot regard­less of wheather or not you actu­al­ly fired the shot accuret­ly or not.  I’ve also noticed with pop­u­lar con­sole titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops that I could lit­ter­ly shoot to the side of my oppo­nent and score a head­shot. 
I noticed when I play on con­soles I can­not seper­ate three of my fin­gers at a time.  Basi­cal­ly this means  that I can either move and fire, aim and fire, move and aim.  I can’t do all three at one time.  Per­haps this is what it is like to learn how to play the drums.  I also can­not wrap my mind around using a joy­stick to get a pre­ci­sion shot. 
Some might say that I am stuck in the past, learn how to play, or just give up gam­ing.  I think in my case old habits just die hard.  I sus­pect that I will nev­er ful­ly be able to com­pete on con­sole sys­tems, most defi­nate­ly not at the CAL and tour­na­ment lev­el I used to be when I played Counter-Strike back in the late 90’s and ear­ly 2000’s.
Does any­one else feel the same way?  Does any­one actu­al­ly find it eas­i­er to aim with a con­troller instead of a mouse?  Let us know your sto­ry!


  1. zero_19 - September 6, 2011 8:08 am

    I can’t aim for shit with a joy­stick. I’m a mouse gamer all the way.

  2. CharcoalCoyote - September 6, 2011 9:25 am

    I’m one of those dual-type, all-around-if-it’s-good gamers. I was raised on con­soles (my dad already owned a Super Nin­ten­do and our com­put­er had 16 gigs of hard dri­ve space), but I even­tu­al­ly found my way to PC gam­ing for the whole “online” expe­ri­ence (which was exact­ly half a year before Halo 2 came out.) My first real FPS was Halo (Sur­pris­ing­ly, I had an N64 but did­n’t have Gold­en­eye), and I quick­ly got involved with the cus­tom map­ping com­mu­ni­ty. For rough­ly a year, Halo PC and Cus­tom Edi­tion was the ONLY game I played. Though I was more of a custom/machinima guy, I could eas­i­ly hold my own in any team or 1v1 are­na play. Point being, I got pret­ty damn good with the mouse.
    How­ev­er, my best friends and fel­low machin­i­mak­ers were anx­ious to migrate to the new tech­nol­o­gy, so I got an Xbox 360 when they came out and jumped late onto the Halo 2 wag­on. The games were dif­fer­ent enough that by the time I had the hang of the new Bat­tle Rifle and SMG(s), I already had a firm grasp on the joy­stick con­trols. Through the ins, outs, ons, and offs, I stuck by the Halo series and still occa­sion­al­ly play to this day.
    I’ve played almost every pop­u­lar shoot­er with an incar­na­tion on all plat­forms (Halo, Call of Duty, Bat­tle­field), and the ver­dict is dif­fer­ent for each game. Halo was always a con­sole shoot­er, and while I feel that Halo PC was prob­a­bly the best in the series, I’ve got to say that it han­dles bet­ter with the joy­sticks. I have a long and rough his­to­ry with CoD as well, and the fact that they’re so heav­i­ly con­solized now means that, while I pre­fer play­ing them on PC, they “feel” bet­ter on a con­troller. Bat­tle­field is a PC game. Bad Com­pa­ny 1 and 2 were pret­ty good on con­sole, but they feel a mil­lion times bet­ter on PC (though if you don’t have a joy­stick, fly­ing the heli­copters with the con­soles was a lot eas­i­er than fly­ing with a damn mouse.)
    The dif­fer­ence between mouse and con­troller shootering/gaming is just the prac­tice. It takes a while to switch over, even if you’re well versed in both. I played the mousi­est, PC-iest shoot­er of all time (Counter Strike) for about a year, and when I went back to Halo, every­thing was dif­fer­ent. In all actu­al­i­ty, if you give me a month to adjust to either con­trol scheme, I’ll prob­a­bly play bet­ter with an Xbox 360 con­troller than a mouse and key­board.
    On a com­plete­ly unre­lat­ed note, though I’m fair­ly sure I know who wrote this, I can’t seem to see the author list­ed any­where on this page. We might wan­na fix that.

  3. Pingback: Aiming With a Mouse… Old Habits Die Hard | The Gamers Blog | irydopefy

  4. CABXYZ - September 6, 2011 4:58 pm

    All through col­lege I had no issues switch­ing back and forth. I either had and Xbox or Game­Cube with me and end­less nights of Counter-Strike on the PC. Now I tried play­ing Counter-Strike Source and TF2 and I can not use a mouse any­more. I even tried doing the unimag­in­able and plugged a wired 360 pad into my PC for Counter-Strike. I think in a con­sole dri­ven era I am accus­tomed to the twin stick lay­out that a mouse and key­board are sec­ond banana, even though they are more pre­cise.

  5. Selonari - September 7, 2011 3:52 am

    PC gam­ing all the way. ESPECIALLY for shoot­ers.

  6. ScrotusKilmystr - September 8, 2011 9:14 am

    back in the day I could­n’t imag­ine play­ing a con­sole game now.…I just haven’t got­ten my flow back to play on the PC again damn con­sole and your con­ve­nience.… I’m slow­ly try­ing to get my groove back om the PC how­ev­er so maybe some day haha


Have your say

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Archives - Powered by WordPress - A theme by