In Defense of the Plebian Joystick Users

My name is Zack and I play PC games with an Xbox 360 controller.

I know, I know. I can hear the scoffing already. Clearly, it is inferior. Clearly, I must be a 14-year old Halo kiddie. Clearly, everyone in a multiplayer match playing the “right way” will murder me (actually, I do quite fine for myself in TF2 thanks). Clearly, I am wrong. And PC developers must think I am wrong. But I don’t want to be right.

My left hand doesn’t like the “claw” position I have to contort to to use the W-A-S-D keys for movement. I’m always hitting F or E by accident anyway. I have to look down to find R or T while the buttons on a gamepad are nicely spaced. And keyboards are digital. I can’t “kind of” hit A where I could nudge on an analog joystick.

I have a preference. I’m not alone.

But I tried to play Battlefield Heroes yesterday and after fighting with the installer, I could find no joystick support. I am spoiled. In Team Fortress 2 or Left 4 Dead or Fallout 3, one simple command enables support with the 360 controller. So I quit. Not worth my time.

I downloaded Morrowind off of Steam last night. The game was ported to Xbox, so clearly it can support a joystick. Sure, it “supports” a joystick, but not well. I had to download a third party app to get it working, (Joy2Key solutions are stop gap) but I still have to switch often between mouse and keyboard control, where on the Xbox version I could control everything by the joystick.

PC developers can piss and moan that they are being run out of business by the monolithic habits of the console hardware providers, but they provide something that PC devs are unwilling to provide: simplicity.

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