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Drowkin's blog

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Drowkin avatar 9:36 PM on 12.09.2009  (server time)
FPS WAR ! Keyboards, Mouses and Gamepads.

Disclaimer : I'm from Belgium and French is my 1st language. Don't hesitate to tell me I'm a total english noob that expresses himself like a 12 years old using a cell phone messenging service (See that ? I'm not even sure what I just said is sayable).. I really want to improve my fluency, so if you have to insult me, please at least tell me what I did wrong and correct me. Oh, and I know "sayable" isn't even a word, so focus on the article, not the disclaimer.

When I discovered FPS, I was absolutely astonished. It started with Wolfenstein 3-D. And (obviously), I'm talking about the 1992 Wolfenstein 3-D. Not that 2009 cheap remake. Shortly after, it was followed by Doom. Where Wolfenstein 3-D was slow, didn't show many enemies on screen, and was a real pain in the groin to control, Doom proved that a 3D Engine could be fast, nervous, and confront you with more than 3 enemies without slowing down to the point of a quadraplegic snail wearing a shotgun.

The second revolution came from 3D Realms' Duke Nukem Forevuhhh... Ahem... Duke Nukem 3D (3D Realms, 1996). In that aforementioned title, you could push the "U" key, and then BAM! OMG ! I CAN CONTROL THE CAMERA WITH MY MOUSE ! EVEN THOUGH WHATEVER HEIGHT THE ENEMY IS COMPARED TO MINE AND I CAN STILL SHOOT IT LIKE AUTOHEIGHTING BULLETS !

This, fellow Dtoiders, is what started the Keyboard/Mouse combo, venerated by 90... Christ, what I am saying... 99% of the PC FPS fanbase. And, I have to admit, I was one of this cult follower. Quake 2 (ID Software, 1997)... Half-Life (Valve, 1998)... every FPS produced from now on was mouse-oriented camera control. Pure logic if you ask me : It allowed for more precise control schemes, thus allowing enemies to be more dangerous, more harmful, they could even roll out of your direct attacks ! (Unreal 1, early 1998, then Half-Life, 4th quarter 1998). It opened a whole new world to PC FPS gamers : enemies seemed to have some kind of intelligence, therefore, FPS weren't anymore a matter of precise aiming, they were a matter of knowing what this AI was capable of, and how to outsmart it.

Everything was good. And God was happy... Until some unholy developper started a console FPS. Rare's Goldeneye 64 (N64, 1997), followed by Medal of Honor (EA/Dreamworks, 1999). Neither of these games proved to me gamepad was "superior" to the keyb/mouse combo. Until...

Year 2000. A friend comes to my house, with his Nintendo 64 and a copy of Goldeneye and two gamepads. Needless to say : He owned me. He owned me good. Did my God forsaken me ? Was the gamepad THAT powerful ? Then it strikes my head like drinking a vodka bottle in one shot; gamepad isn't worse : It's DIFFERENT.

Following that hurtful and mind-boggling experience, I decided to buy a copy of Medal of Honor 1 on PS1, and extensively test it. My first impression was : Daaaaaaamn... Why did they release this on PS1 ? On PC it would be so much more accurate and furious, and at least it would profit from 3D Accelerating Cards (TNT2 FTW !). After a few hours of gaming, it strikes my head like a full bottle of vodka thrown by Hulk, crushing my skull : It couldn't work on PC. The experience was designed to be played with a Gamepad. Put a mouse on the game and sure, you'll be able to blast off enemies much faster than with a pad. But it's not the point. The point is to deliver a good gaming experience, and using a keyboard/mouse combo would've completely ruined it.

And there I was. I finally understood that PC FPS' and Console FPS' didn't play in the same court. They don't deliver the same game experience. The latest example I can think of is Killzone 2. Sure, you feel more like guiding a dwarf tank than a soldier, but here it is : Killzone 2 on PC would've been a complete fail. The controls are clearly designed to give players a completely different experience than it would be on PC. Especially... In Multiplayer.
Most FPS PC players are frightened (c'mon, admit it) by the Gamepad controls. But they're forgetting something : the enemy player also plays with a Gamepad, thus, having the SAME difficulties at aiming than you. There's no reason to be scared, there's no reason to say the Gamepad sucks. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that the experience will be different than what you're used to. Sure, it requires some time to master, especially if you aren't used to Gamepads, but I guarantee the game will be as fun as an PC FPS game.

So, please, PC Hardcore Fans, before judging too quickly your console-player mates, try to spend a few hours playing online, on Gears of War 2 or Killzone 2. I'm not telling you to completely forget your Keyboard/Mouse combo. I'm asking you to understand that console players are defending something worth defending, just like you.

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