Old-style joystick turned upside down

Why gamers invert their controls

‘There’s a gaping hole in our knowledge’

[The Guardian’s] article asking why so many players invert their controls provoked a fierce debate that has now caught the attention of researchers into visual perception

Source: The Guardian‘There’s a gaping hole in our knowledge’: the scientists studying why gamers invert their controls

And since they didn’t want to hear from me because I was outside of their age range demographic (18 – 35 I think it was – that’s been removed now that they’ve had over 500 volunteers) I’m giving you my opinion here instead. You’re welcome.

tl;dr: Yes I invert my controls. No not all the time, and only on the Y-axis. Yes it’s context-specific. Sometimes with a mouse. Yes with a trackpad (thanks, Apple!)

From years spent playing flight simulators, any controls related specifically to flying have to map such that pushing “up” or “forward” on the pitch control (or mouse) results in the nose dropping, and thus descending.

On foot though, “up” and “down” on the Y-axis translate to the corresponding head movement – look up and down respectively regardless of the control method used.

To be fair though, I struggle with first-person shooters that have to be played with a controller. Movement is fine, but my aim is so bad I can’t even hit the side of a bus most of the time.

My context-based control preferences go deeper still: Driving in GTA 5 – controller for driving, switch to keys and mouse for shooting-while-driving (that’s always a fun transition). Riding a horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 – same as GTA. Maybe it’s a Rockstar Games thing. Elite: Dangerous, flight sims etc. – an actual HOTAS controller, with the pitch axis appropriately mapped, obviously.

Through years of “training”, my brain naturally maps third person views of flying or driving to their radio control equivalent – I can generally handle the switch between normal and inverted X-axis orientation when the thing being controlled is coming towards you in a nose-first direction, and remembering that up and down are reversed when flying inverted.

So, in summary, do you invert your controls? It depends.

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