Making the transition from console to PC
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
As a lifelong console gamer, there’s nothing better to me than a sleek controller, a widescreen television, and some amazing surround sound. However, in recent years I decided to try to bridge the gap, and port my way over to PC gaming for a chance at more exclusives, and to play online with friends who were more Hewlett-Packard and less PlayStation. While nothing will replace my console craze, I will admit that PC gaming does have some advantages—however, actually making the change and not failing miserably when confronted with people who’ve been using a keyboard and mouse for years is not as easy as one might think. But rest assured, there are some things that can help.
One of my biggest struggles when learning to play on PC was adapting to using a keyboard and mouse for my commands and range of motion. I hate to say it, but gaming keyboards are not usually designed with women in mind. Physically, women often have smaller hands then men, so this can make reaching all the various keys that control your skills while simultaneously using other keys to move around and dodge enemy attacks very difficult. People, both men and women, who have been using this method for years have the advantage of their hands becoming more flexible in regard to that range of motion. A PC gamer will develop more flexibility in their fingers, while a console gamer will develop it more in their thumbs. If you want proof of this, challenge a PC gamer to play any first person shooter with a controller. Most of the time they’ll find it difficult to smoothly transition the camera, aim, and run at the same time.
Not wanting to give up, I began looking into solutions to my problem. One such fix that I still use, despite the fact my hands are much more accommodating now, is a game pad. A game pad is an extension to a keyboard. Some gaming keyboards will come with one built in; other times, you can buy it as a device on its own. It is a duplicate set of buttons, but set in a specific way to better mimic the shape of a palm. This makes it much easier to reach all the buttons you need to, even if your finger dexterity isn’t the best. Over time the game pad actually helped me develop the flexibility necessary to use the regular keyboard—though, when at home, I still prefer my game pad.
Another big help was actually taking the time to assign hot buttons, and purchasing a mouse that had a couple extra buttons along its side specifically for that purpose. Though it doesn’t sound like much of a help, having those extra three or four buttons for quick access to health potions does mean a lot less dying—once you’ve gotten used to having them there, at least. This is also a great way to make sure you have easy access to the spells and skills you find yourself using the most, or ones that you know you’ll use, but are outside of your fingers’ range of motion.
Continuing with the mouse, I found that the oversized mousepads are a huge help. Restricting your movement to a small square that you’ll repeatedly forget is there is not a good idea. Used to a grander range, console gamers have trouble remembering that there are physical limits to a mouse and by extension, a mouse pad. Removing that obstacle by either eliminating the mouse pad altogether or by getting an oversized one allows you one less annoyance when you should be otherwise occupied.
Hopefully these few things will be at least a little bit helpful for you in making your dream of complete video game domination a reality.