It’s times like this I should be thankful that almost nobody reads these blogs, for what I am about to discuss and announce to The Whole Entire World is going to leave me open to condemnation. But dammit I am willing to expose this vulnerability and prepared for the onslaught of abuse and criticism I will undoubtedly (not) receive for sharing this, by jingo I will defend myself.
Up, Down, Left, Right. That’s right folks, we’re talking arrow keys here. Specifically, the fact that I choose these over the more common W,A,S,D keys for movement whilst doing the gaming thing. This is a constant source of humour and rib tickling for half of my gaming brotherhood who not only favour the WASD method but seem to think it somehow childish and primitive to use the arrow keys (fair comment, right gents?…Right??), as if it is the actual arrow itself that I need to remind me what direction my little pixel man will walk when I press the button.
IDIOTS I say to them. Then they hit me and nick all my peanut butter M&M’s. But the fact is I must back up my preference in the only way I know how; I dominate the battle field. I know that may sound arrogant, mainly because it clearly is, and it’s not like I stride over my fellow clansmen and leave them cowering in my wake – each of us are highly skilled and Jedi-level gamers in our own right (and as a clan, nothing short of formidable, but that’s another blog for another time) – but I have to defend my love for the arrow keys and the best way I can do that is by topping the kill-board. It’s what I do. And I do so love to do it.
But then, it always used to be arrow keys, didn’t it? Doom was never played W, A, S, D was it? This is a relatively ‘new’ thing, no? I mean, as in last 10 years? The Amiga and Atari ST were only ever arrow keys weren’t they, providing you weren’t using a controller or joystick? I’m not sure when the WASD revolution happened, I just remember turning round one day and noticing almost everyone was doing it, as if it was somehow the inevitable next step of keyboard-gaming evolution; the X-Men (or should the be WASD-Men) leaving us mere homosapiens behind. That’s the feeling I got, but I never got the urge to change, never saw the appeal, and when I did dabble, I hated it. I stuck with my beloved arrow keys and never looked back.
To me though, it makes more sense to use the arrow keys. They are isolated enough that you don’t accidently hit ‘Q’ and throw a grenade or whatever instead of moving forward, but equally they have very useful clusters of other keys around them which are all easily accessible. The 6-key cluster above the arrow keys (shitly named the ‘other-key’ cluster according to Wikipedia) is perfectly placed for your oft-required peripherals, (your grenades, medkits, special weapons etc etc). You have your Right-Shift and CTRL for sprint/crouch/jump which you can rope in Num_0 into if you so whish (which I do), and then your entire Num Pad for anything else you need. All neatly separated and clustered together rather than just having a fat splurge of random keys under your fingers as if the alphabet God took a massive shit all over your desk. If you have a proper gaming mouse with additional thumb-buttons as well then you are good to go.
^ A Keyboard with some flashy blue shit.
OK, look, the reality is that despite me sitting here and venting this hostile defence as if I’m some lone martyr fighting the arrow-key corner all on my own, a quick look inside the gamerverse tells us that actually the issue isn’t as one sided as my above blog-splooge would have you think. There’s still loads of us out there doing the arrow thing. Some quick Google-Fu and a cheeky peak at some game-forum heavy hitters (Steam, AV, IGN) shows about a quarter to a third of the PC crowd choose the arrow keys. Some have even migrated from WASD to arrows. In actual fact half my clan (including myself) choose this method, so maybe my hostility is unwarranted.
But hey, if we all want a common enemy then my forum lurking on the subject has unearthed some prime candidates. One bloke seemed ever so proud that he uses the Up and Down arrow for forward/back movement, but uses the Right Shift key and Num_2 (yes, 2) for Left/Right respectively. And apparently there is some batshit crazy craze in Sweden that uses Left Mouse Button for forward movement! IDIOTS!!!!
^ Vikings are Swed-ish.
I jest, of course. The fact is that gaming is an inclusive medium, everyone is welcome, whatever you keyboard preference. Each to their own as they say. Different strokes for different folks. Whatever floats your boat or tickles your fancy.
As long as you don’t invert the mouse axis…..that’s just weird.