The Corner

Re: Cri De Joystick

Dozens of emails about joysticks, all informing me, most very politely, that I was silly to buy a joystick in the first place. A representative example:

Mr. Robinson, I’m sure you’re getting deluged with emails from nerds like myself, but let me assure you that the boys will be much better off becoming accustomed to the mouse + keyboard than the joystick. The joystick is, indeed, only used for flight sims anymore, and anyone playing a shooter with the joystick will find themselves at a severe disadvantage.

And another:

If starwars battle front is a first person perspective shoot em up [it is] then your children are better off using the mouse and keyboard to control it. Joy sticks are used mostly for flight sims and are also popular for playing the mech warrior games. Games companies have been trying for years to create and sell a better input device to control first person shooters and not one of them has managed to top the good old mouse and keyboard.

The clincher was an email from someone who asked me not to quote him but explained that he had been a member of the team that designed the software for “Star Wars: Battlefront.” (Good to know that this happy Corner is being read in another fine nook of America.) Neither he nor anyone else on the development team, he told me, ever really expected anyone to use a joystick to play the game. In other words, they designed it to be used with a mouse and keyboard in the first place.

Needless to say, I only got this sorted out several hours after my three sons, always ahead of their father, had gone back to using the mouse, giving up on the joystick altogether. Oh, well. It wouldn’t be a holiday if Dad didn’t feel out of it.

Thanks to everyone—and let’s all resolve to have our children spend at least a little more time in conversation at the Thanksgiving table today than they spend playing games on the computer.

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