In my 30+ years of gaming I can probably count the number of times I’ve remapped controls on one hand. Even if a certain button assignment annoys me I have always been too afraid to make any changes. I’ve always felt like the developer intended for me to play the game using their exact controller scheme. I now know that isn’t always true. Also, the developer may be wrong or we may just play games a different way.
With a big focus on accessibility in games today, I shouldn’t feel bad for switching up one or two buttons to my liking. If the developer thought that CROSS was the right jump button, but I keep accidentally hitting SQUARE to jump I should feel fine switching the two. It’s great to see developers are taking the extra time to make their games playable for those with disabilities. So many gaming aspects can be customized today, not just the button layout.
When I first bought Star Wars: Squadrons my friend had mentioned that he was going to change up his controller scheme immediately to make it feel more like Ace Combat. In my mind it felt as though he had committed treason. I thought, How can you do such a thing! You haven’t even played the game yet. But, what I actually told him was, “Oh, that’s cool!” I didn’t change a thing in Star Wars: Squadrons, but I haven’t ever played Ace Combat.
Many games today actually encourage us to change our controller scheme. They even suggest pre-made setups with nicknames and all. And if you don’t feel any of those are for you, you can just go crazy and setup the buttons any way you’d like. There are also so many buttons today compared to my childhood. I started off with two buttons on my gameboy as a kid and now there are way too many to count (it’s not a bad thing). A PC has the entire alphabet in buttons and even more buttons, plus some extra mouse buttons.
The most recent game that I switched up my button mapping was Dead Cells (Nintendo Switch). I remember when I first played it I thought, Why is ‘A’ roll? And for some reason, I quickly changed Roll to ‘L’ and Heal to ‘A.’ It has worked out so much better for me, I think that’s how I was actually able to beat the original boss a few times. Now, with all of the DLC I don’t know how many bosses there actually are.
I love the rolling in Dead Cells. I love that I can even jump and roll in the air like an acrobat ninja. I spend much of my time Dead Cells rolling around the map, just because I made it that much easier to do. I roll around the opening area, before I even get into the battle zone. Here’s a video of me doing just that.
The second reason I’ve always been worried about switching buttons around is thinking, What if I play this at someone else’s house on their console and I look stupid because I don’t know how to do a certain thing. Of course, this isn’t a problem anymore due to online gaming with friends (and also a pandemic that isn’t allowing us to go play games at our friends’ houses). So why am I still nervous about changing buttons when they make it so easy?
The other night I jumped into Alan Wake on my PC after abandoning it for months and the first thing I had to do was pause and check the controller settings to remember how to do anything. I still felt confused at times and was using my flashlight all wrong, but I figured it out after a bit. Leaving a game for a long period of time is always problematic when you finally return.
It’s so strange that Nintendo and XBox have the same buttons but in different locations. Anytime I jump onto my PC (using my XBox One controller) and a game says push [A] I push [B] instead. I’m immediately confused since Switch and XBox have their buttons crisscrossed. I’m happy that Playstation uses a totally different system for their games (Cross, Square, Circle, Triangle).
I should start changing up my controls to have a more uniform gaming experience. Anytime I jump between similar games (such as Fortnite to Call of Duty: Warzone to Apex Legends) I forget which button to use to crouch, reload, jump and any mechanics they all share but do so differently. I can totally decide that crouch will be the same in all of these games, and jump and reload too (if they aren’t already).
Today is Friday and I usually post a video game highlight video on Friday, so here it is. I even did some nice editing to make the gameplay video even better than it was originally. So I definitely suggest you check it out!
It’s only half a minute long.