Just because we've conditioned ourselves to play PC games a certain way doesn't mean everybody else has to follow suit. In today's charming Speak Up on Kotaku commenter Confirm4Crit tells the inspiring story of what happened when he handed his non-gamer girlfriend his laptop running a copy of the original Mass Effect.
I am very, very, very proud of my girlfriend. I lent her a laptop, and she played through Mass Effect. It was her first serious title, and I loved it. Hearing her freak out during certain moments, enjoying gunning foes down, and making choices that effect the plot line, etc. She had never experienced something like that before, and it was neat to see her explore it.
During a random chat about the game, I asked if she was comfortable with using the keyboard and mouse over a controller. Her response; "Yea, the arrow keys were fine."
I froze for a brief moment, mildly confused. Arrow keys? "She played a third person shooter….with arrow keys?" I mutter to myself, trying to reenact the motion with my hand on my own keyboard, my muscles confused.
She must have over heard me.
"Yea, and? It was more comfortable for me…."
During the rest of the conversation, I found out she used my laptop's mouse, not the USB I gave her. WASD was for squad commands, she would reach over to C for ducking, function keys became weapon switching, and other odd things. To me, anyway.
It's odd. What has become "our" standard control format was completely destroyed by a casual gamer, yet she completely enjoyed the experience. We're used to a developer telling us the controls. We aren't told how to read, watch, or listen. But we are constantly told how to control, and, normally, we accept it. An adjustment here or there, but we accept it.
I thought there was a universal code for playing games, WASD, Ctrl for Crouch, Shift for Sprint.
Guess I was mistaken.