The often hilarious HardCasual catches up with that grizzled old relic of the gaming scene, the Inverted Y-Axis.
“They say soon people won’t even need the Y-Axis all together,” mumbles Inverted, his tone crescendoing, “Well that’s a bunch of hogwash. The Y-Axis is one of the two most important Axes of today. If not ever.”
Despite his defiance, it seems like the days of the inverted look are coming to an end. Every new game opts for “uninverted” – or Normal Look, as it’s tellingly referred to – as its default control scheme these days. But it wasn’t always thus.
I was never a flight sim player, but I remember playing the heck out of Descent when it came out. Keyboard control only, I should stress, my right hand contorted over the number pad, agile fingers maintaining my ship’s pitch, yaw and banking motions. Pressing up to look down made perfect sense.
My first mouse look game was Terminator: Future Shock (pictured). The lessons I’d learned from Descent translated easily: of course moving the mouse forward would make me look down! That’s how the human head moves, forward to look down, pulling back to look up. Quake followed and with every subsequent first-person game I played on PC, inverting that mouse was the only way to go.
Something weird happened when I got my Xbox in 2002 and I began playing Halo. I struggled with the analog stick setup at first, in part because it was a scheme alien to my PC heritage, but also because for some reason pushing up to look down no longer made sense. My natural instinct was to move the crosshair around the screen rather than feeling like I was shifting my head through 3D space.
Over the years the two control schemes conflicted. On PC I still inverted; on console I’d opt for uninverted.
Then during a break from PC gaming around 2005/06, I lost the ability to play inverted. Console gaming had rewired my brain. When I returned to the PC – and I distinctly remember it being for Shadowrun of all things – I couldn’t play inverted any more. I tried… I really tried. After all, I’d been a PC gamer all my life, how could I let this happen?
But I failed. Today, I don’t invert at all, on console or on PC. I’m normal now. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
Do you invert? What was the game that taught you? And have you ever switched one way or the other?