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Social [Guardian] 'There's a gaping hole in our knowledge': the scientists studying why gamers invert their controls

Do you invert your controls?


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    291

ethomaz

is mad because DF didn't do a video on a video of a video of a video on PS5
Mar 19, 2013
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I play with the default controls of the game.

No issue with either inverted or non-inverted.
 

Bwesh

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Mar 6, 2018
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They should study those who invert X axis, could be aliens for all we know.
 

ethomaz

is mad because DF didn't do a video on a video of a video of a video on PS5
Mar 19, 2013
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do you point your eyes down when you want to look up?
Your eyes actually rotate back to look up and rotate foward to look down.
Same for your head.
 
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Sophist

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Feb 4, 2015
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It's actually not inverted when you fly; you are not moving the camera but rotating the plane which follow the stick direction. Instead of a stick, imagine using your mouse scrollwheel.
 

MastaKiiLA

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Jun 11, 2020
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Capping the age range on the study at 35 seems wrong, IMO. I'm 42, and started inverted controls with flight sims when I was in my early-teens. I think X-Wing on PC, although it might well have been even before that. I'm trying to remember if there was anything on the NES or SNES that involved inverted-Y inputs. Were there any Uforce games that had inverted-Y? I think I might have used that ever so briefly.

Our computer teacher in 5th grade had a flight simulator that I know used inverted-Y, but I also remember he was super-protective of his PC, and only really let us play around on the Apple iiC and iiG computers. There might have been some games with inverted-Y on there too.

Anyway, the study should probably have gamers up to 50 years in age, as I bet it would distribute the data a lot more conclusively. Younger than 30, and you probably significantly increase the sample of non-inverters, as not everyone starts gaming from an early age. Especially when it comes to 3D gaming, which was available on PCs long before consoles.
 
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Bryank75

Member
Jan 12, 2018
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It's simple..... IMO, it is that one set of people think about it as controlling the screen. While the others think of the head and to look up, you have to tilt the head back.... the stick emulates this movement of the head in the inverted Y axis setup.
 

timmyp53

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May 26, 2013
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I guess because I always looked at movement and input for looking as controlling a screen.
My thought points towards the input as effecting a camera and inverted folks think they are looking through their minds eye/head movement.
 

BusierDonkey

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Sep 21, 2018
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I invert Y axis for everything. To look up I pull my head back, to look down I push my head forward.
 

Punished Miku

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Jan 13, 2018
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If I don't invert Y-axis everything is weird, so I have to invert. If I invert, everything is weird because I got used to default. I have to actually sit down and adjust my brain to function everytime I have to aim.
Want to look up? Hit up. Want to look down? Hit down.

Once you realize that this is what's happening, there's no going back.

Flight controls are different though and should be inverted always.
 

Moonjt9

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Oct 2, 2019
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Used to be inverted only. Now i'm default. But I can go back if I need to.

I think I started inverted because Goldeneye inverted was default right?
Honestly this is what is the cause for most people i think. That along with the popularity of flight sims back when 3d graphics were first becoming a thing on PC
 
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Rodolink

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Aug 19, 2013
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for me it's simply because most games in the 90s had no standardised way for camera control, some normal mean inverted and so on, so I decided to pick one, and chose the one that made sense the most since flight simulators used inverted. I always invert Y.
now I feel annoyed when I go back to an old game and no option to flip axis is provided. 🤦🏻‍♂️
 

Gurgeh

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Nov 23, 2012
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I invert both axis, this caused a problem in rdr2 on ps4 as it doesn't allow inverting both axis and so for me is unplayable.
 
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lachesis

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Jun 17, 2004
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I tend to stick to normal - but if it's Flying, I'm okay with reversed Y. But never with X.

The camera control button for Persona 4 Golden on PC - had it reversed x (not sure if it was the right analog stick, or shoulder buttons), which drove me crazy...
 
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R6Rider

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Jan 22, 2020
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Inverted Y axis is how I've played since as a kid, but not sure where it started.
 

Tschumi

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Jul 4, 2020
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... i forced myself to play invented in halo: ce as a pup, and I've just identified as an inverted gamer since. Gosh that sounds scandalous lol.. anyway, i just think there might be a logic to the "lean back to look up, lean forward to look down" movement.
 

Corrik

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Jan 20, 2018
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I remember when some asshole inverted Will Smith's controls on the alien spaceship. That "oops" could have been world ending.
 

ABnormal

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Mar 20, 2020
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I reflected on it in the past (seeing a friend who always go with inverted). My guess was that, in my case, I move the sticks thinking to move my virtual head (sight) in that direction, to look in that direction, while inverted guys tend to put the attention on the game environment (i.e., the move THE WORLD, not their sight).
 

Hunnybun

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Jun 3, 2020
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I'm another one who's just been inverted Y as long as I can remember and who vaguely attributes it to Goldeneye.

But I can't really remember the Goldeneye controls - it wasn't even dual stick, so where does the inversion come in? Was it with the little camera buttons?

Anyway I think that's what it is and now I'm stuck with it. Can't say it bothers me, especially now the PS5 lets you change the default via the OS.

I think I could learn normal controls if I had to but it's never been necessary so why go through the pain?
 

cireza

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Jun 1, 2014
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I can manage both for flight and camera, but I prefer not inverted. For precision aiming however, I need to have it the normal way.
 
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DGrayson

Mod Team and Bat Team
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Dec 5, 2017
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for FPS a friend of mine said he though that like the stick was your head (in his mind) so pulling back on teh stick was like looking up.

The explanation made sense but for me no, I do traditional.
 
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Panajev2001a

GAF's Pleasant Genius
Jun 7, 2004
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Look this isn't even remotely hard to understand you pull your head back when you look up you push your head forward when you look down there I explained it.

I used to play with inverted Y when ai was younger on PS1 and PS2, but right now I am more comfortable with using the camera stick to point the camera target instead of governing the rotation and placement of the camera itself.

I still can handle the tilting the head concept :), but stick going 45° to have the camera move and show me more of the top right of the screen to follow a target to be easier than 135° to do the same thing.
 

raystlin7

Neo Member
Nov 30, 2020
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I guess I go with the default settings. I played Metroid Prime inverted and it made sense. I played Resident Evil 4 non-inverted and it also made sense. With the mouse I aim non-inverted.
 

Closer

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Nov 19, 2018
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Want to look up? Hit up. Want to look down? Hit down.

Once you realize that this is what's happening, there's no going back.

Flight controls are different though and should be inverted always.

Somehow it never works like that.
 
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Closer

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Nov 19, 2018
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I think for me the sticks don't represent "up and down" but "forwards and back".

Given that, only inverted makes sense.

Yeah, inverted is what I feel most confortable with. I always bug as I get used to standard while figuring out if controls are inverted or not without realising it lol
 
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PuppetMaster

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Jun 12, 2007
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I used to be an inverter.

When I first started playing on consoles I would invert Y. But really I was just not comfortable with my body in either mode yet.

Eventually I settled into regular non inverted mode. And I have been clean without inverting for about 15 years now.
 

ZywyPL

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Nov 27, 2018
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Inverted controls are IMO only good with actual joysticks when playing simulators, it just feels natural there, but on a controller it never seems to work out for me, even when I control a plane or a chopper, the habits just take over.
 

asustitan

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Dec 19, 2019
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Its because of the movies like Top Gun, pull up pull up, pull back on the stick - Flight controls.

It's not rocket science.
 
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Dec 28, 2006
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Only inverted for Ace Combat because it makes perfect sense. Otherwise ewww trying to play a FPS with inverted controls is some sort of torture. Especially if you are using a mouse it is complete insanity.

For me, I'm 36 and grew up playing 2D games where the Y axis either didn't matter in terms of direct control because it was a side scroller or games that had a top down view, in those games up on the D-Pad moved your character up. This made perfect sense.

If you think about it, you are directing your character in the direction that you want him to move in. I imagine this kind of thing makes sense for many old school console gamers or people who mostly played 2D games.

The entire "inversion" thing mostly originates in the PC space I believe. Early psuedo 3D games like flight simulators would invert controls to match more with reality and the idea of pulling a joystick back to move the nose of your plane up. I believe these were the first instances of Y axis control/inversion for a lot of PC gamers so it made sense that skill would transfer from one genere to the next.

Next came early FPS games like DOOM, which didn't allow Y axis control. Later once 3D FPS games such as Quake etc.. released there were a lot of people whose only experience with Y axis control was flight sims on PC so they inverted controls to what they were used to. This transferred to consoles once FPS games started appearing on consoles in 3D, games such as Goldeneye are examples where even the default was inverted. Goldeneye was probably the first popular console FPS title.

The next "big" FPS title (in the console space) was Halo, which had some Goldeneye vets playing and inverting their controls to match what they were used to. You also had PC vets used to inverted controls changing it to match their preferences. There was urban myths propagated that inverted made you play better or improved your aim and that only the best of the best elite players used inverted so if you wanted to be cool and skilled like them then you should too.

This led to more and more young minds switching to join the club and appear to be elite. Rinse repeat.
 
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Daymos

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From 1996-2015 I used inverted controls.. star wars shadows of the empire didn't have inverted controls and I could NOT fly the damn ship through the death star at the end, I ended up saying UP out loud so I would push UP.

However, In bloodborne when you walk down stairs the camera corrects and you end up having to push DOWN constantly with inverted controls in order to see whats coming at you. It became uncomfortable to push down with my right thumb all the time so I learned how to have 'normal' controls.. then pushing UP on the right stick became comfortable and natural.

Now I can do both types of controls. 1,500 deaths in bloodborne cured me.
 

Soodanim

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Feb 24, 2012
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I used to use inverted, but now it feels so wrong. I understand it for stick, but not for mouse.

Standard is like moving your head where you want it to go. Makes perfect sense for mouse in particular.

Inverted is like controlling the muscles that make your head move. There’s a case to be made, but it’s not for everyone
 
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KungFucius

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Jul 16, 2008
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What if my personal preference is that 1+1=3? Sometimes your personal preference is just wrong.

/s
Not in cases where it is absolutely arbitrary. Both methods work. You could train AI to do both by just flipping a sign and the performance would be identical.

I don't think they will tease out anything meaningful. I suspect that those that claim they feel like they are controlling the person, etc, just tacked on that reason after they became comfortable with the control scheme.
 
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Three

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Oct 26, 2014
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Because of my experience, I don't think this research will have any meaningful results. With enough practice you can adjust to any control scheme. That's my belief anyway.
Exactly my thought too. In fact hasn't this been proven already for real life inverted controls?

Wear a pair of glasses that turns the world upside down and over time this becomes completely normal to you and no different to not being inverted