Down is Up?

‘Wait wait, my controls aren’t inverted, where’s the options’, a refrain commonly heard amongst gamers. The invert check box has become pretty much statutory for any first person shooter of the last five years. This little incongruous setting enables you to press down to look up or vi ca versa.

We can imagine the day that the feature was first discovered by users, possibly in SNES Starfox, and a whole section of the gaming public suddenly raised their game. Once discovered there was no going back for these gamers, it became so engrained in their playing psyche that any game without it became almost unplayable.

Now the debate rages as to which makes more sense “up is down, down is up” or “up is up, down is down”. While much of the rhetoric of these discussions is based on which makes more sense instinctively, we suggest that this is more a question of consciousness and interaction.

The question is where does the player put their consciousness in relation to the controller. What part of their body is the joypad controlling, their arm, their head; and how is this control translated to that body part.

inverse.gifBehind: If the player feels they are controlling movement from behind their head with joypad , they are likely to find an inverted control scheme works best for them. Pulling back on their stick therefore tilts their head up and should move the play field up.


regular1.gifIn front: If the player feels they are controlling movement in front of their head, they are likely to find a non-inverted control scheme works best for them. Pulling back on their stick therefore pulls their head down from the front and should move the play field down.

There are many things that can affect where the player subconsciously locates themselves. It could be that an extroverted player is used to interacting in an open and forthright manner may feel they were controlling the game world from in front of themselves. Similarly an introverted player who is more reserved and withdrawn may feel they were controlling the game from a safe distance behind themselves. It could also be that those used to scientific work were used to manipulating theories in their heads and therefore controlling environments from behind themselves. Similarly, those used to artistic work may be more used to working with material in front of themselves.

headcontroller1.gifThese hypotheses are now becoming muddied, or maybe just more complex, by the introduction of different control schemes. Interactions now involve more than a simple thumb movement. Touch and gesture are being introduced to provide players with more imersive experiences. This inevitably affects where the player positions themselves in relation to the action on screen.

Although these control schemes are still in their youthful exuberant stage and will take some time to mature, they seem to have the general affect of pulling the player’s consciousness forward, into the game. If this is true, we would expect to see a trend away from inverted control schemes as the player increasingly considers themselves as part of what is going on in the game environment.


185 Responses to “Down is Up?”

  1. 1 Michael November 8, 2006 at 9:50 pm

    I use inverted in 3rd person (SoTC, SOCOM) and regular in 1st.

    I think it’s because in first person, I’m used to using a mouse. If I move the mouse up in CounterStrike, I look up. If I move the analog stick up, I want to look up.

    I don’t buy the psychobabble stuff though.

    I think the reason some people prefer inverted in 1st person is because they feel like they’re controlling an airplane instead of a head. Pulling back on the flight stick points the nose up, and forward points it down. In a FPS there’s nothing to say you AREN’T in a miniature airplane with a huge gun attached.

    That’s my thoughts on the subject at least.

    Also, you should switch to blogger or something. If this hits the digg front page it’s going down.

    • 2 PS3fan May 27, 2010 at 6:01 am

      fail at rationalization. you don’t push your head forward to look up.

    • 3 jackie June 3, 2010 at 9:57 pm

      The reason they invert the controls. Is if you are holding a gun, you tighten your muscles”pull back” to raise your gun. OR loosen your muscles”push forward” to lower your weapon. what I don’t understand is why you can invert the x-axis?

    • 4 MKL August 28, 2018 at 12:52 am

      >If this hits the digg front page it’s going down.

      Woah, nostalgia.

  2. 5 Casey November 8, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    Michael, I too don’t buy some of the psychobable stuff.

    I feel it’s more about conditioning than anything. I played a lot of Star Fox and flying games long before I ever got into first person shooters. The concept of tilt makes sense to me. I can relate a tilting head to a joystick easier than I can associate it with moving the screen around with non-inverted controls.

    Funny thing is, on a PC when I use a mouse, inverted controlls bug me because there is no “tilting” of the mouse.

    Being a professional artist, I disagree with the comment on how artist view materials in front of them being a reasoning for non-inverted controlls. Artists (being visual problem solvers) just as much (if not more than) as scholarly fields manipulate and analyze data/theories/ideas/concepts relentlessly. Having good concepts as an illustrator/designer/artist is harder and often more important than the materials in front of them.

    Otherwise, an interesting take on the debate.

  3. 6 Zandder November 10, 2006 at 7:33 am

    That link has it down. It is the precise reason I invert.

  4. 7 Andy Robertson November 10, 2006 at 7:34 am

    Interesting points Michael and Casey. I think what I am trying to describe is ‘how’ the experiences you describe affect where we put ourselves in relation to the game and gamepad.

  5. 8 davemon November 18, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    I’d always thought that the inverted controls was a hang-over from flight-sims…

    The “pull-down look-upwards” positions the user in a static place from which they manipulate the world – ie they reach out, grab the horizon, and pull it around – as opposed to controlling a camera/avatar that exists indepenently in space.

    While i’m not sure this is a introvert/extrovert thing – perhaps it also implies a philosophical standpoint – where either the individual or the external world is positioned at the center of the universe?

    certainly food for thought!

  6. 9 Ser3f December 3, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    I have always preferred inverted control on 1st and 3rd person shooters (only when using a controller), the normal way just confuses the hell out of me, on PC its normal all the way.

    I don’t understand why its like that, because my other friend preferrs playing FPS’s when its normal, but that Article makes sence to me, and i’ll believe it for what it is until someone come up with a better reason.

  7. 10 Rick December 27, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    Myself and my wife are both split on this, she’s totally inverted and I’m totally not. Everyone I know who uses inverted says “it’s just like flying an aeroplane…” which makes sense, the question I’m having trouble with is how I ever came to be non-inverted…..

    I used to play alot of counter strike on PC, so I guess I should look back to those days where I made the initial decision.

    No…still can’t place it, could stem from Midwinter or maybe even Elite 2…


    So the inverted use flight sims as their excuse, how about us non-inverters, where has our gaming ‘orientation’ stemmed from……….I’m at a loss!

  8. 11 lefthand1134 January 25, 2007 at 9:00 am

    like the guy said..if you want the page to scroll up, you roll the mouse wheel down and visaversa. i think game controls should be a setting option in the consoul, and us not depend on the game makers having provided or not provided the option of inversion. and in result making the game non playable to many or some. ive taken every potentially good reg xbox game back just because they cant be inverted..not going to try and retrain what feels natural to my brain over a game. as much as i love playing them..have all controller options customizable in the 360 consoul i say..and leave the game makers out of it. should be simple?

  9. 12 Cramd February 14, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    I have always thought of my mouse/controller as being the head of the person in the FPS. If I pull back/down on the head they look up, and if I push the head/controller forward they look down.

  10. 13 SevenG February 14, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    It’s definitely the airplane analogy for me, but I don’t see how his Wii controller example changes anything, if you look at the front axis of the ‘mote it moves up, but the rear axis moves down…. so it effectively does both.

  11. 14 Wii Controllers February 14, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Some slower action games are easier to play inverted, fast games like Halo are more responsive the other way

  12. 15 elJefe February 14, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    I just figured it was bc I played too much tie fighter/x-wing back in the day and now my brain was irreparably damaged…

  13. 16 Ian February 14, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    In Beyond Good and Evil when you invert the mouse, it inverts left and right as well as up and down. Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to stop making video games.

  14. 17 hi! February 14, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    I play inverted, and I do think it has something to do with flight sims…

    I figure the non-inverters either didn’t play flight sims or didn’t get used to them, and are “normal” because of GUI interfaces. Every other kind of game type uses normal so if you first played a lot of games with normal orientation you probably got used to that.

    As I recall, flight sims are the first thing that simulated a 3D experience… so transposing that to FPS it would make sense. In my personal experience I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends that didn’t play flight sims stick to the normal orientation…

  15. 18 AyeRoxor February 14, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Inverted FTW!

    • 19 Anonymous July 8, 2009 at 2:53 am

      i’m a gaming god and when i play. i don’t tilt my head. the world moves for me! up is up. non inverted rules.

  16. 20 Marko Macek February 14, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    If one has played Wing Commander with it’s mouse based point-to-target-to-turn control system (which is superior to the joystick any day), one will have no requirement for inverting any axis.

    I wish more fight/space simulators supported the wing commander mouse control mode (Freelancer does, for example), I might then actually play them.

    Joysticks work if you sit inside the plane, but on the computer they are just annoying to me.

    • 21 A Gray July 17, 2009 at 3:51 am

      The problem with that is that it’s a step away from realism. When you are using a flight simulator, space or otherwise, the only true realism is for you to recreate the cockpit using your desk and screen. They become the flight controls and the HUD. That’s the reason the majority of flight sims use inverted controls, because you’re recreating how the real aircraft works.

  17. 22 knee high renegade February 14, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    I’m pretty sure that the majority of gamers choose first person out of habit, not because of anything psychological. I can use either inverted or normal, but I grew up playing with inverted and just got used to it. I don’t play better with inverted, so it brings up the fact that it isn’t because it is easier but because these people do it out of habit. I do not only put inverted on fps and 3ps, but also any game that you move the camera, KOTOR, GTA, Resident Evil 4. The last game is actually the only game that I aim with default controls, because I got used to it.

  18. 23 Gmizz February 14, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    The point is whether you think you are a person playing a game, or if you think you are the character in the game. If you think the latter, you associate yourself with the character on screen, and therefore the controller is behind ‘you,’ so most likley you play inverted. However, if you see yourself manipulating a character on screen, the controller is infront of the real you, and you probably play regular.

    In other words, inverted players are crazy people.

  19. 24 Pete February 14, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    I play inverted because I came to FPS’s from flight games. Really not that hard.

  20. 25 Joe February 14, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    Hmmm… if the player subconciously places themselves “behind” (inverted setting), shouldn’t left be right and vice-versa?

    I also always thought the setting was mostly because of the early 3d flight sims.

  21. 26 Will February 14, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    My explanation for using inverted is pretty simple but pretty grounded — I played a lot of flight sims as a young kid. In planes, the joystick up/down is invertedly related to the “pitch” of the plane, or which way the nose points in the up/down axis. So, at an early age, the inverted control got linked to my expetation of view change.

    oh yeah, and that inverted/extroverted thing is a crock. It just boils down to the way your brain maps and expect movement.

  22. 27 allisvoid February 14, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    for me, i play better on a PS3 (console) with an inverted joystick for shooters, however, on a PC i play shooters not inverted (mouse and keyboard). i find i am FAR better at PC FPS then console FPS, even if i like inverted better on console. too bad upgrading a computer is becoming far too expensive. may as well buy a PS3 and a few games and not have to upgrade for a while. eventually, with practice, i will get better at aiming with my thumb. cheers.

  23. 28 John February 14, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    The reason is simple – picture the joystick or mouse as on top of your head. Move it forward and you tilt forward and look down, same with moving it backwards. Plus, pulling the mouse towards you is a faster reaction than pushing it, and in games one tends to look up a whole lot more than they look down.

  24. 29 anescient February 14, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    You pulled that psychobabble stuff out of your ass. There’s no way you can read that much into a person based on whether they prefer inverted vertical or not. In my case for instance, it has no connection to my personality whatsoever; I’ve actually played both ways for significant spans of time. It’s habit, if not something even more primitive like muscle memory.

  25. 30 Ian February 14, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    I’ve always played inverted. It’s probably because I’m incredibly intelligent.

    Actually, I don’t see what the big deal is here. Whether you invert or not, you’re still a gamer. What’s with the great divide? I’ve been called “stupid” and “retarded” for inverting my mouse when, really, I bet over half of PC gamers go inverted. You play inverted or not depending on A.) what you started with or B.) what you’re naturally more comfortable with. It’s not based on how much you love your dad or how smart you are. We don’t need a convoluted scientific analysis here. Just go play. Shoo!

    Does anyone else find it odd that when you play the way you’re used to you can walk around looking strait ahead, but if it’s switched you’re constantly looking up and down?

  26. 31 blademonkey February 14, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    This is interesting.

    For me, on the pc it’s definitely non-inverted.
    for consoles, I can play both ways, but i usually end up using the inverted because I don’t feel like I’m controlling it in front.

    I think beyond the whole flight simulator control scheme, the reason behind why I do it is because the console games I have played were mostly third person. There’s always been this added layer of control that I interpret in my head. At some point i was able to “see” what that third person was seeing (by being able to toggle being First person or Third Person perspectives), that only gave me the option of FPS, and so my belief is that because i’ve played so many third person games, i associate the joystick or handheld controller to that control scheme.

  27. 32 Jer February 14, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    The way I see it, the people who don’t invert the pitch are generally the more versatile people. I played flight sims like they were going out of style on my PC, I loved Star Fox, driving games were great, but for shooters,I prefer standard pitch, not inverted. Why? well, because I feel like I am manipulating a gun in the game…. so if I move my mouse up(which is technically out, not up) I get the gun to move up. I just understand the constraints of the system and adapt to them for each game. When I go back to a flight sim, there isn’t any transition period where I forget to pull down on my controls to gain altitude. I just realize that I’m not doing the same activity under the same constraints, I’m in a whole new situation that needs to be manipulated in a different way. I think a more solid question would be looking at the keys that people use for PC games and whether the standard WASD setup is used , and what happens when the layout is altered. I would think that inverted pitch people would see a huge drop in reaction time and performance using an alternate layout while standard pitch people would have only a slight drop in performance and a temporary drop in reaction time. What I am trying to say is that inverted pitch people are using one interface to manipulate many activities while regular pitch people are simulating activities by using a custom interface for each action.

  28. 33 Fer February 14, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    do you have any scientific proof (studies,tests, bibliography) to make that claim. Which references have you used. I´m a Pscychologist and none of your points make sense to me (and can hardly find any reference to a theory or field of knowledge which could support those affirmations)

  29. 34 Jer February 14, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    No, I don’t have any sources, but I would love to hear some that you have. This topic is not important enough to have studies done, but if someone did, let’s hear it. I don’t see how you think that someone using only one interface for all games is less versatile than someone able to switch between interfaces. Even a Doctorate in psychology would teach you that.

  30. 35 Jer February 14, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Excuse me, “I don’t see how you think that someone using only one interface for all games is (NOT)less versatile than someone able to switch between interfaces. There you go “Psychologist”

  31. 36 Dustin February 14, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    I use inverted because…

    1. in first person shooters there is usually alot more to see by looking UP at the world then looking DOWN at the ground.

    2. I COULD use normal, but extending my thumb forward to look up uses slightly more energy and takes more time.

    so if you’re continously looking UP in the universe its much easier to use an inverted control scheme.

    I actually started out with a normal scheme and thought that was the way to go until i got used to playing inverted and now it just works so much better. I’ve also found that i get more head-shots and more accurate shots playing halo when using inverted controls vs more body shots playing with normal controls.

  32. 37 Jer February 14, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    Most experts know how to spell their own profession. I smell BS

  33. 38 mike smick February 14, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    I’m not sure if somebody said this alreayd, but for me I always sensed that I was holding a rifle and pushing down the back end to point up, rather than pulling up the front end. Tht was my feeling, and how it came naturally to invert the mouse.

    also, I’m left handed and use the right mouse hand, but I’m ambidextrous for shooting and bow and arrow.

    who knows.

  34. 39 Critical of Critics February 14, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    I feel that the term “psychobabble” (which is more insulting to the person using it than the subject material being discussed) is entirely overused in this forum. LOL

    Anyway, I find the article to make complete sense. I’ve used both types of interfaces extensively, with similar results, but non-inverted is more intuitive to me (I am an artist). I actually started out inverted in Quake 2 and Tribes, but once I got heavily into Quake 3 and I wasn’t able to make twitch shots as well as others seemed to, I decided to try the other way.

    I completely agree that preference tends to go along with how you interact with similar activities. If you’re a pilot (or get immense jollies spending hours on end using your scroll wheel), chances are you’ll want to invert it. If you’re a digital artist or spend a good deal of time dealing with an “up is up” interface, I’d wager you’d prefer that setup, because it would be more intuitive given your experience.

    (I still don’t see how this concept amounts to “psychobabble”)

  35. 40 Andy February 14, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    I don’t think it’s anything as complicated as this article describes, rather it’s a simple extension of the way you play video games. I play using an inverted control scheme on console games, whereas I use a normal control scheme for pc shooters, and I know quite a few people who play the same way. I believe it is a funtion of two things:
    1. How you view the device you are using to move the character, and
    2. How you view yourself in relation to the character.
    So for me, I play all games as though i were a part of them, usually putting myself literally in the character’s shoes. When playing console games, the controller is usually in front of me and cenetered, and I view it as controlling my whole body. Thus pulling back on the control stick causes my body to angle backward, pointing me up. In a mouse and keyboard control scheme, the mouse is more directly related to the part of me it specifically controls, namely my gun, so moving the mouse up moves the gun barrel up, just like clicking the left button squeezes the trigger.

  36. 41 Tim February 14, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    The answer is actually a lot simpler… I use inverted controls because the first console FPS I played a lot (Goldeneye) used this as the default and I got used to it. It’s hard to change now.

  37. 42 Cubex DE February 14, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    I use regular with a mouse because when I move my mouse forward, my cursor moves up. Gaming works the same way for me in my brain: move the mouse forward to move the crosshairs up.

    But when using a joystick, (for me) moving the stick forward should look down.

  38. 43 Kevin February 14, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    I think people are looking way too deep into this. With inverted I can pick up and play. That’s not to say I haven’t played normal pitch, it just takes me a couple of minutes to get the right response with the right thought. So when the option comes around I pick inverted because it’s the response I’m use to.

  39. 44 Andre February 14, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    disclaimer… I am inverted on joystick and normal on mouse

    I would think that inversion implies one step disconnect from your experience (as in you controlling a plane that exists within the world). Whereas normal implies you are the thing in the world… therefore one step closer to the experience.

    The question for me is, does that (inverted) additional step of disconnect to the world result in slightly lower reaction time and skill within the game? In other words, do inverted players suck just one bit more than normal players?

    Who knows. All I know, is my normal reaction to a joystick is to think of it as navigation device in a vehicle, and thus I immediately invertY. But use a mouse, and suddenly, that mouse becomes my eyes or gun.

  40. 45 Codenoise February 14, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Interesting theory, though the conclusion seems a bit unsupported. It seems to have been a good talking point. I find myself using “normal” controls in FPSs despite thousands of hours spent in flight sims. When I’m in the flight sim, I’m controlling an aircraft, and I match the control mechanism to what it is in the real world. When I’m in an FPS, I am looking all around the screen, independently of control. When my eyes reach the boundary (a couple inches before the edge of the frame) I want to see more stuff in that direction. My reflex is to move the mouse cursor toward the point that my eye is looking. This causes the viewport to scroll over to where I want to see. When playing FPSs, I don’t think about my avatar at all.. I am just putting the cursor where my eyes are scanning.

  41. 46 Kenn February 14, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    I’ve thought long and hard about this (yeah, say whatever), and I mostly agree with the analysis here, as well as the flight-sim arguments made in the comments. I’ve always used the regular scheme for Quake, CS, and other flight sims, but when playing 3rd person games where the camera is behind the actor, and the “fulcrum” of the pitch is hinged on the position of the actor, it feels more natural to have it inverted.

  42. 48 Shawn February 14, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    For me, inverted just feel right, cuz they’re similar to airplane controls. Pull back to look up, etc.! Also, you’d need to tilt your head BACK in order to look up in real life. I never really played PC games, only console. But on PC I absolutely cannot use inverted. Using the mouse and having the pointer changes the whole dynamics. I’m using my whole hand then, and my hand is in front of me… Maybe I use inverted since my console controller is never in front of me really, it’s down towards my waist and below my field of vision.

  43. 49 praxis22 February 14, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Behind or in front of my head? Nah…

    It’s a flight yoke, you pull back on the stick to go up, push forward to go down. I pilot the Master Chief, the same I would a plane.

  44. 50 Ian February 14, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    Hey, Jer.

    As Cubex DE pointed out, having your mouse go “up” when pushed forwards is the same thing you do in windows all the time. As such, a strong argument could be made that people who play inverted are more versatile. And really, a mouse and a joystick are two COMPLETELY different interfaces. Relating the directional manipulation between the two is non-sense. And relating a person’s over-all versatility to this area is even more of a stretch.

    But my point isn’t that you’re wrong. It’s that, well, you’re wrong AND it doesn’t matter. And if you need proof, I can make up some statistics that will back me up nicely.

  45. 51 yeah February 14, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    when i started halo one i accidentally let the black commander guy set my controls to inverted and never changed it since

  46. 52 Axel February 14, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    The first time I ever played with inverted controls, I said outloud “hmm, this is just like moving my head. My back muscles pull down for me to look up, like this here stick.”

    Been using inverted ever since.

  47. 53 DocB February 14, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    I believe subconsciously I have always envisioned the controller as my head… tilt head forward and I look down… tilt head back and I look up… an anthropomorphic approach if you will.

  48. 54 trp February 14, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    ive never understood why people use inverted controls in anything else except a flying game.

    if you invert up and down for those psycho reasons you listed, then if people feel like theyre controlling the back of their head, they should turn left to look right, and vice versa as well.

    but if you give someone a control scheme like that, theyre likely to just throw the controller at you and call you an idiot, whether they like to invert their controls or not.

  49. 55 Jer February 14, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Ian, I agree, that this doesn’t matter. I was talking about versatility within a computer interface, not overall versatility. I was not saying that anyone who uses inverted pitch can’t drive and talk on the phone or anything similar. There are arguments to be made as to whether inverted or standard pitch are more difficult to master in video games or which is further from the norm of computer interaction, but this in no way relates to anything else. I am simply saying that “I believe most people who use inverted pitch prefer to play all of their games with the same control scheme and they will have more issues when switching to a different control scheme than those who use multiple pitch settings. And the joystick, where did that come from? I never mentioned anything about a joystick. I am talking straight up mouse and keyboard. Maybe I have it right, maybe I am way off, but I have reasoning behind it. (Not to say that no one else does) By the way, Much respect to anyone who can find a real study done on this. Seriously, you rule if you find something legit.

  50. 56 KOuri February 14, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    For me it was Top Gun for the NES. The controls were inverted like in a real jet, so it just stuck.

  51. 57 Vic February 14, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    You tilt your head back to look up, tilt your head forward to look down. The way I see it, Inverted is the natural way

  52. 58 splat February 14, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    I don’t buy the psychobabble either.
    Inverted controls were introduced with the first flight simulator game to behave the same way the stick works on a plane. That dates back from the 80’s when AppleII with 16 colors were the top of the video gaming rig (among other less useful things like work).
    Since then, increasing number of games afterward implemented an option to disable the inverted control, for the confused gamers who were not used to fly pixelated planes.

  53. 59 alex February 14, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    the article misses the point completely. a lot of people prefer regular on a pc and inverted on a control because of this reasoning:

    1. a controller has a circular angle. when you pull down on the controller, you are going in a circular motion. if you were to carry that 180 degrees around, it would mirror looking up. if it were not inverted, the tilting analogy would not make sense.
    2. a mouse has no tilt angle (it is a flat movement), so moving down on a mouse has no equivalent at the opposite “degree”.

    I’ve made a CRUDE drawing to illustrate my point.

  54. 60 Wolf February 14, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Yea, this made me start to think… For me it has nothing to do with planes, like Micheal and Casey brought up because I never play those games(although it is a good point), however when I use a joystick (Halo 2 for example) I feel like the joystick is attached to the base of my head and when I push up, the back of my head goes up… however on computer (oblivion) the mouse is attached to the nose of my character, if I push the mouse up, the head should go up… I suppose it all depends on how my hand is interacting with the screen, and characters head.

    (this is and isn’t aimed at Ian and Jer… I wrote this before i read theirs, but this fits along with what they are saying.)

  55. 61 Wolf February 14, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    Seeing as I can’t edit my post, I have to apologize for double posting…
    However after reading splat’s comment I just want to point out that the article isn’t here to explain the origin of the inverted look, it’s explaining the mental aspect of why different people use inverter vs. standard controls. It’s not saying that people can’t develop skill using one or the other, or both for that matter, it’s goal is to explain why someone picking up a controller for the first time, why they would want to use inverted or standard. (That may have been a bad example, but it’s the best way of describing my point that I came up with.)

  56. 62 Anonymous February 14, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    In FPS all you do is point at something and click the button. Its just that your pointer stays in the middle of the screen, and your screen moves.
    On your windows desktop all you do is point at something and click the button.
    Do you invert your desktop?
    I used to play inverted but it is stupid took me awhile to adjust to the other way around but it is much much better.

  57. 63 Whatever February 14, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks for the pseudo science BS. Inverted controlling started with flight simulators. When you fly a plane you pull the stick back to go up because that’s how a mechanical control system works. The head thing you just farted out is BS.

  58. 64 Martin Hartwell February 15, 2007 at 12:10 am

    hah well, i actually have switched back and forth between inverted and non-inverted a few times. I used to play a lot of starfox as well, so i was used to the inverted stuff. when the xbox came out of course i was non-inverted all the way with halo. THEN mechassault came out and i couldn’t figure out how to turn my controls to non-inverted, so i got used to it, and it actually made me play halo2 better, and it makes more sense to me. so i play with inverted and i have now for a while.

  59. 65 gXinfinity February 15, 2007 at 12:16 am

    The head thing actually makes a lot of sense. I am an inverted guy in both Vertical AND Horizontal when playing most games – meaning my controls are left is right/right is left and up is down/down is up. This is because I always imagine that my controller is operating a viewpoint that is behind the character – this is where the “behind the head” part comes from. I imagine a camera that stays a fixed distance from the character and operates along a half-globe, meaning that to look right the camera must swing in an arc to the left, or to look down, it must be elevated up towards a point above the character head.

    Try it next time you’re playing, imagine you’re a cinematographer behind the lense on a movie shoot, following the actor down the hallway. How would you move the camera to follow his actions?

  60. 66 IQpierce February 15, 2007 at 12:39 am

    I know that, for myself, I used to be a flight sim junkie. I believe that this has spoiled me for life to the inverted mode: I’ll always unconsciously revert to that cockpit situation, where pulling the joystick back lifts the nose of my plane… or, in the case of an FPS, my own nose!

  61. 67 Grunti February 15, 2007 at 12:58 am

    When I was a kid i played alot of playstation 2 games and i don’t remember there being any inversion. When I bought a used xbox and halo 2 from a friend he had a saved profile using leagecy and being inverted. I don’t remember it being hard for me to change over and i don’t believe it affects your skill.

    Add me on XBL iazn grunti
    they are i’s

  62. 68 kathaclysm February 15, 2007 at 1:30 am

    I never thought about it before why it is I prefer the inverted point of view. I am an introverted person, but somewhat artistic, and also a mechanical engineer. I grew up playing flight-sim alot, so perhaps that’s one answer.

    I also have played a lot of games where the POV is behind the main character, so to me then, the pivot-point is the character’s head, and it makes most sense to move the stick up to move their head down, move the stick right to move their head left… I really hate when only up/down inversion is an option (I think GTA is like that) and left/right isn’t inverted… it messes with my mind!

    It drives my husband nuts when I go and switch the control options on him though, he likes them “normal.”

  63. 69 JAAS February 15, 2007 at 1:33 am

    I can’t really remeber where along the way I became a inverted….

    Not Flight sims never really enjoyed them, or even played them.

    I use to play alot of unreal and always inverted.

    I can’t play it normal. Never could and never will by the looks of it :P

  64. 70 Wow February 15, 2007 at 1:41 am

    ok, im pretty sure personalities have nothing to do with it. some people play FPS like flying games because in flight down is up and up is down. When you pull something back towards you it is moving up. When you pushing something away from you it is going down. This gives more feeling of being in control. Relating this to personality is dumb. I’ve had friends trade between both.

  65. 71 this is an advertisement for nintendo wii February 15, 2007 at 1:41 am


  66. 72 this is an advertisement for nintendo wii February 15, 2007 at 1:43 am

    I played inverted FPS until Halo, because it was a popular game with all the n00bs they all left it off. I had to adjust, now I can play inverted or non. I guess i’m just a lot nastier then all of you.


    this is an advertisement for nintendo wii full of BULLSHIT

  67. 73 pseudonym February 15, 2007 at 1:45 am

    Intresting.. but I don’t agree. I am in a strange position myself, and one that gives a unique perspective on this issue. I am a switcher, and oddly enough, I switched from Inverted, to not inverted, unlike most.

    For years I played all FPSs in inverted mode. This came because I got into gaming by playing flight sims, where inverted is the norm. I kept this right up until Max Payne was released, then I switched. Here is why;

    I started to look at the cross hairs as a mouse pointer on a flat surface, rather then a 3d extension projected someplace in front of me. That is it. It has nothing to do with where I feel the controls are but how I view the perspective of the game.

  68. 74 Haax February 15, 2007 at 1:45 am

    Hold a video camera, point it at something and look through it. Pull DOWN on the back of the camera. Where does the view go? UP.

    That’s what he was explaining. If you want to call it “Psychobabble”, cool, but it makes sense to me.

  69. 75 niteling February 15, 2007 at 2:02 am

    I think the orginal way i played was non inverted but now i change whenver there is a need to change e.g. when a game is not inverted and there is no setting to change to inverted i just get used to it.

  70. 76 Justin February 15, 2007 at 2:12 am

    Some of the older games started off with the look inversion enabled, but they did not give you the option to change or disable the inverted Y Axis. Don’t get me wrong, your theory is ingenious, but dont you think another reason that people have their look inversion enabled, is that they were introduced to the game in that manner!? They did not know they were playing inverted OR default, they were just playing. They couldn’t have known if they were controlling the game with the front or the back of their head, because they did not know of anything else other than the inverted setting.

  71. 77 Mike February 15, 2007 at 2:22 am

    I agree with Michael cuzz before i started to play FPS i played alot of flight simulator so i just got use to invert controls

  72. 78 ChaosBlackDoom February 15, 2007 at 4:09 am

    I play Halo 2 on Xbox, and I’ve always played inverted. I’m used to playing first person shooters like aircraft combat simulators. Aircraft work the same way as inverted controls on a controller. Thats how I think I got into it.

  73. 79 JM_Zen February 15, 2007 at 4:25 am

    The way I see it (especially with a joystick) is basically what’s happening in my hands: I tilt the stick up, so the end of the stick goes down. I focus on where that imaginary extension of the joystick is pointing (i.e. down, when I push up).

    I use inverted, of course. Even with a mouse, though. up/up down/down makes sense for 2D interfaces, but in a 3D world inverted just seems *right* somehow.

  74. 80 L337807 February 15, 2007 at 4:46 am

    Pesonaly I blame my inversion of controls on goldeneye 007 the frist fps i ever played on a console i think the default for the aim was inverted so after hundreds of hours of sniping that way its almost impossible for me to play non-inverted but yet on the computer im completely normal(non-inverted) go figure…

  75. 81 L337807 February 15, 2007 at 4:46 am

    Pesonaly I blame my inversion of controls on goldeneye 007 the frist fps i ever played on a console i think the default for the aim was inverted so after hundreds of hours of sniping that way its almost impossible for me to play non-inverted on any console game third or first person but yet on the computer im completely normal(non-inverted) go figure…

  76. 82 losershoes February 15, 2007 at 5:14 am

    By far a simpler explanation from an earlier post:
    “The way I see it (especially with a joystick) is basically what’s happening in my hands: I tilt the stick up, so the end of the stick goes down. I focus on where that imaginary extension of the joystick is pointing (i.e. down, when I push up).” ~JM_Zen

  77. 83 nex February 15, 2007 at 6:26 am

    The hypothesis presented here presents a false dilemma. The two described ways of thinking about the relation of controller movements to navigation in the virtual world are not the only possible ways of thinking about this relation. Particularly joysticks can be seen to move parellel to two axes (X, Y), or, on the other hand, to rotate around these same axes. But mice are also ambiguous — for example, moving your viewport in one direction results in the graphics seemingly moving in the opposite direction. Standard mouse FPS controls are consistent with this, but not in the most natural way, as you have to consolidate the plane of the controller’s X, Y axes with the plane of the display’s axes — which usually are perpendicular. How exactly they are perpendicular is important: only the Y axis is different, the X axis is the same. This is why many people want the option of inverting up/down, but practically no one feels the need to invert left/right.

    Pointing devices such as trackers and Wii Remotes work in yet another, very different way. There’s just no comparison here.

    So, interesting post, good demonstration of how the fundamental issue is what “feels right” and how this is very subjective; but in the details, this hypothesis is suffering from incompleteness.

  78. 84 evening February 15, 2007 at 8:07 am

    I play inverted, mostly because I played a lot of airplane games on PC with a joystick as a kid.

    But you could also consider it this way: The joystick in it’s stationary position is like my head. If I put my thumb on my head, I move forward, or up, in order to look down. And pull back, or down, to look up.

    That’s just the way I see it.

  79. 85 Jake Frost February 15, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Anyone who has been behind the controls of an airplane in midair will tell you that inverted is the more natural choice. In an airplane cockpit, pushing forward on the “wheel” will tilt the plane forward, making you go down, and pulling back on the wheel will tilt the plane backward, making you go up. My dad was a pilot and he would take me flying with him in a two-seater he often rented and he would let me fly for a bit. Since then, it’s felt very natural to play anything, especially shooters, inverted on a joystick. Now a mouse, on the other hand… inverted on that is just nuts.

  80. 86 Ian February 15, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    I always feel like I’ve got my hand on top of the character’s head. Put you hand on top of your head and move your head around. See that? That’s why I play inverted.

    Ha ha ha! I made you look silly at work!

  81. 87 John February 15, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    I also think that this is a hangover from flight sims. I started gaming with Jane’s flight sims. Since the controls of a real fighter jet involve “pulling up” the inverted controls were the ones (probably default) that I used on Jane’s. Then when I switched to the mouse the inverted controls just made more sense since I was used to pulling my hand towards myself to look up and vise versa.

    I suspect that whatever you first get used to is what you will end up using.

  82. 88 Justin February 15, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    I use default when I play halo but when I play crimson skies with dang near the exact same controls I have to play inverted. Some 3rd person games I play inverted for instance morrowind but in other 3rd persons i play 1st person like gears of war.

  83. 89 Mike February 15, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    I have two theories.

    The first is conditioning: flight-sim fans are probably more likely to invert the mouse because they get wired that way from “flying planes”.

    My second theory is that it is more emersive. FPS and cursor movement are different depending on if your immersing yourself in the environment or not. For example, when I move the cursor up, the cursor moves up and the “environment” (desktop) remains static. Conversely, in an FPS, the “environment” moves rather than the cursor (a.k.a. cross-hair).

    I could most likely “untrain” myself of the flight-sim mode of control, but I like it. Either way, it costs a gaming company about 10 cents to add “Invert Mouse” as an option, so why not.

    In the end, it comes down to personal preference, psychobabble not withstanding. ;)

  84. 90 Anonymous February 15, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    When I sit in my chair with my back straight and want look at my lap (down), my back arches a bit forward. This means that my mouse also gets pushed FORWARD. When I want to look at the ceiling straight above me, I move a bit backwards and mouse get pulled BACKWARDS.
    Coincidently, pushing your mouse forward means UP and pulling it backwards means DOWN.

    Does anyone know if players that play inverted move their bodies more than gamers that play non-inverted?

  85. 91 Matt February 15, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    I actually believe this psychological stuff. I am way more than a science person and I feel that this makes a lot of sense. I can only play games on invert. Whether it be Gears of War, a third person, or Halo, a first person shooter. And the other example of my friends that play normal, don’t really like science and are more the drawing types. So I definitely feel that this makes a lot of sense.

  86. 92 Vinny February 15, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    I play inverted in just about every game, with the exception of mouse or wiimote controlled games. My reasoning is that the control stick is sticking out of a ball. The controller is between you and the screen. So if you want the screen (far side of the ball) to move up, you have to move your side of the ball (analogue stick) down.

    Just trying to justify the mental illness that is playing inverted.

  87. 93 rabbleruster February 16, 2007 at 5:59 am

    I used to fly gliders. Pulling the stick back tilts the plane up (the view ‘scrolls’ down): it’s the equivalent of pressing the down button (and vice versa). The theory here certainly fits, but there’s another way to look at it. Are you moving you or the view?

    Nice little piece, cheers

  88. 94 nemi February 16, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Yah, i hold my controller behind my head, so I use invert.

  89. 95 Matiu Carr February 16, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    “normal” control reflects an objective view point, where you manipulate information within your field of view. I agree that the cognitive experience is forward of the subject, but, the action is “projected” into the environment from a viewpoint outside of the world.

    So “inverted” probably represents a more subjective experience of the environment. Ducking forward and pulling (up and) away are the body felt responses of a subject _in_ the world.

  90. 96 steveeeee February 17, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Yeah, ive played inverted since n64, and my friends always ask me why, and say its so hard and dumb, well its becuase of n64 lol.

  91. 97 Joost February 18, 2007 at 1:51 am

    Cool explanation, I’ve seen games that have invert enabled by default and it’s annoying because I need it off.

  92. 98 Ardran February 18, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    I think it all comes from playing flight simulators as a kid. You pull back on the stick, the plane goes up. Simple as that. It carried over to FPS games for me, and I can’t even play if the y-axis isn’t inverted.

  93. 99 II cso II February 19, 2007 at 12:52 am

    Well, I play Halo 2 and other FPS in MLG matches and I always play inverted. I just never knew why. I am an introvert, as for the other people I know, this does actually seem true.

  94. 100 BoA anthraX February 19, 2007 at 6:52 am



    oh and if anyone wants 2 join my sweet as clan ‘BoA’ “Bullets of Authority” u can contact me @…

  95. 101 Digg February 19, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Pingback comments from Digg:

    enforcerpsu by enforcerpsu on 2/14/07 If you are like me, you are used to the way flight sims play. That is why whenever I play FPS shooters on the a console I have to use inverted controls. It feels like a flight sim. I don’t think its how immersed in the game I am.Now when it comes to a pointing device…such as the wiimote or a mouse I use “normal”. Because where I point is where I want to go. Seems completely natural to me

    Istario by Istario on 2/14/07 You pretty much described me exactly. I think the main reason for inverted controls (definitely for me) was due to flight sims like TIE Fighter. That seems like such an obvious answer that I’m surprised it isn’t in the article although it is mentioned in the comments. Not every little action needs to be psychoanalyzed.

    ilyag by ilyag on 2/14/07 I wonder why the controls for scrolling windows on a computer desktop couldn’t be inverted.Think about it. You have a scroll bar, with arrows pointing up and down, and a page of text on the screen. What happens to the page of text when you press DOWN? The page actually moves UP, revealing more text below.This is the same exact principle behind inverted controls in FPS games. When you’re pressing DOWN, what you’re actually doing is making the game world shift UP (I hope you can visualize what I’m trying to describe).I actually didn’t start thinking about this until I was talking to someone who has never used a computer. I was showing her a document that she asked me to type for her. She stood over my shoulder and started asking me to “Go UP.” Naturally, I clicked the up-arrow on the scroll bar. She reacted with surprise, saying, “No no, I said go UP.” I didn’t understand what she was talking about until she started gesturing with her hands that she wanted me to *move the page* upwards in order to scroll *down*.

    Software2 by Software2 on 2/14/07 There are 3rd party controllers for the 360 (The Gamestop brand ones) that have an “invert” switch on the back. It’s a nice backup in case a game decides to exclude such a simple feature.

    Thuktun by Thuktun on 2/14/07 I think you’ve headshotted the nail.

    ilyag by ilyag on 2/14/07 Software2:Not only does Microsoft mandate the inclusion of such an option inside the game, but it also hard-coded this option directly into the Xbox 360 dashboard. If you look in your console’s settings menu, you can set this (and other control defaults) there and all games published for the system must obey to meet Microsoft’s publishing requirements — just like they must follow certain specific rules when the Guide button is pressed, etc.

    validus70 by validus70 on 2/14/07 Some one else hit it dead on.. if you are a veteran of flight sims (or space combat sims… go Wing Commander : ) ) then you will feel at home with inverted.. if you did not get your start on flight sims it will fell very unnatural to you

    Cl1mh4224rd by Cl1mh4224rd on 2/14/07 I use inverted for flight sims, because that’s the way planes are controlled. It’s natural. I use regular for everything else, especially FPS’s. I’m pointing the gun where I want to shoot and, damnit, it better move in that direction.My friend uses inverted mouse controls for FPS’s. On the rare occasions I’m playing on his system, my first reaction is *always*, “What the fuck is wrong with your mouse?”

    Lord_oftheTrons by Lord_oftheTrons on 2/14/07
    dugg! dugg!
    It drives me nuts when I can’t have inverted controls. The worst was a ghost recon game for PS2. In the multiplayer mode, you either both had to be inverted, or both normal. What a horrible design flaw.I am just wired to play any game even using a mouse inverted. My first 3D game was Chuck Yeager flight sim for a 286 so maybe thats why I am so used to it.

    Drexle by Drexle on 2/14/07 Then do you expect the camera to look to the left if you press right? Jerking someone’s head to the right would cause them to look left, after all.

    gryffydd by gryffydd on 2/14/07 One important point with regards to computer FPS games in particular, is that the crosshairs of your gun behaves the same way as your mouse point in any application. That’s why for many people, when using a mouse won’t use inverted controls, but when using a joystick they will

    dorianh49 by dorianh49 on 2/14/07 @ cramd: Your character must be pretty paranoid of stuff in the sky, if he looks up no matter how you try to control him.

    Future2 by Future2 on 2/14/07 I always use inverted controls. I will admit it gets very confusing when I have to digg someone down.

    cramd by cramd on 2/14/07 I have always thought of my mouse/controller as gripping the head of the character in the game. If I pull his head back (down on the mouse/controller) he looks up, and if I push the head forward (up on mouse/controller) he looks up

    BGFeltenink by BGFeltenink on 2/14/07 ilyagActually you’re not correct either, at least not entirely. This is what is meant by it being a matter of perception. You see the game world as moving, many others see the cross-hairs as representing where they look. That they remain fixed in the center of the screen is irrelevant because the perception is that the avatar’s “eyes” or “gun” is pointing where the cross-hairs are. So really, you’re both right. Hence why the option is usually there.

    bromac by bromac on 2/14/07 I used to play Counterstrike and Halo on my friends machines. It was always a mix of inversion settings. I just taught myself how to use both eventually.Now I have no problems playing both, except for maybe a couple minutes at the beginning of a match if I just switched up and I have to get used to it again…but it comes pretty quickly.

    iluvatar by iluvatar on 2/14/07 I can’t use inverted on a mouse, but for a console FPS I need to invert the Y axis.

    Jassman by Jassman on 2/14/07 I have to use inverted. All those years of Goldeneye on the N64 formed the habit in me. Still, inverted seems to make more logical sense

    Lumiras by Lumiras on 2/14/07 I can never use an inverted control scheme, it just doesn’t feel natura

    b33b3s by b33b3s on 2/14/07 One of my friends tried to explain it to me once, he envisions it as how he moves the butt of the gun

    MrESaulved by MrESaulved on 2/14/07 Have you ever been in a cockpit before? When you push away (not up) from you with the flight stick, you pitch down..Dive! Dive! When you pull it towards you, you pitch up, Climb! Climb!I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt, but everything you wrote is flat out wrong.

    MotionAesthetic by MotionAesthetic on 2/14/07 This is why the article is wrong… it ignores the left/right aspect. I hadn’t thought of that either, and it could be why I find that inverted seems unnatural for anything but a flight sim.

    sathias by sathias on 2/14/07 I’ve always thought of it as normal is like you are controlling your eyes, inverted is like you are controlling your head. Pretty similar to what they describe in the article I guess.Another point which is worth noting is that in Duke3D you could only use inverted controls. Since it was one of the first FPS games with the ability to look up and down, many FPS players learnt to use Inverted by default.

    Phaedruss by Phaedruss on 2/14/07 If the game is configured correctly and the sensor bar placed properly, you should be able to point at your target on the TV and have it register correctly.

    zolaar by zolaar on 2/14/07 @Drexle:If you refine the analogy to include the fact that in flight, to tilt the stick to the left causes the plane to roll left (and thus begin pointing your aircraft leftward), you’ll see that your assumption isn’t exactly fair.

    Skeuomorph by Skeuomorph on 2/14/07 Interesting, I have the same glitch. In R6:Vegas, I play inverted, and am perfectly happy up to 6x scope. But at 12x scope, I feel like I’m trying to move the reticle instead of my head, so I get it wrong. I suppose this confirms the article’s novel idea — 12x scope is too far “forward” to fit the “moving your head” metaphor.The ultimate “moving your head” control system was using the Space Orb in the game Descent, offering six axes of movement in a single intuitive control. Anyone have Space Orb drivers for Vista or OS X

    masterthiefster by masterthiefster on 2/14/07 @ilyag:Actually, it does make sense, once you understand the mentality behind it.Hold an open book in front of you. Now look down the page. Is the page moving up to meet your eyes (the “camera”)? Of course not! The page itself is static, it is only your view of the page that is moving. And so it is that scrollbars move your view down the virtual page, the page does NOT come up to meet you.I have also tutored people who misunderstood which arrow does what, but once I used the book analogy they had no further problems.

    citizenkamb by citizenkamb on 2/14/07 How about the X-Axis though? Especially in 3rd person games with a free camera. It annoys me to no end when there’s no way to switch the inversion there, and there often isn’t because the X-Axis doesn’t get nearly as much press as the Y.I think of it as if I’m controlling the swing of the camera. Lets say the camera is directly behind my character. When I press Left, I want the camera to swing left. Now it’s behind the left shoulder of my character, and we see more of what’s to the character’s right.This is how the camera control works in Zelda and a bunch of other games… but too often you get the other way. Metal Arms and Lost Planet (at least the demo) had it the “wrong” way, and as far as I could tell there was no way to switch

    benitojuarez by benitojuarez on 2/14/07 flight sims are the only games i use inverted controls on since its how aircraft operate irl. you dont aim at someones feet if you want to shoot them in the head, that concept is hard to wrap my head around.

    SpazzyJeff by SpazzyJeff on 2/14/07 I’d like to see more mention on left-right as well. This arises as an issue for me particularly in 3rd-person ‘chase camera’ games, including most modern RPGs. Basically, the distinction is whether hitting left will turn the camera to the left about your character, or hitting left would make your character look to the left

    megatonsamurai by megatonsamurai on 2/14/07 It’s depends if it’s 3rd or 1st person for me. In 1st person I invert only vertical. When I move my mouse left I feel like I’m moving my head to the left, when I pull back I feel like I’m moving my head back and hence looking upwards. In 3rd person I invert both ways, that way it feels like I’m moving the camera (left moves the camera left, and my view to the right etc).This way seems to make the most sense to me but I seem to be in the minority.

    canuck21 by canuck21 on 2/14/07 someone should submit a poll to diggers: inverted or no

    mikefitz2 by mikefitz2 on 2/14/07 Honestly, it was Goldeneye 64 back in ’97 that converted me to inverted controls, I’ve been playing all FPSs, console and PC, since playing that game

    BillDoE by BillDoE on 2/14/07 I use normal controls for everything except Flight games. Inverted control is natural for flight

    dsitvarin by dsitvarin on 2/14/07 I’ve always owned either a crappy pc or a mac, so my aiming training comes from games on consoles. That said, it always feels natural to control them inverted, like a flight sim. I guess I imagine a stick coming out of the back of the character’s head, and I control from that… weird. If I aim with a mouse it’s gotta be normal, because it’s just like point/click with any other program

    ilyag by ilyag on 2/14/07 gryffydd:That’s actually not true at all. In the vast majority of games, the crosshairs never move. They’re stuck to the center of the screen. It’s the world that’s moving on the screen, not the crosshair. This fact is the reason that some people find inverted controls more natural.

    vermin by vermin on 2/14/07 Why are people trying to analyze this so much. If you learn to play with inverted mouse then you’ll prefer that. It’s just how you learn

    masterthiefster by masterthiefster on 2/14/07 For my part I use inverted y axes for flight sims and normal controls (on both x and y axes, if available) for FPSes and RPGs, regardless of whether I’m controlling it with a mouse, gamepad, joystiq or whatever else. Since my first free camera game was on a PC (Jedi Knight, I believe) I’ve always been used to it this way, and, in the PC market, it’s still by far the standard. PC games that by default invert one or both axes are often criticised for it.When it comes to console games, I’m always irritated when a game like Tomb Raider Legend or Dragon Quest doesn’t have a setting to turn my character with a “locked” third person view (such as is standard on a PC) but instead swings the camera, making it feel wrong. In some games this means you have to turn “twice”, once to turn your character (left analog) and once to turn your camera (right analog) as the delayed auto-rotation of the camera often doesn’t keep up with the speed of your movements. Before the advent of dual analogs, games that used the “push once to turn, push and hold to walk that direction” system with an automated camera were even worse.Some of these games don’t let you change the way the camera turns and/or locks, even in their PC ports. This is also my annoyance with the PC port of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which is made artificially harder than III and Vice City by removing strafing (at least as far as I could find) and instead opting for console-style turning. Even worse, the crosshair is only enabled when you hit a button, further reeking of console-ness

    stealthgear by stealthgear on 2/14/07 you can train yourself to any configuration. there doesnt have to be a set way that is best for game controls

    mustanggt1989 by mustanggt1989 on 2/14/07 TIE FIGHTER!!

    elhaf by elhaf on 2/14/07 Flight sim, or real flight. I used to fly planes, so I use inverted.

    MrESaulved by MrESaulved on 2/14/07 What an uninformative and incomplete article. I’ll try and add some interesting thoughts.A Joystick is a desk-bound version of actual flight controls. That you pull on the joystick to go “up” is just like in a real plane you pull the flight stick closer to you to gain altitude. So no great revelations on the mysteries of consciousness revealed there…If you put 1,000 non-flyers in a real cockpit to test if they were going to either pull or push to gain altitude, I suspect nearly all of them would intuitively pull, those that did not, would certainly remember the unpleasant feeling that resulted if they pushed and would not push again a second time.A mouse is a poor substitute for a flight stick, but the same principles apply..if you pull the mouse closer to you, like a flight stick, up you go (positive pitch to those who know better). Again, no great revelation in mechanics or cognition.The real test to understanding this concept is how do you explain this in terms of an upside down mouse? I prefer upside down mice, since they stay put and offer other advantages. I guess not many people use them, and that is a shame since they are probably much better than mice for most people.Maybe if you think of a trackball as a round flight stick? Or draw little eyes on the ball itself and picture the eyes moving up as you pull back on the ball (roll it towards you), as the eyes go up your view goes up. Roll the ball away from you, you look down…do you recall the Space Orb 260? It was a fixed center trackball that worked on all axes and allowed for acceleration based on how far you were pushing or twisting was amazing for space games in its day.

    UglieJosh by UglieJosh on 2/14/07 I use invert for some FPS games and regular for others but I use invert most often. For 3rd person shooters I always use normal axis controls.The Wii definitely fixes this for me as I always prefer normal controls. On the other hand, it is a lot harder to keep your gun centered with a Wiimote than a controller

    hockey by hockey on 2/14/07 I was actually able to “unlearn” my inverted preference.I played Star Wars Galaxies for about a year and there was no option in that game to invert the mouse. After a few months of playing I got used to it and I noticed that when I played Unreal with an inverted mouse setting it felt weird.Now I play without the inverted mouse in all my games and I do just fine

    payndz by payndz on 2/14/07 @cornersheep”If you push up on an airplane control stick, the plane should go up. If you push down on the stick, it should make the plane go down. I don’t understand why anyone would design it any different way.”You’ve obviously never flown a plane. The joystick isn’t positioned to provide a direct analogue to ‘up’ or ‘down’ – rather, pushing forward (‘up’) tilts the nose down, and back (‘down’) raises it. If you sit in an aircraft cockpit, it feels absolutely, 100% instinctively ‘right’ to push forward to descend – which is the reason why nobody has ever had a “Hay guyz!” moment and proposed switching it around.

    b04155 by b04155 on 2/14/07 If I play with the controls inverted or not depends on the type of game I’m playing

    LiquidPenguin by LiquidPenguin on 2/14/07 @enforcerpsu e”If you are like me, you are used to the way flight sims play. That is why whenever I play FPS shooters on the a console I have to use inverted controls. It feels like a flight sim. I don’t think its how immersed in the game I am.”Exactly. The article writer needs to do more research. People like you and I prefer the inverted controls because we learned how to manipulate the environment though flight sims. If you’ve ever play Star Raiders, you’ll understand how screwed up the controls can get.But I digress, the push forward == up/pull back == down came about because some developers were referencing their controls in relation to the screen. If you place the monitor horizontally (say on the floor) and hold the joystick in the same relative direction. Then the control scheme makes sense. It’s especially obvious when you encounter someone who have never played using an inverted scheme, they’ll perceive the controls as parallel to the screen when the options to change their controls come up.

    Hammerheart by Hammerheart on 2/14/07 I use inverted for flight sims and normal for everything else. It doesn’t matter if I’m using a mouse, keyboard, or joystick. The only thing that always drives me crazy is FPS or third person games is a switch between flight and walking modes. When I hop into the damn aircraft, I want my controls to switch! It always pisses me off to no end. One well known example is Halo and the Banshee aircraft

    Gizza by Gizza on 2/14/07 @iluvatarI think im the same. I almost never play FPS on consoles, but when I do I think I invert the Y axis. Just feels more natural when ur pulling on a joystick type control to be inverted on the Y axis, guess that probably comes from planes. But Ive played FPS on a PC before with it inverted and it was horrible.

    tprzepiorka by tprzepiorka on 2/14/07 I’ve never really played flight sims, however I can only play inverted(Only the vertical). Non-Inversion just seems unnatural to me. I am the only one out of nearly all the people I know who plays inverted.I find that in 3rd person shooters inversion doesn’t make a difference to me after a few minutes of adjustment. In 1st person I find it nearly impossible to play unless the Y-Axis is inverted.

    SPARTACVS by SPARTACVS on 2/14/07 The way I always try to explain inverted to people that think I’m weird is just that if you imagine that the top of your head is the top of the thumbstick, then if you tilted your head back, your vision would move up. It just seems way more natural to me, and I’ve had it ingrained in my hand-eye coordination even before I played my first dual stick (goldeneye doesn’t count) console shooter (halo). My invertedness from using a mouse in Dark Forces/Jedi Knight just sort of carried over when I bought my Xbox 1

    Skeuomorph by Skeuomorph on 2/14/07 The article claims it’s front of head or back of head, but that doesn’t explain most players’ non-inverted X-axis. Airplane joystick does.And the SpaceOrb rocked, even though most people threw it in the corner after 10 minutes, unwilling to learn how it worked (thereby killing what its fans considered the best control system ever made for immersive gaming).

    defy by defy on 2/14/07 Nothing like having to change controls with every action game you play to inverted… makes for a good time at E3 when the next guy plays on the computer you were just at..”What the hell, the controls are reversed? This game sucks!”I think the first game I consciously chose inverted was Tribes 1, couldn’t look up or down in Wolf3d and Doom..

    sid0 by sid0 on 2/14/07 I used to play normal, then took a break for a few months. When I came back, I couldn’t play using normal, and had to use inverted. Strange, but the article explains it nicely.

    echonull by echonull on 2/14/07 Actually, you specify in the Wii settings whether your bar is above or below your TV, and it adjusts accordingly depending on how far it sees you are from the bar. IIRC, Twilight Princess had a rather informative calibration section… though in the end, it would take a game withOUT a reticle to really test how much of the accuracy is due to the system’s detection, and how much to player adjustment.

    raindogmx by raindogmx on 2/14/07 I’m about to read the article thus maybe? destroying my theories forever so here it goes: I use inverted controls in FPS because, as many have said, I have the reference of flight simulators. Why do planes and flight simulators work that way? Because when you move the stick or yoke you mean to move the plane, and not the view outside the plane. Imagine a stick placed underneath a model plane, like a gun handle and you’ll notice the movement to tilt the model plane upwards tilts the stick or handle backwards. In FPS I think in terms of moving the body and not only the view since in real life I don’t bother were the outside view comes from but how are are my body, head and eyes positioned, of course I get an additional view angle by moving the eyes which relates to the “normal” controls but in FPS you’re supposed to be moving your whole body, like a plane.
    Now to the article.

    zeromp by zeromp on 2/14/07 ultranurd is an example of someone who uses folder-mouse.I mean no offense to ultranurd, but I would say that he seems to be less immersed in the games he plays with a mouse. With a joystick he’ll imagine himself as the joystick and control accordingly. With a mouse… he might just as well be opening folders or clicking away at a flash game as playing a shooter. It just seems to me that this is the way he is looking at it.Now for the offense: ultranurds opinion doesn’t count because he is playing GAMES on a Mac! AHhahahHa! Ha! Now go get an iPhone and anything else that has been prefixed with the a lowercase i why don’t you? Tell me – do you right click to change weapon functions, oh wait that’s right.. one button. Maybe you use the ‘open apple’ key?Don’t look at me like that Macboys I’m just playing around! ;)

    Skeuomorph by Skeuomorph on 2/14/07 If you grabbed your head from behind, and pushed up on the back of your head to look down, you’d push right to look left. Flight sim is a better explanation.

    silon by silon on 2/14/07 Actually, if you played Wing Command with the mouse controls (which are to me, totally superior), you will not use inverted ever.

    entropyguru by entropyguru on 2/14/07 I personally don’t agree with the post. For me inverted controls are quite simple and come from flight simulators. If you were in the cockpit of a real airplane, you pull back on the stick/yoke to go up. If you push in you go down. This idea has just been generalized to any 3D environment in games (such as FPS’s)

    ThePet by ThePet on 2/14/07 I use inverted controls, but I don’t view it as being behind vs being infront. To me, it’s more like the joystick is actually my head. So to me it’s not “up is down and down is up”. I see it as Pull forward vs. Pull backward thing.If you grab your own head with your hand, just get a good grip of hair, and pull forward, you look down. If you grab your hair and pull backward, you look up.I haven’t had the pleasure of using the Wii, so I’m not sure if that experience will change the way I view this

    Shuk by Shuk on 2/14/07 For me, I think of it instinctively as holding a real gun. If you want to aim up, your whole body/vision sort of tilts back. For example, to shoot something in the sky with a machine gun, you put your leg back and lean back a bit to point up. To shoot a bug or something, you will crouch forward.I think its just a matter of whether you see up as “forward” and down as “back” when it comes to aiming (movement is different).

    MrESaulved by MrESaulved on 2/14/07 Aiming a reticule is different from free flight. Nearly everyone who prefers inverted free flight, prefers aiming as you describe it. They are different concepts. Games manage this differently, BF2 manages it perfectly, Halo, not so much.

    rufo by rufo on 2/14/07 I actually wound up setting my sensor bar settings to say “below the TV”, even though it was above – it made my pointing line up much better.

    iammatto by iammatto on 2/14/07 I’m glad you bring this up. My wife started playing 3D games with platformers, and got used to the idea of moving the camera. So as you describe, when she pushes left, she wants the camera to move behind the characters left shoulder. Oddly this somehow translates to 1st person games as well. She can not play any console FPS games because while they frequently allow you to invert the Y axis, they never let you invert the X.I personally always thing which way do I want my character to look when playing both first and third person games.

    nublet by nublet on 2/14/07 playing a fps with a controller is stupid, inverted or not

    strictnein by strictnein on 2/15/07 “The first game I ever played was MS Flight Sim (on a Comador 64, oh yeah”I still have that game. And it’s a sin that you spelled Commodore that way. For repentance: go download a 50KB file with a C64’s 300 baud modem.

    Software2 by Software2 on 2/15/07 @CronyxDid you just go on a page-long rant trying to convince people that they’re doing it wrong?

    Qazzian by Qazzian on 2/15/07 I totally agree with enforcerpsu and Istario.
    Used to play Tie Fighter and Doom all the time.
    Guess which one had the look up/down feature?
    From that day on, if there is no Y axis invert, all I can see is the floor.

    kenok by kenok on 2/14/07
    Flight sim control behavior to me… it just feels natural to me

    waldox by waldox on 2/14/07
    i wonder what the configuration top cpl players use, inverted or normal mode in first person shooters. i feel inverted has more mental lag time tho i have been using inverted for 15 years now… switching to normal is hard. yes i have tried. its like learning how to write with your non dominant hand… its fustratingly innaccurat

    roroco by roroco on 2/14/07
    I have always used inverted controls. They just feel more natural to me – although I think it is less about the side of the head that I think I am turning and more about natural movements. When I am running forward, I envision my head going down. When I am stepping back, I see it as moving up. For me it is about the combination of both sticks that makes inverted controls more natural.
    I don’t like the fact that all the games recently have had the controls set to normal as a default instead of inverse (in the 90s this was not the case)

    echonull by echonull on 2/14/07
    Interesting read, though I’d like to see more mention on left-right as well. This arises as an issue for me particularly in 3rd-person ‘chase camera’ games, including most modern RPGs. Basically, the distinction is whether hitting left will turn the camera to the left about your character, or hitting left would make your character look to the left. In fact, programatically, I’d guess that’s the distinction — whether you’re moving the camera’s POV or the character’s — and that determines whether the action is inverted or not….Personally, I tend to use inverted controls for flight or chase games, and noninverted for first-person.
    Rez set to first-person POV, though, requires an inversion for me.Being able to invert each axis independently is a key feature, though, and on all consoles that don’t support that intrinsically, every single game with control over your view *needs* to have each setable.

    DarkJC by DarkJC on 2/14/07
    Despite playing countless hours of Goldeneye, I prefer not to play inverted. Seems unnatural. If I move my mouse to the upper left…I want the cursor/crosshairs to go to the upper left. Same thing applies when I’m playing with a dual joystick setup

    jDavid by jDavid on 2/14/07
    takes me 5 min to switch back and forth, i do not care either way.its basically how do you map your hand to screen, if the controller is perpendicular to the screen, you can either mentally rotate it down and into the screen, or back and away from the screen. from that point you are either parallel with the game. drawing a pic might make this easier to understand, but in general it is weather you mentally rotate the controller 90deg or -90degres relative to the initial perpendicular orientation of a mouse of a controller.what really screws me up, is when the strafe and turn get moved, that seems to take me about a half an hour to remap that one in my mind

    maiku00 by maiku00 on 2/14/07
    I switch back and forth all the time. To me, it really makes little difference- I can play comfortably either way.

    narcosis219 by narcosis219 on 2/14/07
    I’ve never played a flightsim game before, but once i picked up and FPS (or even splintercell) i felt really awkward playing. Then i accidentally turned inverted on (had no idea what it did) and i could actually aim at the target for once! =

    MotionAesthetic by MotionAesthetic on 2/14/07
    It’s far, far easier to construct a real-life plane with ‘inverted’ controls. That’s where it comes from.Just be glad that there isn’t a huge market for Boat Sims – then we’d also have people playing with inverted left-right controls.

    maxsunset by maxsunset on 2/14/07
    Another reason one might use inverted control: If you have ever “controlled” a camera before on a tripod, you move the handle down to look up and move it up to look down, so if you play games as if you are controlling the camera you would play inverted. Then again… I play vertically inverted, but not horizontally inverted..

    Brassbud by Brassbud on 2/14/07
    I also grew up on flight sims (and still fly them). I’m positive that is why I use “inverted” mouse controls.Recently, however, I have found that I have difficulty making smooth circles with the aiming reticule when I am thinking about the movment in the game and not the physical movment of my hand. If I switch to non-inverted, I can make smooth circles. after a while of trying I can feel my elbow start to hurt. Something in my brain is obviously conflicting in mating the movment of an inverted mouse to the appearance on the screen. Generally on-screen clockwise circles are easier inverted than counter-clockwise, but both can be difficult if I switch between the two. Does anyone else suffer this?Also, I am generally pretty good at using both, and can even us a joystick “inverted” (forward is up, back is down) with a little practice. For some 3rd-person action games I find non-inverted best. I think the some 3rd-person games distort the fulcum of the tilt so that pulling back is no longer intuitve with bending backwards and vica versa. That said, I wish every game gave you an inverted option.

    software2 by software2 on 2/15/07
    Kill yourself.
    (I’m not your peer though. I’m better than you.)

    crashingechelon by crashingechelon on 2/14/07
    For me the article makes sense. I originally started with flight sims on the PC so I was use to inverted controlling like that. The first major FPS that I got into was GoldenEye for the N64. After those experiences every FPS game that I played had to be on normal controls, where up goes up and down goes down. I believe it is psychological on how you perceive the action going on. Inverted does not feel natural to me at all playing FPS as the same with flight sims that normal does not feel natural. I can instantly change between the two types of genres and not have any issues at all with game play. In my mind for an aircraft up is down and down is up and for a weapon up is up and down is down.I do think my friend is weird for inverting the controls on Double Agent, he has to invert the x and y axies on the controller other wise he can’t play. I asked him why he does this and he explained that he views the analog stick as moving his head and not a camera. For me since the game is 3rd person I view the analog stick as the camera. But for the shooting controls we keep it normal as it is in other FPS games

    knyghtryda by knyghtryda on 2/15/07
    It all depends on what you cut your teeth on when you were really young. Me? I played flight sims for quite a while before I started FPSes (anyone remember the ORIGINAL Microsoft Flight Simulator?), so it was only natural for me to play inverted. For those people who never played flight sims/space sims, a direct connection between mouse movement and look would seem much more natural. I think another major contributing factor was the game Descent. It was part fps and part flight sim, and the controls for me just translated into my traditional wasd + inverted arrow keys, since I felt I was still flying something. Over a decade and a half of gaming later and I can tell you that now everything I play needs to be inverted, lest it confuse the crap out of me. As for the Wii… I really don’t know. I haven’t played any wii FPSes, but my guess would be that since I’m aiming something tangible it would only be natural for the controls to be regular and not inverted. I’m still not all that crazy about how the wii is able to handle the first person perspective, but I can’t wait until they release a FPS star wars game for it :) Who doesn’t want to swing a lightsaber around in their living room

    plnegative1 by plnegative1 on 2/14/07
    My thoughts exactly. I play FPS games because of my history with flight games. when you run around first person in a game it is ALOT like flying.”I actually like the authors explanation more than simply it’s because of flight simulator games.”What it comes down to is personal preference…. it has NOTHING to do with personality or your perspective in playing games. His explanation doesn’t even make any sense.

    pkulak by pkulak on 2/14/07
    Same here. The first game I ever played was MS Flight Sim (on a Comador 64, oh yeah) and I’ve never been able to shake those expectations.

    UCFMark by UCFMark on 2/14/07
    I used to play flight sims, so when I started to play FPS games, I inverted the controls. But eventually, I converted to not have to deal with the inconvenience of everyone else playing on uninverted controls and me having to switch back every time because someone else used my profile and switched to uninverted. So, it was a strictly pragmatic decision.

    MotionAesthetic by MotionAesthetic on 2/14/07
    Do you also invert your left-right controls?

    BlackPhantom by BlackPhantom on 2/14/07
    As stated in the first comment, I too was brought into the gaming world by playing flight sims. I’m just used to the inverted controls

    gryffydd by gryffydd on 2/15/07
    @ilyag,We’re both right, basically, the idea of the crosshairs moving vs. the world moving is another way of expressing what this article does about perception, but without all the psychological bullshit.

    PurgueFlantar by PurgueFlantar on 2/14/07
    This is so far down the comments no one will read it, anyhow: I started out playing TIE fighter and other flight sim old school games, but in Doom and Quake I did not invert. One day in a multiplayer CTF game I asked a guy how he was so good and he said because he inverted his mouse. Okay… well so I started thinking that pulling DOWN gave you faster reaction time for some reason and assuming your character is standing on the ground 90% of your up/down aiming will be UP in the air (remember the grappling hook?). After sleeping on it a couple nights I decided to make the switch to inverted mouse setup. I got good at Quake and generally I’m one of the higher scorers in any FPS game (currently playing BF2142). Right or wrong, I don’t honestly believe inverted mouse gives me an advantage but I’m what 10 years into playing with this setup so it has stuck.I think at the end of the day this topic ends up being the same as talking about lefties vs righties. Interesting comment above about Duke3D being inverted mouse only, I played that game to death but don’t remember that limitation. Of course if a game will not let me invert the mouse I simply do not play it

    goosnargh by goosnargh on 2/14/07
    That was the reason I forced myself to switch to non inverted. Saves the hassle of looking through the menus for the inverted checkbox when you load a game for the first time. Also a good reason for switching to WASD.The one thing I don’t like about these ‘universal defaults’ is shift = walk, ctrl = duck. That’s one thing I don’t understand because if you lay your hand on the keyboard with your fingers resting on wasd, the pinky should be resting on shift. Now duck is used a lot more than walk and shift is the more comfortable key, so…

    Software2 by Software2 on 2/14/07
    @ilyagYou’ve obviously never played Sneak King then :P
    There are games that don’t follow the rules, and it’s nice to have that option.

    nzhamstar by nzhamstar on 2/14/07
    haha, I remember Fury 3 made me play that way… ahhh remember Fury 3…? So much fun… ye old sidewinder pro :

    halfnormalform by halfnormalform on 2/14/07
    @:kcpwnsgmanIf you have Zelda, you can use the options within the game to adjust the pointer to be higher or lower than “normal”. It seems to carry from game to game, too.

    Codename by Codename on 2/15/07
    Used to play Flight sims back in the day son

    maxsunset by maxsunset on 2/14/07
    dugg! dugg!
    I think the guy made a lot of sense. Some of my coworkers and I were just talking about this the other day (I work at a game company), and what I dont quite understand, is why we sometimes “switch” from inverted to normal, or vice versa. I don’t really buy the argument that inverted controls are left over from flight sims, because I use them (on console shooters), but I never really played flight sims, but the illustrations make sense to me. Cool article

    serj730 by serj730 on 2/14/07
    I’m “enable”

    FieldAnonymouse by FieldAnonymouse on 2/14/07
    “Go grab yourself a real rifle. Put your weak hand under the barrel and your dominant hand on the trigger. Now push down with your dominant hand and which way does the gun aim. UP!”Last I checked, you aim a rifle with the hand that’s under the barrel. But then again, what do I know? I’ve only had the pleasure of going target shooting with real guns. Both rifles and pistols. Also, your whole thing falls completely apart with pistols anyway where you’re either holding it one handed, or both hands are together.

    hansamurai by hansamurai on 2/14/07
    I was going to bring this up. I’ve been playing quite a few 3D games lately and they all seem to do the opposite for the x-axis that the last did. Prince of Persia and FF12 are the two most recent. I thought I found the scheme I liked for PoP:TT so I stuck with that. Then I played FF12 and it was opposite of what I had just played so it took me quite a few hours to get used to that, as you couldn’t change the setting. So now I’m used to “normal” (or inverted, I don’t know!) on the x-axis I think, and then I played Halo 2 and I was having a few problems just turning correctly. It’s the most difficult part of jumping from 3D game to 3D game in my opinion.

    gotamd by gotamd on 2/14/07
    I only prefer inverted controls when playing a flight simulator or flight-related game. I never play FPS’s with a control pad because the mouse+keyboard is the only natural combination for me

    ultranurd by ultranurd on 2/14/07
    I play inverted when using a joystick for looking (e.g. Halo on the XBOX), but non-inverted for mouselook (e.g. Elite Force on my Mac). Based on the article’s diagrams, I map the joystick to my head and neck (so forward/up on the joystick is leaning my head forward and down), but I map the mouse plane to the plane of the screen (so forward on the mouse is up on the screen, just as when I’m interacting normally with a mouse GUI)

    trixrox by trixrox on 2/14/07
    I thought I was the only person in the world who used inverted controls! I just think they make more sense in my mind, I’m sure I can train myself to be “normal” though. Intresting article though

    Thuktun by Thuktun on 2/14/07
    I agree with this until we talk about FPS games, where for me pushing up corresponds to aiming upwards with the barrel of the weapon.

    xxNIRVANAxx by xxNIRVANAxx on 2/14/07
    FPS: Invert Y axis -> I have never played a flight sim, so I don’t know why I like inverted. Must be cause I kick with my left leg.
    3PS: Invert X + Y axis -> Pretty simple explanation: In a third person shooter, I feel like I am the camera commanding the guy to move; as I move the camera right, my player looks left (so the camera stays behind him/her)Thank you for your time

    haax by haax on 2/14/07
    I see myself as looking through a camera. Tilting back makes the view go up. I don’t invert x because it’s not a tilt, it’s more a turning feeling

    zeromp by zeromp on 2/14/07
    Good example with the tripod maxsunset.I think people are oversimplifying this a bit by saying “flight sim” then writing it off. I’ve never played flight sim games, but I use inverted controls for every shooter I play, whether it be Xbox 360 or PC. Since I started on PC FPS I imagined my left hand as my body and my right hand (mouse) as my head.The human head acts a lot like a camera on a tripod. Imagine your mouse attached to the top of a camera on a tripod. Pull back (camera looks up) Push forward (camera looks down). It always just made sense to me, so when I started playing console games I just continued the habit.My friends and I made fun of everyone who used “folder-mouse” (as we called it) to play FPS. If they were getting killed a lot – I’d just tell them to pretend the enemy’s face was a desktop shortcut and double-click his ass!

    BlkGuyAtThePrty by BlkGuyAtThePrty on 2/14/07 I find my control preference usually depends on what I’m doing in game. As an example; when sniping I find inverted controls impossible to use, but choosing to mix it up in the trenches of a FPS I can use either inverted or standard controls

    MotionAesthetic by MotionAesthetic on 2/14/07 I can never reverse when the camera pans around to the front of the car. In fact, this has confused me and made me bad at reversing in real life.

    ps3worldwide by ps3worldwide on 2/14/07 wow this is interesting :)tho i use inverted on all FPS on consoles and normal on PCs lo

    reventlov by reventlov on 2/14/07 I grew up playing flight sims and flying rc planes. Down is up, up is down. After reading the article I see how I feel i am “controlling movement infront of [my] head” when I think about all the games I have played.

    ashman512 by ashman512 on 2/14/07 I can personally go back and forth between them. I use inverted for flight sims, but if the FPS controls are inverted it just takes a few minutes to get used to it and then I’m good

    ninjaho by ninjaho on 2/14/07 Well, I guess I’m a bit old, but I started my gaming addiction with sims like Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat. That basically was the reason why I got so used to reverse controls. It’s simulating pulling back on the yaw to go up and push forward to go down. Some of my friends never bothered with the inversion which sometimes became a point of argument among us. Since the rationale was you don’t push forward to fly up. And logically tilting your head is the same way. Move forward to look down and pull back to look up.I brought that over with me when I started playing FPS’s. Maybe it’s because I use my hands to look around that it still felt natural to have a reverse y-axis. When you’re frantically running around and jumping up and down dodging a million bullets, doesn’t it seem like flying anyway? :)But I guess if I had started playing a FPS before a flight sim, I might’ve gotten used to normal controls for looking around. Oh well

    spidoman by spidoman on 2/14/07
    dugg! dugg!
    I actually like the authors explanation more than simply it’s because of flight simulator games.The first game I really played was Flight Simulator for Windows 95. It was a blast, and I played it a bunch, but I have always hated inverted controls in FPS’.

    Flawed77 by Flawed77 on 2/14/07 I think that some more effort should be put into the whole introverted or extroverted theory. A survey should be done with personality types and how they set up their controller. As for me, I have an INTP personality and I use inverted

    merreborn by merreborn on 2/14/07 “Maybe if you think of a trackball as a round flight stick? Or draw little eyes on the ball itself and picture the eyes moving up as you pull back on the ball (roll it towards you), as the eyes go up your view goes up. Roll the ball away from you, you look down”That’s basically what the article is all about. Your analogy is completely consistent with the statements therein.”If the player feels they are controlling movement from behind their head with joypad , they are likely to find an inverted control scheme works best for them. Pulling back on their stick therefore tilts their head up and should move the play field up.

    Alisic by Alisic on 2/14/07 That’s all very well, provided you’re playing a game whose main character is a cameraman.

    lion1750 by lion1750 on 2/14/07 I find inverted controls normal and it makes sense to me, but my friends all think I’m weird for using inverted controls

    kcpwnsgman by kcpwnsgman on 2/14/07 I am kind of weird in that I use flight joysticks inverted, but mice ‘normal’, and with console controllers, I am constantly switching back and forth, some times even during play.

    FUElitists by FUElitists on 2/14/07 Yep! It’s from the old flight sims. They were some of the 1st games i played, and that inverted option just stuck with me.

    FieldAnonymouse by FieldAnonymouse on 2/14/07 My preference of inversion is mostly based on what I’m using for a controller. Overall if I’m using a joystick (full joystick that you can wrap your whole hand around, not those stupid analog thumb sticks) I’ll go with up is down and down is up. Other than that though, I set it so up is up and down is down.Complications sometimes arise though when the camera and your aim are not linked. Then I like when aim is normal, while camera is set so it’s like moving the stick moves the camera itself, not where it’s pointing. Therefore left is right, up is down. This is also how things work when I’m working in my 3D modeling program. It feels right because I’m controlling where the camera is, not where it points

    maxsunset by maxsunset on 2/14/07 Why the fuck should you care? Some people simply have a preference for one control scheme or the other, there shouldnt be ONE definitive way to do something. There is no right or wrong here ya nazi.

    kenvsryu by kenvsryu on 2/14/07
    [comment buried, show commenthide comment] – 1 digg bury this digg this
    I have an inverted belly button

    dorkino by dorkino on 2/14/07
    [comment buried, show commenthide comment] – 1 digg bury this digg this
    Funny how someone tried to make psychological sense of the fact that people who played flying games in the past prefer to invert the mouse..

    chexmex222 by chexmex222 on 2/14/07
    [comment buried, show commenthide comment] – 1 digg bury this digg this
    i use invert cuz all my friends do itHooray peer pressure!

    Cronyx by Cronyx on 2/15/07 People keep making the argument that moving the mouse “up” should move your view up. I don’t know if these people have some unusual wall-mounted rail system for their mouse, but MY mouse never moves “up”. My mouse is stuck on a table, by gravity, and due to the fact that it is using a traditional 2 axis articulation method, it can only move forward & backward, left & right.I’m pretty sure all the people commenting are also not in possession of a mouse that a movement of “up” would generate a valid response from their terminal.If you were to push me forward, and I did not move my feet, then my torso would move forward. Of course, it can’t move forward absolutely due to the fact that it is attached to my pelvis. This is called a “pivot”.That means my torso will “tilt” forward. These are very difficult concepts to grasp. But what it basically implies is, if my torso (or for that matter, my head) tilts forward, due to pivot action, I will look down. Likewise, if my torso pivots backwards, I will be looking up.This translates into a DIRECT causality in association to mouse movement. No obtuse mental association, obscure spatial redefinition, or strange aeronautical metaphors need apply.The argument that it is “like a flight simulator” is amusing, somewhat accurate in premises, but ultimately unnecessary. It is also easily counter pointed (you’re not playing a flight simulator, making it inapplicable) so there’s no reason to rely on the argument. Simply defining the causal relationship between literal mouse movement and avatar movement is sufficient, and stands on its own merit.

  96. 102 Little34 February 19, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Its a differnt way to look at why some people use inverted and others non-inverted… personally myself i use to play inverted all the time because befor I played alot of 1st person shooters I played tons of flight games like ace combat, but i don’t know when it was when i started playing non inverted but now inverted seems weird to play in 1st person shooters, but if i go back to a flight game its compleatly natural to me playing inverted. Also I’m not quite sure how but i can switch settings from normal to inverted if someone else was just playing inverted, i just need a little longer to get use to the change… just my 2 cents

  97. 103 theshez February 20, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    well i never really played any flight sims at all and i always invert my controls in 3rd person and first person. i dont really do alot on my pc except trawl the net and well yeah. its prob just how your brain is wired i spose as to how you deal with certain controls on certain products

  98. 104 sernie C February 20, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    if you cant play both ways your not a real gammer any ways.

  99. 105 jesse February 21, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    when i want to aim a gun UP i drop the butt and then support barrel and possible tilt back (like my thumbstick) u don’t tilt forward to shoot up!!

    so to me inverted is actually like a real gun.

    inverted players will destroy kids as the games become more graphical and realistic because we play like its 3d.

    inverted players measure the affect of gravity and consider human movements.
    default players just toggle the cursor with the thumbsticks its a 3d thumbstick.

    default is 2d like arrows drawn on a piece of paper (which supports the authors theory.)

  100. 106 Toxic Euphoria February 22, 2007 at 12:30 am

    In various first person games i prefer default but one thing i notice is that, in every game, as soon as i enter a plane or a some kind of aircraft my brain would automaticaly switch to inversion! This intriegs me because it seemed as though the transition is subconcious as i don’t have to sit and think about it; even when my concious is full of several other ajendas.
    I was pleased to find out that in the game Halo1 there was a control option called “Invert Flight Controls” that solved my delima. Although they have since removed that feature for Halo2 it makes me wonder if there are many other gamers who experiance the same subconcious switch from default to inverted that i do.
    Breaking down the dynamics of why this automatic switch occures could lead to a friutfull discovery.

  101. 107 Hass February 23, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    I use inverted controls in FPS as i feel in reality to target vertically you would have to lean back and by pulling back on the control stick seems to me the action of drawing your arm backwards and pointing up. Using non inverted control scheme is completely alien because pushing forward would make me think that i wanted to move in that direction.

  102. 108 Jake T February 27, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Star Fox? Give me a break. Flight games on Atari 2600 were inverted.

    Atari was this thing. And it only had one button.

    Ask your dad, Andy.

  103. 109 doninss March 15, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    IMO, the reasons behind the variance of preferences while interesting is not what the gaming press should be addressing. Why (in this day and age) do gamers not have complete control over interface configuration? We should be able to not only bind keys/ buttons any way we see fit, but swap analog sticks, and axes on console pads. Not to mention configure analog sensitivity curves by axis (and even direction).

  104. 110 Anonymous May 8, 2007 at 11:05 am


  105. 111 UltraNurd August 9, 2007 at 10:53 pm


    ::cries inside::

    While a long-time MacAddict, I have insisted on a multibutton mouse for years; support for right-clicking has been in since Mac OS 8, and finally last year The Steve saw the light and gave us the Mighty Mouse by default with all desktop Macs.

    So, yes, in a shooter I use mouselook and use left-click for primary fire and right-click for secondary fire.

    In World of Warcraft (which, like all Blizzard products, had a simultaneous Mac release), I use the mouse to look around or steer, depending on whether or not I’m holding down right-click, with left-click occasionally used for targeting (as well as mouse-based UI interaction). I have a Belkin Nostromo n52 for my left hand, for using the various action bars as well as strafing and target selection.

  106. 112 Jenny September 24, 2007 at 12:13 am

    I din’t know they would make a study about playing with invert.

  107. 113 Andrew September 29, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    You almost have it. I don’t believe that people feel like they’re behind themselves or in front of themselves, that’s what makes your introverted/extroverted theories seem so implausable.

    What my belief is on the control stick is that some people believe it controls their head, and others believe it controls their eyes. When inverted, pushing forward on the stick tilts your head down and lowers your view. When not inverted, pushing up lifts your eyes up and raises your view.

    It would be interesting to note how people refer to moving the stick; do they call it going forward or up? Also, how do they hold the controller in relation to their bodies? If it’s level with the ground, they are aligning the controller with their head. if it’s level with the tv, they are aligning the controller with their eyes.

    You need to redo these drawings and talk about which axis players feel like they are rotating around. I think that explains why forward/back (up/down) have different meanings to different people and left and right stay consistent.

  108. 114 Patrick October 4, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Why some (maybe even most?) people who use inverted y-axis
    isn’t necessarily a “flight simulator hang-over”.
    I have used inverted y-axis in all games since my childhood.
    It simply felt ‘right’, and I am not a fan of flight sims.
    In fact, I’ve only played a flight sim once and I was already used to inverted y-axis movement at the time.

  109. 115 Maximus December 20, 2007 at 8:08 am

    I would like to see a continuation of the topic

  110. 116 SHAYNE H. February 21, 2008 at 10:58 pm


  111. 117 southgapassion November 18, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Ok, my son (7) uses inverted, his dad & I do not – is there any link to a learning disability or dislexia or anything?

  112. 118 VT March 17, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    I think it’s more a matter of habit than anything else. I used to use inverted until I came across a game that I loved, which did not offer the option to invert (I can’t even remember what it was now). While playing that game I got used to non-inverted, and have been using it ever since.

  113. 119 drs March 20, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    For those thinking that airplanes are the reason we invert, you’ve got a point, but why airplanes have inverted controls is what you should be wondering. You pull back, or you lean back, your field of view obviously shifts up. Not only is this natural for you, but it’s natural for how a plane flies. In inverting FPS controls on a joystick, it seems more natural to invert if you consider this. In reality though, doesn’t matter. You can adjust. Some see pushing forward on the joypad as pushing up, others see it as pushing down.

    You’ll notice that if you invert left and right the disorientation is drastically lessened, because we can easily alter our state of mind from trying to aim left to trying pull left to look right since we already employ both methods because we strafe and aim on the horizontal axis, unlike the vertical axis where we only aim.

  114. 120 XecutionStyle January 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Everyone that’s arguing “it’s like tilting a joystick vs. head, forward tilts your head down”: …Think. Then what should tilt to the side do? What happens when you tilt your head to the side? Are you able to see what’s to your left or right?

    You can’t integrate two different views into one. That’s what the Author’s getting at; how people put themselves into the game does matter. If tilting to the side looks to the side, then tilting up should look up too. Since you’re controlling your eyes. It’s not natural to control your head for up and down, and eyes for left and right. It just doesn’t make sense, no one does that.

    Of course your body/mind can get used to lots of things. But that’s not the matter here. I doubt that one would go through the trouble of writing this without thinking of the primitive arguments, such as the ones you’re making.

    • 121 nasch May 12, 2010 at 4:08 pm

      XecutionStyle (not sure I’m replying to a comment correctly):

      “If tilting to the side looks to the side, then tilting up should look up too.”

      Your reasoning seems to be that tilting the stick to the side doesn’t tilt your head, therefore tilting the stick forward cannot be tilting your head forward. However, looking left and right is not analagous to head movement in any control scheme (that would be twisting the control stick). By your reasoning, tilting the stick forward cannot tilt the head *either up or down* because tilting the stick sideways doesn’t tilt the head. It’s a non sequitur.

      “If tilting to the side looks to the side, then tilting up should look up too. ”

      But if you hold the controller button-side up, there is no tilting the stick “up”, there is tilting forward and tilting backward. So the question is, does tilting the stick forward tilt the character’s head forward or backward? Some find it more natural to play with forward-is-forward (inverted) and many prefer forward-is-backward (non-inverted).

      The other point raised is that a player could consider themselves to be controlling the environment rather than the character. This doesn’t seem very likely to me intuitively. When you push the right stick forward, you think of yourself as moving forward through the environment, not moving the background toward you, right? Why then would you think of moving the sky down to look at it? Also, if you’re moving the environment, that would indicate inversion of the x-axis as well: left to move the background left (analogous to looking right). I don’t buy it.

      My conclusion is all you non-inverted people are backwards and crazy. ;-)

  115. 122 Aaron T. January 27, 2010 at 5:14 am

    I realize this is an ancient thread, but I have an interpretation to add. I think the divide between inverted and noninverted control preference has to do with whether you consider the look stick’s y-axis to be up and down, or forward and backward. If you hold the controller more upright and feel that the y-axis is up/down, then you probably use noninverted controls; whereas if you hold the controller more level with the horizon and feel that the y-axis is forward/backward, you probably use inverted controls. Presumably everyone regards the movement stick’s y-axis to be forward/back, so it seems consistent to regard the look controls the same way, since they’re on the same plane.

    Clearly there’s a lot of compromise involved in controlling the six degrees of freedom in 3D space (three translational axes plus three rotational axes) with just four control axes and a handful of buttons, and we do the best we can with what we have. The movement stick controls translation forward/backward and translation left/right, while the look stick controls pitch forward/back and yaw left/right. The two remaining degrees would be translation up/down (jumping/crouching) and roll clockwise/counterclockwise (leaning) and are usually handled by buttons.

    • 123 baby grace blue February 1, 2010 at 12:01 am

      OK what a surprise to see that what you’ve considered normal is thought to be “inverted”:-). No X-Y parameters, it really simple : the stick is a cheap, non-flexible imitation of what human body does while looking up or while looking down (upper part of it is say our head, lower part say our feet). To look up, one’s head turns upwards, so does the upper part of the stick and to do it one has to press the lower part of the stick down. To look down, the head turns downward so does the upper part of the stick and one does it by pressing down the upper part of the stick. The stick is non flexible, in real life humans really don’t have to look up or down by bending the whole body over, we just turn our head down or up, but the whole body remains still, if necessary:-) But the stick-well, imagine how you look up while being in a full-body cast:-)))hehe. Morrowind is normal, Oblivion is twisted:-) but everything is optional.
      Wow, this discussion is three years old:-)))

  116. 124 Kraizk May 9, 2010 at 5:20 am

    I like to think of it as: I pull my head back to look up and push it forward to look down

  117. 126 joey shabadoo July 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    i think the original multiplayer fps game golden eye for n64 and old rainbow sixes started you off with inverted controls. i did play starfox the original. i always loved inverted y axis controls, because i was used to it. the people i played with always had to do the switching, now im scrambling for the options menu. game makers are catering to the unexperienced.

    inverted = old school controls

    you noobs cant hang!

    down = down = weak bitches

    when i play non inverted the game feels super cheesy and unrealistic.

  118. 127 Brandon August 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    It’s because, when you pull down on an analog stick, the top of the stick, the part where your finger goes, turns so that it’s slope is point up. Or another way to look at it, you are pulling “back”, not “down”. And to look up, you need to pull back, in real life. Similarly, to look down, you must push forward. Like, right now, look straight up. You will feel that your neck pulls back. And then look down. Your neck goes forward. And also, when you lean back, with your whole body, you look up. And when you lean forward, you look down. And the analog stick matches the angle of your viewing vector with inverted controls.

  119. 128 superg360 August 18, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I play both inverted and uninverted. I began with halo 1 on inverted then practiced with normal settings for a few minutes and got the hang of it and I perform on the same level with both. I do not know if this is connected to the fact that I can write both left and right handed as can my siblings. My brothers and I are always joking around about being ‘hybrids’ and we often wonder if there are any statistics of performance with inverted players vs traditional players. I have looked everywere and no one seems to have an answer. Any information would b greatly appriciated. Thx

  120. 129 lol September 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    If you think about it. When you push the mouse up, the surface of the mouse pad goes down; the laser on the mouse reads the surface as going down and it tells the computer the surface is going down and inverts the direction of the mouse vise versa as going up. So naturally on PC FPS Normal players are inverted.

  121. 130 Chris September 29, 2011 at 3:09 am

    I’ve always found inverted controls to be very strange and counter-intuitive. It doesn’t matter what genre of game I’m playing, when I move my mouse up I expect the camera to go up, and when I move my mouse down I expect the camera to go down. A mouse is not a joystick, so I find it incredibly confusing that people thing that moving your mouse down should result in your aeroplane moving up. In fact, I would refuse to play a game that forced inverted controls on me.

    FYI, I am a scientist and programmer, pretty much the opposite of an artist. I view the game from the point of view of a camera, because that is what it is — not a person’s head. If I think about it though, if I wanted to look up IRL, I still think it would make more sense to move the mouse up to accomplish that.

    • 131 Chris September 29, 2011 at 3:11 am

      Oh, and also, for someone who mentioned mouse scrolling in the comments above, scrolling down doesn’t scroll the page up — or, well, it /technically/ does, but I would rather say that it takes you further down the page. Semantics, obviously, but I think it’s an important distinction to make.

  122. 132 Tushan January 31, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Actually, I literally FEEL why I use inverted control scheme, and dare to say that everybody in some way feels it.

    In FPS games, the gravest need to see something comes when you can’t (just as in life); when something is obscured, or is out of the screen borders, or, most likely, when the ability to peek around an obstacle is thwarted by danger of your brains being blown out. The said danger, in turn, can be a very convincing reason NOT to look at something.

    So I found time and again, that when it does happen, I literally flex my neck muscles violently, trying to peek around (or lean out of the harm’s way).

    And you can guess what happens with up and down: when the edge of the screen (my window into the world) doesn’t let me see past it, I DUCK, move down. When the lower edge of the monitor does the same, I stretch my neck, and lean into it.

    Of course, the flight sim explanation also stands with me (I played a lot of these in the 90s), but this physiological reason is even simpler than your theory about mental point of view.

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