Things That Offend Me In Games #1
# 1 The ‘Inverted’ Y-Axis
Forget religion, forget gender, forget race, forget sex, violence and foul language – few things cause more controversy in videogaming than the Y-Axis (or ‘Look Control’ as it’s sometimes, perhaps more accurately, known). It’s an especially big problem for games journalists during hands-on game demos where the pad is being passed around a group, with insults and accusations being hurled between the opposed Y-Axis camps.
Now, it doesn’t offend me that some people’s perception of the orientation between controller and screen is different to mine, but it does offend me that their way of doing it is usually referred to as ‘normal’ and mine as ‘inverted’. Who says they’re normal and I’m not? I feel marginalised.
Battlefield: Bad Company is one of few titles that sets your Y-Axis option in-game by asking you to look up and down right at the start.
We could, and frequently do, argue over which Y-Axis setting actually makes the most sense, but it’d be futile. Ultimately, one way feels natural for some, the other way feels natural for others. As difficult as it is for some of us to admit it, there is no right or wrong on the Y-Axis.
What I therefore propose is that the term ‘inverted’ be scrapped from options menus. If you look at the Y-Axis the way I do there’s nothing ‘inverted’ about leaning the stick forward to look down and leaning it back to look up. In its place we suggest gamers are given a choice between Look Control: Up-Down and Look Control: Forward-Back, which might be slightly confusing in its own way, but at least it doesn’t inherently imply that anyone’s abnormal.