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D.B. Cooper
09-26-2018 at 10:44 AM
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Fingers or thumbs

When I first started playing games it was all about the fingers. Pinball, Space Invaders and Asteroids all were button games that used just your fingers. There were a few racing games where you used your hands and your arms but for the most part, it was all about the fingers. Then came joysticks for arcade games but you still didn't use your thumbs. The first time I ever used a thumb to play a video game was when I got an Atari 2600 but the only thing you used your thumb for was to hit the fire button. Then came the NES. This was the first system that I remember where you had to use both thumbs to play games. When the mid 80's came along, I went off to college and the only real gaming I did was with consoles so I became an all thumbs player. Then I watched KOK and found TG and MAME. At first I just used a PS2 style controller and still just used thumbs. As I started getting back into playing actual arcade games, I remember just how much I enjoyed playing games with a joystick and buttons that could be used with your fingers. I then purchased an Xarcade and immediately increased all of my scores. I have come to the conclusion that I'm just not good at playing games using my thumbs. I play on the Xbox with my kids and they kick my ass. Not just by a little, I'm talking complete ass kicking. I just can't seem to get the hang of using the dual analog sticks with my thumbs. Even when using the phone I use my fingers.

So, fingers or thumbs? What's your story? I'm thinking most of the people who say thumbs will be younger gamers.

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  1. Fly's Avatar

    Thumbs. I can hit almost 11x a sec with my thumbs. THPS wouldn't happen without crazy thumbs. Geometry Wars 3 is ALL thumbs.

    Is 47 young?



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  2. D.B. Cooper's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Fly

    Thumbs. I can hit almost 11x a sec with my thumbs. THPS wouldn't happen without crazy thumbs. Geometry Wars 3 is ALL thumbs.

    Is 47 young?



    That's interesting. I don't know what my rate is but I'm much faster with my middle finger than I am with my thumb which is the biggest reason my scores on shooters all improved.

    Yes 47 is young, but I was thinking younger :)

  3. Kelly Kerr's Avatar

    Atari and NES were my first, so thumbs.

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  4. GibGirl's Avatar

    I don't think there's a valid answer here. It's important to remember that games are not developed in a vacuum from their control systems - controls are part of the tuning. As a result, some games will feel best with one set of controls, and other games will require others. Most fighting games are never going to be able to feel as good with a control pad as with a fight stick, and Galaga just won't ever be ideal without that stick and button. But Super Mario Bros or Zelda is just always going to be a touch off without a Dpad - no matter how good the stick and buttons are.

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  5. D.B. Cooper's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by GibGirl

    I don't think there's a valid answer here.

    That is correct. I was just curious what other people's preference was. I have a NES sitting right next to my computer but I chose to play EMU so that I can use my Xarcade as a controller.

  6. ivanstorm1973's Avatar

    45 Stick and buttons all day long, though i'm not against using game pads. As already mentioned it depends on the game and the console. I think the Dpad one of gamings most important inventions ever. Respect Gunpei Yokoi..

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  7. EVN's Avatar

    I'm 40 and prefer an arcade stick and buttons.

    I grew up playing commodore 64 and arcade so if I use thumbs it's holding a Competition pro joystick in my left hand, left thumb on buttons, right hand on stick whereas for arcade I use the normal left hand on stick.

    It's interesting. I sometimes wonder if I'd eventually play better on a southpaw fight stick.

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  8. Snowflake's Avatar

    its usually whatever i started with, habit and all. in fact some arcade games i play left handed and some right handed pretty much just based on which ever mood i was in the first time i played and which hand i used that first time.

    joysticks without doubt give you more precise control, and for that level on battletoads where you ride that weird wheel i remember needing to switch over to a joystick. of course that increased precision comes at a cost of discomfort over a long game. a controller is much more relaxing to play with long term, so if you dont need the precision then the controller is the way to go.

    i'd say joypads are more enjoyable but joysticks are more tournament worthy. i didnt answer the thumb/finger half though, since a joypad goes with thumbs for buttons as well and a joystick goes with finger so thats kinda assumed in my answer.

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  9. Barthax's Avatar

    Keyboards, all digits. The "classic" position I used as a kid was Q = Up, A = Down, O = left, P = right and Space (or other bottom row) = Fire. I could not understand the crazy people that used N = left, M = right or even the lefties that swapped over the up/down left/right sides. Joystick users? They were rich people that couldn't play games as well. :P ... until the joystick-killer games arrived with their waggling left/right. I couldn't reproduce the speed of the joystick waggle on the keyboard & had to invest. Oh, my, then the Konix Speed King arrived... The first comfortable joystick with a great rattle+click sensation to know exactly when the joystick was in the correct position!

    Didn't pick up a console until 2001 - PS1 & the pads were unusual but as it was the only choice, I got used to them. To this day, I still associate certain games with keyboard, however, Chuckie Egg, Jet Set Willy and many other 8-bit ZX Spectrum classics - keyboard all the way.

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  10. kernzyp's Avatar


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