Science may figure out why weirdos play with inverted controls

I am not sure understanding is the right word though. If you have to lose understanding to get understanding then… what are you really getting?

What I like about the way that Portal does it is that in never mentions “normal” or “inverted” controls; it just asks you to look up. If you push up to look up, then it sets Normal. If you push down to look up, then it sets Inverted. You just do what feels natural and the game responds to that; you never even have to know that there’s an option.

How did you even figure out this feature?

I ask because I played the game on PC and then Xbox 360. On PC, the first thing I did on loading The Orange Box was to change the controls to inverted. And the Xbox 360 has a system level setting, so I’ve never had to set any game to inverted because it’s all done automatically for EVERY game.

So for someone to figure out that Valve did this, either Valve themselves talked about it, or someone who plays inverted for some reason didn’t go into options to invert controls when they first launched The Orange Box.

Actually, I think it was Portal 2 and not Portal. We figured it out because I play inverted and my son plays normal, and neither of us ever set the option.

Sometimes it scares me to think that if I’m ever on an airplane and the pilot is incapacitated due to food poisoning or something, there are a lot of videogames who will get everyone totally killed if they’re asked to fly the plane.


Am I flying? Inverted
Am I not flying? Non-inverted

If I ever made a FPS or something, I would purposefully remove the inverted option. Adapt or die suckers. I say this as someone who has successfully switched between using Inverted and non-inverted several times. I’ve landed more towards non-inverted because it is the default in most games.

This explanation has never made much sense to me. If I want to look down, I lean forward. If I want to look up, I lean back. Moving a mouse up and down does very little, so naturally I play the correct way and move the mouse forwards to look down and backwards to look up.

I do suspect that people who don’t invert the camera are moving the crosshair, so moving the mouse forwards is up for them. People who invert the controls are moving the view. But I don’t know if this is true, or simply my inverted bias.

I probably learned inverted controls from playing first person games on a joystick in the 1980ies, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some more general mental wiring that would be commonly associated with inverted/non-inverted fps controls.

I have a theory that it depends on how one tends to hold a controller. If you hold the controller up facing you, you might favor normal controls since pulling back is pulling down. If you hold the controller down on your lap, you might favor inverted since pushing forward is pushing down. Probably not a one to one correlation, but I do find it helpful to bring the controller up to my chest when I have to play a game without an option to invert.

Exactly. I don’t understand all the fuss – it’s so simple!

I think it’s more important for a passenger to be fluent in jive than it is to know how to fly a plane.


After reading this thread I am happy to learn that I am a normal person (in some ways).

I think it’s always infinitely worse when a game forces inverted controls outside of flying e.g. Final Fantasy XII PS2. You HAVE to play it inverted. You have no choice. And you are not flying a plane!

Grin and bear it, but it’s total bullshit.

I play inverted, both in FP and in third person. But… it’s pure inertia, I know I could make myself play non-inverted for a pair of days I could get accustomed to it and make it my new normal.

I grew up on flight sims and even I don’t get inverted controls. Handling a joystick is way different from a mouse or controller and the muscle memory didn’t carry over at all.

I get used to one or the other in the latest game I spend a LOT of time with, and then feel extremely thrown off if I load into a game that does the opposite, but somehow, I’m dumb and never think to check if I can change it, so then I just get used to the new game’s way of doing things, only to cause whiplash the next time I change games/schemes. . .

. . . I am not a smart man :)

Someone needs to make a flight sim with the option to turn off inverted controls.

“Echo Seven, your altitude is dropping rapidly! Push up! PUSH UP!!!”

The problem with the “it’s flight sims stupid” explanation is that it doesn’t account for inverted X-axis controls. The “moving reticle vs moving camera” explanation does.

There’s probably more than one explanation.

I’ll say.