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Why I Use the Arrow Keys and NumPad for Gaming

Pretty much every time someone sees one of my game play videos for the first time, they wonder why I have strange key binds (like NumPad 0 and NumPad 1).

I started computer gaming many years before WASD was even conceived of. When I started, the arrow keys were the unchangeable default movement keys. I played that way for years and years. Even when WASD became the default, I just rebound my keys to match what I had become used to. I slide my keyboard over to my left, place my left hand on the arrow keys, and play perfectly fine.

Using the arrow keys lets me place my hand on them without looking. The empty spaces on either side of the up arrow gives me a perfect tactile sense of how my fingers are placed. I can easily use all the keys immediately and secondarily adjacent around the arrow keys: Ctrl, R-Shift, Enter, Back Space, Delete, End, Page Down, NumPad 4, NumPad 1, NumPad 0, etc. (Look at your key board.)

Since I’ve been using these keys for literally decades, I have strong muscle memory for certain actions. For instance, Delete is always¬†my gun-reload key. It all works for me. I’ve tried a few times to get used to WASD, and whatever defaults the particular game has, but unlearning and relearning really slows me down. And for what? Since all games allow remapping your keyboard, there’s really no reason why I should have to change my habits.

Currently I have two keyboards: one on the left for gaming, and one in the middle for normal usage (and typing in game chat). This became an option only relatively recently once computers allowed two keyboards. So I’m perfectly set up for my set up. No need or desire to change. It works, for me.

Over the years, I’ve encountered a few other people who still use the arrow keys like I do. They are all like me in that we started gaming many years ago, and got used to the old-school way. Old Gamers unite! Stuck in our ways, and loving it.

Bullgrit

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