Telltale’s Discriminatory Control Scheme
For the first time in my life, I was able to fully empathize with people who need “universal access” and don’t receive it. Upon starting The Walking Dead, I realized that the software had not read my global XBox preferences for inverted controls. I thought that was strange, but I figured I would just adjust it myself. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there are no control options to invert the Y axis. Gamers must play through the game using “normal” controls only. Having spent thousands of hours playing with “inverted” controls, it is not a habit that excuses itself for a two hour gaming session. To play as much as I did, I needed to make a continual, conscious effort to mentally invert the controls. Fortunately, the game is slow enough that I was able to play through most of the first chapter. While it should have been one of the most interesting and immersive gaming experiences that I have had all year, it turned out to be one of ever increasing frustration, and by the time I got to the rescue of the girl in the hotel I had had enough. For those of you who might, even for a moment, think that I am just whining, try playing any FPS/TPS game with the opposite controls. See how long you last, and how enjoyable it is, and also pretend that there are no options to change it back. For those who might say, why did you pick “invert” in the first place? It is because I was given the controls of a Cessna before I was ever handed a joystick. So, the “normal” settings were counter-intuitive, and against real-life convention.
If there are any gaming conventions that have been established over the past 30 years, certainly the option to “invert” the Y axis on a control stick is one of them. This is not a programming oversight, or design choice. This is discrimination.