Since I became something of a hardcore gamer and started doing this writing about games shindig, I’ve only had a handful of mice. It is only now, as my current glowing, wired friend starts to give up any semblance of working that I realise quite how important a good working mouse is to playing games.
My previous mouse was a long-serving friend of mine, it was small, light and nimble and did the basics well. It had two buttons, a wheel and that was about it. After having used one or two wireless devices, this corded mouse served me well for several years. It was great at first, but after a couple of years the mouse wheel started to stick a little bit. In day to day web browsing and Windows usage, this didn’t prove to be a major headache. When I tried to play games with it I started to realise how harmful a dodgy wheel could be.
I stuck with it for a while, taking the odd death in Battlefield that occurred after not being able to change weapon quickly enough with good grace. Same with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and any RTS titles I tried to play where zooming in and out proved easier to do with the keyboard than the mouse. I finally realised it was time to give up the ghost and bring myself into the modern age.
After some mixed advice from Twitter, I decided on a similar shaped and styled mouse, this time though with two thumb buttons. I didn’t quite realise how useful these were for something so simple as web browsing let alone customising control-settings in various games. The most important thing though was that the mouse wheel worked properly and I could change weapons and zoom in and out of things without fear of death or spinning the wheel for an age with my view stuck up the nose of my front-line infantry when I needed to be looking at the wider picture.
It was fine and I was pleased with my mouse until, a few weeks ago, it started to misbehave now and again. It was nothing major at first, just the odd moment where my physical movement wouldn’t correlate with what occurred on screen. I thought nothing of it until earlier this week it started to get worse, regularly not responding to my movements. I changed the USB slot it was plugged into, blew on the laser, changed surface it was used on and re-installed the drivers. Nothing worked, as this week has gone on it has got worse and worse.
Simple things like trying to click on a tab in Chrome or change song on Spotify were proving troublesome. I decided to see how it fared when playing some games, it didn’t go well. I tried my first bit of StarCraft II in an AI skirmish, moving around the map to send my units elsewhere was a case of move the mouse and hope it went in the correct direction. Trying to select buildings to construct resulted in selecting the wrong thing, using the keyboard for this proved easier. I didn’t even attempt to exit the game by using the mouse, I used the keyboard to quit.
One last attempt at playing a game with it was in order, Battlefield 3 came back into my life…for all of thirty seconds. I walked towards a fire-fight, right clicked to scope and tried to pin my sights on the enemy….no movement until it was too late. I had just put my reticule over the enemy when I died. Enough was enough, I quit the game.
After seeking some Twitter advice I’ve now ordered a Logitech G400, it looks good and the reviews sound decent and it is half the price of my current, dying mouse. Hopefully it arrives soon, you never quite realise how important a mouse can be until you find yourself with a dud. If you find yourself looking at your mouse now and thinking that it just doesn’t do the job properly, do yourself a favour and get a new one. It will make the world of difference.