Thomas Fuller said “If you have one true friend you have more than your share” and I mostly agree that if a person finds just one dependable friend in life then that individual is a very lucky person. If one were to apply that adage to a PC Gamer’s input device I feel pretty confident that many of us have found that one very dependable friend over the years. Maybe that friend is a brand of mouse that is just so comfortable that it remains your favorite even when new and more advanced models threaten to entice you out of that friendship. Perhaps you even try a new friendship, yet it feels so foreign, that you go back to your jilted lover. Thankfully for me, my mouse, keyboard, stick and wheel don’t act like jilted lovers despite my anthropomorphism or personification of them in this article. Those are your words for the day and they will work for twitter and texting. Right! Just try it on your friends.
Now, I have used a number of brands and models of mice over the years, but I’ve been particularly stuck on one old style of keyboard. Stuck like a fly on glue. Yes, despite my attempts to change while enduring obsolescence and lack of replacements, I just cant stop loving my crappy keyboard.
Waits for laughs to subside.
I haven’t gamed on PC with anything but this ugly duckling since 2005. That’s pretty shameful but I’ll explain why. My PC gaming really started with the original Call of Duty in 2003 but I had a lot of difficulty transitioning from a console controller to the keyboard and mouse. Well, just the keyboard really because no one has issues with the mouse end of the deal. Do they? Also, I never had a typing class in high school since no guys took that class in those days. Stupid is as stupid does I guess. Moving on, I really have trouble with the WASD keys because my fingers are really short and thick and the layout is just really scrunched for me. I just really struggled in multiplayer in those days with First person shooters. When I saw the ZBOARD for sale online it was obvious what this board could do for me and you can see the WASD keys on the left are huge. Once you add the Q and E buttons for lean in the Quake engine it was like being set free and the results were really noticeable. In time I was able to perform good jump shots and hold my own against some very good players. So I have a lot of affection for this board and it still works great for me.
I am on my 3rd ZBOARD now and the thing is just about done. The backspace doesn’t work and it’s pretty polished from use. So I went to Amazon and purchased what may be the last boxed unit in existence. I also purchased the kitchy COD2 Overlay to keep the nostalgia going.
Ideazon the maker of the Original ZBOARD was purchased by Steelseries in 2008 and they replaced the ZBOARD with the MERC Stealth their new ergonomically redesigned Failboard. Of course I bought the MERC since I’m like everyone else and likes to think newer is better. It wasn’t. The Merc is now discontinued as well.
I have watched young converts to PC Gaming use my board and have instant success their first time out. I have endured laughs and crazy looks at LAN Parties. I have toted this thing to the Tripwire Interactive studio to test play Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, and when I did, I felt awkward. It is a silly looking keyboard. Those days are long gone. The marriage will go to the end . I find it both sad and pleasing that I imagine I have been the most loyal ZBOARD user and may have purchased the last one that is new.
One of the things I love about PC Gaming is that the complexity over console gaming allows gamers to use, try and change their input device to one that fits them best. It also gives the gamer a deeper Tech experience that leads to deeper knowledge about the platform. Your gaming rig. It’s still a craft despite the changes in the state of gaming. I doubt many have had that most special controller that fits them like a glove since it is one size fits all for the most part.