Why are people so resistant to gyroscopic aiming controls?


I watch a fair amount of let’s plays, and the majority of the time, the player will turn off motion controls. This isn’t after trying and disliking them, but rather, by default in the same way they turn on subtitles. And I also tend to see dismissive opinions of them on gaming forums such as Waypoint or Giant Bomb.

I get that a lot of people had a negative experience with motion controls on Wii and have dismissed them outright ever since, but people, the Wii came out over 10 years ago. Gyro has come a long, long way since then.

Motion-aiming has greatly improved the 3D Zelda games since Ocarina 3D, and they are the definitive way to play Splatoon. It doesn’t matter how good you are with a right analog-stick, gyro controls afford the player a level of speed and precision similar to using a mouse on PC.

We have had good gyro-controls for 5 years, and people are still overwhelmingly dismissive of them. What gives?


I really did not like the gyroscopic controls in Ocarina of Time 3D purely because I don’t think it works well when you have to move the screen with the device using to aim.

That being said, Metroid Prime was so much better when you were able to play it with motion controls on the Wii (yeah, fight me).

But to answer your question… I think people are resistant to them mostly just due to not putting the time and effort into making them muscle memory. People have used d-pads, analog sticks, and mice for decades have a hard time adjusting to a different input system, especially for games in genres they’re familiar with. You see the same thing where people have an incredibly difficult time adapting to a controller to play an FPS when they’re used to a mouse and vice versa.

Also, VR allows for gyroscopic controls to feel a lot better because it brings in more immersion into the experience where immersion is key to the whole thing succeeding.


I can understand not wanting to move the screen that you play on, but then what about gyro controls on console Zeldas like BotW or Windwaker HD?

I’m currently playing through Metroid Prime on Wii-U using the Wiimote controls. While the aiming really lacks the precision of more modern gyro, the lock-on function greatly mitigates the Wiimote’s shortcomings.


It’s pretty rare for motion controls to be done well, and when they’re bad they’re really, REALLY bad. Even when they’re done well they’re usually not much more useful than just using a normal controller. If i’m playing a motion control game i’ll always try to disable them ASAP because i’d rather not take the risk of the controls being fucking awful.


What’s a recent example of a game with bad gyro-aiming? The only thing I can think of is Star Fox 0, and even that probably has more to do with the actual design of the game than the functionality of the gyro controls.


I think that Breath of the Wild had the best implementation of it recently by allowing both analog stick and gyroscopic aiming at the same time allowing for coarse and fine movement. I began to miss it when I played a bunch of Splatoon 2 and you had to pick one or the other.


Can you not switch between them? I’ve only played the test-fire of Splatoon 1, but I remember my method being to use the right analog stick for general turning and gyro for combat encounters and aiming vertically.


Mario Odyssey, Pokemon Ultra SuMo, anything else on 3ds with motion controls, i didn’t play Star Fox 0 but sure i’ll take that example as well


In Splatoon 2 you can use gyro for vertical aiming and analog for left to right, but I would have liked to be able to use both at the same time for all directions so that I can correct one with the other.


It takes years to gain true precision with a new input system (totally bypassing any conscious thought and just thinking about the movement you wish to see on the screen and letting your muscles move how they know to move to accomplish that). See inverted vs uninverted for how you can’t just change expectations and it flips.

Moving with a mouse is fundamentally different to with a joypad (mouse controls is all about rotational accuracy and really weak strafe controls which are 0% or 100% - you either aim when stationary or when moving at full speed in a certain way; on the pad then you’re doing a lot of your fine controls with the left stick, ie not actually based around “look” controls but movement). Switching over the the gyro to give movement is not a small step.

I think, if you have built up an expertise with this new input method, then that’s awesome. But also you can’t expect most people who don’t play a lot of games with this sort of controls to swap from the input method that’s supported (stock joypad) and they’ve used for thousands of hours (talking about people from Waypoint or GB who spend a lot of time with console shooters) if it’s not enforced. While games have the option to play with either method, most people who already have expertise with the method used elsewhere are going to stick to using that rather than dedicate the hours to build up the muscle memory needed to excel with the gyro method.


Can we also note that the Wii actually had pretty good motion aiming? Like, I hated Resident Evil 4 for the longest time because the Gamecube version had atrocious aiming IMO. The Wii Edition however, with its intuitive control scheme, plays incredibly well and completely turned around my opinion of that game.


Truth. When I told people RE4 was an amazing game, I made sure to be clear that (as the joypad controls simply weren’t there yet in that game - this was no Halo for allowing precision on sticks) they knew the way it should be played was on Wii. By far and away the best way to play it, even if I knew a few who had made do with PS2 and still enjoyed it.


For me personally I don’t have the patience to get good with gyro controls. Splatoon 2 is the best example I tried to use them at first but it was frustrating knowing I could do better with the joystick. Eventually I switched to pure joystick and haven’t been able to switch back. Until I get the drive or something forces me to use gyro controls for a long time I don’t think I will ever fully embrace them because I don’t like to lose or be at a disadvantage.


Personally I see gyroscopic aiming and motion controls as two distinct things. Yes, I known gyroscopic aiming is technically a type of motion control, but when most people hear/think of motion controls they aren’t thinking of something like aiming, but rather using a motion in place of a button. Take Mario Odyssey for example, the motion controls in that are fine, but needless and to some (myself included) actually worsen the experience because all of the motion is unnecessary and distinctly worse than just mapping those abilities to buttons. Gyroscopic aiming, however, is more natural of an extension of control and generally is not a complete replacement, but rather an enhancement of a traditional aiming. I would argue that the only good motion controls is gyroscopic aiming and very closely related controls (such as moving platforms in some BOTW shrines).


But in your example, you are the one who ends up disadvantaged in the long term. Sure, in the short term you do better with the stick than you would if you were to play with gyro controls without having gotten used to them yet, but in the long term you are putting yourself at a disadvantage compared to how good you could be once you got used to the gyro aiming controls. It’s an upfront investment that could pay untold dividends, depending on how long you stick with the game.

@Navster I can’t speak from experience because I’ve only played RE4 on PC with a 360 or PS4 controller (10/10 game imo). Picturing it in my head, it seems like it should’ve worked fine on GameCube but maybe that controller had worse fine aiming than I remember. I would gladly give the Wii version a try but I don’t want to spend money on it when I’ve already got the PC version.

My remark about people being put off by the Wii aiming mainly comes from internet discussions I’ve read of Twilight Princess on Wii.


I’m in odd middle ground of feeling like gyro aiming should be better than stick, but never quite getting it to work for me. Turning it on in every game that supports it, but always eventually switching it off.

In 3DS Zeldas I would turn it on for certain combats then switch it off. I’m usually resting my DS on my legs while laying on the couch, keeping my elbows tucked in on the bus, or otherwise unable to move my arms around much while playing.

I found Splatoon’s mix of stick for one axis and gyro for the other particularly difficult.

Maybe I’m just too old to learn this new trick in the deep way I learned mouse and stick aiming. There’s a big psychological hump to buckling down for hours of study on a new input when I know I could put this cross hair on that fool without even thinking if only I had a mouse in my hand.

Get back here.

Ack. Oh no.

I’ve been Splatter Shot Jr-ed again.


I just find it annoying honestly. If I use them for too long my wrist/arm hurt and if I wanted the precision of a mouse when I’m aiming I’d just use a mouse. It’s better for my wrists over long sessions and less likely to freak out mid game the way motion/gyro controls are. I’ve liked them fine in Gravity Rush on the Vita and in BOTW but it wasn’t as constant a demand. Weirdly I actually kind of hate them in Splatoon. They lock you out of moving the camera up and down with the stick with motion controls on which mean I have to always be aiming more or less only with the motion and after about two matches my I start getting some pain and without the motion controls you may as well be playing Counter Strike on PC with a controller for all the success you’ll find


Yeah. I turned them off in Splatoon 2, too. I tried with them, but I was still not being as consistently successful with them as I was with a pro controller - and that’s all it really came down to. That’s not to say that it couldn’t be improved. I’m glad I learned how to use a stick for space sims even though at first it felt very weird to do. But all the while I don’t really feel like I’m missing out without them, I’ll probably keep on doing what I’m doing.


It’s basically a case of what people are accustomed to. Most console gamers have been aiming with a stick for many years, while I have not. Motion controls feels much more intuitive to me and I cannot aim a shooter with a stick to save my life, since I basically didn’t play console games in the early-mid 2000s, until I got a Wii. It’s pretty obvious (from my forum profile pic) and maybe you’re familiar with my post history that I am really really into Splatoon, so I’ll just say this: don’t feel pressured to use motion controls, but don’t expect to be good at them when you try it unless you stick to it for hours and hours.


I just don’t enjoy them. I know it’s ‘the right way’ to play, but being told this up and down by at least a dozen people has the effect of pushing me away from competitive gyro games entirely rather than encouraging me to use that control scheme. The positive case for it (improved play) quickly gives way to a negative one (anyone who doesn’t use it is bad/I don’t want them on my team). That’s incredibly off-putting to me.

As someone with innately poor gross motor control, I know I’m never going to be the best gyro control player. It will take me longer to get used to it than other people and I probably won’t be as good at my best.