Did you know that you get free games through Twitch Prime, which you have if you have Amazon Prime? Because I sure as heck didn’t until a few days ago! And while you usually get around five games per month, this month you get 21! The only problem was that you could only play them on PC, downloading them with the Twitch Games site instead of Steam. But that seemed like a small price to pay for free games, so I went through the steps and got the six games that are (was in Pillars of Eternity’s case) currently available without too much hassle.
Pillars of Eternity mainly involved clicking and typing, so I used the touchpad on my laptop without any trouble. The problem was when I tried the very Portal-inspired Q.U.B.E. 2.
Portal was the only other game I’ve tried to play on my laptop within the past five years, and there’s a reason for that. While the game ran smoothly enough under less taxing settings, the controls using a touchpad were awful, so much so that the more reflex-heavy levels were made way harder than they should have been. Once I noticed that Q.U.B.E. 2 was using many of the same controls from Portal, I immediately stopped. At first, I looked around for a mouse, but couldn’t find any that weren’t in use by other family members.
That’s when I decided to try and play the game with a controller.
I had heard people talking about how you could now play PC games with the Switch Pro Controller, so I decided to try that out. Unfortunately, it was only an easy process if you were playing the game on Steam. There is technically a way to play it on platforms other than Steam, but they are convoluted as heck. There was this whole article on a PC website going through everything step by step, and I was getting it up to a point. The home button on my controller was glowing blue, and I could even press buttons and have them light up on a controller input screen. But once I started up the game...nothing. No sign whatsoever that my Switch Pro Controller was connected. So I kept reading, and found out that I had to download two things and go into the source code of each individual game and extract the code and paste that code into the game and oh my gosh what are these words?!! I called over my stepdad who makes a living writing code for a packaging company, and he was at a loss as to what to do. I looked up YouTube videos, read on a bunch of different sites, and tried doing random stuff myself, but I just didn’t get it.
Giving up, I decided to next try my DualShock 4. I looked up a tutorial for that, and it likewise was incredibly confusing. I first had to download a program to make the laptop “think it was an Xbox 360 controller” (?) and then it was asking me to do similar stuff to the Switch Pro, so I gave up on that as well after around half an hour of fiddling around with things.
Finally, I borrowed an Xbox One controller from my stepdad, and at first I thought I was running into the same types of problems as with the first two things I tried. It said to check where the glossy plastic was to determine if it could use Bluetooth, which I guess mine couldn’t, so I thought I was at a dead-end. It also described some unintelligible “other way” to connect if you didn’t have the right controller, but that way seemed similar to the previous two. But all the way at the bottom, there was a tiny little paragraph about how you could also connect the Xbox One controller to your PC with a cord.
I found the Xbox One’s charging cord, plugged it into my computer, and had it working in seconds. Seconds! At this point, I’d been spending hours trying to figure this out, and the solution was a dumb little cable!
In hindsight, I should have tried this from the start. I own a Dell laptop, so it would make sense that the Xbox controller would work on it without having to jump through any hoops, since both Dell and Xbox are owned by Microsoft. I’m sure Switch and maybe even DualShock controllers work very well on Steam. But if you’re playing on a Microsoft computer using anything except Steam, just use an Xbox controller.
Or, you know, get an actual mouse. That would’ve helped me out from the start.