Video Game Keyboards

Inputting data on a console normally sucks, with huge cursor-navigated representations of QWERTY (if you’re lucky) keyboards navigated slowly with a d-pad or analog stick. Occasionally though, someone gets it right. What’s your favourite video game keyboard? I nominate…

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**The PSP system keyboard!**

In the seventeen years since the PSP’s release, I don’t think anyone has bettered its system-level keyboard. Heavily inspired by mobile phones of the day, it allowed for quick and intuitive text input. After a while I could use it without looking. No slow cursor navigation, no QWERTY or alphabetical layouts, just a purpose-designed ‘Old Sony’ solution.

It was also available for developers to use in any game, meaning very few deviated from this already-solved problem.

Show me more interesting keyboards!

Having to enter my email and password on the switch every time I open the storefront on the system is infuriating. Since I’m almost always playing with a pro controller and the system docked I have to use the stupid cursor instead of the touchscreen, which is clearly not how it’s intended to be used.

Long story short: not the switch!

@“fridgeboy”#p53184 it‘s probably just my affinity for gobbling up all the tiny games that catch my eye on the eShop, but I do like typing stuff on a controller with the switch, even though I’m usually in handheld. I just like going for the d-pad and having the shift on a stick click. Granted, it might just be my familiarity with typing in my own password.

@“dylanfills”#p53186 I do like that it moves from key to key instead of having a mouse cursor style. That's definitely better. I suppose my real problem is with the switch seemingly not having a “save my password” function.


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I always liked the DS's little dinky keyboards, funnily enough. The Animal Crossing one with the little voice clips for each letter holds a special place in my heart for whatever reason.

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I wrote a paper on this topic back in Uni, there‘s some really wild stuff out there that people have made.

This one is called Quikwriting which someone has applied to a wii nunchuk.

It’s made by Ken Perlin. It looks confusing at first but it pretty genius once you understand it. The paper it is explained in is free, called: Quikwriting: Continuous Stylus-based Text Entry

i really like the ones where the cursor wraps around to the other side, it just feels so good when you do that to shorten a trip across the virtual keyboard (really, true of all menus) (i like this to the extent that i try it on almost every menu i come across, almost out of habit)

i like to gyro type on ps4/ps5 (maybe the xboxes also have this, i don't know)

there's also this old thing

Beyond Good and Evil has a spiral interface (similar to Quikwriting?? it's not similar to Quikwriting)

Bought it exclusively for Phantasy Star Online. One of the best accessory purchases I've ever made.

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More from my research, this is TwoStick

You move the 3x3 yellow square with the left analog stick to select one of the nine 3x3 zones. The orange square with the right analog stick and can only be within one of the 9 yellow squares. The character is selected when the right stick is let go after being in the 8 outer yellow squares and returns to it's neutral center position.

More info can be found in a paper called TwoStick: Writing with a Game Controller


There is also this one (which doesn't have a catchy name).
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This also uses both analog sticks. You move two cursors at once and select your letters with the bumpers of the controller. I imagine you need some intense concentration to type quickly with this!
The paper is called _Text Entry Using a Dual Joystick Game Controller_

I was a teen in the early mid 2000‘s, so you bet I was typing into PSP’s and Nintendo DS's like my life depended on it, and have so much nostalgia for those input methods.

This DS launch title is so mysterious and weird.

Apparently they thought it was going to be online before launch.

Apparently it has the same pixel artist as Maple Story.

They released a full chat application that still had some weird single player options and tons of addictive unlockables.

I actually had it when I was in middle school, the perfect age to take it way too seriously.

@“beets”#p53477 Wubi, one of the most common non-phonetic input methods for simplified Chinese, divides the keyboard into five regions to represent 5 different types of strokes, and within those regions each key represents how many of that stroke there are. On a keyboard this is all sort of arbitrary, so the first method you describe for using dual analog sticks actually seems like it would be more natural for Wubi than a keyboard is. You could use the left stick to select the stroke type and right stick to select the count. Cangjie, which is used for traditional characters, also has regions made up of more or less arbitrary keys, so the dual stick method would work just as well. I’m not sure if there’s any games in Chinese that support something like this though.

@“Syzygy”#p61824 curious how much waffling there was before they decided to put the start button on the left