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On any public gaming server, if you've ever found yourself on the wrong side of a fire-fight while playing Unreal Tournament, Half-Life, Quake or any other of the numerous first-person shooter games, you might well be left wondering how your opponent was able to react so quickly to your presence; perhaps squeezing off a few shots which felled you before you even had a chance to aim.
Was he cheating? Maybe, but most public servers take steps to stop players cheating by running detection software.
Maybe he got lucky, you might think, and try again next round. But if you find the same player doing the same to you or others on a regular basis and you know they're not cheating, it's likely then to be more to do with skill and less to do with luck. It might also have a lot to do with the gaming equipment the player is using. Many online gamers believe the key to a good score in any online gaming environment boils down to a powerful PC with a good graphics card and a fast connection. However, while these things do help, there are more weapons in a serious gamers' arsenal, and one of the most potent is a good gaming mouse. While most novice gamers enter into public battle armed with a standard off-the-shelf PC mouse, a PC gaming mouse can add an extra dimension to a gamers' playing experience.
What makes these mice the best for gaming? PC gaming mice aren't just a marketing gimmick designed to fleece unsuspecting gamers from their hard-earned, and there are differences between a mouse designed for PC gaming and a standard PC mouse used in everyday tasks. So, what are these differences?
PC gaming mice are ergonomically designed, meaning that the mouse will better fit into the palm of your hand, giving greater comfort; rather than feel like something that is held, as regular mice often do, PC gaming mice feel more like an expansion of the fingers. Furthermore, their ergonomic design means that they can reduce the levels of stress and strain that are party to extended periods of gaming. Normal PC mice aren't designed for the aggressive nature of the online battlefield, or for prolonged use, and playing games for hours on end can cause serious damage to the finger and wrist muscles and joints and make your hand uncomfortable; perhaps even resulting in RSI (repetitive strain injury) and putting you out of the game for longer than you might expect.
PC gaming mice also have a higher set resolution. The resolution refers to the number of pixels per inch that the mouse's optical sensor and focusing lens senses when you move the mouse - the higher this number, the more sensitive the mouse is; and the more pixels the mouse can see, the more accurately the mouse moves on the screen. A standard PC mouse will have a resolution of around 400 to 800 pixels per inch, whereas a PC gaming mouse can have up to 3200 pixels per inch. Such sensitivity and accuracy means that a gamer using a gaming mouse doesn't need to move the mouse as much in order to move the cross-hair or pointer.
Furthermore, some PC gaming mice also have extra buttons, inbuilt memory and profile settings. These allow gamers to program the mouse for specific games and key combinations. For example, to execute a particular move in a game may require the use of both the mouse and a combination of key strokes, but buttons on the gaming mouse can be 'mapped' to these particular moves making them much easier and quicker to perform. The memory and profiles also mean that a game's configuration can easily be transferred between PC systems, saving the tedious need to manually configure games to your own settings.
There are several PC gaming mice on the market, from Logitech's G9 to Saitek's GM3200 and even Microsoft have entered the PC gaming mouse arena, first with their Sidewinder gaming mouse and latterly with their Habu mouse. The upcoming Sentinel Advance by CM storm promises to be the best gaming mouse on the market.
So, no matter the game you might be playing in, if you're regularly on the receiving end of a 'frag', it might not be down to the laggy server connection afterall; your mouse might be to blame instead. If you're really serious about getting the most out of games, then you should give serious consideration to ditching the generic mouse and investing in a PC gaming mouse. While you're at it, why not look at your keyboard too, as there is now a niche for PC gaming keyboards which can further enhance your online armoury when paired with a gaming mouse.