What is the next logical step to take one's growing gamepad fixation, after Doom, arcade emulators and Shadowgrounds? No, it isn't Melty, since we already found out quite a while ago that pads suck for fighting games. ...what could it possibly be?
But of course, Mountain of Faith.
In fact I had been thinking about playing it with a pad ever since I remembered that I got one - a pad, that is. What had kept me at bay, though, was, believe it or not, fear. Faith is one of those games which I'm "afraid" of. It's so nerve wreckingly difficult that it leaves me with stiff arms - even after just playing it once. But for some reason I just keep coming back to it because, I don't know, it's just so fucking awesome (besides, you have to give merit to a game that can make seasoned Doomers that eat (some) HR-style levels for breakfast into wrecks). But gamepadding it? Gamepadding FAITH? If I can't keep my character in one place in Melty while using a pad, how am I supposed to NOT fly at the enemy bullets in the beginning of the first level in Faith?
Yet, I am an idiot, so I finally gave in and padded it.
And you know what, I have no fucking clue why the hell I was so scared of it. Well, actually I do know, I just wrote it down, but all of that was unfounded fear. The first time I died was in the third level. At the "mid boss" (actually, it's the same girl who is the level's boss, but I'm talking about the mid boss part), and that wasn't even because of the pad, but because I simply failed at looking ahead. Hell, I even got to the boss of the fourth level (I still have to beat her without using bombs...).
So, I did surprisingly well with the pad, in fact, very much so. But I can't say I would have born with a pad in hands, or anything else just as preposterous, because it definitely wasn't easy and keeping direction exactly where I wanted to go just couldn't happen. At least not as often as I would have liked.
In that case, why did the gamepad work out so well in the end? I hope that the answer is at least slightly profound and that I've got the "right" answer. If you compare using a pad to a keyboard, what is the major difference? On the keyboard you use three fingers from your right hand - index, middle and ring fingers - to control yourself. Of course, in some games you use WASD, but we're talking about Faith here, and even in those games you're still using three fingers. What is it that you use for movement with a gamepad? A thumb? Yes, that's right, but that's not all of it: You are, obviously, using just one finger. And for most of us it's even in our less dominant hand. My theory is that moving just one finger, especially thumb, comes to us more instictively (I'm too bored to look up for an other/a correct word, so we'll go with something that Firefox doesn't think is right and I decide to write this long disclaimer instead) than using three fingers. Certainly a keyboard gives the player much greater precision, at least when you aren't highly proficient with the pad, but the movement comes more natural with a pad.
Who knows, this might even hold the eventual key to me beating level four without bombs, since my biggest pitfalls (besides the annoying level four itself) seem to be thinking to evade bullets but not getting my fingers into it fast enough. If I'll be evading them by pure instinct, then there should be no "latency."
Now I'll just need to get my brains into it, too, and then we're rockin'.