Last week while I was at Microsoft headquarters, I picked up an Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for my PC’s. After a driver download for Windows Vista 64bit, it loaded right up and allowed me to sync my Xbox 360 wireless controller to my laptop. I subsequently connected my laptop to my TV through an HDMI port and to my receiver through the headphone jack.
Crysis was my game of choice to test out the arrangement and it didn’t disappoint. As soon as the game loaded it noticed the presence of the 360 controller and allowed me to use it by default. Unfortunately there is no way to remap the controller’s button configuration. More on that later.
On the whole, it was a wonderful experience. I felt like I was playing Crysis (a PC-exclusive title) on a 360. Most FPS-enthusiast gamers would cry blasphemy at choosing a console controller over the keyboard/mouse setup, but I’ve spent as much time now playing shooters on consoles as on PC’s and frankly I just don’t care anymore. Sure the keyboard and mouse can be more precise than a console controller, but its hard to relax on the couch or reclyner with a keyboard in my lap and a mouse on… the armrest? Where am I supposed to put the mouse on the couch? I don’t have to ask that question when playing console games, and that’s why I’m happy to play my PC games with my console controllers.
After finishing the mission in Crysis, I moved on to some good ol’ Trackmania Nations Forever. The car handled wonderfully and I was able to successfully navigate my own custom insane track. I’d previously been playing this game with an adapter that let me play PC games with Playstation 2 controllers. I love that adapter, but I think I prever the 360 alternative simply for the wirelessness.
The only disappointments came with the severe lack of options. No key remapping (without a 3rd party tool that I’m still researching), constant re-syncing the control back and forth from 360 to PC and back, inability to simply turn off the 360 controller without pulling the battery(ies) out, etc. Those kinds of things add up and definitely detract from the overall coolness. Its annoying, but then again, these controllers weren’t originally intended to be docked to multiple machines or control PC games at all. So I suppose its forgivable.
If you’re interested in wireless gamepad play on your PC and you already have a 360, I heartily recommend giving this option a shot. The pricepoint is relatively low and its fun to replay some PC games the console way.