simulator pc joystickThe WASD keys on our keyboards serve us well through thick and thin in our PC gaming adventures. But when it comes to racing a car or flying a plane, our old friend the keyboard lacks realism. If you are the kind of gamer who really loves to get lost in immersive simulator PC games, you need to get the right gear for your computer.

Your simulator PC setup

Fancy peripherals are great if they have the right space around them. Before you buy your new gear, review your gaming area and the physical requirements for your new additions. Your flight stick should be able to sit level and stable on a flat surface with ample room around it. Your steering wheel will need space directly in front of your display, slightly offset to the left to properly simulate real world driving. And make sure that the floor underneath your foot pedal peripheral is flat and firm. You need to be able to securely keep the pedals in place when your foot starts excitedly mashing down on them. I’m not telling you to build a custom cockpit in your basement gaming room, but I’m also not saying that would be a terrible idea.

Going for pole position

steering wheel and pedals for your simulator pcWe’re not trying to save a few bucks here. This isn’t a rig for the casual Sunday driver, its for the dedicated digital auto enthusiast. You are going to spend hours at the wheel of your digital cars, racing at top speed against foes from across the world. That’s why you should invest in a durable and responsive hardware setup like the Thrustmaster TS-XW Racer Sparco P310 Competition Mod Driving Wheel. It has force feedback delivered by servomotors in the steering wheel, and that will make the tight corners feel even more real. The foot pedal board has a brake, gas and clutch. I don’t know how to drive a manual transmission, so this set-up may be the way to learn without grinding a real-world clutch into pieces.

Taking your flight simulator seriously

flight controls for your simulator pcFor a richer, more realistic flight simulation, you need to get your feet involved. Yes, your feet. The pedals included with the Thrustmaster T16000M FCS Flight Pack control the rudders of the aircraft, instead of having to use the keyboard. The third component is a throttle, which heightens the immersive aspect of the game but will need a little more desk real estate to work well.

The joy of space commerce

joystick for your simulator pcHere’s my confession: I still long for my days as an imaginary space trader. The game was Privateer 2, a spin-off from the Wing Commander series. I would spend countless hours flying my space ship from port to port, to make space bucks from my cunning trading. If another game comes along like that (I’m looking at you with hopeful anticipation, Star Citizen), I will jump at the chance to fly through space. And I will use a joystick setup like the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick. To the stars! Sure, this doesn’t exactly qualify as ‘realism’ but it does qualify as a fun type of simulator PC game.


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Chris Loblaw
Chris is a novelist, avid gamer, tech enthusiast, and proud dad of a 13-year-old video game master.