How to Use a PS3 Controller with a Mac

In the past few months I have been getting back into gaming, after almost a decade of dormancy. I’m not sure why, although I imagine a blog post will be appropriate when I figure it out. Nevertheless, I’m have having a lot of fun. Games from my youth are providing the warm nostalgia, while new titles are providing an insight into how far gaming has come since I was a young teen.

After trying to play a FPS with the keyboard and mouse, I knew that wasn’t my style. So, I researched game pads that will work with Macs. Logitech has a few controllers but the reviews are inconsistent. The consensus on the internet seems to be that the Xbox controller is the very best option. The thing I did not like about it was the required receiver that plugged in USB. Who wants to give up a USB port for that? I’m not that serious about gaming! Sony’s PS3 controller was highly rated, and uses bluetooth to connect wirelessly. I ordered one from Amazon and have been very impressed so far. The battery takes about 2 hours to charge fully and lasts many, many hours. While charging, the 4 red lights on the top blink slowly.

Pairing the device was simple, yet a bit tricky. There was some confusion among the sources I read and watched online, but what worked for me was just turning it on and plugging/unplugging a couple of times. Then it appeared in the bluetooth device list. When it is connected, the 4 red lights on the top blink quickly.

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The only problem I have encountered so far is with disconnecting the controller. The button that turns it on, does not seem to turn it off, even when I hold it down. So, I manually disconnect it from the bluetooth list on the computer.

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The controller is incredibly responsive without any noticeable lag. It’s so sensitive that in one game, I have to turn the joystick speed way down or I get motion sickness. I was most surprised with how games are automatically picking up the PS3 game pad, especially after reading so many posts online about game pad mapping apps. I suppose those give you total control over the game pad, something I am not interested in at the moment. So far, I have used it with Half-Life 2 and Mark of the Ninja (purchased through Steam), both of which work incredibly well.

Has anyone else used the PS3 controller with a Mac? What has been your experience? What is your preference of computer game pad?

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