I can no longer live the way you live. I have tasted a new lifestyle, encountered new ideas that have changed the way I see PC gaming. I have traveled to the CompUSA on the mountaintop, met with wildland mystics who enlightened me. And I have returned changed. My palms, plural, have grappled with a deeper truth, and I can no longer sanction your Puritan, white-bread, single-mouse way of life.
I’m a two-mouse man, and I’ll never go back.
For more than two years I’ve had two mice plugged into my PC—two simultaneous, full-time sources of cursor input. Does that make you uncomfortable? I’ve survived this experiment with minimal injury or estrangement to family, and I’m here to share it with you in the hope that more brave PC gamers might see the truth: two mice are better than one.
Somewhere along the way of loving videogames and writing about them for 14 years, I developed chronic hand pain.
Most of the 30-something PC gamers I talk to experience some form of hand or wrist discomfort that they attribute to gaming, permanent or fleeting. For me it’s bilateral dull pain in the dorsal side that persists daily, that unfortunately isn’t some easily-diagnosed thing like RSI or carpal tunnel. I’ve had MRIs, blood tests, x-rays, autoimmune tests, physical therapy, occupational therapy, therapy-therapy, acupuncture, and a lot of Tylenol. I even bought one of those pain boxes inspired by the motion picture Dune.
Naturally, trying a bunch of ergonomic gear has been part of this multi-year journey. For a keyboard, I use the Dygma Raise, featured in our Holiday Gift Guide. And I switched to an ergonomic mouse at work several years ago, initially a cheap Anker model, because I was playing most of my games at home.
An ergonomic mouse wasn’t a silver bullet for my hand pain (not even close—it’s been my experience that no product can make this claim), but it did seem to reduce strain during work. I started using PgUp/PgDown in place of scrolling, too, which helped me mitigate a little fatigue. As I used it more, an ergo mouse started to feel more natural and necessary to minimize discomfort. A vertical mouse, and its ‘handshake’ pose, just feels gentler.
And when we all started working at home more often, my ergonomic work kit migrated with me. I was so used to the ergo mouse I didn’t want to stop using it, but there was one place that I couldn’t: in competitive FPSes like Rainbow Six Siege and Apex Legends. The vertical mouse grip doesn’t translate well to competitive multiplayer games, where your index finger needs to be pointed downward to maximize your dexterity. (This 2013 Gabe Newell quote about controller design still rings in my head: “Your hands, and your wrist muscles, and your fingers are actually your highest bandwidth—so to trying to talk to a game with your arms is essentially saying ‘oh we’re going to stop using ethernet and go back to 300 baud dial-up.'”)
Besides, I wasn’t about to start plugging and unplugging mice throughout the day depending on what I was doing. I wondered: Could I just… use them both?
With no additional software or tuning, you can plug multiple mice into a Windows PC. Your PC will see both mice as sources of input on the same mouse cursor. Windows 10 doesn’t blink.
I’ve been using the wireless Logitech MX Vertical in the last two years in tandem with my ancient Logitech G5, which I will never abandon. A wireless mouse is an even better solution for this setup because they can be switched off, freeing your mind from the nagging anxiety that Windows will somehow read both lasers simultaneously and your pointer will start jittering. (This never happens. As long as your office isn’t sitting above an active railroad or colonized by a cat, it’s not a concern.) I nest the inactive mouse behind my monitor and it’s out of the way, no issue.
I genuinely think I’ll use my PC this way for the rest of my life. Not just because it’s a small thing I do to ameliorate chronic pain, but because it now just feels like I’m using the best tool for the best job at all times: a vertical mouse for general internet and work, and a gaming mouse for protecting my buddies in Battlefield 2042. That’s the spirit of PC gaming at its core: finer control over our experience.