I must have control!
August 18, 2012 2:23 PM   Subscribe

I need a recommendation for a wireless gamepad for my late 2008 iMac running Mountain Lion; OR advice/troubleshooting on how to get a PS3 wireless Sixaxis working.

I've mucked about with the Sixaxis off and on for months now. I can get it connected and paired, but it takes over the computer's input; I have to use the analog stick to move the mouse cursor, and the buttons don't wind up recognized in anything anyway.

So, unless someone's got experience troubleshooting those, I need a recommendation for something that will pretty much just work right out of the box.
posted by curious nu to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You could try a utility like USB Overdrive, which also works with Bluetooth devices. It lets you map and control the buttons with a lot more control. I haven't used it with that specific controller but it's worth a shot.
posted by bcwinters at 3:32 PM on August 18, 2012

Mac Rumors thread on pairing issues may also help.
posted by youknowwhatpart at 7:23 PM on August 18, 2012

I use my PS3 sixaxis on my Mac running Mountain Lion, but I haven't run into the issues you're seeing. My built-in trackpad and an external mouse still respond normally when the controller is present.

I wonder if it's a custom driver thing? You used to have to install a little hacky third-party kernel extension to make the ps3 controller work on Mac. If you did this, try removing it and rebooting. The native drivers should work better on the current OS.

Some games have built-in gamepad support but many (often the games that would most benefit from it!) do not. The workaround is to run a little application that maps button presses to keyboard key presses. The one I use, which is a little homely but lightweight, quick, free, and seems to work great is Enjoy. Another good option is Gamepad Companion on the Mac App Store.

If you decide to buy a separate gamepad, I happily used an original MacAlly iShock controller for years. The current version is on Amazon for about $35 and seems like a safe bet.
posted by churl at 1:49 PM on August 19, 2012

I know the driver thing, and that's not the culprit, unfortunately; I had this problem before I installed it, after I installed it, and after uninstalling it, and no difference has been made.

I did some other testing today, and it turns out that the program I was trying to get the controller recognized in was having other issues, so I tried something else. The Sixaxis definitely works - works even in a program in WINE, which was a pleasant surprise - but the analog stick is still controlling the mouse cursor and I have no idea how to make that stop.
posted by curious nu at 10:52 AM on August 25, 2012

How bizarre. It may have been originally paired as a "mouse" class bluetooth device, or maybe some application installer made some system change that has effected it this way.

Try this, for the sheer hell of it:
- Power off the controller
- Visit System Preferences > Bluetooth
- Select the PS3 controller from the list and hit the [-] button to clear it from the list
- Uncheck the "on" checkbox to turn off bluetooth.
- Visit System Preferences > Accessibility
- At the bottom of the window, uncheck "Enable Access for Assistive Devices" (if it's already unchecked, toggle it on and off again, then leave it off)
- Head back to System Preferences > Bluetooth
- Turn Bluetooth on again with the checkbox
- Pair your PS3 controller again

See if the mouse cursor control thing has changed after you do this.
posted by churl at 2:19 PM on August 25, 2012

No dice, unfortunately. Same issue.
posted by curious nu at 6:00 PM on August 25, 2012

I wish I had more up my sleeve! I just (coincidentally) paired a different PS3 controller to a different Mac running 10.7 and it worked – and I've still never seen the behavior with the analog stick controlling the cursor. Some old mouse driver lingering around the OS, maybe, or something I'm just not thinking of. Short of doing something more drastic than you'd probably like (i.e. reinstalling the OS), you might just go with your original plan of trying a different gamepad. The iShock I mentioned before is still my recommendation, especially if you like the Playstation controller layout.
posted by churl at 8:29 PM on August 31, 2012

I wound up installing a clean copy of 10.8 onto an external drive, and testing there, and I got it to work properly. So I wiped out main hard drive and, yep, no troubles. So your hunch of (ma)lingering driver somewhere seems to have been correct! Drastic, but now I get comfortable wireless gaming, hooray.
posted by curious nu at 1:39 PM on September 11, 2012

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