Mice often function as an interface for PC-based computer games and sometimes for video game consoles.
Due to the cursor-like nature of the crosshairs in first-person shooters (FPS), a combination of mouse and keyboard provides a popular way to play FPS games. Players use the X-axis of the mouse for looking (or turning) left and right, leaving the Y-axis for looking up and down. Many gamers prefer this primarily in FPS games over a gamepad or joypad because it provides a higher resolution for input. This means they are able to make small, precise motions in the game more easily. The left button usually controls primary fire. If the game supports multiple fire-modes, the right button often provides secondary fire from the selected weapon. The right button may also provide bonus options for a particular weapon, such as allowing access to the scope of a sniper rifle or allowing the mounting of a bayonet or silencer.
Gamers can use a scroll wheel for changing weapons, or for controlling scope-zoom magnification. On most FPS games, programming may also assign more functions to additional buttons on mice with more than three controls. A keyboard usually controls movement (for example, WASD, for moving forward, left, backward and right, respectively) and other functions such as changing posture. Since the mouse serves for aiming, a mouse that tracks movement accurately and with less lag (latency) will give a player an advantage over players with less accurate or slower mice.
An early technique of players, circle strafing, saw a player continuously strafing while aiming and shooting at an opponent by walking in circle around the opponent with the opponent at the center of the circle. Players could achieve this by holding down a key for strafing while continuously aiming the mouse towards the opponent.
Games using mice for input have such a degree of popularity that many manufacturers, such as Logitech, Cyber Snipa, Razer USA Ltd and SteelSeries, make peripherals such as mice and keyboards specifically for gaming. Such mice may feature adjustable weights, high-resolution optical or laser components, additional buttons, ergonomic shape, and other features such as adjustable DPI.
Many games, such as first- or third-person shooters, have a setting named "invert mouse" or similar (not to be confused with "button inversion", sometimes performed by left-handed users) which allows the user to look downward by moving the mouse forward and upward by moving the mouse backward (the opposite of non-inverted movement). This control system resembles that of aircraft control sticks, where pulling back causes pitch up and pushing forward causes pitch down; computer joysticks also typically emulate this control-configuration.
After id Software's Doom, the game that popularized FPS games but which did not support vertical aiming with a mouse (the y-axis served for forward/backward movement), competitor 3D Realms' Duke Nukem 3D became one of the first games that supported using the mouse to aim up and down. This and other games using the Build engine had an option to invert the Y-axis. The "invert" feature actually made the mouse behave in a manner that users now regard as non-inverted (by default, moving mouse forward resulted in looking down). Soon after, id Software released Quake, which introduced the invert feature as users now[update] know it. Other games using the Quake engine have come on the market following this standard, likely due to the overall popularity of Quake.
In 1988 the educational video game system, the VTech Socrates, featured a wireless mouse with an attached mouse pad as an optional controller used for some games. In the early 1990s the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game system featured a mouse in addition to its controllers. The Mario Paint game in particular used the mouse's capabilities, as did its successor on the Nintendo 64. Sega released official mice for their Genesis/Mega Drive, Saturn and Dreamcast consoles. NEC sold official mice for its PC Engine and PC-FX consoles. Sony Computer Entertainment released an official mouse product for the PlayStation console, and included one along with the Linux for PlayStation 2 kit. However, users can attach virtually any USB mouse to the PlayStation 2 console. In addition the PlayStation 3 also fully supports USB mice. Recently the Wii also has this latest development added on in a recent software update.