Question How many key binds is too many?

Based off of this post of @mjs warlord in this thread:

The one thing that is an instant turn off for me is the number of key binds and multi keys binds some games require such as A then shift key + A.

How many key binds do you consider too many? Do you think the NES did it right with just two action buttons or do you consider it a waste if not every key on your keyboard is used?

Personally, I typically prefer having more key binds, especially if the alternative is navigating through menus and submenus to do something that should've just been a single key press. If a game does have submenus, I at least want each option to have their own key, so I can navigate to the right option with just a few keypresses instead of having to scroll/click.

However, if a game does have a lot of key binds, I do expect the game to take some time to teach them to me or at least have an (optional) overlay that shows buttons I might want to press depending on the context.


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The number o bindings equal to number of buttons and triggers on Xbox gamepad is usually fine for me. However when I play on keyboard I like to have a shortcut to every major game function. I have no problems when a game uses many different keys, as long as you can do the same thing with a mouse. I remember that one of the toughest games in terms of binding were flight simulators from old times. They had a tendency to use every key on a keyboard. :D And you couldn't do things with a mouse. Learning all of this was very challenging. There are rarely such complicated games these days.


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I often want to at least be able to use the number keys to switch between tools, weapons, etc. And I don't mean using the 1 and 3 buttons to scroll through the options, as some games do...
Yeah, that's important when you're playing on a keyboard. I don't like situations where gamepad control scheme is literally forced on a keyboard. I'm fine with the fact that game's controls are adapted to gamepad, but I'm also quite allergic to bad ports that copy gamepad controls 1:1 when you have an option to use keyboard and mouse.
I'm also quite allergic to bad ports that copy gamepad controls 1:1

Oh yeah… most disgusted I've ever been with a PC UI was Far Cry 3—my expectations had been higher since C&C in '95. FC games are still poor in this regard, altho now miles better than FC3. But eg in FC6 the 'E' key is still bound to at least 9 diff actions:
Enter vehicle
Use Mortar
Use Mounted Gun
But hey, on the bright side, at least Loot and 'Swap Weapon' are no longer the same key—they solved that by not allowing you to pick up weapons anymore! :D

When I'm playing a game with a lot of binds, I'll have a chart like this [Civ6] on my 2nd monitor:


So for me, give me all the binds possible, and let me choose which ones to bother with.
I got tired of binds when playing Elite Dangerous, especially when you have to remember them for flight, buggy and on foot.
I ended up using voice control. So much easier and intuitive. "Gear Up", "Gear Down". "Target nearest", "Fire missile", "Chaff" ....
Me too.

Anymore than a few basic ones and my brain starts to shut off and I don't want to need a cheat sheet to remember stuff. I'd much rather navigate a menu than figure out what key does what, because I'll never remember.

That said, I think that absolutely correlates to my learning style: visual, mostly.

I can remember what I need in a menu because it's all visual. I can remember my way to places while driving because I remember landmarks. Same goes for games.
I have a cheat sheet for every game I play but I love games that have "tooltips" onscreen for commands. Games I currently play like Elder Scrolls Online and Diablo IV have these and makes gameplay much friendlier.

Exactly, that's what I meant with "overlay" in the first post.

Though I really dislike when menus just have a list of buttons to press on the bottom:


Just give me normal buttons to click on with my mouse instead of making me press "2" for settings and "Page Up" to link an Xbox Account. Absolute insanity.
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I don't really care how many key binds a game has because I am only going to be using a few of them anyway. An example of this is when I tried out Microsoft Flight Simulator and I just went with exploration mode or what it was called and flew my plane with one hand. So in that sense, you could say I am more of a NES controller kind of guy.