Most keyboards only allow you to press a few keys at once. The problem is especially obvious with the arrow keys in videogames, even more so if you have two players on the same keyboard.

Wikipedia calls it rollover. Unfortunately, I've never seen this listed in the specs for a keyboard. Most keyboards have 3-key rollover, with a maximum of 6 for certain combinations. Not good enough. The old Model M used to have full n-key rollover.

Now, where can I find a keyboard with high rollover?


Many of the Filco keyboards on EliteKeyboards.com advertise N-Key Rollover (NKRO). Even a few that don't have NKRO in the name will advertise it on the product page.


An easy test for this (if you have access to said keyboard) is to hold down both shift keys and try to type in the following:

the quick brown fox jumps right over the lazy dog

On my macbook I get:


Not very good, eh?

Good luck on finding one that suits you.

  • I use Dvorak. THE QUIK BOWN OX JUMS IHT OVE THE LAZ DO – Nick Retallack Oct 5 '09 at 15:36

Have you considered a control stick? Something like the X-Arcade for instance? These things are built with controllers that can handle an all-button press, and generally you can configure them to do whatever keys you want when you push a particular button or move a stick in a particular way.

There are many brands of 'arcade' controls for PCs. If you're serious about playing games that work via the keyboard, you might want to consider one.


Personally, I have never seen this advertised and have never ever known it to matter.

Typically, rather than having an expensive keyboard and keeping it in good condition for a few years, I prefer to have cheap £2 ones and replace them every couple of months (nothing feels as good as typing on a fresh keyboard!)

Anyway, on my cheap keyboard, I have no problem doing "rollover" as you call it, In games (although don't have time to play to many :( ), I can press both W + D or A, and I am able to move diagonally no problem.

The only times I do have a problem is when I am using my old KVM as it seems to prevent it.

Generally, for other options such as refresh rates, you want to look at the keyboard settings for whatever operating system you are using.

To sum it up - I think that every keyboard out there can do what you need with no problem, unless I have mis read and this is a very special feature :S

  • Most keyboards support 3-key rollover. That's not enough to play a two-player game, or beat hell in Cave Story. – Nick Retallack Sep 20 '09 at 3:02
  • ok, well, sorry! had no idea - Just tested this on my cheap keyboard and can confirm that I can do 5 characters at once... only one away and a fraction of the price of the other ones - just sorry it didn't help – William Hilsum Sep 20 '09 at 3:10
  • You'll only get 5 keys with certain combinations. Other combinations are fraught with locking. – Nick Retallack Oct 5 '09 at 15:34

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.