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Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Left-Handedness Deserves More Recognition

By WITCH PRINCESS - It's hard to operate in the world with your preferred hand when almost everything wasn't designed for you to do so.

If you couldn’t tell from the title of the article, I am a left-handed witch. That means I pretty much am accustomed to doing (almost) everything with my left hand, from writing to eating to using a physical calculator.

I say almost in parenthesis because there are things such as cars, computers, and even video game console controllers that require me to use my right hand much to my displeasure.

My dominant hand has always been my left, according to my parents. Fortunately, I had parents who never tried to “retrain” me to use my right hand instead of my left. However, just because they didn’t doesn’t mean I was free of right-handed influence. There’s a whole list here dedicated to lefty problems!

The main problem I’m going to share with you though relates to gaming for lefties, specifically, a call to Nintendo and other companies to design ergonomic controllers for us!

Microsoft has developed an adaptive Xbox controller where you can input devices (such as a foot pedal if needed) to play games with limited mobility. I think this is a great move in that lefties can remap controller buttons to meet their needs as well. Too bad I don’t have an Xbox.

Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller controls options buttons ports
Complex, but helpful.

I do have a Switch, though! I have remapped my buttons on my Joy-Cons and Pro Controller to suit my needs (thank goodness there’s no stylus with the system). Before I considered doing so, I had a huge mental pain with Pokémon Stadium, specifically with the button mashing game Run, Rattata, Run.

Pokémon Stadium Run Rattata Run instructions Nintendo Switch Online tap A button
NSOnline lets you remap buttons too. I bet for left-handed gamers the "right" way to play games such as this was just as painful.

See, because my right hand isn’t my dominant one, I’m not as fast at button mashing with it. It’s weaker. Consequently, this caused me to lose the game. I can’t imagine using a real N64 controller with its insane design.

I tried the game with my remapped Left Joy-Con and I seemingly did a bit better. Why only a bit? Well, just as it’s weird getting used to using your computer mouse with your left hand because you were trained to use your right hand, it was incredibly weird using a Joy-Con which didn’t use its default mapping. I know I have to practice, practice, practice! Maybe someday, I’ll feel right at home. Literally…

According to Nintendo, I can’t take my settings with me when I pair my controllers on another person’s Switch. How tedious. I take this as Nintendo saying, “Have fun spending time configuring your controller before you play with friends, you southpaw you!” I’m not too bright when it comes to console hardware capabilities, so let me know if saving button settings to an individual Joy-Con is possible or not.

Another problem for me and other lefties is that even when you’ve configured your controller to be in a left-hand mode, characters in video games such as Link in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will still be right-handed.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword right-handed Link swinging right hand
This doesn't look or feel right to me.

Sources years ago had claimed that before Skyward Sword released that there was going to be a “left-handed mode”. Yay? However, that claim was false, which forced IGN to make an apology. Basically, Nintendo didn’t develop such a thing, leaving many lefties disappointed.

Link being a righty in the game as opposed to the player possibly being a lefty annoys many, including me. Why would you want to see a protagonist swing his sword in the opposite direction your dominant hand swings? I believe Link should’ve remained a lefty so we can have some representation! I guess I still have Waluigi and Bowser Jr. Waluigi’s alright, but we don’t care for the latter here.

I bring attention to this issue because game devs should take into consideration their player base. If Microsoft can develop a controller for accessibility, why can’t someone develop a pre-configured left hand controller for “all of us to win”? We shouldn’t force young and old gamers to adapt to a right-handed world. I hope to see more changes in controller design for video game players such as myself to comfortably enjoy their favorite game without giving up in frustration. Would it hurt to design an ergonomic left hand controller?

An upside to that would be whoever makes such a thing will make money. What company doesn’t love money?

Stardew Valley JojaMart Morris boycott out of business 75% off sale
Morris from Joja Mart (Stardew Valley) loves money!

Witch Princess thanks you for reading all of her articles on KoopaTV, although she should’ve published more! What do you think? Are YOU left-handed too? Or are you ambidextrous? It’s okay if you’re right handed as well. Talk with Witch in the comments if you want.


  1. I am fortunate to be right-handed and not have to experience the difficulties of being a lefty. Whenever I tried writing my name with my left hand in the past, I couldn't get anything legible out of it. If I were forced to use my left-hand as the dominant hand for controllers, I would certainly not play games as much.

    1. My mindset over the years was to just use the default controls even if a game offered alternate ones and not make a fuss. However, this has caused mental frustration in the past. I remember in the Wii days if a game required the Wiimote and Nunchuk I would always hold the Wiimote in my left hand, Nunchuk in right. The games didn't care how you held the controls (except Skyward Sword, but I didn't play it when it first came out). :p

  2. My sister and great aunt have the same birthday, 50 years apart. They are the only lefty’s that I know in my family. So as such I’m sure they feel your pain.

    1. People often wonder if genetics have a role to play in determining which hand will be your dominant hand.

  3. My older daughter is left handed so I have to keep in mind about potential struggles with gaming.

    1. Ludwig sent me this Kotaku article featuring Miyamoto saying he'd discuss with his teams about making more lefty-friendly games. I'm not sure how it's going, since this was from years ago.

    2. I don't think it's going very well!
      Might be why Miyamoto has moved on to movies and such, which can be enjoyed (or reviled) regardless of your hand situation.

  4. I’m a lefty of 63 years. I’ve played video games a bit over the years (the old arcade ones way back, PCs then whatever system my kids had) but have really gotten into it lately with the Switch - yes, a pandemic ACNH thing! As I’ve gotten into more challenging games I’m starting to notice a distinct disadvantage for certain actions - especially anything that involves A mashing or rhythmical pressing (ex, the chopping mini-game in Palia). I have had many of these light-bulb moments in my life - where I suddenly realise a machine or gadget is working against me due to its right-handed design. But as with the majority of these times it turns out there’s no easy fix - which seems unfortunate with all the tech advances we’ve made. May go back to PC games - at least I can switch the mouse buttons still!


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