My wife is left-handed, and she also happened to go to grade school at a time and place where children writing with their left hands were seen as needing correction because everyone knows that's how Satan sneaks gay Communism into you. So for many years of her life, she suffered teachers who actively discouraged her use of her southern paw right down to sending letters home to her parents pleading with them to do something about heretical hand usage.
The result is that she is a little sensitive to how left-handed people are portrayed in media. Where most of us wouldn't notice that a villain is the only lefty in the room, she's always quick to point it out. There's even a whole TV Trope page dedicated to this nonsense. Today I thought I'd cheer her up by pointing out that some of the bravest and the best video-game heroes out there share her dominant hand.
Kain Highwind The first example is also the worst. Kain from Final Fantasy IV is, to put it mildly, a raging douchebag who is also a little rapey when it comes to his best friend's girlfriend. On the other hand, the game reveals he is largely being manipulated against his will through alien mind control, which is like the worst way ever to teach a character empathy. It works, though, and the dragoon knight joins the party for the final battle. He gets an even better workup in the sequel The After Years by defeating his dark side and attaining the rank of holy dragoon after an epic quest. Still, his initial betrayal is an annoying example of the evil-lefty trope, so let's move to...
Freya Crescent Final Fantasy IX is sort of the middle child of the series. It came out on the original PlayStation when everyone was already looking toward the PS2, and tone-wise it feels cartoonish, almost Disneyfied compared to the titles that came immediately before and after it. It's my personal favorite, though, with its 16-bit-era play style and focus on the thief class.
The dragon knight Freya Crescent is pretty much the best character in the game. Certainly she's the only one with a really complex and mature narrative. She's also the only lefty in the main cast, which is probably a nod to fellow Jump attacker Highwind, among many other nostalgic in-jokes hidden in the game.
This story continues on the next page.
Luke fon Fabre It's a little weird, but it seems like your best left-handed characters appear only in fantasy and role-playing games. Tales of the Abyss was a pretty good if not terribly original RPG on PS2, and by all means, developers, please keep porting PS2 titles to 3DS because they make damn fine stocking stuffers.
Its main character, Luke fon Fabre, is left-handed, and though that's not a major point, it is cause for a fairly neat scene that should give lefties a thrill. The military commander Jade Curtis offers to shake hands with Luke using his left hand despite being right-handed himself. Shaking hands with the left hand is a sign of trust among those in uniform dating back to Lord Baden-Powell's encounters with African warriors, who told Baden-Powell that only the bravest shook with the left hand in their land because to do so, you must drop your shield. It's been a staple of Baden-Powell's legacy, the Boy Scouts, ever since.
Mega Man One of gaming's early heroes turned out to be a lefty through a quirk of programming. Mega Man always fires his Mega Buster with his far hand. Since most, but not all, of the action in Mega Man titles happens from left to right, he usually battled bad guys using his left hand.
Graphics improvements later allowed Mega Man the ability to not have an ambidextrous sprite, but the tendency to portray him as favoring firing from the left has endured up until today. He recently made his way into the Smash Bros franchise, where the tradition continues. Not only that, but his Final Smash summons three other Mega Men from various games, and only one of them, X, uses his right hand.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Link The Hero of Time is also the Hero of Left-Handed Gamers. In nearly all his appearances, Link has wielded the Master Sword in his left hand and his shield in his right. The only real exceptions tend to be later entries such as Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, which use motion-sensing technology and therefore cater to the more dominant right-handed gamers. Twilight Princess was actually horizontally flipped when it was transferred from Gamecube to Wii to accommodate this.
Don't despair, lefties. Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto has taken you into account for the future. Miyamoto himself writes with his left hand, though he does most other things with his right, and Kotaku's Stephen Totilo got a chance to call attention to the fact that many games on modern Nintendo platforms were forcing left-handers to use awkward controller configurations. Miyamoto has promised to look into it, so maybe there's hope that future incarnations of Link will once again fence southpaw.