Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Left-handed Link and Discrimination from the 90%

This rendition of Link looks like Kieran

So if you're a nerd like me, you might already know that Link, the main protagonist from Nintendo's Legend of Zelda games, is traditionally a lefty.   As a south-paw myself, I feel a bit of pride whenever the left-handed Link saves Hyrule (and the rest of the world) yet again, or whenever Manny Pacquiao punches someone in the face with his left hand, or if Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks someone in the left side of the stomach with his left foot.  On the other hand (no pun intended), I feel sad when I hear some statistics or research that indicates left-handed people are more likely to have accidents involving right-handed power-tools and equipment (curse those right-handed grenades!!!).  It's a cruel, cruel, right-handed world we live in.

With the advent of motion-controls in videogames, Nintendo decided to switch Link's sword-wielding hand to his right in order to accomodate the majority of the population who would prefer to swing the wiimote with their right hand as well, causing outrage among Nintendo's left-handed players.  It started with Twilight Princess, which still had Link using his left hand in the Gamecube version, when Nintendo decided to "mirror" the whole game and flip it so that Link became right-handed in the Wii version with its new motion controls. Despite that fact that the game's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, is left-handed himself, Nintendo opted not to include a "lefty" mode in either Twilight Princess or the latest iteration, Skyward Sword.  I feel for my left-handed brethren who are once again left out in the cold ...and I am severely disappointed that in this day and age, left-handers still treated as second-class citizens and completely ignored by designers most of the time.  The cold hard truth is that since we only make up about 10% of the population, it's simply more cost-effective for designers to ignore us and just design things for the 90%.

There's not really much we can do about that though, but perhaps we just need to adapt and start learning how to do things the "right-handed" way (although, it's not always possible...believe me, I know.  Try writing on a right-handed desk with your left hand or an using ergonomically designed right-handed mouse with your left hand--awkward).  It would just be too inconvenient and impractical to rearrange things to fit my left-handed preferences everywhere I go.  For example, some lefties use special left-handed guitars (stringed upside down so they strum with their left and hold the guitar neck with their right) or use a left-handed drumkit setup.. but I gave in and learned the "right-handed" way.  In another example, my job involves troubleshooting at other peoples' desks, so I have to cope with the mouse sitting on right side of the keyboard. It would be too much of a nuisance to constantly adjust these things so I try to learn how to use my right-hand whenever possible.

So fellow southpaws, let us try to follow Link and Manny Pacquiao's lead...turn your weakness into a strength--become ambidextrous.  Swing your sword with your right hand and train to punch people in the face with your right hand. After a little practice you'll realize that you won't have as many problems with left-handed discrimination anymore.  We should still fight for our rights, yes, but don't let it hold you back.  Being left-handed is usually an good thing in sports, because whether it's basketball, ping pong, tennis, pitching, or left-handed arm-wrestling, you'll have a slight advantage and your opponent will have be the one who's forced to adjust to your playing style. Take that righties!

Related Links:
The Wikipedia article on Link's left-handedness

1 comment:

  1. Practice being ambidextrous? What happened to the Reuben who always stood for left-handed rights?? Is age making you soft? Or is it getting married to a righty?