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Left-Handed Gamers Getting Left Behind? 426

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sorry-'bout-that-dad dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As the stylus becomes a contemporary equal with the controller and joystick, it is a bit surprising to notice a game developer overlooking the simple fact that there are a lot of southpaw gamers out there. But the creators of Base 10, a mini-game on the DSi, did just that, making it impossible for the game to be played by anyone who isn't right-handed. Seems pretty silly for a game developer to just cut out a slice of their potential audience right from the start."
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Left-Handed Gamers Getting Left Behind?

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  • by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:00PM (#33590268)

    It's hard for left handers because you hold the DS sideways and write on one of the screens. Since you have to write on the right screen, lefties can't see the left screen through their hand.

    http://gofanboy.com/nds-reviews/407-art-style-base-10-review [gofanboy.com]

  • Re:Impossible? (Score:3, Informative)

    by curunir (98273) * on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:20PM (#33590560) Homepage Journal

    As I understand it, his coach identified high-bouncing balls to the opponent's backhand as the most difficult to handle and tailored his player/nephew's game to hit balls with an absurd amount of top spin towards the majority of players backhand side. Over the course of a match, reaching up to hit that shot will also cause the player to expend a lot of energy. His game has evolved to rely less on that, but it was still an incredibly effective strategy that he used to win titles immediately upon turning pro (he won the first 4 French Open tournaments he entered.)

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Captain Spam (66120) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:20PM (#33590564) Homepage

    Does anyone understand WHY the writer of this article can't play the game left handed? I read through the FA multiple times (yes, I know - hard to believe), but I don't see any explanation of what specifically the game requires that cannot be done by a left handed user. Any further clarification would be welcome.

    I'm just taking a stab in the dark here, but knowing the DS, chances are what happened with this game is that it requires one hand on the stylus and one hand on the D-pad at all times (sure, it's worse than "one hand on stylus and press D-pad or face buttons once in a while", but it's certainly better than "both hands on D-pad and face buttons AND be able to switch to the stylus quickly"... the DS Viewtiful Joe game, I'm looking at you...). That is, this particular player plays with the stylus naturally in the left hand, but the D-pad is also naturally in the left hand, which throws them off.

    The thing is, this problem, all in all, is uncommon among DS games with that control scheme. Most games I've seen like that also allow the face buttons (A/X/B/Y) to act like the D-pad (they're arranged in a cross shape, too) for just this sort of occasion, or at the very least have it as an in-game option. Nintendo themselves are very good at that, for instance, even with games using the Wiimote (you generally set what hand your player uses)*, so I'm sort of writing this off as a short-sighted decision by this developer, and nothing at all to raise this much ruckus about.

    *: Besides Twilight Princess, of course.

  • by wbav (223901) <Guardian.Bob+Slashdot@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:20PM (#33590570) Homepage Journal
    Here's why [ign.com].

    If you look, the game holds the DSI sideways. There are important values on the left, while picking numbers on the right. If you're playing, you're constantly covering the left screen with your left hand when using the stylus on the right side.
  • Re:Impossible? (Score:3, Informative)

    by chriso11 (254041) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:41PM (#33590914) Journal

    I was curious too - What was the exact problem? I found a youtube video of the game. There is at least one significant example - during gameplay, numbers come across the screen from the left side to the right. A lefty would block much of the left part of the screen with their hand while playing.

  • Re:Impossible? (Score:5, Informative)

    by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:52PM (#33591112)

    I've known left-handers whose right hand might as well have been a withered stump flapping in the breeze. I'm no longer surprised that there are those who lack the ability/will to adapt to a different setup.

    Gotcha.

    If the game was designed for left-handed people and didn't accomodate righties right handed people would play it for 5 minutes call it a shit game with lousy controls... and they would be CORRECT!

    But apparently if its designed for righties but not lefties, "you are longer surprised that there are those who lack the ability/will to adapt to a different setup." instead of recognizing that the controls are lousy.

    Designing a video game with customizeable or reversible controls is trivial, and suggesting that left handed people should just learn to play them offhanded is just plain ignorant.

    I've got a Wii, and I'm surprised at the number of games that fail to offer proper left handed support, even though it would be generally trivial.

    Wii sports allows you (and even lets you choose handedness for each sport which is great because I golf right handed (due to having no access to left handed clubs growing up) but I bat, tennis, and bowl left handed; so that's a really nice touch.

    Many of the other mini-games titles aren't so considerate. A frisbee minigame in one title in particular can't cope at all with a left handed movement. There are other examples as well.

    Metroid Prime 3 for example comes to mind as a less severe example, its entirely playable left handed so no problem, but it would be even better if it let you reverse the model. Its a little jarring as a leftie, holding the remote in the dominant hand and the nunchuk in the offhand to throw the grapple and have samus throw it with the other hand. This occasionally impacts gameplay in small ways -- when up against an obstacle that blocks one side of the sreeen. I attempt to throw the grapple and its a clear shot, but samus attempts the throw from the other hand and hits an obstable. (It very rarely comes up as an issue, but when it does its jarring and annoying.)

    If a right handed player were playing right-handedly, and samus was designed 'left handed', I'm sure they'd probably find it similiarly jarring, and would call the controls 'unpolished'.

    Given just how trivial it is to support left handed players in these titles, I'm surprised more don't.

  • by jgtg32a (1173373) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @02:56PM (#33591172)
    No, no he wasn't he was always left handed even in the Game Cube release of Twilight Princess.
  • by Atriqus (826899) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:11PM (#33591392) Homepage
    From Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

    Link departs on his quest with the magical sword in his left hand and the magical shield in his right.

  • Re:Impossible? (Score:4, Informative)

    by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:20PM (#33591546)

    Certainly as a leftie I've never once had a problem or felt disadvantaged when using any kind of computing device, ever...

    Apparently you've never tried to use one of these...
    http://www.ink2print.com/gbu0-prodshow/ergo_500.html [ink2print.com]
    or these...
    http://www.expansys.com/zoompic.aspx?i=160630 [expansys.com]
    or these...
    http://www.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?moduleno=224053 [maplin.co.uk]
    or these...
    http://www.logitech.com/en-us/mice-pointers/mice/devices/5845 [logitech.com]
    or these...
    http://store.razerzone.com/store/razerusa/en_US/pd/productID.169418900/categoryId.35208800 [razerzone.com]

    Try using any of those left-handed ranges from impossible to an exercise in discomfort and frustration. The two keypads are completely unusable. The joystick is uncomfortable, and most of the buttons are awkward to reach. The mice are also uncomfortable and all the 'thumb' buttons are effectively impossible to use well.

    There are some ok left-handed friendly options available...
    I use a Fang keypad, which is ambidextrous
    http://www.amazon.ca/ZGP-1000-Fang-USB-Gamepad-Keypad/dp/B000FRW8KS [amazon.ca]

    Cheap ambi-mice are plentiful, but getting a good gaming/laser mouse is hard. Ambidextrous options are pretty limited and have fewer features, and ergo-left are non-existent. I enjoyed my ambidextrous razer copperhead, but after it died I haven't found a good replacement yet. I see razer has a left-handed ergo deathadder...that must be fairly new... I'll definitely be looking into it.

    As for joysticks... Saitek used to make a pretty decent ambi/convertible flightstick... but I'm currently looking for a new stick, and can't find anything that looks decent right now. Flightsims are out of fashion for the last decade and there isn't much available that isn't either super cheap and basic or super ergo-right-only.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @03:25PM (#33591624)

    This is one of those games where you aren't holding the DS in the typical orientation of 'top screen - LCD - bottom screen - touch'. Instead you hold it so the lcd screen is vertical on the left hand side and the touch screen is vertical on the right hand side.

    You are meant to hold the DS in the left hand and use the right hand to play. It becomes cumbersome to do it in the reverse.

    Many games that have this layout are designed so that the you could swap the screen positions without particular issue (i.e. the touch screen is used soley as an input device/stats screen) and so include the option to flip it all 180 degrees so the touch screen can be on the left side and the right hand can hold the DS.

    This game isn't designed in a manner that would allow that, even if they attempted to include that option. So it truly is a 'righty only' game.

    And while I appreciate that many people are sufficiently ambidextrous that they can function using their right hand for some tasks, it is not a universal thing that everyone who is left handed can simply 'train' to use their right hand in place of it.

    Yes, I am left handed. Yes, I spent the majority of my elementary school life being punished by teachers because the leading belief in child development at the time was that 'left handed children are really all ambidextrous and should use to learn their right hand as soon as possible.' Meaning when I consistently couldn't do what they asked of me for five straight years, it was assumed that I was either lazy, 'special', or obstinate.

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