Those Left Behind: The Lefties of Video Games, Part III

So, while writing my last post outlining the Southpaws of the Video Games world, I ended up with more characters than I had time.  So here’s the long-awaited follow-up to part 1 and part 2 of our thrilling series highlighting members of one of the most underappreciated groups in video games, the mighty Southpaw.  Tracking down left-handed characters in games is a lot harder than one might think, largely due to how scarce we are, but I believe that with the completion of this list, combined with the other two, I’ve almost exhausted all the lefty characters in video games.  Got any I missed?  You know where the comment field is.

Phoenix Wright-Ace Attorney Series

phoenixwright-dualdestinies-artwork

Here’s one that’s never officially been determined, but it really does seem likely to me.  Phoenix Wright’s pointer finger is legendary.  Tell a lie in court, and it’s coming straight for you.  And it’s always his left finger, too.  Moreover, whenever you see him manipulating anything, usually his papers, he’s holding it in his left hand.  And his left arm’s used a lot more often than his right in official art.  So I’m calling it.  Phoenix may be stuck in the closet, but he’s still a member of the Southpaw Crew.

Makes total sense, as Phoenix Wright is one of the few defense attorneys able to carve out any sort of winning career in a courtroom heavily biased towards the contribution.  Of course, that is largely due to the fact that almost all of his clients are indeed innocent, but the fact that he’s left-handed and therefore part of a long history of outmaneuvering the rest of the population certainly plays a part.

Ice Climbers-Ice Climbers, Smash Bros.

ice climbers smash

Much like lefties as a whole, the Ice Climbers are vastly unappreciated.  They haven’t had a game of their own for almost thirty years, their stages tend to be a bit more poorly designed than most in Smash Bros., and even as Smash fighters themselves, they’re a bit of an odd duck.  They don’t have the raw attributes of some of the other characters, so they really need practice and study to be able to use effectively.

Still, though, considering how smoothly they went from smacking down icicles and ceiling tiles to pounding Bowser into the pavement, you know they have to have some game.  And it’s all in their left hands.  It’s their left-handedness that gives these former benign glacier scalers the power to hang with the worst of all of Nintendo’s canons.

Bowser Jr.-Various Mario Games

Bowser Jr

So, the Mario universe is really inconsistent about the handedness of their characters, but Jr. here seems to be a lefty more often than not.  He paints left-handed, plays baseball left-handed, chucks enemies at you left-handed, etc.  He’s a significant pain to deal with, and his handedness only makes him more effective at causing you trouble.

Yoshimitsu-Tekken

Tekken-5-Dark-Resurrection-Yoshimitsu

Back in the day, I used to think that the Tekken Yoshimitsu and the Soul Calibur Yoshimitsu were the same character, displaced by time.  The fact that SC Yoshi was a filthy right-hander was what clued me in that this wasn’t the case.  Anyways, Yoshimitsu is pretty much what Robin Hood would be if he were a ninja from space.  He’s one of the most honorable and effective characters in the game, and has proven popular enough to be a part of every entry in the series save one.  And that one entry is pretty darn bad.  Coincidence?  I’ll let you decide.

Isaac-Golden Sun

isaac smash

When everything starts crumbling all around you, of course people will look to the nearest southpaw to lead them through the storm.  That’s just basic survival instinct.  You latch on to the smartest, strongest, and most skillful person available to see you through, and a preference for the left hand is one of the clearest signs of those traits there is.  So it is that everyone counts on Isaac to lead the group fighting against allowing the terrible power of Alchemy back into the land.  And a good call that is.  Isaac is one of the most talented combatants on the team, being well-versed in physical attacks while still having enough skill with Psynergy to fill in as a caster in a pinch.  And sure, Isaac may have made the wrong call in being convinced that Alchemy is necessarily a bad thing before taking the whole picture into account, but Golden Sun is still a net gain for lefties, largely because of…

Felix-Golden Sun

FelixLostAge

So, as it turns out, Alchemy in Golden Sun is a necessary thing.  In fact, it’s the only force that can avert the eventual self-destruction of the world.  It’s dangerous if misused, however, and people are scared of it.  They need someone to drag them kicking and screaming into the age of alchemy, to save their own lives.  They need someone bold.  They need someone wise.  They need someone left-handed.

For the second half of the game, Felix leads the team trying to bring Alchemy back to the world.  He knows what’s up, he knows what needs to be done, and he’s not afraid to do whatever it takes.  Obviously, as a left-hander, he’s just as skilled in a fight as Isaac, and is well poised to bring his world into the new age.

Shion Uzuki-Xenosaga

xenosaga ep 1 shion

Shion’s a scientist.  In a video game.  I know, I know, Gordon Freeman aside, that’s usually a recipe for a quick and dirty death, but Shion manages to stick it out, thanks to her experimental android, her unusual weapon, and the might of that left hand.  She may not be the most useful party member, but her ether abilities do keep her afloat well enough to suitably lead the party through the first entry in the Xenosaga, and keep her relevant afterwards.

Angelo-Dragon Quest VIII

dragon quest VIII angelo

Angelo is a skirt-chasing, hard-drinking, gambling swordsman.  The fact that he rises so far in the Templar Knights even with all his vices is a testament to how much his natural skill as a left-handed warrior places him above the rest.  He outperforms the rest of his kind in their darkest hour, and proves himself to be one of the most versatile members of your party.  Seriously, he’s able to do anything well, his natural handedness lending itself well to quite a variety of weapons and spells.  In fact, some may even say the game never truly begins until the southpaw swordsman joins your crew.

Marisa-Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

sacred stones marisa

In the 2-d Fire Emblem games, people’s handedness was all over the place, thanks to sprite-mirroring.  Marisa was one of the few who ever made a point of their preference, and she’s very clear on that front; she’s a lefty.  A first-class Myrmidon, she’s very dedicated to the art of the sword, going so far as to sleep on her right side to always have her weapon hand available.  In most of her endings, she ends up as one of the best swordsmen in the land, stoppable by no man.  Of course, her southpaw nature only serves to give her the edge against anyone who dares face her.

Miriel-Fire Emblem Awakening

awakening miriel

As you can tell just by looking at her, Miriel’s one of the smartest people in the Shepherds.  Sure, that image gives lots of traditional signs of intelligence: the book, the glasses, the superior and distant gaze, but the biggest indicator?  That’d have to be that she prefers her left hand.  A perfectionist, Miriel demands much of those around her, yet her performance in combat makes her fastidiousness worth it.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Yuri Lowell-Tales of Vesperia

tales of yuri

Yuri’s actually fairly ambidextrous, switching his swords between hands as his combos and moves require.  He does seem to have a definite preference for his left hand, though.  He was probably born left-handed, but, as a common fate for lefties in a Right Power world, he was forced to adapt and learn to use his right as well to utilize stuff like school desks and scissors and notebooks and things like that.  Tales games usually deconstruct a common aspect of modern day storytelling over their runtimes and in Vesperia’s case, it’s all about breaking down the contemporary anti-hero, a role Yuri fills well.  Having a clear dark side, Yuri’s not afraid to just ice the villains the justice system can’t touch.  Perhaps his sinister handedness provides a window into his sinister nature as well?

Super Mac-Super Punch Out

super mac

Nintendo’s been really cagey on whether this guy is actually Little Mac or not.  The character’s just as cagey about which hand he prefers.  Unlike Yuri, who’s mostly ambidextrous, Mac here seems to be a clear case of mixed dominance, preferring to use different hands for different tasks.  In the boxing ring, his left jab is his fastest and far most reliable attack, and probably the sole reason why he’s able to take down foes far larger and stronger than he.  He also leads in with his left for his Super Body Blows, but the Super uppercuts are done with his right.


And thus, we end.  Thirty-five characters, three posts worth, and we’ve gone through all the left-handed characters in the games I’ve played.  Are there more?  There might well be.  I haven’t quite played all the games in the world just yet.  I’d posit you’d be really hard pressed to find any, however.  So here, between these three posts, we may well have the most comprehensive list of southpaws in video games on the internet.

One thing that’s still really odd to me though.  Thirty-five characters, I’ve found, and only one, Doomguy, was brainborn outside of Japan.  Seriously, what’s up with that?  Is Japan the one place free of persecution against lefties?  I might have to be making a visit there, sometime soon…

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10 responses to “Those Left Behind: The Lefties of Video Games, Part III

    • Yep, that’s how it goes. It’s not just video games, either. Look at any visual media that doesn’t use live-action. Comics, animation, art. You’ll almost never find a left-hander. Default is right-handed, and artists rarely have cause to think about it, so they just keep making right-handed characters. That’s why the odd left-handed character seems so special to me.

    • That’s why it’s really important to appreciate the lefties the few times you can find them. Hopefully, I’ve done a bit of that through getting this list together.

      • Definitely. I had already known about Link being switched to right-handed for the Wii games, but put in this blog series’ context, it’s nice to discuss. On that note, I didn’t see any two-handed sword wielders in this series. In those cases (like Cloud/Zack/Junpei/etc.), how do you tell which hand is dominant?

        Also, I just spent 5 months playing Persona 3. How did I not realize that Akihiko (one of my favorite characters) was left-handed? I’m loving his character just a little bit more now that you’ve pointed it out.

      • Well, he isn’t in the picture I picked out, but Soul Calibur’s Siegfried usually does wield his sword two-handed in game. Other than that, I think you’re right. I hadn’t even noticed that.

        There’s two ways to tell their handedness, when they use a two-handed sword. The easier and more reliable way is to check where they sheath their sword. If it’s on their left shoulder or their right hip, than they’re a lefty. That’s how I picked up on Isaac. Most of his spritework is pretty indeterminate, but his official art has his sword off his left shoulder. The other way is to pay attention to how they hold the sword. As far as I know, all schools of swordsmanship have you hold the sword with your dominant hand on top, near the guard, with your non-dominant hand below, near the bottom. The top hand is the one that guides the sword, so you want to use your more precise hand for that. It’s not quite as reliable, because not all artists know that, but it’s still a pretty decent clue. For example, you can see Siegfried holding his sword left-handed here, compared to Mitsurugi from the same series here.

        It’s a nice surprise, finding out you have a bit more in common with one of your favorite characters. Plenty of the guys listed here, I had no idea of their laterality until I was researching these posts, and it helped make most of them seem a little more interesting to me. It’s nice having a little something more in common with them that I didn’t even think of before.

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