If Left is Wrong I Don’t Want to be Right. The Left-Handers of Video Games, Part IV!

One of the things I pride myself on with this blog is having the most complete listing of left-handed video game characters on the internet.  A series of posts, documenting the rare representatives of the genetically superior laterality that appear in our electronic entertainments.  Kind of a silly little thing, but as a leftie myself and it being a perennially hard time finding representation of that among my chosen medium, it means something to me.  But it’s been years since I last wrote something up about this, and you know, part of having the most complete listing of anything is that you need to update it once in a while as time passes and more examples of that subject emerges.

So let’s correct that now.  The previous three posts include all the left-handers I’d personally encoutered up to that point in games, at least that I knew of.  But now, years later, I’m just as young but significantly wiser, and let’s put that updated wisdom to use, in this, an addition to the list of those characters in games who are just innately better than everyone else.

Nero-Devil May Cry

The son of Virgil, the traditional way-cooler-than-the-actual-protagonist rival character, Nero takes over main character duties from that right-handed goober, Dante, for the few most recent mainline games.  And dude is a beast at that.  See, his right hand has some devil grappling powers, letting him style on his enemies then pull them back in when they get knocked away, reaching combos that Dante and Virgil have to struggle more to achieve.  Nero heads up two mostly good games in the series out of his two shots at it, whereas Dante only has one out of his three.  Now, you could say that’s the result of Nero leading the games at a point where what makes a good DMC was more firmly established and the Capcom team was more versed in it, but we all know really it’s that left-handed blade- and gun-work that leads him to success.

Soda Popinski-Punch Out

There’s a couple of Punch Out character that take southpaw stances, but Soda Popinski, aka Vodka Drunkinski, is the only one who consistently does that throughout all his appearances, so outside of the previous post’s Super Mac, he’s the only one from the series I feel confident enough in to count here.  The others are just posers.  Anyways, Soda Popinski might not have been the first boxer to give you trouble in the old school punchout, but he might have been the first one to make you cry, with the combination of his high speed and great defense making him hard to score counterpunches on, the foundation of most of your offense.  Much like real life southpaws, his left-handed offense makes him hard to read for your weak right-handed mind, and he benefits from that greatly.

Patrick Galloway-Clive Barker’s Undying

What’s this?  We’ve finally got a second left-handed character on this list from a game that was developed outside Japan?  I never thought I’d see the day.  But here we are.

So, I’ve barely played Clive Barker’s Undying, so I can’t really hype up Patrick Galloway that much.  Instead, let’s talk about why he’s left handed, because mechanics-wise, it’s pretty interesting.  Undying is a PC FPS where you’ve usually got both a weapon and a magic spell ready at the same time.  Usually, it’s left-click to shoot, and Undying has Patrick Galloway left handed so that visually corresponds with your left mouse button.  Your right click, and his right hand, are dedicated to the spells.  It works out very elegantly.  And I really don’t know why more FPSes haven’t taken that same tack.

Jin Shirato-Persona 3

To be honest, the whole of STREGA and that rival group of Persona users didn’t really pan out to be as cool as it had the promise of being, and Jin probably faded to the back the most of that group.  Last time I played through the game, I mopped him up in both his fights in just a single round.  So, as I said before, not all the left-handers can be the cool guys.  Let’s move on to one of the ones that are.

The Tyrants-Resident Evil

Here’s an interesting little feature, the tyrants in the various Resident Evils have a strong tendency towards being left-handed.  When they grow claws on only one arm, it’s usually their left arms.  When they’re hauling weapons with them, it’s generally one their left arm.  And some of their most advanced models seen so far, Mr. X and Nemesis, are so left handed that mechanically you can evade some of their most dangerous attacks by sticking to their right side.  Given that the Tyrants are one of the best and most advanced biological weapons out of Umbrella’s whole biological weapon experimentations, it’d make sense that their most deadly weapons would indeed be left-handed.

Kachi-Sin and Punishment:Star Successor

There’s two really common tropes when it comes to left-handers in fiction.  The first is that they’re left-handed to signify them as some sort of counterpart to a right-hander, a la Shadow the Hedgehog, Luke Fon Fabre, Sheva Alomar, Kain, Golbez, and Palom in this very series.  The second is that they’re secretly evil people or traiters, because left-handers are ‘sinister’.  Kachi’s got a bit of the flavors of both.  She is the lock-on style easier-but-less-damaging counterpart to the other player character, the right-handed Isa, and their opposing polarities are indicative of how they really complete each other.  And on the evil side, there’s nothing really indicative of that in the main game, but as the SPOILER SPOILER secret ending reveals that she’s secretly another incarnation of the big bad evil boss from the last game.  So she’s all kind and helpful here, but there is that dark side in her.  I think.  I just played the game not that long ago, and I still have a hard time making sense of its story.

Goro Akechi-Persona 5

Hey.  Spoilers for Persona 5 here.  I mean, I’ve spoiled plenty of other things in past posts without much warning, but this is the most recent game I’m bringing up in one of these, and these spoilers are kind of big.  So.

Anyways, here’s Goro Akechi.  Who’s sort of the Green Ranger to your overall Phantom Thieves crew.  He spends the game often around, the ace detective investigating your dealings without quite cluing into who’s on it.  And when he does, he ends up joining you with the persona powers and the phantom thieving dealy himself. Helping your cause.

Or so it seems.  Because remember those tropes I mentioned earlier?  This guy’s sinister as all get out.  It turns out, he didn’t just recently awaken to his Persona.  He’s the one that’s been using the whole other world to get people killed, which you’ve been trying to hunt down the whole time.  And of course he turns on you.  Because that’s the ugly, tired, left-handed stereotype.  But when he does, it takes your whole team to bring him down.  Because he’s left-handed.  And therefore better than everyone else.  

Honorable Mentions:

So here’s a whole collection of people I didn’t bring up in prior posts, because they’re only left-handed by happenstance.  Having lost the use of their right due to whatever.  So just like life tries to force southpaws to be boring by simply not being built for us, these two have found themselves in positions where they’ve had to force themselves to be left-handed because their right just doesn’t work anymore.  But, although it may not be natural to them, life has still made them this way, so let’s recognize them as well.

Baiken-Guilty Gear

Baiken is just straight up harder than everyone else.  Having lost her right arm and her eye in a raid on her colony when she was just a child, she had to learn to fight to survive, picking up the way of the samurai and becoming distinctly Japanese in a world where such was a deep rarity.  She’s a heavily defensive fighter in game, getting a lot of counter abilities and ways to range your opponent and keep them away.  And you might notice that she was never a hardcore fighter when she had both her arms.  It’s only after she had to use her left that she truly woke up to it.

Dunban-Xenoblade Chronicles

Look at him there.  Dunban is so sexy.  And made so much sexier with his left-handed life.  

He used to be right-handed, and the only person able to use the Monado, this big old magic sword that chooses its wielder and the only thing that can fight the invading Mechon.  Did not choose him.  But he was able to wield it anyways, through sheer force of will, and paid a price for it, as every time he held it it would damage his right arm.  You’d think that’d retire him.  But no, when the true chosen one took up the Monado, he simply learned to fight with his left arm wielding the weapon, using more mundane blades that are harder and denser than any wielded before, and joined said chosen one to guide him through his journey of revenge.  Showing him up all the time, too.  In fact, he was way more skilled as a southpaw than he was back in his Monado busting days.  Just like you’d expect.

Barret-Final Fantasy VII

The biggest and boldest of the Final Fantasy VII crew.  Way back when, he was doing stuff with his friend against the oppressive Shinra corporation when they got caught, his friend knock down a cliff.  Barret caught him with his right hand, and held on until said hand got shot up so much that it had to be amputated and replaced with a gun.  As you do.  Since then, he’s taken in his friends daughter as his own, kept his eye on Shinra, and then, when they started sucking the life energy of the planet out for commercial purposes, founded an eco-terrorism organization, back when terrorists were cool.  Which was a thing that was at some point in time, I guess.  Anyways, as you can tell from looking at him, he’s the heaviest hitter of your party, albeit not one for finesse.  Probably because he still has his weapon on his right arm.

So there.  We’ve got the most complete list on the internet much more complete now.  And it’s only getting moreso.  I can’t wait for some more years down the road, when we do this again.

5 responses to “If Left is Wrong I Don’t Want to be Right. The Left-Handers of Video Games, Part IV!

  1. Pingback: Listening/reading log #23 (September 2021) | Everything is bad for you

  2. I’m really enjoying this series! Hmm, it’s interesting that the majority of these come from Japanese games! Do you think the trope of the left-hander being a foil/sinister is just more popular with them?

    • That’s a good question. And I don’t think I have a really good answer for it. I don’t think it’s the sinister thing, as I really doubt the Japanese word for the same thing would have the same root in ‘left-handed’ as the English word does. Being a foil, to some extent, definitely. And if I can put on my wild theorizing hat, I’d guess the fact that their culture is much more conformative might have something to do with it; someone being left-handed would be much more noticable, so if they’re wanting to give someone a unique feature, it’d be easier for Japanese players or creators to pick up on that. There’s also the point that a couple of companies have a lot of entries on these lists, like Nintendo, Square Enix, and Capcom. It could be that someone prominent there is left-handed and likes to put that into the games they’re involved with. I’ve heard Shigeru Miyamoto himself is left-handed, and that could have some influence at Nintendo, for example.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s