Left Handed Gamers | What It's Like
Handedness is a preference for using one hand over the other for fine motor tasks, asuch as throwing a ball or writing. Only 10% of the world's population is left handed. The rest are righties. That's why most things are made for right handed people.
Most tools in our society are optimized for right-handed use. Left-handers become well-aware of this fact in school, where they grow up using right-handed desks, right-handed scissors, and right-handed pencil sharpeners. Three-ring binders and spiral notebooks are also encumbering for lefties, who must use an uncomfortable grip to write on the page.
Still, lefties are a resilient bunch, and they overcome their circumstances by adapting, and are often forced by circumstance to rely on their non-dominant hand for everyday tasks like using a mouse.
In gaming, sports, and esports, handedness ranges from being completely insignificant to being an important factor. It can play a strategic role in sports like baseball, or it can simply effect what kind of gear consumers are able to get their hands on.
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Left-Handed Gaming Gear
Lefties can have a tough time getting their hands on good sports gear and high-quality gaming products. Imagine you are left-handed and are interested in picking up golf. One day, your golfer friends invite you to tag along and golf with them, even offering to let you use their old set of clubs. One big problem: it’s a righty set. Your options are to switch-hit or find a different set of clubs. As a lefty, you simply won’t encounter many other lefties whose gear you can borrow.
However, a newbie right-handed golfer (or baseball player, hockey player, or guitarist) will have more options and a wider selection of gear to choose from. For lefties starting out a new hobby, it may be easier to succumb to the conformity of handedness if you already have access to right-handed gear.
Let’s pivot to esports and gaming. While there are ambidextrous and left-handed mice out there, it’s still disappointing that some options are right-hand only. Also, good luck borrowing a left-handed mouse at a LAN party when your own breaks. You’ll probably have to settle for whatever’s left in the bargain bin at your local Staples instead.
Left Handedness Affects Gaming
The default key-bindings in every game are selected with right-handed players in mind, and they’re often taken for granted. For example, no matter what you change your League of Legends binds to, a champion’s four abilities will always be referred to as Q, W, E, and R in common MOBA parlance. Although it’s the default, this is a terrible set-up for lefties, causing a closed-in posture and forcing your hands into an awkward position.
Of course, players are free to change their keybinds to fit their needs and preferences, but there’s at least one trade-off to straying from the right-handed defaults in League of Legends: changing your bindings to something more lefty friendly may inhibit your ability to control-click, an important shortcut for leveling up abilities. Mark that one down as a disadvantage for lefties.
Hope for Lefties?
The effects of handedness range from well-studied like in baseball, to merely pondered and practically irrelevant like in Magic: the Gathering. However, if you are an athletic left-hander, your odds of success are probably higher in baseball than in any other sport. “Right privilege” might be a play on words, but it’s real, especially in schools. If you are a right-handed student and want to be considerate to lefties, one little thing you can do is avoid sitting in the precious few lefty desks when there are still righty desks available. Just remember that handedness is never the sole determinant for one’s success, whether that’s in a game, sports, or life.
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