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  1. So, an HD re-release of Skyward Sword got announced for the Switch at the most recent direct, and they announced that the game would include optional button/stick controls to use in place of the motion controls. That's certainly a good addition, and there's been plenty of discussion about it. However, neither it nor anything else in the announcement addressed what, for me at least, was the biggest issue with the motion controls in Skyward Sword; the issue that kept me from playing Skyward Sword the first time around and raises a larger issue about gaming: (From the announcement): "The joy-con controller in your right hand is the sword", "The joy-con controller in your left hand is your shield" So... what if you're left-handed? For context: as a left-handed person in a world where 90% of the population is right-handed, I have had to grow used to using right-handed objects in everyday life: for just one example, I found a way to use right-handed scissors (or as a right-handed person would call them, scissors) with my left hand without it being awkward just so I wouldn't have to pay absurd amounts for "scissors designed for both hands" that look no different from normal scissors. However, when it comes to playing video games on consoles, handedness is usually not an issue: the main effect of handedness is on things involving precise motion and hand-eye coordination: writing, sports, using a pair of scissors, etc., and a standard controller has none of that: it's pressing buttons and tilting a control stick while relying more on the physical feedback of the buttons and the stick than on the visual feedback of the game, so me being left-handed has virtually no effect when playing most consoles. Console gaming was generally the one area where my handedness didn't matter at all. With the Wii and the DS, however, it was a different story. The DS Zelda games: Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, accommodated being left-handed: the game right away asked if you were left-handed or right-handed, and it adjusted the UI on the touch screen accordingly. More than that, almost every aspect of the gameplay utilized the DS pen, so there was never a situation involving having to use the control stick and the DS pen at the same time; something I heard was a major issue with Kid Icarus: Uprising to the point where Nintendo released a right control stick attachment (and of course, that attachment costed money rather than coming with the game, so there was a whiff of that "double-priced scissors that both hands can supposedly use equally"). Nintendo remembered to be inclusive towards the left-handed. Plenty of Wii games, such as Wii Sports, also took left-handed players into consideration. The design of the Wii remote also took it into account: the Wii remote and nunchuck were symmetrical and could be held easily in either hand. And yet, for Skyward Sword, left-handed players got nothing. The game was designed around motion controls that favored being right-handed, and there were no options to alter the controls. Every time I went to the store and came across Skyward Sword on the Wii, this is the thing that ultimately kept me from purchasing it. Now, with this HD re-release, I was really hoping that would finally be addressed, but, while it's certainly possible that the game may have a "left-handed mode" that simply wasn't announced, the trailer could not have leaned more towards being right-handed if it tried: not only those descriptions of the combat above, but also the special themed joy-cons they announced with the right joy-con being the sword and the left joy-con being the shield. The worst part is that the Switch re-release could actually end up being less inclusive than the Wii version if this is ignored: I know of a number of left-handed players who simply played Skyward Sword with the Wii remote in their left hand and the nunchuck in their right; it was awkward for them because motion controls rely entirely on visual feedback and Link's using the sword and shield in the opposite hands, but it was something. The equivalent for the Switch version would be swapping the very asymmetrical joy-cons and awkwardly holding them in the opposite hands. This is a problem that even occurred with Super Mario 3D All-Stars: in the Wii version of Mario Galaxy, handedness didn't matter one bit. However, for the 3D All-Stars version, all the motion controls were mapped to the right joy-con. A Wii game where handedness didn't matter became a game that disadvantaged the left-handed when ported to the Switch, and unlike the problem with the camera controls in the 3D All-Stars version of Mario Sunshine, Nintendo has yet to fix this. You would think that Nintendo would want to be as inclusive as possible for its audience even from a simple business standpoint; that was certainly the reasoning behind all the handholding in late Wii-era games such as this one. Adding to this, when it comes to Skyward Sword and handedness, it isn't just the controls that bother me: the left-handed like myself have hardly any representation in gaming. For the longest time, Link was the only left-handed hero of any noteworthiness, and he had been left-handed since the very first Zelda game (though for that game you'd have to look at the artwork to confirm it due to sprite-mirroring in 8-bit games). Then Skyward Sword changed that; he was made right-handed to mirror the motion-controls and cater to a right-handed audience, and though the 2D Zelda games that have come after have kept Link as left-handed, Breath of the Wild: a game with zero motion controls and with no animations or programming ported over from Skyward Sword, had a right-handed Link. At E3 2016, in response to questions about this, Eiji Aonuma had this response: "In terms of right-handedness of things, when we think about which hand Link is going to use, we think about the control scheme. With the gamepad, the buttons you'll be using to swing the sword are on the right side, and thus he's right-handed." There's no way to describe this statement except as complete bogus; the attack button's been on the right side of the controller since the NES, yet Link has always been left-handed. Adding to this, in another interview in 2017, Eiji said this: "It is a matter of chance that Link is left-handed in the first episodes, for a reason that we could not really explain today" It was most certainly not chance; the reason is that the series creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, favours his left hand and enjoys adding left-handed characters in games. He made Bowser Jr. left-handed, he made Rosalina left-handed, etc. So, one thing we aren't getting from Nintendo about the reason for why is the truth, and I think the reason for that is simply that there was no reason they made Link right-handed in Breath of the Wild, and now after being asked, they're just trying to make it sound like there was a good reason. They've even gone so far as to say that Link is "ambidextrous" and I honestly think they don't realize what they're doing: they're reducing the number of noteworthy left-handed heroes, not just in gaming but in pretty much all of fiction, from one to zero, and that's a real shame. Anyway, these are my thoughts. Sorry this is a bit long, but I wanted to mention everything I could about this and cover all my thoughts on this. What are your thoughts on this?
  2. A while back, I created a topic about the upcoming Skyward Sword remaster on Switch and the apparent lack of a left-handed mode for the game's motion controls. With the game releasing worldwide tomorrow with no such left-handed mode, I wanted to make a follow-up topic, less about the game itself, and more about what I feel is a wider issue with Nintendo's implementation of motion controls, particularly in the Switch era, and failure to account for left-handed players; something I had mentioned in that previous topic but didn't really explore. And, while doing that, I also want to address a surprisingly common misconception about the Switch hardware when it comes to motion controls: Standard button & stick controls aren't typically affected by handedness: the main effect of handedness is on things involving precise and/or complex motions and hand-eye coordination: writing, using scissors, etc., whereas with buttons and control sticks, the movements are tiny, imprecise, and the hardware provides immediate physical feedback. For console gaming, it wasn't until the advent of motion controls and touchscreen controls that the player's handedness needed to be accounted for. In terms of motion control hardware, the Wii Remote had an accelerometer, an IR pointer and, as an add-on through the Wii Motion Plus, a gyro, while the nunchuck just had an accelerometer. This meant that the Wii remote could be used for the full range of motion controls: pointer controls & aiming, 1:1 movement through the gyro, and shaking through the accelerometer, while the nunchuck could only be used for that last one. Nintendo's method of accounting for the left-handed was to make the shape of the Wii Remote and the nunchuck symmetric: you could hold the Wii Remote in the right hand and the nunchuck in the left hand or vice-versa and either would be just as comfortable. However, because most of the action buttons were on the Wii Remote, while the nunchuck had the only control stick, this instead created an interesting conundrum among left-handed players: do you hold the nunchuck in the left hand and the Wii Remote in the right; thus retaining a semi-familiar control layout at the cost of using most of the motion controls with your non-dominant hand, or do you hold the Wii Remote in the left hand and the nunchuck in the right; ensuring you can use the majority of motion controls with your dominant hand at the cost of potentially fighting against your own muscle memory with the buttons & stick. In my case, I opted for the latter, and one reason for that was that, because I grew up solely on Nintendo consoles and went from the 64 to the GameCube and then to the Wii, for me, there was no such thing as a familiar control layout. In this regard, the Switch's hardware is pretty much perfect, and here's where I want to address a fairly common misconception. The misconception is that the right joy-con, like the Wii Remote, has motion control hardware that the left joy-con doesn't have; this is not true. Both joy-cons have the exact same motion control hardware: each joy-con has both a gyro and an accelerometer, and since the Switch, unlike the Wii, doesn't have a sensor, there's no IR pointer. The only hardware that is unique to the right joy-con is an IR sensor that can detect different shapes that are immediately in front of it; a gimmicky feature that is both unrelated to the motion controls and only used in games like 1-2-Switch. As far as motion control hardware is concerned, there is nothing one joy-con can do that the other can't. This would, ideally, eliminate the need to put the controllers in the opposite hands just to use the majority of motion controls with the left hand, which is especially good because they joy-cons are very asymmetrical in both shape and button & stick layout, so putting them in opposite hands isn't really feasible. So, why did I say "wider problem" earlier, and not "solution"? Well, the Switch's hardware may be perfect for incorporating motion controls while accounting for the left-handed, but in terms of the software, Nintendo's track record on the Switch has been abysmal. To my knowledge, there have been at least two games that have been ported to Switch with the control scheme being essentially a remapping of the Wii Remote & Nunchuck controls (if there are more than these two, please let me know): the Mario Galaxy port in Mario 3D All-Stars, and Pikmin 3 Deluxe. Mario Galaxy was a standard Wii game, so it used the pointer and the accelerometer; you could shake either the Wii Remote or the nunchuck to make Mario spin, and pointer controls were used for navigating the menu, collecting and shooting star bits, etc. Since the Switch has no IR pointer, the pointer controls were remapped to the gyro for 3D All-Stars, but only the right gyro, with no option to instead have the pointer controls mapped to the left gyro. I don't mind the gyro being a bit slower than the IR pointer and needing to manually be re-centered, but having to use my non-dominant hand for the pointer controls was uncomfortable and infuriating. One particularly annoying thing about it was that you can shake the left joy-con to make Mario shake, so they evidently either were just remapping all the Wii Remote & Nunchuck controls in their entirety without thinking it through, or must've thought during the porting process, "Wait; some players may have found it more comfortable to shake the nunchuck" and still just assumed that everyone played the game with a right-handed control setup, and I honestly don't know which is worse. I didn't purchase Pikmin 3 Deluxe, as I still have my Wii U and a copy of Pikmin 3 (and I honestly wasn't a big fan; I enjoyed the game enough to finish it, but I likely won't be replaying it any time soon). However, from what footage I have seen of it and from what some people who did purchase it have told me, it has that exact same problem as Mario Galaxy: motion controls being mapped only to the right gyro with no option to have them instead be mapped to the left gyro. And now, tomorrow, Skyward Sword HD will be at least the third game on the Switch to map the motion controls with separated joy-cons in mind and without accounting for left-handed players. The hardware is all there, and it can't take too much time to implement a simple swap on the software level, yet they just refuse to do so. It makes no sense on any level; not even business sense, as business sense calls for appealing to the widest market possible within your means; why appeal to potentially only 90% of the population when you can potentially appeal to the full 100% with minimal extra time, cost, or effort? The fact that the Nintendo Switch has a button remapping system but won't let you switch what gyro the motion controls get mapped to by default, and that they went through the effort to implement optional button & stick controls in Skyward Sword HD without adding a left-handed mode for the motion controls that would take far less time and effort to implement & test, tells me that it's simply because they really just couldn't care less, and that's honestly just sad. Shigeru Miyamoto: the guy who created most of their biggest franchises, is a lefty. Link in the Zelda series, for the longest time, was a lefty, and was in fact the only left-handed hero in fiction that people actually remembered was left-handed. Nintendo used to be king of the world in accounting for left-handed players back when handedness meant nothing in terms of how well and/or comfortably you could physically play a game. Now, they've lost that throne, and there doesn't seem to be an heir apparent. What do you think?
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