I enjoy video games, especially when it comes to playing with friends. These days, the majority of games that support a friend or more are first person shooters. Games like Destiny, Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Titan Fall. These have also recently included third person shooters like the Division, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, or a personal favorite of Grand Theft Auto V.
I’m naming all these games because they all support a particular control style: Southpaw. If they did not, I simply could not play the game. (With modern game consoles like Xbox One, you can re-map controllers, making this a less-relevant factor, but it has not always been available)
They call the “Southpaw” layout a left-handed control style. I am very, VERY right-handed, and in usual circumstances, I make fun of lefties as much as possible.
So what is “southpaw?” In my specific control settings, southpaw is simply the two analog sticks being switched, meaning the “movement” and “looking” are switched from one thumb to the other.
So being right-handed, how did I develop this and only this play-style? The specific answer is a game called “Jet Force Gemini” for the Nintendo64 which came out in 1999. Before I explain how this game is the root cause of my Southpawidness, I want to talk about a game that came out a couple years prior, a game called “Goldeneye: 007,” which released in 1997.
Goldeneye was the game that made first-person shooters a thing. Four players all playing simultaneously, all on the same screen…AMAZING!
A couple years later, the team that made Goldeneye released a game called Jet Force Gemini where you controlled one of three heroes at a time in the third-person. That is until you held R, the bumper button, to aim; this made your character semi-transparent as you went into the game’s first-person mode where they allowed you to aim with the analog stick right under your left thumb while you could move at the normal speed via the “C” buttons. This carried great importance because you needed to kill all the alien bugs while keeping all the cute, cuddly white teddy bears called “Tribals” alive as they were mixed into every fight.
This caused me to keep my right index finger compressed on the R, or “bumper button,” 100% of my gameplay, which allowed me to be aiming every last one of my shots, assuring I was only hitting the bad-guys.
Goldeneye, being one of the most popular games amongst me and my friends, was continuously played at regular gatherings. I, however, learned that during 4-player matches, I preferred the 1.4 Goodnight controller style; when looking at single-player runs, I turned it into the two-controller 2.2 Galore settings. Learn more about them here.
It wasn’t until 2001 when my best friend, Nate, introduced me to Halo: Combat Evolved. This game was able to support my control needs as well as give it a name: “Southpaw.”
Ever since then, I’ve proudly proclaimed myself as a Southpaw. I have tried time and time again to play the normal control style most games call “Default,” but it usually ends up with me looking straight up and walking backwards off cliffs. Southpaw is an absolute requirement for me to gain at least a glimmer of fun out of a game, which can prevent me from playing certain games if they don’t support a Southpaw control-style.
My XBOX Live Gamertag is “Davfallamew.” I hope to see you online!! More Southpaw Savant stories to come!!