Report Explains Why Joysticks Are Now Always On The Left
Mike Sanders / 5 years ago
Video reveals why joysticks have their current design!
Joysticks, or more commonly known as controllers, generally tend to have one common factor these days. The ‘joystick‘ or D-pad is always on the left. Admittedly, I have never given the matter much thought. I just happily accepted it as being the industry standard, but I am old enough to remember (and used) classic Atari controllers. Indeed, even arcade machines where the joystick was on the right. I’m so old…
In fairness, when you think about it, it’s actually logically the wrong way around as things stand. The item you are going to want the most precise control over is (for those right-handed) in our weaker hand. So, why are things this way around?
Well, the answer might shock you, but it’s about money and artificial difficulty.
Arcades, Money, and difficulty
As detailed in Guru Larry’s excellent video above (which you should watch and in addition check out more of his content) he explains that the decision came down to a marketing decision in the arcade industry. Put simply, after the industry crash in the 80’s, fewer arcade machines were being made. Fewer games meant less new content which meant that arcade patrons were getting more familiar and better at the games. This isn’t good because as an arcade owner, you want people to die a lot and insert more ‘quarters’.
As such, as a way to inflate the difficulty of games, a decision was made to the controller to the left (weaker-hand). The irony is that 30 years later, we’re all so used to it now. Going back would be just… weird. Still, interesting stuff!
Remember to check out Guru Larry’s YouTube channel for a host of similar gaming trivia. I must confess, I’m not into many channels on YouTube, but this is one I regularly visit due to its consistently high-quality output of material. You can visit the page at this link.
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