When you were young and your heart was an open book…
For the past three months I’ve had a Razer Naga Left-Handed Edition on my desk. I’m an MMO gamer, I’m a lefty, and this felt like my chance to commit to being my best self in my favourite games. I was truly excited to get this in for testing.
But after months of false starts and one eventual day of effort trying to make it work? I feel like it’s just too late for me – but I adore the fact this exists for those with a younger mind than mine.
Being a lefty has a long history of neglect in technology of all kinds. Even at its most basic. Most people by now know about left-handed scissors. It’s not just about the grip being moulded for the left-hand, but also the blades need to be reversed so I can see where the blades meet the cutting surface. But, yes, some ‘left-handed’ scissors only change the moulding. Clearly there’s no left-handers working at companies that screw that one up.
Did you realise dinner knives are made with a right-hand bias? The cutting blade is subtly tailored to one side to ensure good cutting from a right-handed angle but if you look from the opposite side they’re often rather blunt.
My father is also a lefty by nature. But, as a child of the Irish Catholic school system of the 1950s, it was beaten out of him because they believed being ‘sinister’ was a sign of the Devil. We’ve come a long way, I guess.
Stats suggest there’s only 10% of us out there. So it’s always great when companies make the effort to release product for our needs. It’s no small thing. A gaming mouse needs it’s own special plastic moulds made to be an ergonomic design on the opposite side, and with that line up of 12 custom side access buttons for MMOs it’s a notable added effort.
I get that this isn’t hardcore accessibility importance, but it’s on the same curve of corporate acknowledgement. A company that cares about giving the smaller segments of its community tools to help them enjoy a hobby more comfortably speaks to a level of attention to detail that deserves praise.
Sadly, this mouse proved to me that, while it wasn’t beaten out of me, I just can’t see myself putting in the effort to relearn my way around a game on a flipped control scheme. And it has more to do with keyboard management than this mouse.
The mouse feels great. A few hours in and I could tell how quickly it would ‘feel’ right. Sensing the extra finesse my left-hand fingers have gripping the mouse, and especially my left-thumb finding those 12 buttons was revealing. I’ve had a Corsair MMO mouse in the past for my right-hand and I only ever used four of those buttons because I just couldn’t get the right feel for the nuance between some of the central and more remote button positions. But here? I could tell my left-hand is just more capable.
I’ve also found the Razer Synapse macro management system to be robust and allow for a wide range of macros and key binds to get the most out of those 12 buttons on the side of the mouse. Everything I want from this mouse is there.
But it’s not the mouse that is the problem.
For PC gaming, WASD has become everything. And try as I might, I simply couldn’t get a grip on how to use my right-hand as the focus of everything I need to do on the keyboard to control myself in a game.
I did some research. I tried PL;’. I tried WASD with the right hand. I tried other positions just in case. But now I feel like I need a lefty keyboard that flips the script just for my gaming. Example: while my left pinky is in the right spot to hold Shift of Control to modify keypresses for adding more options to my keyboard commands, the opposite side of the keyboard is not spaced to do the same on the right-hand Shift and Control modifiers.
I have no doubt with some serious commitment I could learn an alternate setup. But I could also go for a Razer Tartarus (which I called out in our 2020 gift guide) and/or a Razer Naga Trinity mouse (right-handed) and get a whole bunch more options that let me enjoy games without trying to force a new language into my body. I’d rather spend the time learning an actual new language.
Neglectful no more
But what this experience has taught me is that I will definitely commit to left-handed mousing for my general day-to-day work life. There is nothing about work that requires me to have that same twitchy keyboard control with the opposite hand while the mouse is active. I do use a lot of keyboard shortcuts for work, but it’s all comfortable in context. And my hand feels happier when it’s using a mouse in my ‘good’ hand.
So while the Left-Handed Edition Razer Naga hasn’t converted me, it’s reminded me to be my best self as often as is practical.
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Seamus runs Byteside. You may also have spotted his words at the Australian Financial Review, the ABC, Junkee, Gamespot, The Esports Observer, CNET, Gizmodo and a few other spots over the years. He's very happy that he gets to nerd out for a living.