Like night following day and grass being green, joysticks being on the left-hand side of a controller has been a solid rule in gaming since what seems like forever. While you could argue that the recent shift to twin-stick pads may run counter to this perspective, the left-hand stick is always your primary control input - with the buttons traditionally found on the right-hand side of the pad.
It might seem like this has been the case since the dawn of time, but in actual fact things were the opposite way around many years ago - which makes perfect sense when you consider that the majority of the planet is right-handed, and you'd naturally expect your "strong" hand to be the one making the most precise control inputs.
As you can see in the excellent and informative video above, early arcade machines had the joystick on the right and the buttons (or, as was often the case, button) on the left. This setup was replicated with the insanely popular Atari VCS / 2600, which had a single button on the left of its iconic joystick controller.
So why did things get switched around? According to Larry Bundy, it was because of declining revenues in the arcade sector. Keen to keep their coin-op units as profitable as possible, some canny arcade operators switched the controls around, placing the stick on the left and the buttons on the right.
This move was seen as a way of increasing difficulty, and because it was incorporated into the design of the JAMMA arcade standard, it quickly became accepted as the norm. It was also around this time that home consoles like the Famicom (1983) used this setup; even the handheld Game & Watch series, which featured the world's first D-Pad, placed it on the (you guessed it) left-hand side of the system.
What do you make of this perspective? Does it sound like it makes sense to you, or do you think there's another reason for sticks moving position? Sound off in the comments section below.