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Behold, the mystery of the flipping scar, eyepatch and hand wraps.
"Hey, I'm pretty sure it was the other headlight that was broken when I left."
Detective Inspector Hector, Hector: Badge of Carnage
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Sprites are pixel art characters used in video games. Unlike a 3D model, you can't simply rotate a sprite to get a new view of it. Additional clothes, poses, and each frame of animation for actions have to be made almost entirely from scratch. For this reason, artists will usually make sprites perfectly bilaterally symmetrical so that any poses or actions made while facing left can simply be flipped to make the same poses and actions facing right. On earlier platforms there were also memory size concerns, so it was often more efficient to mirror the sprite than to store the opposite poses, especially with graphics hardware that made horizontal flipping as simple as changing one bit of sprite data.

However, sometimes a character doesn't lend themselves well to symmetry. They might have an object in one hand, an eye patch or scar on one side, or some other form of Fashionable Asymmetry. Whatever it is, simply flipping the sprite causes the feature to "change sides". In the most blatant examples, the sprite will have letters or numbers on it which flip with the sprite.

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Sometimes, developers will take the time to make a separate sprite for both the left and right facings. Usually, though, they won't bother.

This isn't limited to 2D games, although it is most common there. Older 3D games store the views of the character positioned in 45-degree increments, but will stop at 180 degrees and make up the three remaining views through mirroring. In addition, many modern 3D fighting games mirror the character animations intentionally to resemble their 2D precursors and additionally to maintain the visual clarity of each move. Tropes Are Not Bad, it still seems.

With the advent of Flash as an animation platform, this started to leak from video games into animation as well; compare Cheated Angle. See also Right-Handed Left-Handed Guns, an example of this trope specific to the player's weapons in a First-Person Shooter.

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Since this is a ubiquitous trope, please only note examples where it is either glaringly obvious or averted.


Examples

    open/close all folders 
    Action-Adventure Game 
  • Dark Devotion has this all over the place. The most blatant example is the Executioner: He has a Blade Below the Shoulder growing out of one arm, but which arm changes depending on which direction he's currently facing. The protagonist likewise carries one-handed weapons in whichever hand is closest to the camera, as do many other enemies.
  • Most incarnations of Link are left-handed, but in the first few The Legend of Zelda games, his sword and shield will switch hands depending on which way he's facing. The player's guide for A Link to the Past mentioned how Link superstitiously kept his shield between him and Death Mountain.
  • Metroid: In the original NES game, Samus's Arm Cannon will spontaneously switch arms to whichever one is closest to the camera. This is especially strange, as a peek into the game's files reveals that there's actually a number of unused sprites of her facing to the left with her cannon remaining on her right arm, which can be seen in commercials for the Famicom Disk System game.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade justifies this with non-player characters by giving them turning animations, allowing them to move whatever objects they're holding around so that they look the same facing the other direction (like Torahime switching her bow from one hand to the other). Averted in one of the DLC chapters: One character's Distinguishing Mark on his shoulder, normally hidden by his clothing, does disappear from his sprite when he takes off his shirt and turns around in the hot spring.
  • Werewolf: The Last Warrior has a hilarious usage where certain types of guards will see the player and shout "OH!" before going for their guns. If they're facing a certain way, their cry of alarm, exclamation mark and all, will be totally flipped around (!HO).

    Adventure Game 
  • The player character in Oedipus in my Inventory changes his dominant hand and foot depending on which direction he's walking.

    Action Game 
  • Contra: Hard Corps: Brad Fang has a cybernetic arm on the side closest to the background and a gun on the foreground side. While even the different endings are not consistent, the promotional illustrations depicts his left arm as his gun arm.
  • Most playable characters in The Death and Return of Superman are pretty symmetrical, and even Superman's "S" logo is notably designed so it looks the same while still being recognizable no matter what side the character is facing. The notable exception is Cyborg Superman, whose left and right sides are entirely different yet the game still flips the sprite, making it visually jarring in comparison with the rest.
  • It's not just limited to sprites. Gears of War mirrors your character's skeleton if you put your back to cover in a way that'll make your character use his left hand. Even some of the weapons magically mirror scopes, bolts, etc.
  • The Lost Vikings:
    • The first game has a curiosity: Baleog's character portrait (which faces right) shows his sword in the opposite arm from his right-facing sprites.
    • The most egregious example in would be Baleog's bionic arm in the second game, which switches arms depending on which way he's facing. A bit more obvious when climbing ladders.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • Most games in this genre do this whenever a character is holding a weapon. They change hands when they look in a different direction. This is especially noticeable in weapon-based belt-scrollers like Sega's Golden Axe and Capcom's Dungeons & Dragons games.
  • Alien vs. Predator (Capcom): All the player characters have asymmetrical designs (as shown on the game's brochure) that differ in-game depending on whether the player is facing left or right:
    • Linn Kurosawa has a large studded shoulder guard on her left shoulder, as well as a knife holster on her right leg. Strangely, they're switched by default on her in-game sprite, since all the player characters start the game facing right. The hilt of the katana she carries on the back of her waist also switches sides to the opposite of her current direction.
    • Dutch Schaeffer has a cybernetic right arm that switches to his left arm (the arm closest to the foreground) when facing left.
    • Both of the Predators wield weapons that they hold on their right arms by default (a spear for Predator Warrior and a halberd for Predator Hunter). Hunter also wears a claw on the same hand that he uses to wield his weapon.
  • The Double Dragon series:
    • Double Dragon I:
      • Machine Gun Willy, the final boss, wears a single spiked shoulder pad which switches from his left shoulder when facing left and to his right when facing right. The promotional illustrations for the arcade and Famicom versions clearly show Willy wearing his shoulder pad on his right shoulder.
      • The cardboard box that appears in the beginning of Mission 2 in the NES version has "TJC" (the initials for Technos Japan Corp.) written on it. The letters are flipped whenever the cardboard is "facing" to the left.
    • In the arcade version of Double Dragon II, the enemy character Rowper wears an eyepatch which switches to his left eye when he's facing right and vice-versa. He doesn't wear it in any other installment in the series.
    • Despite featuring polygon models instead of bitmapped sprites, Double Dragon Neon also utilizes sprite mirroring. The Lindas in particular have a tattoo above one of their breasts that changes from her right breast when she's facing right to her left breast when facing left.
  • Final Fight:
    • The suspender on Mike Haggar's pants tends to switch sides depending on whether he's facing right or left. In most official art and on the character select portrait, it is shown going over his right shoulder. This is also consistent with Marvel vs. Capcom 3, where his suspender is always on the right shoulder.
    • The enemy grunts J and Two P have designs on the back of their jackets that are flipped whenever either of them change directions. It's particularly notable with J's jacket, as he wears an atomic symbol on his back that has the word "BAD" written atop of it, which is mirrored when he is facing to the right.
  • Growl: Nitroman, the Round 1 boss, wears a shoulder pad and an armband on the side that he's not facing.
  • The Punisher (Capcom): The two player characters, Frank Castle and Nick Fury, both have a gun holster on one of their legs. The official brochure depicts them wearing the holsters on their respective right legs. Oddly enough, Nick Fury's eye-patch averts this by always appearing on his left eye, no matter which direction he is facing.
  • Riot City: Paul (the Player 1 character) wears white bandages around the arm closest to his front side.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game:
    • When Matthew Patel is facing left, his hair covers his left eye, but when facing right, his hair covers his right eye.
    • Knives' highlights will move to different sides of her hair depending on the direction she's facing.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Bug Fables, being an homage to the Paper Mario games mentioned below, does this with its "paper cutout" characters. Most characters are designed in such a way that this wouldn't necessarily be noticeable, but there are a handful of characters with prosthetics that switch sides...
  • EarthBound (1994):
    • The Runaway Five's van doesn't do a particularly good job of this. During part of the trip, when it's driving left, it reads YAWAИUЯ.
    • Ness's sprites when walking horizontally or diagonally are mirrored. However, he's also the sole character whose "walking towards the screen [south]" animation doesn't use simple mirroring.
  • In Final Fantasy V, the pirates have eye patches. Whether they're looking left or right, the eye patch is always over their visible eye.
  • Hexyz Force: Character portraits in dialogue scenes are accurate representations of the character models when on the right side of the screen. Character portraits on the left side of the screen are always mirror images.
  • Inazuma Eleven has this hold true in the overworld sprites of their DS games, which is jarring when hand-in-hand with Peek-a-Bangs characters such as Kazemaru and Edgar, or those with eyepatches like Sakuma.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories: Not only are the battle sprites flipped, making characters wield their weapons on different hands depending on which way they are facing, the overworld and talking sprites are also mirrored. The latter is usually not a problem, since most of the characters are rather symmetric... except for Zexion, whose right eye is supposed to be covered by his hair. The mirroring of his sprites is thus a little bit more noticeable.
  • Luminous Arc:
  • Made by the same company as the above-mentioned Muramasa, Odin Sphere also utilizes turning animations to try and justify this trope.
  • One Piece has several characters that are asymmetrical. Despite the aversion listed below, earlier games often had only one sprite set for Sanji, a character that very distinctively has one eye covered by his hair, and the other one has a curly eyebrow. Other characters that should have issues are Luffy, with his scar under his eye; Zoro, with his chest scar; Nami, with her tattoo; Chopper, who technically has one of his antlers reattached; Franky, who has different weapons on different sides and are named as such (IE Weapons Left); and one time Brook has a crack in his skull. Few if any of the other ones have been issues, either due to clothes covering them up, the details being too pixelated to tell anyways, or the character simply not having been around long enough to have been in a Gameboy game.
  • Paper Mario: Some characters have ambidextrous designs. Quite possibly done intentionally, seeing how the fact that all the characters literally are 2D is a selling point.
    • Some examples from Super Paper Mario are Count Bleck (watch his monocle) and Dimentio (his mask's colors switch when he faces different directions).
    • Luigi and Mr. L are noticeable aversions: Luigi's insignia always faces the correct way, and Mr. L's is always backward.
    • Paper Mario: The Origami King averts this. Characters with asymmetrical design elements, such as the robes on the Shogun Studios staff Toads, have sprites facing for both directions so that they remain consistent. This also applies to characters who hold items, such as the Sombrero Guy's guitar and Professor Toad's shovel.
  • Pokémon:
    • A somewhat bizarre case is that some Pokemon flip aspects of themselves between their front and back sprites... which are not mirror images of one another. For example, Marowak holds its bone in a different hand, and the off-center gear on the Klink family is always on the viewer's left side.
    • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, (at least) when running or riding your bike, the part of your scarf that hangs off your neck switches sides depending on whether you're going east or west. And yes, it is supposed to be on only one side, as you can see by going north or south.
  • Radiant Historia has a partial exception. One of the party members, Rosch, has a mechanical prosthetic in place of his left arm, and it stays on his left whichever way his sprite is facing. However, it will magically migrate over to his right arm whenever his portrait is facing the other way, as well as when you have to fight him, causing his battle sprite to be mirrored as well. Otherwise, done completely straight; in particular, the main character's shield has a nasty habit of switching arms whenever he turns around.
  • Rena's sprite in Star Ocean: The Second Story has her crescent-shaped pin swap sides whenever she turns.
  • Happens to Sion in Treasure of the Rudra after his eye is taken out early in the game. His right eye gets taken out, but if he's walking right his eye is left un-patched, a mirror to his sprite when walking left.
  • The World Ends with You has this issue when it comes to the larger sprites during cut scenes. Most noticeable is Sho's sprite. His tattooed arm is on his left when facing the west but on his right when facing the east. We're still not completely certain which of Sho's arms is black...
  • In Xenosaga III, Jr's earring changes position when his character portrait faces the opposite direction in dialogue scenes.
  • Zeno of the Beta Star is like this in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a unit - while the story has red Tron Lines on his armor to designate that the armor functions as a Magitek augment for his missing left arm and leg. However, these lines flip to the right when the unit version faces right. The reason this stands out is because pretty much every other case of Fashionable Asymmetry does have appropriate sprites for each facing, as noted under the Aversions tab below.

    Fighting Game 
  • In general, 2D fighting games (even titles created in a 3D engine) are designed so that the characters do not turn their backs to the camera, as giving characters two unique sprite sets puts extra work on the development team. Do note that it's a Justified Trope for 3D games like Street Fighter IV and Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 since they still primarily play in a 2D plane. It's shown that attacks are much easier to identify regardless of position when they're simply mirrored.
  • Heart Aino of Arcana Heart wears ribbons on one of her wrists. Which wrist varies according to which side of the screen she's on.
  • Despite using 3D models, Freed of Battle Fantasia has a giant hook for one hand that blatantly switches from left to right.
  • BlazBlue:
    • Ragna the Bloodedge canonically carries his sword in his left hand, and the Azure Grimoire on his artificial right hand. In-game, the Azure is always on the hand closest to the "camera" and the sword always in opposite hand. One of his Too Many Belts changes sides as well. Interestingly enough, the color of his heterochromia will always remain the correct position, regardless on which side he is currently facing.
    • Carl's hat and Nirvana's ring also dance from left to right.
    • Nu's Eyepatch of Power is completely covered by her Murakumo unit visor, possibly to avoid such issues. However, it still happens in some of her pre-battle intros.
    • Litchi's hair ponytail location also switch between left to right at times. However, in story modes, each of her poses are never flipped, thus averting the trope.
    • Other characters with asymmetrical designs (Jubei with his eyepatch, Tager with his white hair streak, characters wielding weapons and sheathes, Nine's Peek-a-Bangs, Valkenhayn's hair bang, etc.) have either flipped models and/or flipped story sprites.
  • In the 2D Bleach Fighting Games for the DS, Chad's "Right Arm of the Giant" will switch places with his left depending on which way he faces. The sequel averts this.
  • Although regular gameplay in Bloody Roar averts this due to being a 3D fighter, character-select portraits flip depending on which player selected the character, leading to text that's backwards and asymmetrical scars swapping to the other side. This is particularly notable with the large scar over Gado's left eye, which leads him to leave that eye closed most/all of the time depending on the game. Interestingly, Bloody Roar 4 averts that part as well, at least for Gado, by giving him two character-select portraits for both the left and right sides, so his scar is always properly shown over his left eye.
  • Dragon Ball Fighter Z uses 3D models, but every character facing to the right has their model flipped. Given that a lot of characters have asymmetrical designs, it's very obvious. The models are even flipped during intro and battle animations, and you see that their poses and facial expressions are also mirrored as well.
  • The American flag on the back of Geese Howard's gi in Fatal Fury: King of Fighters.
  • Guilty Gear:
    • Baiken has a missing eye and arm, which periodically swap sides.
    • Dizzy's wings flip, too. If you use that Overdrive with Necro, you can even see that the coffin is flipped.
    • Sol Badguy holds Fuuenken with his left hand, but that's only reflected in-game if he's on the left side of the screen.
    • This trope is so ingrained into the series, and classic fighting games in general, that Guilty Gear Xrd goes out of its way to replicate it despite the fact that the game uses 3D polygons instead of sprites. When characters change sides, their entire model flips, up to and including eyepatches like Sin and Baiken wear — the only things that remain consistent between sides are text on their clothes, such as Ky and Sol's respective belts with "HOPE" and "FREE" etched into the buckles.
    • in -STRIVE-, Ramlethal's sword minions can turn independently to stay in position. Her leg wrap doesn't have the same excuse. Ky Kiske's asymmetrical sleeves also change sides.
    • Chip Zanuff's weapon of choice is a huge wrist-mounted blade that can't make up its mind which wrist it's on.
  • While Injustice 2 generally averts this trope, it's played straight for Hellboy, as his signature Right Hand of Doom is sometimes seen on his left hand depending on which direction he's facing.
  • The King of Fighters has plenty of these:
    • Rugal's bionic eye is one example. Next, Brian Battler's... thing on the shoulder. But well, those are early examples, thanks to the fact they both are in KoF94... but then they were harmlessly re-implanted in KoF98. And 2002. And SNK vs. Capcom, except Battler is nowhere to be seen in the last two.
    • K' may not carry this illness at first, but you may notice that he wears a red glove on one of his hands. Look closer and you'll never figure out on which one exactly.
    • Bonne Jenet, who was carried into the series (for a short time) from Garou: Mark of the Wolves. Even if this game has really smooth animation, it couldn't fix the problem with mirroring for some reason, so now her dress with the Jolly Roger drawn on it is either on the left side, or the right, depending on which side she's facing.
    • This persisted with the series's move to 3D, as Nelson's mechanical arm swaps when he turns around. Krohnen in XV behaves similarly (his blue glove is always his front hand and the scarf always covers that shoulder) but the patches on his jacket are not bound by this (they stay the same regardless of which way he is facing).
  • Thanos from Marvel Super Heroes (and, by extension, his appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes) has his Infinity Gauntlet switch hands depending on which side he is facing, and sometimes within the same side; when Thanos is the right-side character, the Gauntlet is on his left arm (just as it is in the comics), but will switch to his right arm during his right-side win pose — and vice versa when he's the left-side character.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom:
    • In Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes:
      • Cable's bionic arm will switch sides depending on which way he's facing.
      • Characters that wield weapons will swap hands when they turn around.
    • Marvel vs. Capcom 3 does this despite the game featuring 3D models:
      • The biggest example is Spencer's bionic arm, which changes sides depending on whether he is facing left or right.
      • Amaterasu, when using her Rosary Weapon (that's the whip weapon for non-Okami-ites), will, for one button, slam them from above her, to in front of her, then to behind her. This switches sides depending on which way she's facing, always facing away from the camera on the second attack.
      • Dante's one-sleeved longcoat changes the ripped sleeve if you jump to your opponent's other side.
      • Characters that use guns, like Wesker, will change which hand they hold the gun in depending on which direction they're facing.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Kano's bionic eye in always faced the camera until the series went into 3D.
    • Jax in Mortal Kombat 3 has two bionic arms instead of the one his designers wanted, for the reason that it would have taken more work to stop his bionic arm changing sides when he turned around. The same trick is used to solve a similar problem in Mortal Kombat 9 and Mortal Kombat X. The characters in that game are 3D models, solving the ambidextrous sprite problem. In fact, these games go one step further by making the stances for the characters irrelevant and having the characters be internally ambidextrous: the buttons are mapped to the characters' limbs and labeled "Front" and "Back". The characters are able to fight the same regardless of which hand is out in front and the player can switch their stances manually by pressing both kicks together. Due to this design, 9's Guest Fighter Freddy Krueger is given two bladed gloves to make his fighting style symmetrical.
    • Mortal Kombat 4 (despite using 3D models instead of digitized sprites) still employs mirroring if the characters reverse sides. It's especially noticeable with weapon-wielding characters, and also with Sub-Zero's scar switching from his right eye to his left. Word of God confirms that this required a special routine to be implemented and was absolutely intentional, since normal 3D models don't do that.
    • Mortal Kombat 11:
      • This game does it again, with held weapons. Scorpion, Skarlet, Rain, and Noob Saibot, who all hold weapons in a single hand, will always hold it in the hand facing the camera. This extends to elements of the costumes; Scorpion's katana will always be on the player-facing side of his belt. However, certain bits of costume do not mirror; Johnny's chest tattoo for example (so it remains legible), and Kano's eye.
      • An odd example of a Zigzagged Trope: The game features a button dedicated to switching your character's stance, which makes your character switch their feet so that their back is turned towards the camera. It functionally changes nothing in gameplay. In this instance, characters who who would normally hold their weapon in the hand closest to the camera will switch it to their other hand.
  • Persona 4: Arena has this, and given that most characters are armed, it's quite clear:
    • Even Akihiko, the boxer, is subject to this due to his asymmetric design.
    • Due to the necessity of making characters face the camera, this trope makes left-handed Akihiko and Royal Rapier-using Mitsuru use their non-dominant hands when they're player one.
  • The Rave Master game for the GameCube uses 3D characters, but the scenes between fights use 2D images, which the game flips, of course. For some characters, this is just fine, and even on Musica one might not notice that his piercings moved to the other side of his face, but the tattoo that takes up half of Sieg Hart's face or, worse, the tattoo that covers half of Go's body are impossible to miss.
  • Genjuro from Samurai Shodown has a diagonal scar on his back and Yagyu Jubei has an eyepatch that flip when the characters turn around, and that's not even the worst of it. Haohmaru doesn't look as bad as some others (two-handed grip can just shift). One-handed weapon wielders (Charlotte, Cham Cham, Ukyo) can be handwaved by saying that they're holding it in their other hand. Some two-handed wielders can get away with this too (Wan-Fu and Caffeine Nicotine especially—Nicotine's an old man with a staff, and Wan Fu's huge stone pillar probably gets heavy). Then there's Gen-An and Neinhalt Sieger, with their huge glove weapons. Those... don't switch that easily.
  • Skullgirls has a few cases of this:
    • Parasoul has her weapon always in the hand closest to the opponent while she's facing the screen, as well as her Peek-a-Bangs changing which eye it covers. This one isn't as bad as the other examples, as she has specific animations of her changing hands and hair whenever the opponent crosses over her.
    • Valentine is a little more on the weird side in comparison, as she has an eyepatch. In addition, the handle of her saw somehow magically flips sides while still stored inside her fanny pack.
    • Squigly is the most absurd example in the game. Not only is she also missing an eye that she covers with Peek-a-Bangs, she also has an arm that's completely decayed to the bone, and has her parasite Leviathan come out of one of her two Girlish Pigtails, and all of the above flips sides sides depending on where she's facing. Ironically, some concept art had her averting this trope, with everything on one side, hinting that she might have been created for the sole reason of averting this trope... and yet it's played straight anyway. This example is partially explained though — during Squigly's "turning around" animation, Leviathan withdraws into her head and pops out on the opposite side. There's no such justification for her skeleton arm and the remaining pigtail (the one that didn't fall off), though.
    • As well as the above, Peacock and Beowulf swap the hands they wield their various weaponry with when they turn around as well (given that a lot of these are one-handed).
  • Street Fighter:
    • Sagat has had a diagonal scar across his chest (due to Ryu defeating him with a Shoryuken) since the first Street Fighter II installment, along with an eyepatch he has worn over one of his eyes since the original game. However, the eye and direction of the scar change depending on which side of the stage he's on. While all the illustrations since Street Fighter II depict Sagat's eyepatch on his right side, some of the original art for the first Street Fighter depicts Sagat with the eyepatch on his left eye.
    • Guile has the American flag tattooed on both of his shoulders, but the Stars and Stripes mirror backwards depending on which way he's facing. This is somewhat Truth in Television, since Guile's tattoos mimic the flag patches on military uniforms. Since the U.S. flag has no lateral symmetry, there are certain rules as to how the patches are worn. Notably, the blue field and stars are supposed to be oriented toward the front of the wearer, meaning that a patch worn on the left shoulder looks like normal U.S. flag, but a patch worn on the right shoulder is mirrored — it's symbolic of the flag flying backwards as the soldier charges into battle. Unfortunately, when they redrew his sprites in Alpha 3, they got it backwards, and now his uber-patriotic tattoos are wrong no matter which way he's facing.
    • Interestingly, both Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter IV (the latter in 3D) actually avert this for some details — Sagat's eyepatch and scar stay correctly aligned regardless of which way he's facing, as do Vega's dragon tattoo and asymmetrical sash. However, characters' move sets in Street Fighter IV are still mirrored so that they never turn their backs on the camera — this also includes the talon on Vega's right hand, which will swap sides without any conscious effort on his part whenever he turns around. Old habits die hard, it seems.
    • Likewise, Oro from Street Fighter III, who binds his right arm to stop himself from killing his opponent. This didn't stop him from being subjected to this, however. Capcom addressed this in Street Fighter V by having him hold his pet tortoise in one hand and clearly pass him to his other hand when he side-switches.
    • While Cammy for the most part is symmetrically designed, she had a few issues with mirroring. In Super Street Fighter II, the red triangle on her chest and the pattern of her leg camouflage swap sides. She wears a different costume for X-Men vs. Street Fighter, where she now wears asymmetrical gauntlets. Her jumping heavy punch has the elbow guard on the opposite arm.
    • Dee Jay's pants were originally going to read "MANTIS", but they became "MAXIMUM" in the final game, since the N and S would be flipped if he faced the other direction.
  • In Touhou Hisoutensoku ~ Choudokyuu Ginyoru no Nazo o Oe:
    • Utsuho has the same problem that Mega Man does: her control rod/arm cannon is supposed to be on her right arm, yet it switches sides depending on which way she's facing.
    • Suika's ribbon on one of her horns.
    • Yukari's umbrella and the yin-yang on her dress.
    • Both Patchouli and Alice's books.
    • Reimu and Sanae's gohei.
    • Reisen's ears.
    • Aya's fan.
    • The ribbon on Remilia's hat.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Counter-Strike is one of the more famous examples; the original designer of the gun models was left-handed, and as such modeled the weapons being used left-handed. To save the mostly right-handed playerbase from being disoriented by this, the devs added an option for right-handed guns, which — to save a lot of mostly-superfluous work on the modeler — simply mirrored the existing left-hand models. This results in a number of anomalies in the models, such as ejection ports on the left side of multiple guns throwing spent brass into the player's face. However, Global Offensive modeled the weapons properly for right-hand use, and some weapons in earlier versions, like the MP5 in Source, were explicitly modeled to be used right-handed.
  • Marathon does this for Guns Akimbo, where picking up a second copy of a dual-wieldable gun simply mirrors the original right-handed graphics on the X-axis. Nearly every first-person shooter to allow akimbo weapons since has done this, from Shadow Warrior through Perfect Dark to later Call of Duty games.
  • Serious Sam does this for some weapons. Text on the laser gun, for example, reads "XL-2" on the left side and "S-˩X" on the right.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The game is guilty of this in terms of the quality of left-handed viewmodels. Most weapons don't have text on them, but those that do are reversed, as this video of a ЯƎϤϤAϨ-OЯTϽƎ˩Ǝ illustrates.
    • Demoman's icon placed next to his health bar has his eyepatch over his left eye, when it's supposed to be his right eye.
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 gives the option for players to have their guns appear in the lower right (standard), center, or left of the HUD. Left-handed guns are mirror images of the standard view, which wouldn't be noticeable, except that some of the guns have serial numbers on them, which are backwards on the left-handed versions.

    Massively Multiplayer Online RPG 
  • Dungeon Fighter Online has mostly symmetrical default designs for the Player Character, except for the Male Slayer/Dark Knight class, whose left arm is colored differently from a Demonic Possession, and facing the left will make the possessed arm switch to the right.
  • Granblue Fantasy: When fighting the chibified versions of some playable characters as bosses, their sprite is mirrored to face the right side of the screen. This becomes easily noticeable for characters with distinguishing features, such as Eugen and his eyepatch.
  • La Tale has this trope apply to every single piece of equipment the player can wear.
  • In MapleStory, every piece of equipment will follow this trope.
  • Ragnarok Online has this with its 2D sprites, though some headgears are not flipped/mirrored (such as the ribbon).
  • Ultima Online: Because the game is 2-D with a top-down perspective, your character holds his weapon in either his left or right hand, depending on the direction he is facing.

    Platformers 
  • Another World does this with sprites that aren't for the "attacking" states. For example, Lester moves with the laser pistol in his right hand but has it in his left when crouched in the respective pose and direction.
  • In Cave Story, the main character always holds the current weapon in his left hand when facing right, and vice versa.
  • The GBA Crash Bandicoot titles do this. The final boss of the first game has a metal helmet over half his face, which switches if you somehow get past him. The second-to-last boss of the second has a whacking great projectile claw on one arm and is designed to face both ways in his battle routine, but does this anyway.
  • K. Rool from Donkey Kong Country games, whose larger eye switches sides when he turns. This happens in numerous other games in which he's appeared as well.
  • Drawn to Life has an interesting case of this. It's played straight in the Rapo of Heather, who has a face that's half yellow and half black (think like Two-Face), yet inexplicably, when she turns to either side, you always see the yellow side. However, since the player makes the player sprite himself, whether it uses this trope or not is up to him or her.
  • Flashback plays with this trope by having Conrad put his handgun in his other hand as he turns around, while standing still with it held upwards.
  • In Klonoa's side-scrolling platformer games for the GBA, the Pac-Man logo on his hat changes sides. This is made more obvious by story scenes and some of his front and rear sprites showing that it only appears on one side.
  • The Legend of Dark Witch series uses this. It sticks out as heroine Zizou Olympia has asymmetrical Multicolored Hair; her hair colors swap so that the black half almost always faces the camera. Simeone from The Legend Of Dark Witch 3 is another notable case: one arm and leg is humanoid while the other set is demonic, and the demonic limbs swap places depending on where Simeone is facing.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man switches hands with his Arm Cannon depending on which way he faces, even while charging. An upgrade in Mega Man X2 and Mega Man X3 takes this to its logical conclusion and lets you charge both arms simultaneously. Note that the original Mega Man, in one cutscene, does in fact fire charged shots from both arms, with Big Bad Dr. Wily displaying a major Oh, Crap! expression at the sight. Interestingly enough, this is referenced in Super Adventure Rockman, where Rock uses the twin Mega Busters to defeat the Big Bad. It's sort of handwaved in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. Apparently Mega Man can turn both of his hands into busters. Also somewhat handwaved by Roll, who pulls out a buster and attaches it to her arm rather than turning her arm into a buster.

      Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U gives Mega Man apparent ambidexterity and cannons on both arms, but he favors his left in his debut trailer and Final Smash cutscene. Since in the source games, he usually faces right and shoots with his farther (left) hand, this makes sense. In fact, in his Final Smash, all the Mega Men except EXE shoot left-handed, similarly reflecting how they typically appear in the games.

      This animation error carries over to X's knock-off Expies, Mega Man Zero's Pantheons. They have arm cannons or stun batons on one hand, but it always gets switched every time they change direction.
    • Somewhat averted with the bosses from Mega Man (Classic), as bosses with arm cannons of their own will usually have two.
    • In Mega Man X, Sting Chameleon has a normal eye on his right side and a cybernetic one on his left... allegedly. In-game, except for his introduction animation where he turns his head to look behind himself, the cybernetic eye is always the one closer to the camera, which unfortunately makes it hard to tell he has a normal eye at all.
    • Notably averted with Model FX from Mega Man ZX, which consistently uses the correct arm buster if you use the assigned button.
  • Ray from Mighty No. 9 makes a DLC guess appearance in Mighty Gunvolt Burst, yet her asymmetrical features (the partially exposed endoskeleton on her face, missing left horn, different arms/hands, and a mouth-like design on the right side of her torso) egregiously always swap places, making it appear as if she has two normal eyes, her face appearing normal, and her arms identical.
  • In Scribblenauts, the rally car inexplicably named "GEORGE" has a 5 on it, which is reversed when facing left.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Crawl badniks always have a shield on whichever arm is closest to the screen. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 actually animates them switching the shield from one arm to the other when they turn around.
    • Sonic & Knuckles has Tails' plane reading SONIC in reverse during the ending, where it is flying left after dropping the Master Emerald off at the Floating Island for Knuckles.
  • Happens to Stinkoman in Stinkoman 20X6 whenever he's wearing the stone fist he got from defeating Stlunko while he's still in Level 4.
  • Rare 3D platformer game example: Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy normally has her Peeka Bangs cover the right side of her face, but from certain angles, her bangs will cover the left side of her face instead.
  • While the original version of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap averts this (as detailed below), the 2017 remake's hand-drawn sprites play it straight.

    Puzzle Game 

    Racing Game 
  • Mario Kart 64 does this with Luigi. The "L" on his cap in his avatar after the race is over gets mirrored when the game shows what place everyone came in.
  • Outrun:
    • The expy cavallino rampante hood ornament flips left and right as you turn.
    • In the Amiga version, the driver and passenger swap seats when turning right. Oddly, the number plate on the car doesn't flip over.
    • The Genesis version averts the arcade's issue with the ornament. But the license plates and lettering in other vehicles still flip.

    Simulation Game 
  • A general problem in majority of the Harvest Moon games:
    • Whoever designed the main characters in Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar did not think about how they would be affected by this trope. They have a feather that they wear on one side of their hat, and a small bag they carry on one side of their body, both of which constantly switch places as they change direction.
    • Same problem in Harvest Moon: A New Beginning. Especially noticeable with Allen and his diagonally aligned bangs that are either on his left or right side and Tina with her tiny ponytail, depending on which side of the box their sprites appears on.
  • Due to its Isometric Projection, SimCity 2000 takes this trope to the next dimension. Though each building in the game has only one sprite, there are four different viewing angles. This is made especially glaring as most of the buildings are obviously asymmetrical, yet appear exactly the same when viewed from the north or south. When viewed from the east or west, the sprites are simply mirrored.

  • Victims of this in Yes, Your Grace include:
    • The decoration on Eryk's tunic (a very low-res sideways-facing stork).
    • Audry's shoulder pad and the stork on his clothes.
    • Cedani's hair ribbon and the slanted flounces on her dress. After her possible makeover, her skirt slit falls victim to this as well. She's particularly noticeable due to facing different ways while in line with petitioners and when found playing.
    • Maya's skirt slit, which is supposed to be on only one side according to the more detailed portrait that was made of her.

    Sports Game 
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender game Four Nations Tournament, Zuko's scar is on his left eye like in the cartoon when he's player one's character, but on his right eye when he's player two's character.

    Strategy Game 
  • The Banner Saga plays this straight, which becomes really obvious in the case of Iver/Yngvar, after he loses an arm in the battle with Bellower. He can still swing an axe just as well with only one arm — just don't ask which arm it is.
  • Battle for Wesnoth's sprites have this a lot, due to having different weapons in each hand for the most part.
  • The Final Fantasy Tactics series uses this, and you can see it when a unit uses a weapon. They will use the weapons in either hand, similar to Link from the Zelda games.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade: Idunn has heterochromia, and her eyes swap colors depending on which way she's facing.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
      • Vaida, with a huge scar over her eye. Concept art shows it on the left eye, but her portrait is flipped repeatedly during conversations.
      • Priscilla. Her portrait and animations show her wearing a feather behind her left ear, but when she's mirrored it gets flipped too, meaning that in some conversations she appears to be wearing white feathers behind both ears.
      • Most obvious for Canas, who wears a monocle that always flips. His concept art shows it on his right eye.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening has Basilio's eyepatch constantly flipping sides depending on which way he's facing.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, Kagero and Camilla's Peek-a-Bangs, Saizo's scarred eye, and Niles's eyepatch are very guilty of this trope. Certain hairstyles and facial details for Corrin will also fall into this, including the beauty marks, some of the scars, and one of female Corrin's ponytails.
  • Used in the Heroes of Might and Magic games until HoMM IV, which averted it. The walking dead from III is a particularly noteworthy example: It's a zombie with one of its arms rotted away, and can switch which of its arms is missing based on the direction it's facing.
  • This happens in Starcraft, though it's only obvious with the Terran Marine and Ghost units (and the Hero Units based off them), where their weapons will inexplicably change hands.
  • Wookiee aircraft from Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, for whatever reason, have engine pods hanging off one side, but not the other. Which side, ehm, depends. Every other non-infantry unit (and most of the infantry, for that matter) are symmetrical, though, so they manage to avoid this.
  • Super Robot Wars: Original Generation:
    • In a scripted event midway through the first game, you see Kyosuke say that the left arm is unusable before proceeding to use an attack which uses a weapon usually on the right arm, but as he's an enemy for that mission, it appears on the left.
    • Really obvious with the Alt Eisen. In the Rampage Ghost attacks in the second game, the autocannon and revolver stake will magically switch places halfway through the attack, and you actually get to see the change as it happens onscreen.
  • In Telepath Tactics, Umber Gnawbone's glass eye switches sockets when his sprite is flipped from right-facing to left-facing. The same applies to Siripent's Eyepatch of Power.
  • Played straight in Vandal Hearts, which has sprite characters in 3D environments. Pretty noticeable seeing as no model is symmetrical.
  • In War Craft Orcs And Humans and Warcraft II , the units are mirrored when they look from left to right. Massively obvious is the Elven Destroyer, whose sails get switched around.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Gears of War does this a lot to accommodate the fact that you could be facing either left or right while in cover. Your usually right-handed character will flip hands when they are leaning to the left, and their weapon model is mirrored to accommodate the different animations. The Longshot is the most obvious example of this; the weapon's bolt will change sides depending on which hand you're holding it in.

    Visual Novel 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations, Miles Edgeworth points with his left hand while posing as a defense attorney in Phoenix's stead, despite being right-handed in his usual position behind the prosecutor's bench. His sprite, however, is redrawn as if he'd turned to his other side, not simply mirrored.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, the front-on sprites used in the Phoenix/Apollo arcs are turned to 3/4 profile so characters can appear to be conversing with each other. This results in Franziska's Beauty Mark and jacket buttons changing sides, along with Gumshoe's band-aid, Kay's scarf, Calisto Yew's jacket... the list goes on.
  • In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Kaito Momota always wears his left jacket sleeve and leaves the right side over his shoulder, but his Debate Scrum sprites when opposing the player are flipped so he wears his right sleeve. This is odd considering other characters' sprites are customized so details such as Kirumi's Peek-a-Bangs and Gonta's bug box are always on the correct side.
  • Major/Minor is guilty as hell of this, since the game merely flips the sprite of the character if they're facing a different direction. Acheron is usually the first character people notice this on, since he has a scar that's only supposed to be on one side of his face, but it's also quite noticeable for any character with heterochromia, and there's at least two of them in the cast.

    Western RPG 
  • In Baldur's Gate, the characters always hold their off hand closer to their screen than their main hand, leading to characters changing from right to left handed depending on your direction. This applies only to the sprites that debuted in Baldur's Gate II, which includes the protagonist sprites used in that game and both Icewind Dale games; sprites from the first Baldur's Gate or the Icewind Dale games can rotate a full 360 degrees without flipping.
  • Darkest Dungeon makes some effort to avert this, by only showing the characters from their right sides. However, in the battle with one of the bosses who uses Charm Person, the mind-controlled characters go over to the enemy's side of the battle — and their sprites become simply flipped. Also, there is only one sprite showing a character sitting by a campfire. To create an illusion that the party is sitting in half-circle, the sprite is flipped for half of the party. This becomes noticeable if you have more than one member of the same character class in the party, and they're sitting at the opposite sides of the campfire. Especially the ones with eyepatches.
  • The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall allows your character to switch between a weapon in his left hand and one in his right hand, and even switch hands while fighting completely unarmed. Despite this difference, the animation for your chosen weapon hand always appears on the right side of the screen.
  • Icewind Dale II normally averts this, but it includes sprite mirroring as a graphics option to make the game run faster, which applies the trope to everything, including the three mismatched heads of a chimera.

Non-video game examples

    Anime and Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • In Stardust Crusaders, Noriaki Kakyoin's "hair noodle" is located on the right side of his head, but there are many occasions where it will flip to the left side. This is averted in All-Star Battle and Eyes of Heaven, since they're 3D games.
    • The same happens in Diamond is Unbreakable with Rohan's distinct sideways-slicked hairstyle.
    • A minor villain in Vento Aureo has a Stand that lets him drag others into an isolated mirror-world. One thing that tips off Fugo to what's going on is that his watch is now backwards and on the other arm.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • The animated film Astro Boy is an interesting case. In the manga, Astro Boy's asymmetrical hair spikes face the same way no matter which way he faces. The film is CGI, meaning that Astro Boy needed a 3-dimensional model. This left the animators with the problem of his hair looking awkward or even backwards when viewed from the wrong side. They solved this by giving Astro Boy multiple models with his hair on either sides, and switching them between cuts if necessary.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movies: Like in the parent show, since the characters are made of Flash objects, they (or parts of them) often appear mirrored. It's more complicated than a simple flip, though; they have a "good side" that, in nearly every shot, starts out facing the camera. When a character turns around while visible in a shot, all of her features remain left-right consistent, and the other side shows. It's more notable with the girls wearing hair decorations (Rarity, Fluttershy, or Trixie), which flip from one side to the other between shots, or with Twilight's pink hair stripe. This became less common as of Legend of Everfree, happening very little or never at all.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, classic video game hero Fix-It Felix, Jr. is a straight example in that his hammer switches hands whenever he turns around, but Ralph averts this to keep the single suspender strap of his overalls on his right shoulder at all times. However, official Defictionalizations of their game leave out many frames of animation and substitute mirrorings of other frames, which shifts the strap onto Ralph's left shoulder in some poses. Stock 3D renders of the characters are also reversed sometimes, though in Felix's case, his name badge is flipped back into its correct place.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Shedu and Lammasu statuary (winged bulls or lions with human faces) of the ancient Assyrian tradition is a rare three-dimensional form. When viewed in profile, the statue appears to be in mid-stride, but the legs that are closer to the viewer will always be ahead of the legs that are further away — in other words, if the statue is facing to your right, its right legs are ahead of the left legs, and vice versa. When viewed diagonally, however, the trick reveals itself: the statue actually has three front legs.

    Toys 
  • My Little Pony is an odd case. Any artwork on the ponies' bodies (such as cutie marks) was originally on both sides. After the original '80s line ended and the second generation began, any and all symbols wound up typically being featured only on whichever side of the toy was visible in the packaging. The side shown in the packaging is usually the left side, but can vary, resulting in multiple variants of the same pony with imagery on different sides (G3 Minty, for instance, has had her cutie mark swap sides several times). Later-era ponies which have imagery on the other side normally only have minor details there, such as the hoof hearts of G3 ponies (which typically denote that the hoof in question has a magnet in it, and as such are not restricted to the "display side").
  • In the Tamagotchi virtual pets, Coffretchi's 2D sprites have her ponytail and cap switch positions depending on where she's facing.

    Web Animation 
  • Played straight with the tears on the characters' clothes in DarkMatter2525's video Afterlife is Meaningless Without Afterafterlife, but the 66 on one of them stays the same no matter which way he's turned.
  • In The Grossery Gang webseries, the side that Fingers' thumb is situated on and the side that Stinky's slope is situated on have the tendency to flip throughout the series.
  • Many of the characters in Happy Tree Friends have aspects that switch from side to side due to the image being flipped. For instance, Lumpy has one inverted antler, Russell has an eyepatch and hook hand, and Nutty has a lazy eye. All of them tend to switch from side to side, repeatedly within the same episode even.
  • This happens occasionally on Homestar Runner. In the Cheat Commandos shorts, the Blue Laser Commander's eyepatch will switch sides every time he turns around, as a parody of the old G.I. Joe-style animation it's based on.
  • In Tomorrow's Nobodies, Ben's heterochromia occasionally switches eyes due to the nature of Flash animation.
  • In the Flash series TVTome Adventures, Zetto's character has one robotic arm, and it switches sides when he turns around.

    Webcomics 
  • Morph E tries to avoid this, but often mirrors the Billy and Malloy sprites in particular. Tyler and Curio have text on their outfits and are forever doomed to stay facing the same way for eternity.
  • The Order of the Stick: Naturally, it's been lampshaded a couple of times.
    • In one case, it isn't so much that Roy's supposed to be wearing two different-sized boots (and the gag is they swap feet), as that the boot nearest the reader looks bigger because it's closer (and the gag is that it actually is bigger. And they swap feet).
    • Haley is described as having "[o]ne strand of red hair out of her ponytail no matter which direction she's facing".
  • Our Little Adventure, especially when you see Angelo or some of his followers, who are fond of Fashionable Asymmetry.
  • Synodic Reboot: Averted with the characters Rennard and Cheral, who have asymmetrical fur patterns. However, the symbols on their outfits are still flipped.

    Web Original 
  • The avatar sprites on Gaia Online do this often. It's very noticeable if your avatar is holding an object in one hand, or is wearing something asymmetrical. The most blatant is when this happens to items which feature text, such as a word balloon or Fun T-Shirt — some items with text specifically avert this, but many don't.
  • The Paul Powers Show: Since most videos use sprite representations for characters, this is to be expected. Notably, the watch on Paul's wrist switches sides when he turns in the opposite direction.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, this happens to Gumball's whiskers (he always has three on one side and two on the other, but they often flip sides) and Carrie's asymmetrical Peek-a-Bangs. Gumball's case crosses over with Cheated Angle, as it seems his face actually is symmetrical, just with one whisker always out of view because we never see his face from the front.
  • Happens occasionally on Aqua Teen Hunger Force. As most of the characters have fairly symmetrical appearances, this isn't too much of a problem. However, it still occurs, since whenever a character is holding a certain object or wearing a different outfit, they swap sides depending on which way the characters are facing.
  • Bibleman: Bibleman wields his sword using each hand in different episodes.
  • Fudêncio e Seus Amigos is Flash-animated and has Limited Animation, with each episode having been produced in only two weeks. This happens with most characters, such as Juca Esfirra Aberta's scar, Zé Maria's bangs, Safeno's big eye and small eye, Delcídio's Peek-a-Bangs, and Vingativa's single horn. However, it's averted with the title character Fudêncio himself; his eye tattoo is always on his left eye, no matter which position, and he has sprites for both positions.
  • Orko from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was originally supposed to be called Gorpo, but it was easier for the animators to flip the image if he had an O on the front of his robes instead of a G.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Since the ponies are made of Flash objects, they — or parts of them — often appear mirrored. It's more complicated than a simple flip, though. The ponies seem to have a "good side" that, in nearly every shot, starts out facing the camera. When a pony turns around while visible in a shot, all of her features remain left-right consistent, and the other side shows — unless they turn around very quickly, in which case the Flash object gets flipped, and the "good side" stays to the fore.
    • This is especially prominent in the case of Fluttershy and Rarity, whose manes can obscure their faces. They always begin every shot with their bangs out of their faces, whether facing right or left, except when the shot calls for Fluttershy to look extra shy or Rarity to look worried or depressed.
    • Around 30% of shots with Rainbow Dash in them show her mane's colors in the wrong order. Generally speaking, the red stripe is on her right, but the mistakes have no discernible pattern.
    • In "It's About Time", Twilight's eyepatch frequently changes sides, though it spends the majority of time on her right eye.
  • The Problem Solverz is quite obvious about this. Sometimes it isn't too noticeable, as most of the characters have symmetrical appearances, but it just looks weird when a question mark on their shirt is backwards.
  • In Sally Bollywood (which is animated in Flash), Sally often wears a top with an elephant facing left, but sometimes her model is flipped and the elephant is facing right.
  • SpacePOP's character models are flipped in the music videos and regular episodes, resulting in Geela's scar, Chamberlin's beauty mark, and Athena's short sleeve swapping positions.

Aversions

    Action-Adventure 
  • In Cave Story, Ballos's right eye is always red while his left eye is always white. However, his death animation plays this straight, and Malco also falls for this trope.
  • Iji averts this wholly and completely. The developer actually used 3D model animation renders to get all of the character graphics (except the giant mecha final boss), both right and left versions, so averting this was geometrically guaranteed.
  • Illusion of Gaia avoids this: Will always wields his flute with his right hand, Freedan uses his sword right-handed, and Shadow slashes with his right arm.
  • Averted in La-Mulana by a single whip frame, and also when he's coming down from a jump (he holds his hat in place with his left hand regardless of which direction he's facing). Other than that, his sprite is quite ambidextrous. The remake, for the most part, fixes this by apparently making him actually ambidextrous: he uses main weapons left-handed and subweapons right-handed. The sprite where he faces the screen to hold something aloft always has him holding the item in his right hand, which can look a little awkward in the transition from facing sideways.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • While the 2D games usually include this trope, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and Oracle of Seasons/Ages have Link carry his shield in the correct hand (his right, since he's left-handed) when he has it equipped but not active, regardless of direction faced. When blocking with it, he falls under this when facing left or right, but up or down has the shield closer to his right side.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, Rosa the Subrosian always carries her key on her left side, regardless of which direction she's facing.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In the MSX2 games (Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake), Big Boss's eyepatch is always drawn on the right side of his face, regardless of which direction he is facing. Oddly enough, the character illustrations in the Japanese manual of the first game depicts Big Boss wearing an eyepatch on his left eye, which is inconsistent with his in-game sprite.
    • Solid Snake himself and some of the enemy soldiers also have separate sprites when they're facing east or west. However, the original game plays this straight when Snake is unarmed (this was corrected in Metal Gear 2).
  • In the Metroid series from Metroid II: Return of Samus onwards, Samus has different sets of sprites depending on which direction she's facing, with a short animation of her pivoting in place when changing directions starting from Super Metroid.
  • In SoulBlazer, Blader is exclusively a righty. Even his crabwalking animations are exclusive to each cardinal compass direction.
  • The Uncharted saga, from the second game onwards, averts it by having a main character able to switch hands, regarding of the side of the cover he's hiding behind. You can see him dropping the gun with one hand to catch it with the other. On the other hand, his animations for reloading the gun are mirrored, but the guns themselves aren't.

    Action Game 
  • Two-Face, in the Batman Forever Beat 'em Up for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, possesses not only separate sprites but entirely different movesets depending on which way he's facing, as a nod to his dual nature. This also applies in Batman Forever: The Arcade Game for PlayStation, where his bad and good sides switch places depending on which side he faces.
  • Zig-zagged in Doom and Doom II. About half of the enemies, in particular ones that favor their right hand (like the Cyberdemon with its Arm Cannon, the Baron and Knight, and the Revenant for melee), store all eight views for rotation, while half of the others, including human players and regular or shotgun zombies, only store the minimal five and mirror the left-facing ones for the right side. Interestingly, the Doomguy apparently does have sprite sets for all eight directions, but the three right-facing ones went unused, presumably for performance reasons. Those can be re-added with the Minor Sprite Fixing Project mod, alongside other small fixes like proper sprite centering and filling in blank pixels.
  • In the Hokuto no Ken 2 game for the Mega Drive, Kenshiro wears bandages around his left arm and an armband on his right. The bandages and armband are drawn accordingly based on the direction Kenshiro is facing. Note that this was changed in the game's overseas version of Last Battle, where Aarzak wears bandages on both of his arms.
  • In the SNES Jurassic Park game, all eight views of Grant depict him holding his weapon on his right side.
  • The main concept of Silhouette Mirage is an aversion of this trope, as main character Shyna is one of few beings in the game who is half Silhouette and half Mirage — literally, being split down the middle with one attribute on each side. Since she generally faces left or right during the game, only one half is seen at a time, and the visible half determines the affinity of her attacks. Sprite mirroring is still used, since she has the ability to swap her Mirage and Silhouette sides in order to use their attacks in opposite directions.
  • In Wolfenstein 3-D, all the regular enemies have all eight views stored and used for all movement poses. Some later ports of the game also avert this in the laziest sense by storing just one view, making enemies always face the player and removing what little stealth potential the game had. The Jaguar port, which is based on the SNES adaptation, reduces the many walking sprites to just two and they get mirrored to simulate the effect. Thankfully, with the Macintosh release this was averted.

    Card Game 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction averts this for Yugi, Yami Yugi, Bandit Keith, and the Puppeteer of Doom, who have unique left/right poses and walking animations.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Zappa's portrait in Chrono Cross always keeps the correct eye scarred over... though each world's Zappa is missing a different eye. This wasn't originally the case in the demo.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Most of games play it straight, except Dragon Quest XI's 2D mode on the 3DS and Switch.
    • Averted in the Japanese version of Dragon Quest I: The characters always face the screen... as in, they move around like pieces in a board game (Dragon Warrior fixed this by giving everyone separate walking sprites for each of the four cardinal directions).
    • This is sometimes used as an odd visual form of Nominal Importance. Important characters will have sprites that switch directions, unimportant NPCs will not.
  • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius averts this for all of the storyline characters. The most obvious case is with The Hero Rain, who is also the lead character in exploration dungeons in the first season. He has a cloak and sash that's tied off on his right, and it's consistently depicted that way regardless of which direction he faces. It even applies to characters like Luka, who are only briefly active in the story. The game's second season amplifies this — while only Rain and Fina obviously had Fashionable Asymmetry in the first season, the entire main party has degrees of it in the second.
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team ended up going into Development Hell when the graphics team had to avert this while designing the game's unique Sprite/Polygon Mix.
  • Mother 3 has many enemies who have been cybernetically enhanced, so parts of their faces and bodies are metal. When they switch directions, their sprite shows either a metal side to them, or a biological side. This is the most obvious with the Return of Octobot enemies based on Octobots of EarthBound (1994), since they're almost all shiny metal on one side and almost all dingy metal on the other.
  • Pokémon:
    • When viewing the status of the Pokemon in your party or your PC, or looking at them in the Pokedex, most asymmetrical Pokemon like Absol or Roselia aren't flipped like symmetrical ones are. However, even though the bubble pattern on Azumarill's stomach isn't symmetrical, it still gets flipped.
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon:
    • HeartGold and SoulSilver have a mechanic where your lead Pokemon follows you around throughout the game. Asymmetrical Pokemon get different "walking west" and "walking east" sprites. Bizarrely, they did that for the Pokemon but still not for the human characters.
    • Pokémon Black and White averts this with the PC sprites (scarves and such), as well as Ghetsis's (because of his weird...monocle thing).
  • In The Reconstruction, fortians always have their eyepiece covering the correct eye, even in the in-battle portraits (which flip depending on whether the character is the target or attacker). Other non-symmetrical features on other characters are also on the proper side.
  • Roddick's sprite for Star Ocean: First Departure has this, but instead of wielding the sword in one hand, he's always shown wielding the sword with two hands. Other characters, like T'Nique and Welch, wield their weapons in two hands, and Ilia attacks with her fists (which can be drawn from either side and make sense), but other characters switch hands a lot.
  • Xenogears has ordinarily left/right-swapping 2-D character portraits for all the bilaterally symmetric characters, but both Bart and Sigurd have patches over their eyes. Each character has two different portraits depending on whether they are being viewed from the left or from the right, which is slightly plot important, as their eyepatches are on different eyes from each other, and this enables them to both simultaneously use the Fatima Jasper retinal scanner during a Cut Scene. This asymmetry is even lampshaded in one scene, where Bart and Sigurd are noticed to both be wearing their eyepatches on the wrong eye—this is a practical joke on their part.
  • Averted flawlessly in Yume Nikki. Any asymmetrical features of the protagonist are correctly placed no matter which direction she faces. This is most prominent with the knife effect, because you can even switch which hand holds it.

    Fighting Game 
  • In the first Dragon Ball Z: Budokai game, the characters' portrait poses in the selection screen are mirrored. However, only the pose is mirrored. One-sided objects and accessories (like the Saiyans' scouters, or the red band on Raditz's left forearm) remain on their proper side.
  • In Guilty Gear XX and its derivatives, Sol's turning animation includes him swapping his weapon between hands. Ky's does as well.
  • Drahmin averts this in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, with his club-arm always being on his right.
  • In Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2, during the Super Move Portrait Attack, the portrait is slightly different depending on what side you're facing. This is done because the Leaf headbands would look odd when mirrored, and some characters have accessories (like bandages) that are on one of their arms but not the other. The other games just show the characters flashing straight-forward in the middle of the screen.
  • NeoGeo Battle Coliseum may not seem to have aversions at the first glance, but if you look at Ai's baseball cap, it becomes obvious that it does.
  • Sprite-based fighting games based on One Piece, such as Gigant Battle, always make an exception for Sanji, whose hair prominently covers one of his eyes.
  • In Pokkén Tournament, the non-symmetrical characters have two artworks depending on if they are player one or two (Shadow Mewtwo with the Power Crystal in his left shoulder and Pikachu Libre with the symbol on her mask).
  • All the characters in Rival Schools have right-handed stances, and they keep these even when their back is facing the screen.
  • The Soul Series completely averts this by having characters' backs face the screen. You will see the front or back of your character depending on what player you are.
  • In Star Gladiator, the characters' battle stances are consistent whether they're facing right or left.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Gill from Street Fighter III was designed specifically to show that the CP System III (the arcade board the game ran on) could be used to avert this problem. The red half of his body always faces to the left of the screen, and the blue half always faces to the right, no matter which direction he turns. His special attacks even change depending on which way he's facing. His secretary, who shows up in his win poses, has an asymmetrical haircut for this reason as well.
    • All of the character models in the Street Fighter EX series were modeled with right-handed stances, and kept this even on the right player's side (their back would face the screen).
    • Raphael is, however, left handed solely so he can face the screen when wielding his rapier when selected by player one.
  • Super Smash Bros. averts this by virtue of using 3D models, and as a result, characters will often have their backs facing the screen in earlier installments. Starting with the fourth game, however, this is invoked with about half of the cast; their animations are mirrored to have their front side face the screen more often. The mirroring only applies to animations, so details like Luigi's "L" and Diddy Kong's "Nintendo" cap stay the same. As a rule of thumb, this mirroring doesn't apply to characters that primarily use weapons like swords or hammers, when the character in question has a defined dominant hand. The sole exception to this rule is the Ice Climbers, swapping the hand they hold their hammers in much like their original NES game. Some hand-to-hand fighters like Captain Falcon, Snake and Kazuya also don't mirror due to having specific attacks use set limbs; the Falcon Punch for example is done with the right hand, while Kazuya's moves are all done with fixed limbs to mirror their appearance in Tekken proper.
  • Hilda from Under Night In-Birth has both heterochromia and a dress that's split down the middle with black on one side and white on the other, with the game showing the correct color of either side, regardless of where she is facing.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Blood II: The Chosen's Sawed-Off Shotgun has an amusing aversion: Once you get two of them, your character holds the left-hand shotgun with a second right hand.

    MMORPG 
  • Pony Town, and derivatives such as Dergun Town, specifically avert this with player characters despite being sprite-based. It is fully possible to create an asymmetrical character and never have any details flipped to the wrong side.

    Platformers 
  • In Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis, one of the main character's eyes is different from the other, and if you look at the sprites, you can see that it changes depending on which way he's facing.
  • Commander Keen averts it, even though Keen is mostly symmetrical save for the Computer Wrist and raygun holster he wears. The games do so primarily to keep the lighting consistent — Keen is always lit from the right of the screen.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Interesting case of aversion in DK: King of Swing: Towards the end of the tutorial segment, Cranky Kong turns to the opposite direction and walks away. His sprites are mirrored, of course, but in his turn-around animation, he actually switches his cane to the other hand, making the sprite-flipping seamless.
    • Donkey Kong also does this in Donkey Kong Country Returns. He holds barrels one-handed and switches hands when he turns around.
    • The Bouncylisks in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze do this as well. They hold berries in their tail. When they turn around, they swing their tail around to the other side of the berries.
  • Namco's Dragon Buster from 1984 provides an early attempt, though only partially successful. The hero in this game is a strictly right-handed swordsman who, due to only one set of animations for his right arm, has a case of Abnormal Limb Rotation Range. While he looks perfectly normal whenever he faces the left of the screen, his arm looks like it was horribly wrenched backwards when he faces rightward.
  • Scrooge McDuck follows Cranky Kong's example in DuckTales Remastered, putting his cane in his other hand in the new turn-around animation.
  • Freedom Planet largely plays this straight, but has an aversion with Milla Basset; her outfit is largely symmetrical, but she wears a green bracelet and orange anklet on her right side, while wearing an orange bracelet and green anklet on her left (although given she's almost always slightly facing the camera, her right side is her sprite's left side, and vice versa). Special care was given to ensure this small case of Fashionable Asymmetry is consistent for all her sprites, regardless of which direction she's facing.
  • Kagirinaki Tatakai, a Japanese computer game brought out of obscurity by Hardcore Gaming 101, features multiple technical innovations for the time it was made. Among others, it averts this by featuring separate sprites for facing left or right, in a game stored on cassette tape (meaning there wasn't much memory to work with) and written for the Sharp X1 computer in 1983.
  • Kirby's Dream Land 3 has an animation where Kirby switches which hand he's holding the Love-Love Stick in during the final boss fight.
  • In Marvin's Mittens, Marvin's left Mitten is stolen at the outset, and his left hand is always the mittenless one, no matter which direction he faces.
  • In Mega Man Zero 4, whenever Zero turns around while hanging from something by one hand, there's a quick animation of him switching hands.
  • The 2D Metal Slug games give the characters animations where their weapons switch hands to justify mirrored sprites.
  • In the Master System game Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap (and its TurboGrafx 16 remake, Dragon's Curse), Bocke Lee Temjin goes through a series of transformations and has no less than six sets of sprites. Each form has separate left- and right-facing sprites for all of Bocke's forms that depict him holding his sword in his right hand and his shield on his left. The positions of his arms are different facing left and right to keep his shield forward and reach consistent. Only one of Bocke's forms (a fire-spitting Lizardman) has his sprites mirrored.
  • The protagonist in the ZX Spectrum game Zub has a specific animation where he changes what hand he's holding his gun in when he turns around, specifically because this trope annoyed the developers.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle, every character in the game has two sprite sets that mirror their current animations. However, one-sided objects and accessories (such as the kanji on Goku/Krillin/Yamcha's gi, the Saiyans' scouters, the sash on Gotenks/Gogeta's belt, etc.) will always remain on their proper side. Additionally, some characters will have a slightly altered animation, such as the Laser Blade on Super Saiyan Rosé Goku Black's hand always being on his right hand.
  • Ghost Trick is inconsistent with this. Sometimes it's played straight (the stains on Jowd's shirt), sometimes it's used but justified (guards swap their guns between their hands whenever they turn around), and occasionally it's subverted (Beauty's hair).
  • In the Puyo Puyo series, Sig, Ecolo, Ringo, Ess, Jay and Elle, and Zed have a second set of sprites to reflect their asymmetrical aspects (Sig's left arm, Ecolo's "?", Ringo's hair clip, etc.)

    Simulation Game 
  • My Little Pony (Gameloft) averts its mother show's tendency towards this (as detailed in the non-video game section above) by using 3D models instead of Flash objects.

    Sports Game 
  • The switch-hitters from Backyard Baseball have mostly mirrored sprites and gimmicks when they come up to bat, but the face is never mirrored.

    Strategy Game 
  • Fire Emblem:
  • MechCommander has consistent sprites for all Battlemechs. This is no small feat, because while many of their designs are symmetrical as the source material dictates, that same source material means that several of the 'Mechs are also extremely lopsided. This is most noticeable with the Hollander, which goes for broke in the Shoulder Cannon department. The cannon is consistently shown to rest in the 'Mech's right shoulder. The game is also notable for remembering which pieces of a 'Mech are destroyed; for instance, if a particular 'Mech's right arm is blown off, the game will permanently remove the right arm from all angles of display for that 'Mech (instead of accidentally removing the left arm by mirroring), including the sprites for its death animations.

    Western RPG 
  • Most character images in Aviary Attorney are mirrored regardless of the fact that many characters aren't symmetrical, but there's one exception: Juste Volerti. His body remains facing front while his head turns right and left regularly, showing that he has one eye and one eyepatch. His body probably isn't mirrored because he only has one arm. His lack of a left hand is essential in one of the endings.
  • Averted in Marvel: Avengers Alliance with every character sprite that doesn't have a symmetrical costume. Some examples include:
    • The Fantastic Four's costumes will always have the "4" properly displayed.
    • The Incredible Hulk's World War Hulk armor, where the metal guard is correctly on his left arm even when the sprite is facing right.
    • Even though Hawkeye will change with which arm he holds his bow depending on which side he's facing, his Heroic Age suit will always have the chain mail on his left arm and a sleeveless arm on his right hand, even if that means when he's facing left he's using the chain mail in the arm he doesn't need to, and he's leaving his holding arm totally exposed to be bowstring recoil.
    • War Machine has several instances of this:
      • In his default costume, his shoulder cannon (or machine gun) will always be in his left shoulder, and his missile launcher in his right shoulder.
      • While his Iron Patriot costume has the shoulder cannon in a different shoulder depending on which direction he's facing (justified because the position of the cannon in said armor is not fixed and can be moved left or right), his nametag in unreadably small letters, the "FF 445" on his shoulder, and the "002" on his arm will always be on the left side of the armor.
    • Cable's Techno-Organic infected arm will always be his left arm.
    • While he only appears in dialogue, Nick Fury's eyepatch will always be on his left eye, and his S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on the left side of his chest.
    • Phil Coulson's card key will always be on the left side of his chest, regardless of where his dialogue image is facing.
  • Averted during one part of Tales of the Drunken Paladin. The trope is mainly played straight when the main character Anebriate faces left or right because he has no asymmetrical features showing. One area of the game changes his sprite because he dons a winter parka to deal with the harsh cold weather. During this part, he carries his spear with him, and it stays in his right hand regardless of facing up, down, left, or right.
  • Undertale subverts this. Undyne's left and right overworld sprites are mirrored, showing her left eye even though she wears an eyepatch on that eye. However, it turns out that this "oversight" was actually intentional. Subtle hints in the lore reveal that she didn't actually lose her eye and she just wears the eyepatch to look cool, meaning that the overworld sprites are completely accurate.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • Averted in DEATH BATTLE! with the sprite-animated fight between Prince Zuko and Shoto Todoroki. When the combatants face the other direction, their scars (and Todoroki's hair colors) stay on the proper sides instead of switching to the other.
  • Despite the examples above where the trope is lampshaded and exploited, it's also averted in Homestuck on another page. The character sprites are not only asymmetric, but also are also different depending on whether they're facing left or right.note 
  • An Older Than the NES example; Li'l Abner has an odd design quirk where the part in his hair always faces the viewer, no matter which direction Abner is facing. When asked "Which side does Abner part his hair on?", creator Al Capp answered, "Both."
  • RPG Maker: As far as default sprites go, this is nearly always averted, since all sprites have animations for all four possible directions, and asymmetrical sprites usually use proper versions for left facing and right facing, respectively, unless the difference is so minor that it wouldn't really matter. Some private sprite designers may be lazy and just flip the left and right sprite to reduce work, but that's not the program's fault.


Alternative Title(s): Sprite Mirroring

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