Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Ramblings of a colorblind gamer

4:36 AM on 02.10.2013 // Anthony Burch

You may or may not know that I am red-green colorblind. Money looks grey to me, pink looks white, brown looks green. No big thing. Since I was born colorblind, I have no frame of reference for how the world is "supposed" to look and, therefore, I'm not constantly in a state of misery and woe over the fact that I can't differentiate maroon from purple. If anything, colorblindness works as a great ice breaker at parties.

But what of how it relates to my favorite pastime, videogames? How does my lack of rods and cones affect how I do what I do for a quasi-living? Which games can't I play? Which developers have I come to respect? What am I missing out on, and what do you take for granted?

Hit the jump and thank God you can read this

Stuff I can't do

You know Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis? Is that game any good? Because I wouldn't know

Table Tennis relies very heavily on the player's ability to see the color of the ping pong ball's trail. If the ball leaves a green streak in the air, it's got forward spin. If it's got a yellow streak, it's got backspin. That's what it seems like to you, anyway: to me, there is only the blue streak and then three other ball trails of identical color which I cannot, in my wildest dreams, hope to differentiate between. There are very subtle visual cues to differentiate forward spin from backspin, but they don't give the player the immediate visual feedback a simple color does.

When I tried to play Table Tennis the first time, I immediately noticed the color-based spin system and, despite my best attempts (in this context, "best attempts" means "continually hitting the downspin button and cursing violently when my shot doesn't work the way I want it to"), I got my ass handed to me by my non-mutated friends.


I flailed about pathetically for about half an hour before abdicating completely to Rockstar's will. There was simply no way to play the game on higher difficulty levels, or against other people, without subliminally and instinctively reacting to the color scheme.

Thankfully, Table Tennis is the only game I can currently think of which I absolutely cannot play under any circumstances; still, I am aware of some stuff I'm missing in other games due to my oh-so-unimpressive affliction. 

I didn't know that the Big Daddies in BioShock changed the color of their eyes based on how pissed off they are at the player. A few days after BioShock came out, someone posted this in the cblogs and I just plain didn't get the joke. Put yourself in my shoes: imagine how weird this comic would seem if, instead of the traffic light gag which is currently there, the Big Daddy's eyes stayed the same color all throughout the comic. Panel one: he stands there. Panel two: he stands there. Panel three: he punches a car for no reason. Everyone in the picture's comments is laughing their asses off at something you just don't get. It's weird.

But I'm whining, and nobody likes a whiner. Colorblindness isn't really that bad; I just wanted to point out some little odd things that I have slight trouble with that you might otherwise take for granted. Let's take a look at the positive now, shall we?


Stuff I can do


In my Rez HD review, a few commenters expressed irritation over the fact that a colorblind guy would review a game based completely around the concept of synaesthesia. This is a reasonable complaint, but those readers need not have worried -- even in funky graphics-centric games like Rez, I can almost always discern what is going on and what to do.

This doesn't mean I can play Space Giraffe with any degree of efficiency (though I go back and forth on whether my SG suckitude is a result of my own eyesight or the game's too-confusing visuals, or a combination fo the two), but my respectability as a reviewer need not be diminished just because I don't like this shirt. There are plenty of other reasons you shouldn't respect me as a reviewer.

Oddly enough, I can play most puzzle games. I think the people behind Lumines or Tetris Attack or whathaveyou actualy had colorblind gamers in mind: more often than not, puzzle games include individual symbols for each differently-colored block, so as to ease with immediate recognition. See how the blue (?) blocks have triangles in them, while the purples (?) have diamonds? These are the sorts of things colorblind people need in a game.


Also -- and I'm editing this in after the fact, due to kacie360's comment below -- rhythm games like Guitar Hero or Rock Band present absolutely no problems for me whatsoever, for two reasons. 

Firstly, the green and red notes in each game are vibrant enough so that even moderately colorblind people should be able to tell the difference between them. Colorblindiescan still differentiate between certain vibrant types of green and red, which is why we haven't all been killed at traffic intersections.

Secondly, guitar/drum/whatever games structure their notes not just in terms of color, but by location. When I play Guitar Hero and see a note coming down on the leftmost fret, I know to press the leftmost fret. When I see one in the middle, I hit one in the middle. Frankly, this isn't all that different from what regular gamers do; non-Colorblindiesdon't actually look at the guitar neck as they play for the sake of color recognition, and I don't either.


Developers I love

Which brings me, as most things do, to indie developers. Upon first loading up Peggle, I noticed that it had a colorblind mode. Turning this mode on changes this


to this.


This colorblind mode prevents the game from being literally impossible to play for people who are red-green colorblind. The colors are made much more vibrant, as you can see, and notable blocks now have symbols on them. 

Similarly, Audiosurf graciously allows the player to change up the color of the beat blocks based on personal necessity or preference; on the left, you can see the default colors, with my color-retarded changes on the right.


Again, I don't mean to complain -- I just wanna let you know what it's like for the colorblind gamers out there. It's not terribly difficult, being colorblind, just a bit different; I know more than a few of the Dtoiders out there are colorblind (Ceark is like, eighty times more colorblind than I am but bitches about it way, way less), and I figured it might be interesting for you sight-unimpaired people to take a look at our world for a little while.

Then again, maybe it wasn't interesting at all and this reads more like a gussied-up LiveJournal post than a legitimate article. Either way, it isn't my fault.

I'm colorblind.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Oh yeah, I have an account on this site.
Parismio avatarParismio
Ever wanted to get that item behind that safe in the beginning of Fallout 4?:
Shinta avatarShinta
Got Resident Evil 4 Wii for $5. Uh ... this might be my favorite version. I'm just getting headshots nonstop. Did I miss any other Wii games that are frequently overlooked? Like, really obscure Wii games that no one talks about? I'm interested.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Poeple due not aprecciate teh hrdships of bein a squid.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Guys, check out your blogs! Just be sure to bring tissues. I wish I had. [img][/img]
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Anyone see the new Captain America trailer? It's pretty dope!
Shinta avatarShinta You're welcome.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Update: played through Hyper Dimension Neptunia Rebirth, reminded why I don't like the series, and requested a refund on it and its sequel. Not sure if they'll refund the sequel, but if they honor at least the first, I'll use that money to get Undertale.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I hope the new Star Wars movie answers the biggest question I have about the franchise; do Midi-Chlorians poop?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Wow, I feel really stupid. You had to give the Zora King the bottle with the letter in it. Like actually equip the... Wow. Oh, modern gaming conveniences, how I take you for granted.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Srry abot tye lak of coments latly. As a squid now it haas bcom hrrd 2 tipe. Im a sqiid now.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Backing Indivisible can be done with more than just money. Strapped for cash? then spread the word! post about it on Facebook, Instagram, tweet or simply tell your friends. Head to
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Even with the help of an old hunter I can only knock ludwig to his holy blade phase -_- I will kill the jerk, even if it takes me all night.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
This week in How We Can Make Link Hotter... [img][/img]
JPF720 avatarJPF720
I'm trying to publish a new blog post but for some reason it's not showing?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
If anyone is interested, Amazon has the $80 Persona Q limited edition at just over $40 right now. Haven't beaten it yet, but it's been a ton of fun so far, and at that price, hey!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I don't know what's been going on, but I actually feel like I have to fight with the formatting of the blog editor now to get it right. Hope it'll settle down soon.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
What? Wonderful 101 on eShop is $19? NO EXCUSES.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Robin secretly controls the boobs of Nintendo characters. She stole the Xenoblade boobs and took the Fatal Frame lingerie for herself. #DammitRobin [img][/img]
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -