I am Mog Anarchy, and I like to play games. Whether they are old, new, retro, modern, online, offline, console, computer, critically acclaimed or notoriously bad. Here on my blog, I rant about, review, trash talk, praise and generally talk about all of my favourite and least-favourite games. I also write my own guides on how to accomplish tricky tasks, show off my creative endeavors and challenge myself with crazy in-game tasks. I also have a bunch of gaming merchandise which I am glad to show off. So drop me a comment, I love hearing your questions, criticisms, comments and general gaming discussions. :)

13/09/2015

Gaming With My Colour-blind Fianceé

This is Shelly. She's my fianceé of six years. I bought her an Xbox 360 for our 2nd year anniversary - I was still at university and had more money than I knew what to do with it. And she needed an Xbox. :P
Shelly likes retro games, especially the Atari 2600 and the Sega Mega Drive. She also has a bizarre collection of PS2 games, ranging from shit like The X Factor singing game to Japanese robot RPGs and Metal Gear Solid-esque spy stealth games. Shelly likes Sonic the Hedgehog and Kirby, and collects plushies and collectables.

She is also red-green colour-blind.

Before you butt in with "women can't be colour-blind!" - yes they can. It's just rare, and they can only be red-green colour-blind, not blue-yellow. According to this site, there's a 1 in 200 chance that a woman can be colour-blind, compared to the 1 in 12 chance in men. There's also a nice chart that shows how a woman could become colour-blind. Educate yourselves. :P

On a typical day-to-day basis, Shelly's colour-blindness doesn't affect her all that much - she will occasionally ask me to verify what colour something is and sometimes ask me to read something to her because of the coloured ink used to print something screws with her eyes. Shelly recently expressed to me that she was surprised to hear that first-aid kits come in both green and red boxes - I was explaining that in the UK they are usually green, but in the US, and thus in a lot of games (like Left 4 Dead), they're red. At least Shelly doesn't like bananas. :)

But the most noticeable issues with her colour-blindness occurs when gaming.
Luigi & Mario - Normal colour vision
Luigi & Mario - Red-green colour-blind

Gameplay that revolves around colour-matching are the most annoying - unless they come with a colour-blind setting or mode in the options. A retro game that Shelly always wanted to play but just couldn't, due to a lack of a colour-blind mode was Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. I can see why - most of the beans have a very similar shape, and when there's shit-tons of random colour clusters on the screen and the speed is at max, Shelly just doesn't have time to focus her eyes and try to differentiate the differences between the red and green beans.
Bubble Bobble (Bust-A-Move) - Normal colour vision
Bubble Bobble (Bust-A-Move) - Red-green colour-blind

I always thought it was odd that in Resident Evil, the zombies' blood was green and you had to go into the options menu to change it to red - probably to make them appear less human. Shelly didn't even notice when I made the switch.

When learning how to play Guitar Hero, instead of saying 'green-red-yellow' - I had to teach Shelly with 'button 1-2-3' - because she kept on mixing up the green and red buttons - which isn't helped by the fact that they're SIDE BY SIDE. She knows NOW, but the learning curve of playing Guitar Hero was made steeper by Harmonix's overlooking of colour-blind gamers.
Guitar Hero - Normal colour vision
Guitar Hero - Red-green colour-blind

One of the worst examples I can think of - and if I was Shelly, this would have INFURIATED me was when we were playing Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver together. I played SoulSilver, she played HeartGold. She was level grinding on route 36 - she leaned over and said "why is this Stantler a different colour?" - I looked, and it was a NORMAL Stantler.

"...Did the last one you fought have like a SPARKLE?"
"Yeah, I just thought they did that."
"Did you KILL IT?"
"...Yeah?"
"ARGHGHFGFGFGFGHHFGAAHGH!!"
Normal & Shiny Stantler - Normal colour vision
Normal & Shiny Stantler - Red-green colour-blind

Because red and green both look like BROWN to Shelly - the GREEN shiny Stantler looked BROWN! At the time she was new to Pokémon and I hadn't really explained about shiny ones because I didn't want to bog her down with too much information. I've been playing Pokémon for over 12 years and have NEVER found a shiny! Shelly found one and accidentally KILLED it because she couldn't TELL it was a shiny!

When we're mining in Minecraft - Shelly is constantly asking me if she's found Redstone or Emeralds. I say, "Just assume it's Redstone, because we NEVER find Emeralds". When playing by herself on her own save, she DID find Emeralds! But she only knew that they were Emeralds because they were found next to some Redstone and she was able to compare the two colours side-by-side.

Mega Mushroom & 1-Up Mushroom - Normal colour vision
Mega Mushroom & 1-Up - Red-green colour-blind

When Shelly, Ash and I play co-op Castle Crashers, we have to choose our characters carefully. The Behemoth have really screwed up here - to Shelly, the green, red and orange knights ALL LOOK THE SAME. Thus I play with red, Ash plays with blue and Shelly plays with the DLC pink knight. I can imagine this being a problem with other local co-op games with similar coloured characters, but the one that first comes to mind is Castle Crashers.

Games developers really ought to take their colour-blind players into account - it's really not that complicated, just make sure you don't put any red text on a green background. Or similar colour-combinations. Why would you do it anyway, it just looks vile. (Sorry, I couldn't resist, if you're colour-blind, just highlight to read it.)

Games that I know have that come with a colour-blind mode or settings include:
  • Battlefield 3 & Battlefield 4
  • Borderlands 2
  • Destiny
  • Faster Than Light
  • Frenzic
  • Hexic
  • League Of Legends
  • Left 4 Dead & Left 4 Dead 2
  • Peggle & Peggle 2
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Pop
  • Rocksmith
  • Splatoon
  • Tropico 3
  • World Of Warcraft
  • World Of Warplanes
  • Zuma's Revenge
If 1 in 12 men are colour-blind, and the vast majority of gamers are male - I'm betting that Shelly isn't the only person who has these problems when gaming. If you too are a colour-blind gamer and are affected, let me know in the comments section - also if you know of any other games with a colour-blind mode, I'll add it to my above list. :)

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