5 Video Games That Screw Over the Color Blind

Can you see the message in the above picture? If it just looks like a culture culled from Kesha's underpants, then you are part of the 10 percent of the population of the planet who is color blind. If you can't see it, the message reads the same as what some of the video game designers are saying: "Fuck the color blind."

Now, we found out we were color blind at an early age when we failed a test in the second grade that involved a color puzzle, a fail grade that frankly we are still mad about 25 years later. Since then, we've stuck to black clothes, memorized what order the traffic signals light up and sulked about how we're never going to fly a space shuttle.

Hey, at least we can play video games, right? This is the point in the technology that many environments are indistinguishable from real life except by the number of zombies. Well, you'd think so, but there have been some examples of just blatant hatred against our particular disability.

BioShock 2

Art Attack just finished the original BioShock, and frankly it's one of the best games we've ever owned. We were just getting ready to trade in part 1 for part 2 when we ran across an article that ensured we wouldn't be able to play the damn thing.

One of the recurring elements of the game series is hacking the security systems to attack enemies instead of you. Not only does this eliminate a threat, sometimes it can literally be the difference between life and death. In the first game, this was accomplished with a pipe game, but in BioShock 2 you have to use shades of red and green to accomplish the hack, two colors that the majority of color blind people have the most problems with.


Zuma is an online game where you use a frog to fire colored stone balls at a steady advancing stream in hopes of eliminating them by arranging three of the same color in a row. The game is murderously addictive and extremely fun. It's also very, very difficult to play if you're color blind.

Obviously, any game that involves matching colors is going to be hard for us, but Zuma had the saving feature of giving the balls their own pattern in addition to color. However, whenever a ball would turn into a special item, with the power to reverse the direction of the stream, for instance, it would lose the pattern, making matching the colors much more difficult. On the later levels when every shot counts, these power-ups may be the only thing that can save you, and by matching the wrong colors you're compounding your mistake tenfold.

Props to the makers of Zuma, though. They've added a color blind mode to Zuma Blitz!

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner