5 Video Games That Screw Over the Color Blind

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Red vs. Blue

Of course, Red vs. Blue isn't a video game. It's a machinima using characters and settings from Halo to put out one of the funniest Web series ever made. If you've ever had someone come up to you and ask you what your zombie plan is, they were quoting Red vs. Blue, or they're, you know, insane.

We've always had a real hard time with the series, though, because we simply cannot tell the characters apart. They all wear identical powersuits, differing only in shade. Sure, there's no problem telling them apart by voices when it's someone like Sarge, whose distinctive Southern drawl makes him stand out, but when it comes to others, like Griff and Simmons, we start getting lost. Eventually we got tired of trying to piece together the plot without knowing who was doing what and gave up watching the show.

The Hobbit

The Christmas we gave the Girlfriend With One F the ring that made her the Fiancée With One F, she responded by going out and buying us a PS2 and a copy of The Hobbit (The irony was not lost on either of us). That was six years ago and we are still trying to beat the damned thing because we are going to fight Smaug if we have to smooth the forehead wrinkles off every Klingon in the galaxy!

The game is fantastic, truly one of the most underrated games of the last generation of systems. We love it, but it has some severe color problems. The first manifested itself by being so dark we couldn't play it on the TV we owned at the time. No problem until you get to Lake Town, where nighttime jumping puzzles ultimately made us throw it down.

Later, after we got the plasma TV, we tried again. However, like BioShock 2 it has a minigame that is color based. Many chests require a timed series of puzzles to unlock, with failure resulting in damage or poisoning, and also like BioShock 2, they involve distinguishing red from green.

It's not a big deal. You can buy keys to bypass the games, and a lot of the chests aren't really necessary to open, but it's still an annoying kick in the balls.

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo

Capcom decided that they would try their hands at a puzzle game starring characters from Street Fighter and Darkstalkers. The result is a cross between Dr. Mario and Columns, and it is a lot of fun to play. You pick your character, and as you progress in the puzzle they throw out their distinctive moves against your opponent.

Once again, if you're color blind it can be very, very difficult. The reds are deep enough that you don't confuse them with the greens, but the greens and yellows are soft enough to be confused with each other like in Zuma.

So in closing, dear video game designers, we wish you'd keep this kind of thing in mind. There are enough people like us in the world that if we started our own country, it would be more populous than the United States, and would definitely have a less ridiculous terror alert system. There's nothing wrong with a color matching game, but you might try adding some shapes or patterns, or maybe giving the lesser used hues like orange and gray a chance to get in the game.

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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