I did a quick search on the forum, but it seems very few people are discussing this: Color blindness in gaming. As you may know, 7-10% of the male population (which includes most gamers) is red-green color blind. Still, many top-selling games rely on red and green color code to the extent that they are more or less unplayable to the color blind. I am not color blind myself, but a close friend of mine is, and here are some particularly frustrating games we have come across:
- Resident Evil 5: Unlike many shooters, you don't always aim at the middle of the screen; instead you rely on a RED laser sight.
- Killzone: Enemies are distinguished by their glowing RED eyes.
- Crysis 2: You can keep track of enemies by tagging them. But they appear on your screen as dark GREEN triangles in environments that are often gray/green. What is even stranger, you can tag other items that are far less important, such as ammo crates, but they appear in a much brighter green.
- Vanquish: The most common enemies are RED, and your buddies wear camo GREEN.
What amazes me is that these issues appear SO easy to solve.
How hard can it be to introduce a color blindness mode that turns the laser sight in Resident Evil blue? The HUD elements in Crysis 2 aren?t even rendered in 3D and do not interact with the environment in terms of light and shadows; it can't take much effort to make a color blind mode that makes them orange? But even after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was patched for the benefit of the color blind, developers still seem completely oblivious.
I'm under the impression that this is a question of awareness. After all, we are talking about a very small extra effort for game developers to reach a substantial number of gamers that currently resent them. Of course, it's not only game developers that overlook this issue. For example, Gamespot could exercise a lot of pressure by pointing out games that rely on red-green color codes, like they do when a game is offensive or confusing. But most importantly, I suppose it's up to us gamers to raise awareness of this. I would encourage everyone to point out games that rely on red-green colors, for example if you follow On the Spot live.
I think that once this issue has been raised, all developers will want to include a color blindness mode to reach that last demographic. It's just a matter of a small push to put it on the map.