Games and Accessibility: Don’t Leave Us Out

My past year in gaming has highlighted things that really should be addressed in games more often.

 

So fun fact: I have severe deuteranopia. This means some shades of red/green/brown (Anything in that range) can look identical. This means the colour spectrum I see is far more limited.

 

So on a 4K TV you have many more pixels, many more instances of colour, but with how little colour range I have, it can mean that a lot of those pixels look the same. The same is true for 1080p, or even 240p. But the more pixels there are, the more there is for my eyes to confuse.

In the image below, its actual the SDR image where I get better detail:

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Add in HDR and well, we have a mess. The increased colour range of the display is nice, assuming you can distinguish them all. If you can’t, that’s just more shades of red and green to mix in with the others you can’t distinguish. And no, this isn’t me against the notion of 4K.

 

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I didn’t know I was colour vision deficient for 19 years of my life, but in 2016 I got my hands on DOOM. Great game, by the way. This was relatively smooth sailing, until the 4th stage, which was in Hell. A lot of red and brown. Red mists, rocks, particles, red enemies, brown objects, you guessed it, it was like looking at a blob on the screen.

Thankfully, there is a mode for each form of colour deficiency, so I got a lovely, what the press termed it before release, “Piss filter” instead. But everything is far more visible, and I am no longer walking off of ledges because I can’t see the end for the other objects in the distance. I am no longer missing my shots, or my jumps.

But if the game, like so many sadly, didn’t have this feature? I couldn’t beat it. I have tried, even with my memory of the game, I can’t do it. Some games I find impossible to play. If Overwatch didn’t have colour blind options, I couldn’t tell who was on what team unless they hit me.

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But this higher resolution, wider colour range thing is what Microsoft, Sony and PC are pushing towards. Bigger screens, more colour…and not having the colour blind modes so people like me can play the game without either straining, or just having to give up. A lot of games simply don’t feature them, and there are games I want to try, but can’t.

Plus in marketing, taking DOOM again, I wanted to see how the Nintendo Switch version looked compared to my PS4 version. The catch was, no colour blind footage. So I had no way to tell how low the game looked to my eyes.

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And of course, this is not just to mention my article on the sheer importance of controls. Take 1-2 Switch, a game I will never talk about again most likely, that can be played by the hard of sight due to relying on sound and haptic feedback for a lot of games. That is a huge deal!

But a lot of games don’t account for the fact that this is a thing. Sure, you can’t make a controller that works in every situation, but occasionally you get a Rhythm Heaven or 1-2 Switch for the hard of sight, you get a colour blind mode for someone like me, you develop ways to make games more accessible, some far simpler than others.

 

Ultimately, I’d like to see even the basic modes be implemented into future games, since while the tech pushes on and on and creates more impressive visuals, with each passing year people like myself are left further and further behind, and some have been left already. In the world of gaming, that is just upsetting to see. We are all gamers, and we should all be able to play.

 

As always if you enjoyed this article give it a share and leave your thoughts below, and I will see you next time! Until then, Happy Gaming!

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