June Omnitopic: Color
Join us at Nightmare Mode for this month’s Omnitopic, Color! For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of the Omnitopic (and you shouldn’t be: we’ve done one before!), what it is is a chance for all of us to explore a specific concept or idea and try to suss out what it means for gaming.
And this month? Color.
The first time I noticed color in a video game was Okami. The beautiful shades, the contrast between the shades of gray in the world and then the vibrant colors you restored struck me and convinced me of the effect that visuals could have on the senses. The sheer beauty of the world. Then I played games like Madworld, with its stark lack of color, and Gears of War, with its tired palette of space marine gray, and I began to see the effect that color could have on a game world, in giving it character and life beyond just the story being told.
No. Let me start again.
The first time I noticed color was when I played Final Fantasy VII, and realized that there was only one person of color in the entire world: Mr. T clone Barrett Wallace. He had an adoptive daughter, Marlene, who was white, a major clash that really brought out the lack of racial understanding in the world. Where were his parents? How did this individual exist with such a foreign culture to the two expressed cultures of Wutai and Shinra? Where did he learn to talk like Mr. T? Was there a huge, racially charged underground movement beneath the surface of Final Fantasy VII, ready to burst out and try to integrate the world? Or was Barrett just a cultural artifact, a black man existing in a world where there were only whites?
No. Let’s start again.
The first time I noticed color was when I played the first console video game I ever played, Sonic 2. The vibrant, flashing colors, so much unlike the adventure games I’d played on the computer before then. It made me realize that video games could be beautiful, and that they could be something I’d want to make my hobby, obsess about, write about when I got older. Now, when older me revisits Sonic 2, I wonder different things: do people experience the game the same way I do? Do they see the same colors, in the same shades, as I do, or do they have a completely different experience? How different is my experience from theirs?
That is color to me.
Color is obviously a very varied topic, with a lot of different, exciting angles for us to explore. So come on back, and we’ll have more to offer you in the future about the various issues of color in video gaming.
As a final note, you might notice that big “Write for Us!” in the top right hand corner of the screen. If you do want to write for us, then write up a response to this topic and send it on in! It’s like an application process, where you do a lot of work and we get to read a lot of your work. Shiny!