At long last, it is mine. On the good grace of my husband (or in an attempt to shut me up I’m not quite sure yet), it is in my possession.
I first played this game several months back when it was doing a “Test Fire” to see if their servers could ha–oh who am I kidding? I can’t even type that without rolling my eyes. We ALL know that it was a sales beta. Thing is, it worked–Splatoon is easily the most entertaining and fun multiplayer shooting game I have experienced on any platform, and after that “test”, I was hungry for more.
And one of the reasons for that is its color palette.
Super-writer and personal idol Luke McKinney has espoused the virtue of this game far better than I could ever dream to…but the point is, this idea that drab colors makes a game somehow more worthwhile is sillier than most politics. I have yet to experience my gameplay heightened by a pastiche of greys and browns, but I have had fun in those messes because the game itself was fun. I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t say that a brighter color scheme just…improves things.
From the moment you start Splatoon, you’re inundated with hyper-idiotic lingo. But you’re also inundated with a sea of whimsical colors that absolutely locks down the idea that this is a playground. It immediately lightens the mood, and a light and airy mood is something that makes gaming less “serious”. And, really, making gaming serious is kind of missing the point of gaming. It’s like being angry at children for sliding down a colorful slide in a playground.
WildStar is another game that happily wears the rainbow of colors on its sleeve, and has even shown ability to tell some serious story bits in spite of its palette choices. Nexus is a dangerous place, but it also never really feels like its an overt, uncomfortable threat. It’s a lot like a cartoon you’d see in Adult Swim, except written slightly more competently. Myriad people have already passed on the game simply because it used something other than “Tuff Dood Ass-Dirt” in its texturing and coloring. I’m almost positive that avoiding color was one of the villain’s motives of Rainbow Brite.
I’ve recently picked up Assault Android Cactus on the strength of a certain Green Mushroom’s writing. It’s not precisely a neon wonderland, but it has enough brightness and whimsy that I know that even if I’m being rained upon by incredible amounts of shooty death, I’ll probably enjoy myself. Or ram my head through a wall because I’m terrible. The wave of colors makes me feel safe. Welcome, somehow…despite the fact that most of those colors are trying to blow me apart. At least, though, I can return the hot-yellow favor.
The point where gaming feels like work is the point where I stop caring. It’s happening currently with XIV for me. It’s why I’m retreating now more than ever to a nautilus of eye-searing primary colors. More and more, gamers need to embrace the idea that being less than serious is a good, beneficial thing, and writing off a title wholly based on the merits of its colorfulness is intensely silly.
Perhaps it’s because gaming is more mainstream than it was before, and there’s this perceived idea that inclusion = invasion. That for one reason or another, making others feel welcome is pandering. Such idiotic feelings run deeper and darker than just a game’s color choice, as we all know, but that’s just pushing against the slowly sliding wall of progress. Everyone should be allowed to have fun. Tetris didn’t suddenly become less of a video game because it went to a handheld system that could display colors that weren’t varying shades of pea soup. It starts with understanding that a game can be good fun in spite of having a rainbow on your monitor.
There ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little color in your life. Sunshine in your gaming diet is just as vital and refreshing as sunshine on your skin.