Friday, February 10, 2012

Free market isn't blind to colorblindness

This is pretty cool. Video game code monkeys got together at the UK-based Global Game Jam last week to promote accessibility for people with disabilities. You know, people like me.

It's not just the color deficient that the group focused on, they also promoted making games playable by people missing a hand or more.

Is it bad that I've had multiple daydreams about how losing an arm in a war would seriously cramp my ability to wield an Xbox 360 controller without dealing with unscrupulous vendors?

From The Guardian:

"It was all kicked off by Tara Voelker, the chair of the IGDA's accessibility group, as part of our ongoing efforts to raise developer awareness," says Ian Hamilton, a veteran designer and accessibility consultant, overseeing the implementation of the Global Game Jam's accessibility strand in the UK. "The reason for doing it via GGJ is that a competition is a good way to reward people for taking an active role, while letting everyone else there learn something about accessibility."

"Even a simple thing, like choosing blue instead of green for a team colour, as Treyarch recently did with their colour-blind friendly mode for Call of Duty: Black Ops, can make your game playable by significant swathes of the population that would otherwise have had great difficulty. The red/green colourblindness that Treyarch addressed affects 8% of males, meaning they were finally able to tell their team-mates from their enemies."
This is people coming together and doing things because they want to, ahead of regulation. Plus they made a multiplayer game that only requires a single button. In the future, there will be snakes - snakes that seek to eat their own tails:


  1. As a fellow color deficient brother I can appreciate this. However, when you say, "This is people coming together and doing things because they want to, ahead of regulation", it sounds like you're implying they're doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. I'm sure there are some people who genuinely care, but when we're talking about 8% of 60% of the entire gaming community, we're talking about a lot of bucks at stake.

  2. Thank you Michael, that's a great point. You've done a great job of demonstrating the logic of free market capitalism, that people will do things that benefits the consumers not out of the goodness of their hearts, but out of a desire for profits.

    I figured I've made this case enough times and just wanted to let this one stand, but I totally agree with you.

  3. I do have to wonder what your point is, Mr. Hawkins. Surely you realize that most things which get done don't get done out of the goodness of men's hearts. I don't get my food or my shirt or my home or my water or my heating or my computer because there are lots of nice people in the world; I get them because I do things for other people which they value more than the things they do for me. I don't know why you have such an aversion to this.

    That is to say, I understand why you'd wish people got together and sang koombaya and did things for others out of generosity and kindness, but that's not what humans are and we both know it. I don't see the point in bemoaning something which can't be changed.

  4. First, other Michael pretended like I was demonstrating the logic of free market capitalism. I did no such thing. Second, I don't understand why you're lecturing me on the fact that people are often greedy when that was the entire premise of my first post.

  5. Because I knew it would push your buttons.

    More seriously, I'm getting the general vibe that you don't approve of greed as an incentive. You keep saying things like 'it's not a bad thing to have a heart' and you dismiss soldiers for joining the military for economic reasons. (As in, not morally acceptable reasons.) You acknowledge that self-interest is a good incentive, but you don't seem comfortable with it.

    My apologies if I've misread you and you're actually a free market capitalist. Given that you just said that you did not attempt to justify free market capitalism, please forgive me if I doubt that I'm that far off the mark.

  6. I'm not against capitalism. I just think we should take after a place like Sweden.

    I told Nate it's not a bad thing to have a heart due to his pride of being an emotionally empty curmudgeon. Or, rather, due to him presenting himself as such. That he had an emotional reaction to something - to anything - surprised me.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with the economic reasons soldiers have for joining the military. If you get into the details of the discussion I had with Nate (not that I would expect you to do that by any means), you'll see somewhere in there where I said it wasn't a bad thing. As I said in my blog post, if I was offered enough money I might have considered joining at one point. (In fact, I would actually like to go through the crappiness of boot camp simply for the challenge of it.) I probably wouldn't have signed up, but it would have been a real consideration. My problem was with the idea of supporting people who are in something for some many various reasons.

  7. I'm glad that cleared up your soldier story at any rate. Reading through the arguments you and Nate get into can be quite the challenge.

    I still don't entirely understand the soldier article, but I think it's more because you're using 'support our troops' in a way I'm not used to. (That is, support for each individual troop member instead of support for the military in general.)

    Sorry for pegging you wrong.

  8. I think I understand M-Hawks opposition now, as it confused me before.

    I should have used the term "market forces" instead of "free market capitalism" as it needlessly brought the issue of regulation levels to bear.

    I stand by my position, however, that the greed of merchants encourages firms to meet the needs of their customers.

    M-Hawks statement is perfectly in tune with Adam Smith's famous quote:

    "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."