I’ve been spending a good deal of time playing “The Bigs 2,” 2K Sports’ arcade-style baseball game, which allows you to create a fictional big-league player and try to land him in the Hall of Fame, not by trying to accumulate 3,000 hits over 20 tedious seasons, but by besting digital versions of actual Hall of Famers. A full-fledged review will be coming along soon enough, but I just wanted to comment on one thing that jumped out on me as I played the game (rated E10+, $60 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, $50 on Wii, $40 on PlayStation Portable, $20 on PS2 and DS).
In “The Bigs 2,” you start the Become a Legend mode as a star who’s rehabbing in Mexico, trying to make it back to the major leagues after a terrible injury. It’s a nice idea in that you don’t have to start off as a traditional rookie and play 15 to 20 seasons to make the Hall of Fame. And the injury aspect of things means that you begin the game with a pretty weak slate of skills, which you improve by accomplishing a variety of in-game goals (throw out a runner, steal a base, etc.) and completing various practice-themed minigames.
The contact-themed minigame is the focus of my ire today. The premise of the game is fair. You stand side-by-side with another team’s star, and try to hit the baseballs that spew out of what looks like a little coffee can on the ground next to you. More points are rewarded for solid contact, but the main goal is to hit as many of the balls as possible. In later phases of the minigame, though, some of the balls, colored green, are worth extra points, while others, colored red, are to be avoided. If you make contact with those balls, the game will subtract points from your score.
Is the concept of colorblindness completely foreign to the designers who worked on “The Bigs 2?” The design pitfalls inherent in relying on gamers to differentiate between red and green, and the struggle of colorblind gamers to put an end to this color scheme, has been fairly well documented. Given that red-green colorblindness is reportedly the most common type, developers of most first-person shooters with online multiplayer feature a red team that competes against a blue team. Asking a colorblind gamer to tackle “Perfect Dark Zero,” which features red and green teams, always seemed a tad sadistic to me. And so does “The Bigs 2’s” contact minigame. As far as I can tell, a gamer with red-green colorblindness would literally have to have someone sitting on the couch next to him, telling him which balls to swing at and which to avoid. Sound fun? Eh, not so much.