We sat down with streamer Kolorblind, who has amazed viewers not only with her #1 Bastion play, but also started conversations regarding Blizzard’s colorblind features. In this two-part series, Kolorblind shares her introduction to streaming, Overwatch and discusses playing at the highest level while colorblind.
How did you get started with streaming? Was there a certain game that made you want to pursue it?
When I first started streaming I was actually still playing Team Fortress 2, which is what I was playing before Overwatch; but back then Steam had some kind of built-in streaming software that I was trying. It wasn’t really on Twitch much, but I would mainly just do it to get a couple friends watching me. I’d be like, “hey look, watch me play this new war game.” It wasn’t really a big stream. I think maybe I had like one or two viewers, and I used that every now and then. But once I started really getting into streaming, I was playing Overwatch I wanna say around Season 3, it was a while after launch. But that’s when I started playing a lot more Bastion in competitive and that’s when I started realizing, dang, I’m actually kind of good at this. I wonder if I stream this maybe people be interested.
So I would stream and get maybe five or six viewers, which was just totally mind blowing to me. That was crazy, like dang, five people are watching me play this video game. It was pretty cool. But after about a couple months of that really small viewer count, I eventually made a big accomplishment in Overwatch. I got to the top 500 for the first time by playing only Bastion, which back then was a big deal. It was when comp was still a new mode, the whole one-tricking heroes thing was a pretty big deal. So I got pretty popular just because of that alone; like on Reddit and Twitter, mostly YouTube, honestly is where I got a lot of my viewers. I was doing YouTube a lot earlier before I was doing streaming, but eventually they just kind of came like one thing.
So about 6 months after the game came out roughly is when I started getting a boost in popularity and that just kept going up. And then as it went up, obviously people saw me not only playing Bastion, but clips and stuff were going around, and it would always have my game looking really really odd, you know, with the crazy colors. So I always tell people that go, “why are these colors so messed up?”, and I’d be like, “well, this is the colorblind mode in the game. It’s pretty bad, isn’t it?” And people saw that it was really bad, and I was like, “yeah, Blizzard should make a new one”. So two years went by of that just kinda going back and forth, and now Blizzard finally did.
What were your first reactions to Overwatch’s colorblind filters? Did that impact how much you played the game?
I’ve got a bunch of older siblings, and they all are super into video games, so when the game first came out, they were all playing the closed beta for Overwatch. And I didn’t get in the closed beta, so I just had to watch them. And I was like, “dude, this looks like the coolest game ever! Like, I want to play the robot with the big gun!” I was watching them play, and then the open beta finally came out so I got to try it out for myself. And I boot up the game with them, and I remember my first match ever was Quick Play on Kings Row, and Bastion was the first hero I played, of course.
At the time I didn’t even know the game had a colorblind mode, so I was playing it normally. I go out there and I’m starting to fight, and I’m pretty good at shooters. But I’m just getting my ass handed to me, and I’m like, “guys, this game is really hard to play”, because all my siblings are colorblind too, and they were like, “yeah, it’s pretty rough”. I couldn’t see the enemies, I couldn’t see their health bars, there was just a lot of red going on my head and I had trouble with that. So I was like, “does the game have a colorblind mode or anything?” My brother was like, “well, it has one, it’s not very good though, you can go take a look at it”.
So I opened it up and I go through the Protanopia and the Deuteranopia filters and I’m like man, these are kind of cool, they don’t change the game that much. And then I get to the Tritanopia filter, and I’m like, what is this? I turn it on and it was really different and I go to the menu and see that the humans, the characters have purple skin, like what? What is going on? And my siblings were like, “oh that’s the Tritanopia filter, don’t use that one.”
So I tried to play the game just without a filter for a while. I figured maybe I could get used to it, but I could not do it. So I was messing around with the filters and I found out you can change the strength of them, like how powerful the filter is. I use the Tritanopia one because I really like how it makes the enemies green and purple. Those are two colors that are easy for me to tell apart, so I use that and I tone it down about halfway, and then I started playing like that. It wasn’t perfect, but I was like this is nice, this is better, you know? So I got so used to that so when I started streaming, I wouldn’t even notice the filter was on, so people would come and be like what the fuck are these colors? Well yeah, those are just my colors. It’s pretty funny.
Did other games that you played before have similar colorblind options?
Overwatch is the game I play that uses a filter, which means that it changes literally everything on the monitor. I played a couple of other games that had colorblind modes, I want to make sure that people know there’s a difference between those. A colorblind mode, in my opinion is, for example, I play this game called Screencheat, it’s some indie game out there that’s not very popular. But it’s a four player split-screen shooter where your characters are invisible so the point of the game is to look at other people’s screens to see where they are on the map to try to shoot them.
It’s pretty baller, but since the game is about screen watching, the maps are laid out into four sections of four colors: red, blue, green and yellow. And so anyone can look at the colors, like okay, they’re in the green section so I’ll go over there. But obviously, you got people who are colorblind, so that game put in a mode that keeps the colors the same, but it will put some patterns on there. So the red ones have got polka dots, greens got stars, yellow has stripes and blue is squares or something. So that way, even someone like me who can’t tell the difference between green and red will look at that. And I’ll be like, “oh man, they’re in the star section, or they’re in the striped section, it’s easy mode.” That’s how you do it.
Part Two of our interview with Kolorblind will be released tomorrow. Look forward to more on the impact the initial colorblind filter had on her gameplay, her reaction to Blizzard’s new colorblind features and hopes for the future.