Geek Health

How I discovered I’m a bit colourblind

Vic 20 boot screen I’m a bit colourblind. It only affects certain ranges of colours. I first realised this when I got a Vic-20. No, really. The default screen colour was white, and the default border colour was cyan.

I thought cyan looked like green. People tell me it’s really a light blue, indeed I remember reading an interview with some Commodore engineers who had debated about whether to call it light blue or cyan.

There were eight colors available; white, black, red, cyan (light blue), purple, green, navy blue, and yellow.

Commodore history

In real life my colourblindness is so mild it only seems to affect one thing: spotting the numbers in Ishihara tests.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

14 replies on “How I discovered I’m a bit colourblind”

My first PC was a TRS 80 Coco, and I clearly remember wondering what the hell “cyan” and “magenta” were. I think I had a grand total of 16 colours, but the resolution for me to play with was like 80*40 or something. Surprising what pictures you can come up with though :)

I have friends who are twins and they are both really colourblind. When we were kids it was always funny – I remember once when we were about 6 or 7 they were almost at blows arguing over thier favourite socks which they were both claiming to be a different colour.

We always teased them that they were part dog which is why they couldn’t see colours properly.

I had a roomate in my university days that was colorblind. He would get upset if you asked him how he perceived a certian color but he would ask me to look at cloths sometimes to identify the color. To him a green traffic light appeared white and green stripes on his shirt appeared grey. He could not tell the difference between dark brown or navy pants and socks. I had another friend once who could not tell yellow and red apart and he would have to look at the order and not the color of traffic lights to tell a yellow from a red light. This was a problem when he came across a single flashing light and could not tell if it was yellow meaning proceed with caution or red meaning a stop sign.

I just took a different online color test (second external link on the wikipedia page) and got a perfect score. It had many boxes with a grid and a letter, number or shape behind the grid and some other colored boxes to identify. It seems to determine the type of colorblindness (Daltonism) one has. Did you try this test too?

I have the same issue – that Cyan just looks greenish to me.

These bloody Ishihara colour tests are what stopped me from joining the RAF when I was younger. I can see fine, it’s just a very mild difference in shades to me.

The alternative to Ishihara test Jed refers to describes me as being 47% likely to be a sufferer of Deuteranomaly (or red/green colourblindness), with the suffering element being green (deuteranopia).

It doesn’t affect my life one jot.

The first computer I used was a Sinclair ZX-80. I don’t recall if it had colours or not.

I really don’t get what’s wrong with purple and orange combo. It just sounds bright to me.

Goodness, you had a Vic 20 too? Obsolete within a year of coming out, as the Commodore 64 just came along!

I later had a couple of Tandy TRS80s which were actually very good machines for word processing (which was what I needed at the time). Indeed, I typed half the manuscript for a freiend’s book on one! (Can;t believe I did all that now without things like, er, a mouse!)

Back to the Vic 20, I, too, was puzzled by the word “cyan”. I knew what “magenta” was, though, as a result of growing up with Gerry Anderson’s “Captain Scarlet”!

Aaahh, the good ol’ days of the Commodore 64! When you could start loading up a game, go make a cup of tea, come back, and STILL wait a couple of minutes!! I still have mine, and it still works- well, the last time I connected it up was over a year ago! Was it just me, or did many of the games take longer to load than to play, because you’d wait 5 minutes to load a game, then after playing a minute of it, you’d realise it was crap, and reset it!! It was even worse with the tape deck- God, I can’t imagine I’d ever again wait half an hour to load a crap game!!!!!!
Boy, it did have a lot of crap games, but many great ones- classic ones!!
By the way, does anyone remember this ad and jingle from 20 years ago!?
Apart from the music, also loved the multi-coloured loading border screens that epileptics wouldn’t be able to watch! Great times!!

Only 5 mins? When I first got a C64, before TurboTape had been devised, some games took about 15 mins to load!

That Youtube video is a bit painful on the ears due to the muffly sound. Have a look around though, there are others.

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