Blue screen

(Simon Orton) #1

As regular players will know, when your opponent stops the timer before you in a head-to-head game, the outside of your screen turns blue to let you know they’ve finished. At that point, you can’t win on memorization time, so you may as well take the full 60 seconds for memorization and hope that you win on score.

For a while I’ve been considering whether Memory League might actually be better without the blue screen notification, for the following reasons:

  1. The blue screen can be very distracting during memorization, particularly if you’re not used to it.

  2. As a spectator, I would prefer to see games where one player does 24 seconds and another does 27 seconds, rather than games where one player does 24 seconds and the other takes 60 seconds.

  3. As a competitor, I think it could make the game more exciting if I don’t know how long my opponent took for memorization until the end.

  4. Sometimes, when the memorization times are very close, a competitor sees the blue screen but is already clicking Finished and can’t stop themselves in time. In these cases, it seems unfair that the competitor can’t take the full 60 seconds for memorization, but if they had been a couple of seconds slower, they could.

On the other hand, the blue screen does enhance the feeling of playing against someone in real time, so that could be an argument for keeping it.

I’d be interested to hear any thoughts anyone has about this. Do you think the blue screen is a good thing?

(Ben Pridmore) #2

Interesting question… I really like the blue screen, but maybe that’s just because I’ve always seen it as a central feature of Memory League. I think we’d really lose something if it was removed, because it wouldn’t feel like competing against an opponent any more.

On the other hand, all your arguments are entirely sensible, and I might just be clinging to the blue screen for the sake of tradition… :slight_smile:


I’m one of those people that get thrown totally off track when I see the blue screen, sometimes ending up with me freezing for several seconds. I still think that it would be nice for the blue screen to stay. It’s something that makes ML feel like a real competition, where you are running head-to-head with someone else and not just comparing final results in the end.

I also think Ben phrased it quite nicely too:


Could we perhaps experiment without it during the third season of ML League?

Along with making Florian’s sheet more accessible, it would give the chance to the competitors to have a clue as to what to expect from their opponents in the different disciplines and make a judgement call as to whether to go for a good time or to safe it.

  • Marcin’s post on FB about the blue screen issues at the Scandinavian Open, which might be another argument against it:

(Ben Pridmore) #5

I’m not very technically-minded, but I can’t help thinking that Marcin’s lag issues must have been caused by his mobile internet connection, despite what he says. I’m surprised everyone wasn’t using the same connection there, like they have in the other live competitions.

But this could be an issue that can get in the way of online matches, where one player has a bit of a lag. I don’t remember seeing anything particularly like this, but it sounds like something that could easily happen, and cause confusion.


I would suggest that both players get to choose whether they want to have the blue screen in the match or not. And in case they don’t agree mutually, there’s a ‘random button’ option. That would add another twist as both players wouldn’t know whether the blue screen element will be there in the match or not.


Hi Simon

I haven’t been active on memory league in quite a while since I quit last year. The blue screen was one of the main reasons why I quit. My view is very subjective, but I will explain it below for those interested.

I used to play images very regularly with about 500 ranked games. But over time as I improved, it got to the point where I would always finish ahead of my opponent which meant I would always be up against a 30/30 score in 60 seconds. In other words, my win was purely based on my own accuracy. Eventually online matches felt like I didn’t have an opponent and it was just me vs my accuracy. Despite this, I thought it would still be fun playing because I like watching people improve and to train together. But how is my opponent going to improve against me if he/she is always scoring for 30/30 in 60 seconds?

After a while I felt that playing online had no meaning to me and on top of that I felt like I was wasting other peoples time. They could be practicing harder by pushing their limits instead of playing against me and going for 60 seconds. Every now and then I played a few regular opponents who would push for speed and these matches which were A LOT more exciting! It was always a lot of fun when I was paired up with Sylvain Estadieu or Anna Chen and a few others. As someone who loves to see others improve and to experience serious competition, memory league images had nothing left to offer. Of course, one can argue that its up to the individual to want to push their score in a match, but I feel the blue screen incentivises them not to do that. In my opinion, serious competition is full speed vs full speed.

No blue screen definitely has it’s downfalls too and Maskow has a good point that blue screen is the only interaction between competitors. However, it may possibly introduce some psychological interactions and elements to the game. Going for a safe 60 seconds will be risky because maybe your opponent will go for a safe 50 seconds. Once again, we still may not see full speed vs full speed which is what I personally would like to see, but maybe it will be more interesting?

These are just some of my thoughts on the matter. I could definitely go into a lot more detail since I think no blue screen also has some faults but ill leave that for another day :slight_smile:

  • Kaka


FYI there are also some comments on Facebook being posted about this topic, on this link:

I’m just posting this for reference. Would be nice if we actually kept the discussion in here, on ArtOfMemory. :slight_smile:

(Dietmar P.) #9

In my experience, the blue screen can be quite distracting sometimes. It could be beneficial for some players to change the background not to blue, but a more subtle color. Maybe a shade of beige or bright yellow. People who like to know when the opponent is finished could still notice it, but it would also be easier to ignore the change and keep up concentration.

(Francis Blondin) #10

Very good arguments on both sides, but personnally I would vote for getting rid of it. My two main reasons are that it can often makes you lose focus and that it’s too bad that when you see it it removes any incentive for you to try to be fast.


I think I’m going to have to agree with Kaka and a few others in not being a big fan of the blue screen. I’ve been on both ends of images matches; in cases where after my opponent finishes, I see the blue flash, I just relax and take the full 60 seconds and almost always get 30/30, and when I win it feels a bit like a hollow victory if my opponent scored 28/30 but did it in 18 seconds. On the other side (which has happened a LOT more to me), it feels a little frustrating because you feel like you accomplished a tougher thing scoring 28/30 in 18 seconds. I guess I just like it when you’re both pushing for as fast a time as possible while still being accurate.

(Simon Orton) #12

The blue screen has now been removed as a trial for season 4 of the league.

After trying it in a few games, I strongly prefer NOT having the blue screen, but let us know what you think!

Something else I’ve been considering, which would reintroduce some interaction between players during a game, is the ability to check your opponent’s score during recall. So, if you want, you could press a button and briefly see your opponent’s memo time, score, and whether they’ve finished recalling or not. That seems like it might be useful and fun.