Thanks to the influence of animation and Edward Tufte, in the design of my own games, I normally go with the judgement that visual contrast should match the relative importance of any object within the game. I’ve been trying to develop what is the exception going on in Hexagon, among others.
If you examine any single frame of Hexagon, it’s very clear and clean, black backround with strong silhouettes of the player’s triangle and the enclosing hexagons. There are fainter grey lines to show which pie segment of the game lines up. It’s only when you see it moving that you also get:
1) The spinning
2) The pulsing
3) The switching between red and yellow
These are all irrelevant to the simple gameplay itself, but they make up a big part of the visual look of the game. But in a sense, part of the gameplay is learning to see past the flashing lights and disorientation to what’s going on underneath.