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Are CRT-style scan lines important to you?


Flojomojo
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Are scan lines important to you?  

56 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you feel strongly about the presence/absence of CRT scan lines in old games?

    • Yes! Old graphics were designed to have color bleed, and I like the way they look.
      24
    • No! I don't mind the way old games look on modern displays.
      20
    • Other (please explain below)
      12


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This video purports to show the big difference scan lines can make for retro graphics. I know a lot of people here care deeply about the authentic experience they remember, and there's a case to be made for the art of the time being designed to have color bleed from the pixels on every other line.

 

My personal preference is to see everything, I don't care for the scanline effect, especially when it's applied artificially. I think it's a limitation of the technology of the time, kind of like plug-in cartridges for changing games. I don't think it's aesthetically important, but I know that might be a minority opinion among people who like old games.

 

I'm curious what other people here think, especially those that keep CRT displays around mainly for this reason. Do you go out of your way for scanlines, and how?

 

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Since I do emulation to relive the past I try to get the effect of a sharp good quality CRT. NTSC effects and scanlines are important to me. But subtly! Not 50% every-other-line!

 

Before we go off on yet another debate about emulation and CRT and LCD. Let me say that what I get today from nicely tweaked emulators (with good NTSC artifacts) is how I remember the games as a kid. Not necessarily how they actually were. Because, how they actually truly were is always going to be worse than we remember them today. Rose colors and sunglasses you know?

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Before we go off on yet another debate about emulation and CRT and LCD. Let me say that what I get today from nicely tweaked emulators (with good NTSC artifacts) is how I remember the games as a kid. Not necessarily how they actually were. Because, how they actually truly were is always going to be worse than we remember them today. Rose colors and sunglasses you know?

 

I think that's a good point -- and fighting about which is "best" is not my intention. I want mine to look like the screenshots in the instruction manual and box art, not my parents' fuzzy console TV, riddled with RF noise, especially if someone turned on a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner anywhere in the house. So for me, cleaner is better. We don't try to simulate VHS artifacts so it's straight up odd to me that some people chase imperfection in emulation.

 

I'm tempted to start another thread about analog headphone jacks but don't want to be accused of stirring the pot, angering the geezers, and summoning the Apple haters. :-)

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I don't like the look of strictly software rendered classic games. The edges are way too sharp and that flattens the look of the game, not in a 2d/3d sense, but in a paper cutout way. Kinda like the butt-ugly looking webpages everyone is chasing after just to chase after.

 

So I prefer the fuzzy edges and color imperfections that go with the artifacts. And there are a few games which make use of those artifacts to get alternate colors. Some emulators do it pretty good, some don't even bother.

 

What I completely dislike is the motor noise and CB ghosting we used to deal with. That's all part of the genuine old-school experience. I for one am glad it went away. Ohh sure it might be nice to see it once in a while as it really was, but to play in that RF soup for any length of time? Hell no.

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When I hooked up the Magnavox monitor I just got, connected my C64 and fired up Pac-Man, I was shocked at how it looked. I had forgotten the scanline look, but that brought it all back. My Apple RGB monitor doesn't really have that effect, not sure if it just has more lines or what.

 

I do remember in the early days of MAME I had a front end or something that had a simple scanline effect, and all you had to do was tick a checkbox to turn it on. I always turned it on; I thought it looked really good. I have a couple front ends now and one of them has various options for this, but none of them look right and they all seem to require a lot of tweaking. I've never been able to get it right.

 

When I play my older consoles at home, I hook them up to an LCD TV, so I don't get that look at all. Everything is still slightly blurry because of the RF input but the colors and pixels are all solid blocks.

 

I think scanlines *are* important for old school graphics to really look their best. I don't strictly need them, but I like them there more than I like them not there.

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Scan lines & color bleed, are a 'sign of the times', basically due to the limitations of the old technology. It's not something I care to replicate. As I get older, I've found that the strobe effect of CRT monitors and .42 dot pitch displays lead to eye strain. Then of course the size of those old monitors... eeech.

 

Personally, I found that replacing the display technology with slightly newer, but still old VGA output increased my enjoyment factor.

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"Other"

 

I don't really care about scanlines. I swore I'd never own another large CRT when I had to move one out of the basement years ago. I'd prefer to convert everything to LCD, but the reality is I have to keep a CRT around for my retro consoles. The last 3 out 3 LCD TVs (different brands) I've owned do a supremely crappy job of handling video from 240p consoles.

 

Issue #1: All of the ones I own seem to blur the 240p video very badly. The CRTs look pristine in comparison. I know I can drop $$$ to buy an upscaler, but I don't have a large hobby budget.

Issue #2: The LCD TVs do weird things with graphics that flicker, due to the TV using 480i mode to display 240p video. The effect is good in some cases (flicker actually is removed) or very bad in others (graphics are garbled). My preference is the authentic middle-ground.

Issue #3: LCD TVs have frame lag. A few extra frames of delay is really perceptible when playing twitch games, like 2600 Kaboom.

Issue #4: I really enjoy light gun games. I've used the other "sensor bar" type guns, and they aren't the same.

 

I'm amazed when people extol the virtues of using LCDs with classic consoles. Either they have the most amazing luck in picking models that behave nicely, or I am the Ziggy of classic gaming.

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I'm amazed when people extol the virtues of using LCDs with classic consoles. Either they have the most amazing luck in picking models that behave nicely, or I am the Ziggy of classic gaming.

 

They may be preaching to themselves to help eliminate buyer's remorse. They may also simply be amazed that a picture comes up onscreen - that it works is astounding.

 

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I believe that an old analog console must be matched with the display tech of its time. Much like how a new console today would suck on yesteryear's displays. Gotta match them.

 

And it's true, the majority of TV sets today do not jibe with 70's and 80's consoles. That's like a 40 year span in technology. And in an industry that is largely ignoring old gear. So no wonder why stuff doesn't look the best.

 

I'll never own a big CRT again. I'm satisfied with my 1084S monitors and smaller Trinitrons. That'll be enough CRT for me thankyouverymuch.

 

I only keep them around because they were what I had when I was a kid and they saw use with the Apple II.

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I do like scan lines in my pre-HD era games, because that's how I grew up with those games looking and they don't look quite right to me without them. More importantly though I'm a huge fan of console light gun games and there's just no way to play most of them without a CRT TV. That makes sticking with CRTs for retro gaming kind of a no-brainer for me, since I can't play a lot of my favorite games without them.

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i voted other. I own a few CRTs and a lcd but will play consoles on any of the sets.

 

Most of my old systems are modded with composite, s-video, component or VGA and look different on any set I use than I remember, lol.

 

I just haven't encountered a game that would help me choose a preference.

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I like how ironic it is that people get high end quality CRT like Sony monitors to have then est CRt tech... when the better CRT monitors touted to have no scanlines or at least less scanlines for a more crisp and brighter picture.

 

I don't mind scanlines. I play on CRT TVs because modern LCD usually make older video games, even the ones using SCART, look blurry/fuzzy, with either washed out colors or too bright colors, and tuning the TV for them take hours.

But when I found a good looking LCD TV? I do'nt mind plugging even my Aatri 2600 on it because yay, beeg screen.

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As much as I like the CRT and scanlines, sometimes reality have to give way. Unless I had lots of room to connect older system to a Wega TV and modern systems (anything designed for 3D real time game starting with PSX, Saturn, and N64) to LCD panel. Right now my Wega is tucked into garage and everything else I have are connected to a single 32" LCD TV except for my 128D which has its own CRT monitor. (old school RGBi not usable on modern LCD + expensive converters for 128 mode that I won't use often, I'll stick with tiny 12" RGB+CVBS CRT)

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I like how ironic it is that people get high end quality CRT like Sony monitors to have then est CRt tech... when the better CRT monitors touted to have no scanlines or at least less scanlines for a more crisp and brighter picture.

 

I don't mind scanlines. I play on CRT TVs because modern LCD usually make older video games, even the ones using SCART, look blurry/fuzzy, with either washed out colors or too bright colors, and tuning the TV for them take hours.

But when I found a good looking LCD TV? I do'nt mind plugging even my Aatri 2600 on it because yay, beeg screen.

 

 

yea I dont personally remember scan lines in my then 20 year old zenith floor model tv shoved in the basement, back when Altered Beast was new... A lot of old tv's just were not that sharp even when new, trinatron's biggest selling point was its shadow mask which opened up the mask for less lines and brighter pictures.

 

I do recall our old apple Monitor II had some glorious scanlines but that was black n green heh. What I do miss are round glowing pixels what looks bad as... on a crt looks like MS paint once you get rid of all the natural blending and antialasing

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I'm gonna be honest and say I do NOT like the straight up pixelated look of non-filtered emulators because I never remeber seeing classic games look like that. I get enough "pixel" graphics in indie games where you can tell the hipster devs only played retro games on emulators and not actual consoles and CRT's.

 

But then again, artificial scanlines alone are a cop-out since arcade games actually have a grilled screen look when looking up close (I've noticed this on a Ms. Pac-Man machine I've played on at a nearby pizza place). But on console collections, it's the best I can get on a HD display w/o having to use the smudgy smoothing filters.

 

I really like the CRT curvature look that MAME now uses, but like the emulator itself it takes lots of work to get right...

 

As for simulated color bleed, I only use that for 2600 emulation because of just getting the colors to look right. For example, Yars on an old TV looks white but is purple on all emulations.

 

 

Edit: Ok, the above is how I feel but this next section is what I actually do...

 

For NES emulators, I go with simulating composite video displays since it looks realistic but without having the static interference of RF. The 16-bit ones I use S-Video filters so they do look sharper but not too pixelated.

 

For Genesis games on my Xbox, I not only play non-filtered but widened the screen because I didn't care for the cramped borders. That's because I play from a distance from the HDTV. But on the Steam version when I'm sitting up close (how I used to play games in my old bedroom) I simulate the TV look, which yes it's scanlines but also adds curvature.

 

Arcade games on Xbox, I alone since it's good enough because it's just playing the games on a modern display. The only exception I have is for Capcom Arcade Cabinet and Final Fight: Double Impact, for those the scanlines go well with the arcade bezel art.

 

Once I get MAME setup on the PC, I will go for full CRT and bezel simulation...

Edited by MrMaddog
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Scanlines.. To my eye, they only look good on 8 to 16 bit consoles..32 bit I could take it or leave it but I dislike them on anything 64 bit and up.

I hope to upgrade all my consoles to VGA, RGB and/or HDMI soon. The only HD console setup I have and use is a VGA modded Dreamcast through a computer monitor. I have a Extron a/v to vga box but it crapped out on me.

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I'm curious what other people here think, especially those that keep CRT displays around mainly for this reason. Do you go out of your way for scanlines, and how?

For all the 'really old' systems I absolutely refused to give up CRT displays despite the modern hassle of size/maintenance of them because of the fidelity in rendering the experience for the time.

 

The XRGB-mini changed everything, and I now have no active CRTs.

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I don't keep CRTs around because of the scanlines. It's more about having a setup that is insanely responsive (even the Framemeister, as awesome as it is, has a little bit of lag). Also, it's a situation of it being what I am used to gaming on. My main consumer CRT in my game room is something I've had for 15 years now. The picture still looks great even via composite (something that can't be said for other models), and only half of my systems are RGB modded or have RGB compatibility out of the box (which I would then connect to the Framemeister, and then to a HD display). My CRT setup allows me to use everything else stock out of the box, while still providing solid picture quality. There might be a time when I go 100% upscaler, but that will most likely be when my consumer CRT dies on me.

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For all the 'really old' systems I absolutely refused to give up CRT displays despite the modern hassle of size/maintenance of them because of the fidelity in rendering the experience for the time.

 

The XRGB-mini changed everything, and I now have no active CRTs.

 

Being able to move your old consoles back to the main entertainment area next to your XBONE or PS4 etc.. is outstanding. I went the same route, out of all the gaming junk I've bought over the years. That was easily the best investment.

 

 

I also wonder if it will be updated to output in 4k, to completely reduce lag in those TVs.

 

They may at some point, but I don't think a 1080P, or 720p upped to 4K really causes any sort of lag at all. Both those resolutions evenly scale into 4K. The leo bodnar lag tester currently only does 1080P max, and the folks over at displaylag.com have been testing 4K sets for a while now. The newer samsungs are down to 18ms, and that's presumably done using the 1080P source.

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I don't think much of scan lines because the television I played games on when I was younger (as far as I can remember) didn't have scan lines so much as it had a hexagon effect. I really don't remember what brand it might have been.

 

I don't notice scan lines much on my Sony Trinitron, either. ... Maybe just my slowly fading eyesight?

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