Why pixel art looked better on old televisions

ASPECT-stretching.jpg

NFG of the NFGForum has an interesting series of posts about aspect ratios and scanlines in pixel art from the 8- and 16-bit days, how they were shown on old CRTs, and how that affects display on modern digital displays. Not a ton of new info for veterans of the emulated game scene, but still a pleasant overview all the same.

A couple of years ago I got into a fiery argument on a forum with someone who thought he knew the ‘right way’ to display a video game, and all other ways were simply wrong ’cause the designers wouldn’t want it that way.. He went through great lengths to add screen curvature, scanlines and even reflections of overhead lights to try and replicate the appearance of gaming on a CRT monitor.

He was obviously deranged.

In the above image, the leftmost art is from the Super NES versions, the rightmost from the arcade versions, and the middle is a representation of what the Super NES art looked like when stretched out on a typical home CRT. Not much difference! [via GameSetWatch]

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2 Responses to Why pixel art looked better on old televisions

  1. Anonymous says:

    I tend to notice pixellation less with moving images. But at some point your imagination takes over and it doesn’t matter so much what’s on the screen. Sometimes the pictures are better on radio!

    In the pictured example there is little difference in the three aspect ratios, but mess with it too much and you do spoil it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s kind of amusing to see comments like, “They’re a little bit blurry, but you’d never notice the difference on a CRT,” when I am, in fact, reading it on a CRT monitor, and can see the difference quite clearly. But of course he must mean low resolution CRTs, specifically.

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