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Thread Author: merlin
Thread ID: 3761
Thread Info
There are 11 posts in this thread, and it has been viewed 4550 times.
  View Thread
Who is here? 1 guest(s)
Which aspect ratio do you prefer for older games?
4:3 4:3 80%[8 Votes]
16:9 16:9 0%[0 Votes]
no preference no preference 20%[2 Votes]
Total Votes : 10
 Print Thread
Retro Games and Aspect Ratio
I'm just curious which aspect ratio do people here use when playing older console or arcade games (e.g. on Mame). I'd be interested to hear what people think. Do you think it matters even?

I notice quite a few people when playing older games on a widescreen TV or monitor stretch the image to widescreen. Personally I think it looks weird when you're playing something like Samurai Shodown 2 in 16:9 aspect ratio. When playing retro games on a widescreen TV I always have it set to 4:3 aspect ratio with black borders at the sides.

I've noticed an increasing trend on Youtube where retro gameplay videos are stretched to 16:9 aspect ratio. I find it hard to understand why people would do that but it seems like I might in the minority on this. If I'm looking for a gameplay video of an older game I always try and avoid widescreen ones.

This isn't intended as an LCD vs CRT debate since both types are available in 'normal' and widescreen models.

Please vote in the poll!



If a game was designed to be played in 4:3 it should be played in 4:3! Stretching the video looks shitty and has quickly become a new pet peeve for me. People who do this and think it looks fine are probably the same people who stretch SD video on their HDTVs and then wonder why everyone looks fat. My emulated games run in their original aspect ratio, and all of my classic consoles are hooked up to my old SDTV.

It reminds me of a simpler time before HDTVs were the norm. People used to buy movies in "full screen" because they "want to see the whole thing, not those stupid black bars" even though full screen actually was cutting off the sides! Luckily the advent of HDTVs and BluRay has helped me win this argument.
I never stretch anything be it games or film etc. It just ruins the experience for me as I want the best presentation I can get out what ever it may be and that's usually the way it was originally produced.

Not to rant here but I love video tech Smile

When it comes letterbox vs full screen movies which is actually called Pan & Scan the idea is to dynamically keep the bulk of the action in the center of the viewing area based on its shape so depending on the scene you will see the edges of the frame when the action moves into that area. In reality you really aren't missing anything pertinent to the film itself as the edited camera isn't static but it seems most people really don't understand that.

Personally I think its the worst thing you can do to a movie though most movies would be an unwatchable mess on a 4x3 format without it. Its kind of like turning a Pontiac Fiero into a Ferrari kit car. it will never be the real thing and pales in comparison when you really look at it. Even if the display area is small when boxed you will still get the scope of the width of the frame and become drawn into it. Kind of like turning any sharp settings off to allow your eyes to actually see into the entire frame instead of having to focus on small points of information [ that don't actually exist on the source material ] which wont allow the brain to take it all in at once. Its a small thing that has a huge impact.

That level of immersion just isn't possible with Pan & Scan. Now that there are standardized tables for viewing distance vs screen size and aspect ratio based on the human eyes capabilities you can actually get the same immersion experience out of any size screen at the proper distance which means after a short period of adjustment you wont notice any Letterbox effect at all. Speaking in generalities if most people took time to actually look into this stuff instead of just getting the biggest TV, cheap sound systems etc they would realize they were hurting their experience before they even get started.

There has never been a better time than now for the Home Theatre enthusiast as well as the regular non tech person who wants a great in home experience.
Edited by candycab on 06. January 2012 17:58
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I always prefer original aspect ratio of the games. They don't look right when stretched imo.
I remember years ago ( back in 1998 ) i bought a Panasonic GAOO wide CRT rear projection TV, and used to play all my games on that, but it did have a 4:3 mode, and it also had 2 levels of zoom, both of which stretched the image vertically and left it the same horizontally, so in the case of any games that had boarders top and bottom, i could get rid of them.

My screen these days is a 4:3 120 inch, and i went with a 4:3 format specifically cause i play a hell of alot of retro games. I would much rather project my 16:9 and 2.35:1 movies within the 4:3 screen to give my the tubes in my CRT a much longer life.

You cant play these older games stretched out to 16:9, they look stupid...
Edited by NEO-GEO man on 07. January 2012 06:21
I agree with you Merlin, i much prefer the 4:3 ratio on Youtube videos.

On my TV which is widescreen, i find it really frustrating because its not a huge widescreen TV so if i use 4:3 - the picture isnt that big, which kind off spoils the effect of playing on your TV but i do use 4:3 almost always to play old retro style games.

However... when i play Breakers Rev on Neo Geo i like to use the next size up which is between full widescreen and 4:3 and is in a fairly correct ratio. That game just seems to work in that mode. On my Dreamcast i almost always use the full screen mode but the one which cuts a little off the top and bottom off the screen so its still in a fairly correct ratio. It doesnt seem to matter with 3D games so much and i do like to play games full screen.

I was in heaven when games started being made for widescreen Tvs, no more losing bits of the screen!
Mini-Reviews of films I have just watched :
Mini-Reviews of ZX Spectrum games :
Whos idea was it for widescreen to become the standard for TVs anyway?? They tried pushing this a fair few times with almost zero success, and before you know it, you can now pretty near only buy wide screens....
Thanks for the replies and votes. Good to know you guys feel the same way. Stretching the picture does look really bad I think. It might seem obvious to us to that these games should be played in 4:3 aspect ratio but a surprisingly large number of people these days think it looks better stretched. I see quite a few Neo Geo gameplay videos on Youtube that are widescreen. I remember a few members at NGFL posted pics of their set up and you could see they also stretched the picture.
Yeah I agree 100%, you gotta play retro games on 4.3. I have a Sony widescreen crt which has a lovely picture for old consoles but I always reduce the screen to 4.3 as its the way they were supposed to be played.

Merlin that cool Mame disk you did for me I actually swapped my lcd monitor over for my crt one when I play it as mame games look better on crt ( dont look pixelated).
If it's designed for 4:3, then play it 4:3. Anything else is a god-damned sin.

shot in the eye
shot in the brain
shot in the ass...
I'm indifferent when it comes to aspect ratio. By my (casual gaming) eye, the difference is unnoticeable, as long as the video fits to the widescreen and isn't stretched, whereby part of the actual screen is pushed off the monitor screen (I forget why that happens to a few games in MAME4DC I believe it's because they have a fixed low-res, has nothing to do with the emulator). What really bugs me, though, is when an emulator doesn't feature (good) bilinear filtering, or some other sort of effect to make an LCD screen look CRT-like. Of course, you're screwed if you use actual games and consoles; there is no bilinear filtering. Still, depending on your LCD monitor size, the sharp pixelation may be at an excusable level (smallish monitor).
Edited by shion on 03. February 2012 18:37
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