A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Retro Video Game Video Part 1. A Quick Overview and Introduction

While those of us in these modern enlightened times have access to our Component and HDMI for videogame and disk based filmic bliss, in the previous days we had lesser options.

I will be doing a quick overview of the middle 3 with an example right now.
(Its late and I probably should just wait till Monday.  Ill add in some more pictures and stuff then so if you really want, wait for Monday and read it again then or something.)

See, when making a run to Gamestop last week, they had this little Legacy S Video/Composite cable thingie designed to let your PS1, X Box, and N64/Gamecube systems run with S Video instead of the generally lower quality RF or Composite.

Back in the day our game systems and computers used RF modulators, usually hooked into a VHF switchbox which was the absolute WORST in terms of video quality and fidelity.

Then many TVs started coming "Cable Ready" and no longer required a 300 ohm converter you screwed into your VHF/UHF antenna screws that your Coaxial RF modulator or Cable.. cable screwed into.

So you ended up with a picture sort of like this with your late 80s/early 90s consoles:

While the above is from a widescreen 32" TV taken with a camera with the flash off, it sort of gives you the idea.

(The game itself is the sublime "UN Squadron" for the Super Nintendo.)

There is lots of bleed, and the only benefit is the natural pixel smoothing that is going on.

But then this late 80s RF box malarkey wasn't good enough.  In the 90s it was not just time for Klax.  It was also time for Composite to become the king, and sadly, still the default video hook up you get with even systems that should come with Component or HDMI.

Notice how in general the color bleed is lessened?  Composite made things a bit better overall, taking our video from a single screwed cable connection into 3 cables, 2 for stereo sound, and 1 for video.

It helped, and on the normal standard definition TVs of the day it was pretty much A OK.

But for those of you with higher quality TVs the 90s also had a nichier option, one many consoles even of the day did not have support for unless you did it yourself.

S-Video!  This connection used the circular "DIN" type plugs with multiple pins so many computer products used.  For some older game systems this is the best you get as they never supported anything better.

Look at how sharp and CRISP everything is, even just taken as a photograph.  You can see individual pixels and whatnot.  Its the best you can get for many classic machines.  Luckily for me, the SNES, N64, and Gamecube all used the same video output port so my universal video cable I got for a whopping 13 dollars lets all 3 machines play as good as they can on my HDTV.

Sadly in this modern TV world many of our older systems look god awful on them.  While we can run to emulation and just get video perfection on our computer monitors nothing beats playing on a real machine, and if you actually care about playing your games legally, in many cases its the only way certain games can be played.

Hopefully next week I can continue this series with a few more examples, some pictures of various games and systems on different outputs, and maybe even give a few recommendations of where to find the best video cables for your machines.

A great game doesn't stop being fun because its old.

But like a classic car, running it in tip top shape is the best way to do it!

No comments:


Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
Southeastern CT, United States
I like to play nerd games! I am a nerd! Join our nerd ways at https://www.facebook.com/groups/112040385527428/