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Quick reminder that old games weren't as pixelated as you may think they were because CRT monitors had built-in antialiasing, so modern displays shows more of the blocky pixels than you used to see.

You can especially see the difference in the hair and jacket of the attached examples using Beltiana's character profile from Batsugun.

@polychrome That said, "the individual pixels weren't meant to be seen by the player!" is an argument I see sometimes, and it falls flat when you look at e.g. the cover of Super Mario Bros. ;)

@noelle kinda depends on the game! Arcade machines, yeah they did a pretty good job hiding them usually.

Home consoles, definitely not, at least not during the early gens.

PC ... it depended on the resolution you were using 🤷‍♀️

@polychrome @noelle also two things with home consoles:

they couldn't exactly control your display (what stops you from connecting a high-resolution Trinitron with a 3D comb filter to an AV Famicom? - although they could've not released the AV Famicom)

and, for the Japanese consoles specifically, box art was often completely different between markets, so, what, say, Nintendo of America did on the heavily pixelated Super Mario Bros box art was not at all what Nintendo did for the drawn Japanese box art (and both box arts were present in different PAL markets)

@polychrome That's one of the reasons I use RetroArch over other emus. In its shaderpack it has several PAL/NTSC shaders that emulates CRTs more or less spot on.

Dragon Force for the Saturn is one of those games where it looks really bad when not playing to the strengths of being on an old CRT monitor.

@katnjiapus @polychrome N64 games really benefit from this as well. Playing Ocarina of Time or Majora’s Mask on a CRT or using shaders that mimic the natural scanlines really highlight just how much thought went into texture work and lighting in those games to create an illusion of depth and detail that depends on your brain filling in that fuzzy gap between scanlines. Modern lets play streamers look at these games and say ‘this game looks like ass’ when they’re not viewing this art on its intended canvas. Sort of like how those who came after the ancient Greeks and Romans associated bare stone sculpture with them, unaware that they were often adorned in colorful layers of paint in times long past. There’s a lot of difficulty in preserving the circumstances and technology that both explain and showcase an aesthetic against the passage of time and culture, even over relatively short periods.

@polychrome when we upgraded our PC from EGA to VGA back in the day, 200-line modes switched to line doubling so old CGA/EGA 320x200 games became *super blocky*

Kids these days don't know low-res used to look sorta ok ;)

@brion @polychrome This exactly - VGA (and VGA monitors) created the blocky look.

Fwiw, I remember actually preferring the blocky VGA graphics over the non-blocky low-res output on my Amiga on a multiscan monitor at the time, because I found seeing the space between scanlines more distracting / ugly than the big chunky pixels.

@polychrome Bonus points for using Batsugun for your reference images. <3

@polychrome I remember some games that looked worse when I upgraded from a CRT with .25 dot pitch to .21 dot pitch. Pixels were too sharp, lost a lot of the free antialiasing you got from fuzzy pixels. I can't help but feel that this would all be totally irrelevant now, because my eyesight has gone to crap. I get free antialiasing now when I take off my glasses, but it's a bit on the extreme side.

@lonnon starting with 4k and definitely with 8k displays we should be able to accurately recreate that effect on LCD including the shadow mask.

Best would be on self lit pixels like OLED and maybe quantum dots to recreate a proper CRT glow.

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