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Old 03-22-2016, 05:46 AM
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Default High Fidelity Classic Gaming

I posted these thoughts originally in the Revive Retronauts thread, but it occurs to me that this could be an interesting thread in its own right, so let's start the discussion...

***

High Fidelity Classic Gaming was probably my favourite episode of Retronauts ever, and I've been listening since back in the 1up days. I'm by no means a stickler for perfect reproductions of classic games, but the episode got me thinking about why I revisit games from older generations, and what I want out of that experience.

I don't have a whole lot of nostalgia for the 8 and 16 bit eras, despite living and playing through them. Those games were fun in the past, and I'm okay with leaving them there (for the most part). I do, however, increasingly enjoy experiencing old games for the first time, to explore their mechanics and ideas. There are so many amazing, one-of-a-kind experiences that have just become trapped in amber. A recent example would be Mole Mania (on the 3DS virtual console). I barely even knew that game existed back in 1996. I was too blinded by Pokemania! Though crystal clear graphics and sound would be nice, it doesn't seem key to the experience for me.

The discussion about disc drives breaking down and CD-based games becoming useless artifacts, however... That struck a nerve... There are a few Dreamcast games that are near and dear to my heart, but only a few. 20 years from now, will I want to pay money to reconstruct a functioning Dreamcast from aftermarket parts, just to perfectly experience those games? How do we predict the future of our own nostalgia? Can we?
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:23 AM
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Before I came to Japan, my viewpoint was "emulation's good enough." In some cases, it still is, but... having pretty easy access to original versions of the games, and cheap "clone" systems that can run them makes owning actual SFC cartridges a better proposition. Can't really say for sure that they're as authentic as if I were playing on an actual SFC system, but at least mentally, it feels more authentic because I'm actually slapping a cartridge in and turning on a power switch and all that.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:26 AM
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I've been going through an interesting bit of nostalgia/bucket list type motivation and replaying old games lately.

I have never, ever been the person who cared to much for perfectly realizing the exact conditions that I enjoyed my old games in.
I recently embarked on a quest to beat old NES games that I loved as a kid but never beat then. So far this year I've beaten Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2 and Zelda 2. I played both of those on my Wii U VC. I only cared about the gameplay. Learning, as you said, how to play a game in ways that perhaps escaped me as a kid. This became apparent in Zelda 2 in particular because it's pretty clear to me that I just didn't GET experience points and levels back then.

I've never cared too much for the perfect high fidelity experience that I might get from say, an Analogue NT. Or hooking up my old systems to a CRT TV. I was perfectly happy with various VC and PSN related ways to replay.

Till I bought Megaman Legacy Collection on PS4. The gameplay in MM games is so tight, so twitch, that I finally personally discovered HDMI input lag. It made MM2, an easy game I've played a zillion times almost unplayable. I couldn't believe it. To the point I almost regret buying it on PS4 when I could have gotten it on 3DS and experienced no lag. I researched and found ways to reduce that lag to make the games playable again, but it got me thinking about the same thing you've talked about here.

I don't know how far we need to go in perfectly reproducing the graphics and sound of the era, but we do need to pay closer attention to the gameplay being recreated.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:54 AM
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A lot of video game nostalgia is really just childhood nostalgia. I have a soft spot for 8-bit and 16-bit gaming, I do occasionally return to games I last played many moons ago, I still have all of my old Nintendo Power magazines and I even sometimes glance through them wistfully, and so on and so forth.

But I'm 36. I really can't extricate my childhood from video games, particularly the NES and SNES. I grew as they grew.

And that's part of where the nostalgia comes from, the magic of childhood ( which seems overly poetic and isn't magical for a lot of people, but the word fits.) I have incredible nostalgia for things like Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden (NES), Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Soul Blazer, and Earthbound. Or do I simply have nostalgia for the childhood that surrounds those games? Mega Man reminds me renting Mega Man games when I would go to my dad's house every other weekend - my parents divorced very early in my life - and, since dad passed away a few years ago at the ripe old age of 52, I've grown more inclined to revisit the NES Mega Man titles. But that's not really for the sake of Mega Man, is it? Ninja Gaiden was introduced to me by my younger stepbrother. I remember wasting countless hours watching him attempt to finish Ninja Gaiden 2 without dying until, one lazy Sunday morning, I watched him finally do it. I made fun of that same stepbrother for coveting Secret of Mana before it was released - "Dude, that game looks lame. It's certainly no Final Fantasy! - and then eating crow when it ended up being pretty fantastic. Soul Blazer? I remember seeing it for the first time in the pages of Nintendo Power, renting it (and easily because no one knew what the fuck it was), and being amazed. Earthbound? My stepbrother had come from out of state for a visit - we had moved by this point - and we spent a week of summer vacation going through the game, reading the instruction-booklet-manual that was packaged with it, commenting about how weird it was.

Again, none of this really has much to do with video games, does it?

On the flip side, I have friends who are younger than me who feel the same way about, say, Kingdom Hearts. I was already too old, though, the magic had long since vanished. I enjoyed Kingdom Hearts; I have zero nostalgia for it. I thought FFX was a lot better than people gave it credit for being, but I don't get the warm and fuzzies like I do whenever I play FF4 or FF6. (Part of the reason FF14 has become my "go to" title is because SE hit the nostalgia strings hard. The first time I got my Magitek Armor mount, saw it was based on the original Amano design, and then heard the FF6 overworld music? Pure bliss.)

As far as preservation goes, I'd like to see more companies pay attention to it. I appreciate what Digital Eclipse did with MMLC and would love to see more companies go that route. It doesn't need to be perfect - memories are not perfect anyway - but good enough for the light bulb to go off - "Oh, yeah. This looks/sounds/plays just like I remember." Of course, the devil is in the memory itself.

In a way, I'm jealous of my children because a lot of the things they hold dear - Minecraft, Terraria, Undertale, FNAF, etc. - were created in a digital, online world, where it (appears to be) easier to preserve media. Of course, I never received regular patches, fixing bugs, adding features, etc. on my NES and SNES. What does it even mean to preserve something that doesn't seem to ever be a completely finished item? If something is in flux, can it really be preserved? I suppose, at best, you can "snapshot" the media to preserve what it was like in different states but that feels unsatisfactory, somehow. And what does it mean for nostalgia? When my 10 year old is a 30 year old, and he wants to go back and play the "original" Minecraft.... I mean, what does original even mean now?
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:24 AM
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I bought a GDEMU for my dreamcast, which is sort of like those flashcarts on the DS, but fancier since it spoofs all the calls to a disc drive that a dreamcast would make. I've had a VGA box forever for it too, so I'm pretty well outfitted on the DC.

It's a neat idea but in all honesty I got it in january and only have backed up my copies of Sonic Adventure 2 and SF3 onto it, and haven't touched it much since :$. It's a tough call for the dreamcast library, which a lot of has been moved to the digital space in the time since it first arrived on the scene. There's a lot of titles still out there, but there's more money to spend to get the most out of it: namely, a CRT to take advantage of light gun titles.

So, yeah, it's tough to predict your own habits and what you'll want to do, but hey at the end of the day it's your money, spend it how you want~

(btw the GDEMU guy has made something similar for the Sega Saturn but that sounds way more involved to install and figure out if your model will work with it).
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:44 AM
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I think preservation and playability are more important than accuracy; for me, I might be off topic 'cos I'm talking emulation here, but with stuff like MAME games that used to work are being rendered unplayable in the name of being "more accurate", and we have SNES emulators like Higan which require increasingly beefy computers to be more "cycle accurate" when, to people like me, the difference is indistinguishable.

I'm honestly baffled sometimes by the reception certain re-release efforts get, like the Mega Man Legacy Collection getting reamed for the most trifling inaccuracies.
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madhair60 View Post
I think preservation and playability are more important than accuracy; for me, I might be off topic 'cos I'm talking emulation here, but with stuff like MAME games that used to work are being rendered unplayable in the name of being "more accurate", and we have SNES emulators like Higan which require increasingly beefy computers to be more "cycle accurate" when, to people like me, the difference is indistinguishable.
I've used higan for the past few months and I'll occasionally have some really weird audio issues with certain games. Bass distortion, certain sound effects being left out entirely, and so on. I've gone back to ZSNES because it just works.

My SNES only works about half the time and I no longer have a CRT. I wonder if the Hyperkin Retros are any good. I do have some SNES carts I'd like to play again, like Earthbound and a Super Famicom copy of Chrono Trigger. Of course I have Earthbound on Wii U VC and I still have my DS copy of Trigger so, once again, how "accurate" do I really need the experience to be?
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:41 AM
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I'm guessing the sound issues are due to the weird configuration set upo it has. byuu's never been good at UIs and as such bending his program to your will is exceedingly harder than it is for any other emulator I've used aside from Project 64(Which is one of the biggest clusterfucks in emulation).

Also, seriously, do not use zsnes. See my link a moment ago.
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianB View Post
It's a neat idea but in all honesty I got it in january and only have backed up my copies of Sonic Adventure 2 and SF3 onto it, and haven't touched it much since :$. It's a tough call for the dreamcast library, which a lot of has been moved to the digital space in the time since it first arrived on the scene.
I only occasionally regret selling my DC, and the last five-ish years of Sega re-releasing their old catalog on Steam has really helped soothe those pangs.

However, those same years were also filled with sub-optimal officially-emulated Nintendo 8- and 16-bit re-releases, and it's those Nintendo systems I'm going to be fervently clinging to until I'm on my deathbed. My nostalgia knows on which side its bread is buttered.
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:53 AM
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The NES is my jam, and I've been toying with going all in on some type of upgrade. My current setup's just composite video going to a 19" old CRT TV, which has its charms but good picture/sound isn't one of them. I've been wavering between going the NESRGB + Framemeister + Monitor, or waiting for the new NES HDMI mod to be released. I haven't found a good deal on an RGB monitor, and I think the sweet spot for buying PVM's has passed, so I will probably stick with some type of upscaler to HDMI. Then again, my HDTV's best input lag setting is 22ms, which isn't super great. Also, if I go the NES HDMI route, it only affects that one system, and if I go for RGB+upscaler then all my systems can potentially look great. So many trade-offs!

I read somewhere that there was an open-source competitor to the Framemeister coming out, but it's going to have some issues of its own (no audio through HDMI for one).

I dunno, I've got a spare top-loader NES that I don't use because I need to re-solder the composite out mod I put in a decade ago. I think I'll keep tabs on when the NES HDMI kits are released to the general public, and turn that into a project. If I ever decide to go down the RGB route, I've got a couple front loader NES's that I've acquired over the years.
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Old 03-22-2016, 09:23 AM
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I just got through recapping a Genesis to try to fix an audio issue, and it didn't work. Gonna check some other stuff now. I'm also about to S-Video mod one of my Model 1s. Technically not the best video quality (that'd be me using that SCART-component converter I've got), but it's darn close. Certainly better than the awful composite on that system.

I've also thought about getting one of those NESRGB boards. Seems like it'd be pretty awesome to bump up the visuals for the NES, although it's not nearly as putrid on composite as the Genesis.

I'm a big fan of original hardware, but there's no question that emulation is a godsend. Keeping these titles alive is huge.

I will also say don't use ZSNES. It was okay back in the day, but it's just way too out of date now. If you don't like higan/bsnes, use SNES9x. It's very solid for almost everything I've thrown at it.
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Dracula View Post
The discussion about disc drives breaking down and CD-based games becoming useless artifacts, however... That struck a nerve...
I still own my original first-generation PlayStation purchased in 1997, but its drive wore out long ago. It was super-frustrating toward the latter days to have to come up with a new angle to hold the machine at to get it to load....

I've had reason to dust it off and take it out of storage, though — I'm getting one of those PSIO mods that allows you to load ISOs from SD cards. I realize that's a grey-market device trending on black, but between PS1 coming out in my "single and alone and working my first full-time job era" and owning nearly every PS1 classic on PSN, I don't think I'll be depriving anyone of a living with this. But I will be able to use a defective piece of hardware to capture upscaled video... yeaaah.
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:27 AM
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Since we're talking about SNES emulators, I figure I'll mention something I was reminded of earlier today.

Somebody managed to exploit ZSNES and turn it into a security hole. https://www.reddit.com/r/emulation/c..._vulnerability
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Old 03-22-2016, 09:32 AM
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SNESGT or really anything THAT DOES NOT HAVE A SECURITY HOLE THAT HASN'T BEEN FIXED IN THE FOUR MONTHS SINCE IT'S BEEN REVEALED will do.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:10 PM
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I'm a big Retronauts fan but I haven't been able to listen to the new episode yet.

I hope that someone eventually makes a less expensive Framemeister with build in Genesis and SNES connections so you don't have to buy a special Scart cable.

Or even just a component video connection for SNES and Genesis, like that Kickstarter company aims to do. The prototype they demonstrated looks pretty good to me.
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Old 04-12-2016, 01:48 PM
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What does RGB mean in that context? Is it the same as Component?
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Old 04-12-2016, 01:53 PM
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Confusingly, no! Well, actually, RGB is an earlier form of analog component video. "Modern" component usually refers to the analog "YPbPr" standard (the cables with separate red, green and blue male RCA connectors on at least one end).

The way I understand it is that an RGB signal is split into three separate "color intensity" signals for Red, Green and Blue. YPbPr, on the other hand, uses its Green cable only for brightness (black/white), the Red cable for red signal and the Blue cable for blue signal. YPbPr video calculates green signal by subtracting the Red and Blue values from the total video signal.

The upshot is that the quality is roughly similar between the two standards, but different enough that some folks have a preference over the other (assuming that the console in question can output both).
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Old 05-14-2016, 07:34 AM
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Well, this is driving me nuts.

I live in Japan, but my parents, who live in Canada, have a very late model 36-inch Sony Trinitron CRT that they are desperate to be rid of.

I am actually considering shipping it across the darn planet. Is this crazy?
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:45 AM
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...Yes? But do it anyway?

How many hundreds/thousands of dollars/yen are we talking here for shipping
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
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...Yes? But do it anyway?

How many thousands of dollars/yen are we talking here for shipping
I don't know yet. And I'm almost afraid to find out.
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Old 05-14-2016, 01:16 PM
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I am so glad I have a very recent 10" CRT. Not too big to carry, and even has a component input. Great for games.
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Old 05-14-2016, 04:30 PM
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RetroUSB's clone NES is set to come out this summer. It's got 720p HDMI, 4 player, built in game genie, and other features. It's based on a new FPGA config, not using salvaged NES chips like the Analogue NT. Wait for reviews on compatibility and quality, since it's not OG hardware. Maybe wait for a couple firmware upgrades.

Unless you already have an NES and are handy with a soldering iron, it's probably the cheapest way to play original games on a new TV. I'm still waiting for Kevtris's Hi-Def NES mod, since it'll do 1080p (it'll look better at 960p windowboxed anyway, since the 240p original resolution X 4 = 960, and you have to scale by non integer (4.5) to get 1080). I wish the mod would offer a x9 scale to upscale clean to 2160p for my 4K set, but I don't think it's powerful enough to handle that.
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:36 PM
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A friend hooked me up with a pretty good late-model CRT with component input, and with the SNES component cables this is easily the best way I've every played these games. I never had a CRT this nice and making the leap to modern HDTVs always hurt the experience.

Now I just need to find a good local retro gaming store and maybe throw down for a component output NES.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:05 PM
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Why do lower priced HDTVs have a native res of 1366x768 even though almost nothing outputs that resolution? Wouldn't a screen with 1280x720 pixels cost less to manufacture and look sharper with more video sources? Alternately, why didn't 1366x768 become a popular output format if that's what half the screens are?
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:54 PM
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The most common early 4x3 LCD resolution was 1024x768, and 1366x768 is the 16x9 stretched version of that. As to why didn't manufacturers downgrade after the 720 resolution was cemented, I don't know.
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Old 05-16-2016, 04:31 AM
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Probably because they had the manufacturing pipeline for that format in place, so it's super cheap. Easy money, because there are plenty of bargain-brand vendors that DGAF about quality.
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Old 06-01-2016, 10:46 AM
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crossposting from the KS thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by McClain View Post
I just got my SNES Component cables, and I only got to try them for a second, but it looks great! Very little imput lag and easy as plugging in and turning it on.

I'm this isn't the perfect solution some people will crave, but for the price and the convenience, it's the best way for someone like me to play an old console on a new TV. They are supposed to be opening their storefront to the public later this month, and hopefully they will keep adding more products (the original KS also made Genesis cables).
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Old 06-01-2016, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McClain View Post
crossposting from the KS thread:
Cool, those are out?

Glad the lag is low for you. I'll be using them on a CRT for maximum graphics / efficiency.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:28 AM
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I'll definitely give those a try once they're available for general sale, but I'm pretty happy with my official SFC RGB to custom RGB BNC cable solution.

In other news, I have an LED-modded VGA-out-capable Game Gear arriving in the mail sometime this week. Ridiculous.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
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In other news, I have an LED-modded VGA-out-capable Game Gear arriving in the mail sometime this week. Ridiculous.
Okay now this is just madness
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