If you look through any few months of posts on this blog, you may notice a common theme – I feel a little buried by the amount of stuff I own and would like to have less stuff. I have been digitizing, selling, and donating crap for what seems like years now and still get twitchy about how many things exist in our house.
SO WHY THE HELL DO I OWN THIS THING?
For the record, the last time I owned a CRT television was 2008. It was a Toshiba 24AF42, which is this thing’s larger brother, and I wasn’t very fond of it. We had a decent-sized HD set in our living room and used that for almost everything, and I wasn’t playing very many games at the time so I really didn’t notice how much worse older games looked on an LCD screen.
It was also 72.75 pounds and took up an absurd amount of room. I had to look up how much it weighed, by the way. I would have guessed “like 50, maybe?” which just says that I was a decade younger and rather stronger in 2008.
We gave it to a friend who wanted a TV for their garage, I think, and we were glad to see the end of it.
This Toshiba 14AF42, on the other hand, is a hair under 24 pounds and… still takes up a fair amount of space, if I’m honest, but is much less imposing. It was a $10 impulse purchase made out of nostalgia and because I have spent far more time than I like to admit messing around with video filters in emulators and never being quite happy with the results.
When I say that older games look bad on an LCD, of course, that’s a matter of opinion. You can take a game and play it through an emulator, like this:
Or play the same game on an LCD TV:
And compare either to the picture on a CRT:
And you might say that the CRT is rather washed-out and fuzzy by comparison, and this wouldn’t be an entirely incorrect thing to say.
You might also say that I am awful at taking pictures of TV sets, and this would be an ENTIRELY CORRECT thing to say. The CRT picture here shows a lot of vertical lines that aren’t visible when you’re actually looking at it in person, for example, and I’m not sure how to reduce or eliminate those.
On the other hand, the CRT has an appeal to it that is difficult to define. There is a warmth to it, and a certain charm to the slightly distorted picture – and, after all, games of the era were designed around the quirks of a glass picture tube and can look rather awful when those quirks are taken away.
This is the sort of nostalgia that leads a certain class of person to give a huge chunk of their living space over to shelves and shelves of cartridges and CD-ROMs. I am not that class of person. I made a lot of money selling old games to that sort of lunatic a few years ago, and I am the better for having all of that stuff gone.
I kept some Saturn games, mind you, because the Saturn is the greatest game console of the pre-Xbox 360 era. But those are small and don’t take up a ton of space.
I sense that you are waiting for me to get to the point. I’ll probably find it eventually.
To go off on what will initially appear to be an unrelated tangent, a few years ago I came home from Japan with a copy of Fatal Frame IV, which meant that I needed to softmod my Wii to play imports and to be able to use the translation patch created for the game.
I followed a fairly-detailed guide on the process, wound up with a Wii that could play home-brew software, then played through Fatal Frame and did nothing else with this Wii. I suppose I could have started running pirated Wii games at that point, but most of the software available for the system wasn’t worth the bother of piracy. Really, it’s the second-worst game console released in the last 30 years, and is damn fortunate that the N64 exists to keep it out of that bottom spot. About the best thing you can say for it is that it sold so many consoles that there were some really obscure releases that managed to see the light of day, and we did get some decent horror games and things like Muramasa.
On the other hand, Nintendo hanging desperately on to the analog era gave a piece of hardware that addresses a very specific need. After all, if you are actually sending your video output to a CRT, there is no need for video filters that try to simulate a CRT, and a Wii is powerful enough to emulate most older consoles but backwards enough to still support CRTs in 240P mode.
I bought Link to the Past for my 3DS and was very frustrated by trying to play it on the 3.5″ screen. It turns out that adding 10 inches makes a huge difference in being able to see where you are and what you’re doing, and I actually managed to get Zelda out of the damn castle at the very start of the game.
Basically, the Wii makes a perfect emulation box for this specific era of game, and this TV makes a perfect display for it. I can also play through Fatal Frame IV again, and this time I might not have such a godawful time with the piano puzzles that were designed for a CRT and nigh-impossible with LCD display lag.
Oh, and I hooked up my 60GB PS3, so I can play the first three Fatal Frame games as well. This set has component inputs, which stunned me a bit considering it’s from 2002, so PS2 games look about as good as you can get.
I sense a ghost photography marathon approaching.