Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

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Kame-Sen'nin
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Re: Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

Post by Kame-Sen'nin »

Cool room Drew! :D

Just a heads up: you might want to keep that CRT around for your older game systems instead of replacing it; most of the older consoles will have some issues if played on a newer television.

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Re: Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

Post by ParaParaJMo »

All my stuff back at my folks' house. My games (lots of import games), DVDs, and manga

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Re: Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

Post by _D_ »

All 1200 sq. feet of my house is my nerd room/man cave...

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Re: Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

Post by Drew_Sutton »

Thanks, usamimi! I think it shows off that I am a big fan of Rumiko Takahashi's work overall, with some other classics. All but the Char's Counterattack poster I found almost haphazardly at anime conventions; CCA was a gift from a friend who went to AX the year Bandai released it on DVD here (2002).
Kamesen'nin wrote:Just a heads up: you might want to keep that CRT around for your older game systems instead of replacing it; most of the older consoles will have some issues if played on a newer television.
I would love for you to elaborate more! I've had some friends and done some reading on the net who have mentioned issues about upscaling from 4:3 ratios to 16:9 ratio on most LCD TVs; however, on that TV pictured, we've never had issues with that, therefore I figured it might have been a legacy of the TV technology. Our LCD in the living room that I have the LD player connected to, still broadcasts in 4:3, despite everything else doing a 16:9 ratio.

I figured that the only concerns I would have when it comes to old game systems and new TVs would be including the connections the needed to connect them up via the connectors I had already (Coax for NES & Genesis, RCA/RYW for Playstations) and how many more generations of TVs would have those connections.

The oldest generation of game console I have is NES - are these issues with older systems or those of this generation or newer (Genesis/SNES, Playstation/Saturn or even newer)?
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Re: Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

Post by llj »

Modern TVs that can handle PS1 era or under consoles are hit and miss. It really mostly depends on the TV's capability to handle 240p. Most (or all) consoles prior to the Dreamcast output in 240p only. Many modern TVs can only handle 480i and up. The issue with modern TVs has little to do with aspect ratios and more to do with resolution. 240p is low resolution, and many modern TVs can only display higher resolutions.

My preference for CRTs for PS1 era or older consoles is more for aesthetics. Consoles that output in 240p were meant to make use of the unique way cathode ray electrons form images. When you run an old console through a modern TV that CAN handle 240p, there is still some automatic filtering and sharpening the TV does that changes the appearance and refresh rate of the image, which is why sometimes the movements look blurry and they don't look as crisp compared to the same console run through a CRT. I have a modern LCD TV that can handle 240p to 1080p but 240p just looks like plain crap on it, so I almost never play pre-Dreamcast consoles on it since I also have a working CRT.

Growing up playing arcade games, I do prefer a sort of scanline look to my older console games, especially for the 2D sprite-heavy games. Scanlines are an ongoing debate, I find; some people don't like them and some do. I personally don't think those old games were meant to be displayed like they are on modern TVs, without scanlines. I think scanlines do help provide some form and volume to those old 2D games. Without the scanlines, they look like a flat image or a pile of flat lego. I know there are such things as "forced" scanlines and various filters you can use for modern TVs, but they are not the same as the scanlines created by a CRT.

I guess this makes me some sort of old school gaming setup snob, but I tend to usually yield to the philosophy that you should view or play something the way it was originally meant to be seen or played, unless you absolutely have no choice. The best way to watch old movies is a 35 mm print in a theatre; but most people can't afford a theatre or a 35 mm print of an old film, so we settle for a well transferred blu-ray. The best way to play an arcade game is the original arcade cabinet; but most people cannot afford a cabinet or find one, so they have to settle for good home ports or MAME. The best way to play an old console game is on a CRT TV. Since CRTs can still be found for VERY cheap if you look in the right places (Some very good CRTs can be bought for as cheap as $10), I think most people can easily play old consoles on a CRT with little more than $10 and a bit of grunt work carrying the TV home.

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Kame-Sen'nin
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Re: Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

Post by Kame-Sen'nin »

Looks like llj provided most of the important information, but I'll try to add a little bit too! :)
Drew_Sutton wrote:I would love for you to elaborate more! I've had some friends and done some reading on the net who have mentioned issues about upscaling from 4:3 ratios to 16:9 ratio on most LCD TVs; however, on that TV pictured, we've never had issues with that, therefore I figured it might have been a legacy of the TV technology. Our LCD in the living room that I have the LD player connected to, still broadcasts in 4:3, despite everything else doing a 16:9 ratio.
The aspect ratio shouldn't be too much of an issue; most (if not all) newer sets still offer options on how to fit the content on the screen, including a 4:3 aspect ratio.
Drew_Sutton wrote:I figured that the only concerns I would have when it comes to old game systems and new TVs would be including the connections the needed to connect them up via the connectors I had already (Coax for NES & Genesis, RCA/RYW for Playstations) and how many more generations of TVs would have those connections.
Though this has become more of an issue than it was a few years ago (many newer sets ship with a single combined composite/component input and no S-Video inputs, and some contain only HDMI inputs), finding a way to connect your systems to the TV is still relatively easy. The main issue, as llj said, is the way the 240p output from those systems looks on an LCD or LED screen. Even 480i and 480p can look pretty bad depending on the particular TV.

You'll often see artifacts, blurring, and the timing on everything may seem to be a little off. Many find it difficult to play older games on newer TV sets; you may notice it the most when playing a game you are very familiar with. My personal litmus test is to play Super Mario World on the SNES and see how it performs. From my point of view so far, no newer television has played it correctly without special hardware (more on that in a moment). Though there are plenty of technical discussions out there that can explain this, I tend to stick to something a little simpler: it just doesn't feel right. Things don't seem like they happen when I expect them to, almost like the game and my eyes are out of sync, which does not happen on a CRT.

With this said, numerous people have zero problems with playing the games on an LCD or LED television. Like everything, it comes down to a matter of personal opinion. You might try playing a few games on a new TV and think that it suits you just fine. Of course, you might try it and wonder why fast games seem to blur more than you remember and why all of your blocks are a split second late in your favorite fighting game.

If you do decide that playing these games on an LCD or LED television doesn't work for you, there are two main options:

Play older games on a CRT
This is usually the simplest method if you have the space. These games were designed to be played on CRT screens, and that's where they look best. There's also a certain nostalgia factor here, and you may find that some older anime are fun to watch on a CRT as well (though many will say that this is due to the color accuracy of CRT screens, I will freely admit that nostalgia is the main factor here), particularly if they are on VHS!

Purchase an upscan converter
Upscan converters such as the XRGB series offer a decent solution for playing older games on HDTVs. If the system outputs RGB, you can get a pretty high quality image displayed using one of these converters, complete with scanlines! However, the XRGB series of upscan converters are usually pretty expensive, and the lower-priced alternatives don't seem to get very good reviews. I did have an XRGB-2 plus at one point, and can vouch for the picture quality. I ended up sticking with the CRT, but this isn't a bad option if space is an issue.

If you're interested in learning more about playing your games in RGB, RetroRGB is a great resource that can get you started on the right track.

There are a few other options which I haven't personally tested yet, but that might be of interest to you:
-Newer systems such as the RetroN 5, which plays NES, SNES, Genesis, GB/GBC/GBA and Famicom games and supports HDMI.
-New hardware for classic systems, such as the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis component cables from HD Retrovision (their Kickstarter is over, but I believe the company will be selling them after they deliver the initial units to backers).
Drew_Sutton wrote:The oldest generation of game console I have is NES - are these issues with older systems or those of this generation or newer (Genesis/SNES, Playstation/Saturn or even newer)?
I personally play systems as recent as the Wii, Playstation 2, and Gamecube on a CRT, but others don't mind playing them on LCD screens. The last generation of systems (minus the Wii, which was not HD) was really the first that benefited from HDTVs.

I know this is a lot to take in, but I hope you find it helpful! :D At the end of the day, the important thing is that you enjoy playing the games; so if something works for you, then that's what matters.

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llj
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Re: Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

Post by llj »

Yeah, I mostly still play PS2/Cube stuff on a CRT too, but there are also still a lot of PS2/Cube era games that allow you to choose 480p as an option, so I usually try those out on a LCD/LED to see what they look like. I'm not a fan of flickery 480i--which is the majority of PS2 era games--but even 480p isn't always ideal on an LCD/LED as well.

That said, I do usually opt to play 480p games on modern TVs when all is said and done. I think going from PS1 era 240p to PS2 era 480i was a significant downgrade in visual quality, although I guess more advanced graphics just need higher resolutions.

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Re: Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

Post by greg »

Drew, your basement is pretty awesome. That kitchenette makes your nerd cave into a nerd lounge! Love it!

When I moved to Japan, I sold my old Toshiba CRT TV to a friend of mine. I'd bought it back in 2000 when I first moved to Japan. People thought it was HD even. It had a flat screen and ridiculously high S-Video filtering. It was wonderful for my old consoles. When I started looking for a TV in Japan, I was very disappointed that most TVs don't even have S-Video inputs. So, I bought a used Panasonic viera at the Otakara used items/nerd paradise shop in town. It was wrapped in plastic and I could not test it out, but my J-Mom has a Viera and she says they're great. When I got it home and unwrapped it, I realized that it reeked of tobacco, so I had to clean it up first. It works nice.

Anything S-Video looks fine on it, more or less. My Saturn looks okay on it. I have yet to test out my SNES or PS1 on it. I've played PS1 games on my PS2 and they look fine. But RCA composite looks like crap. My PC Engine and Megadrive/Genesis looks lousy. The games are playable, but they look blurry. Some scanlines would be fantastic.

Kame, is there any lag in response time with the XRGB upscanner to HDMI? Any downside to using one? I may want to invest in one eventually.
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Re: Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

Post by Kame-Sen'nin »

greg wrote:Kame, is there any lag in response time with the XRGB upscanner to HDMI? Any downside to using one? I may want to invest in one eventually.
The model that I used (the XRGB-2 plus) only had VGA, but it was spot-on and I couldn't detect any lag time. If the HDMI models perform similarly, you will not be disappointed.

The biggest downside is apparent when you try to hook up multiple systems at once; you''ll need to swap out the cables frequently or hook switches up to the XRGB to use it with more than one system. It can also be a bit difficult to locate RGB cables for all of the systems (at least in the US), and SCART cables are not compatible.

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Re: Do you have a "nerd cave"/"otaku room" at your place?

Post by greg »

Ah, nuts. I thought I could plug in RCA or S-Video cables into it...
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