Sprite and Wrong Way [ COMIC ]

Basically it goes like this: modern TVs ruin old games and newer games look like crap on older TVs. As I said, that’s the gist of it.

Some of you may remember that I am a collector of retro games. And I can definitely say that I’ve seen a distortion of quality in older titles on an HD TV. Hell, PSOne games are nearly unplayable, unless sprite based, on an HD TV. Don’t believe me? Go grab your copy of Metal Gear Solid for the PSOne and try to play it. The graphics are so pixelated and awkward it’s nearly impossible. At that point if you still need your MGS fix, you’ll be better off picking up a copy of Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes for the GameCube and playing that… if you can find it. Still on the other side of the coin, games like Dead Rising have such tiny text on the screen that you’re almost being punished by Capcom for try to play this game on an analog TV.

Basically it comes down to this, don’t get rid of your older TV when you get your new one. Unless, you never plan on playing older titles ever again or if you just don’t care. But I do care. And that’s why I still have my old analog TV. That and no one would give me more than $5 for the thing.

In merchandising news, you already know about the Cloud Lied, Aerith Died (shirt) re-order. Well, I just wanted to remind you that you save $2 off the regular price by pre-ordering. This offer isn’t going to last for long. Better hurry.


  • Well, personally, I noticed the horrible blurriness of PSOne titles already back when they were new. But then, I already was a PC gamer back then, so was used to somewhat higher resolutions. Although those did stop at 1024×768, it’s way higher than the PSOne’s top resolution of 640×480.

    The sole reason why those games look better on older TVs is because those blur the picture so much that you don’t see individual pixels anyway.

    It’s good that consoles catch up a bit with PCs these days, what with “full HD” being the resolution of one of my two PC monitors and all :)

  • Jakk Frost

    With all those problems, the only thing I can say is “emulation ftw”. There are plenty of emulators out there for older game systems, and now there’s finally a decent working PS2 emulator. (Hell there’s even ones for Intellivision, not to mention systems I never even heard of). I know it’s not quite the same thing as playing the game on the original system, but then it comes down to your preference. Does it matter to you if you’re playing on the original console, with all the potential problems of that old system? (NES – plug in, pull out, blow, rinse and repeat) Or are you just looking to enjoy the old games with no hassles? (apart from the occasional badly dumped copy). It’s up to you.

  • Mark

    This is my first time to comment, and I want to start by saying that this site and the comic itself are amazingly done, kudos on being one of the best webcomics I read.

    As for your issue, there is a solution, albeit an expensive one. If you can, get an XRGB-2+ and mod your systems/buy the necessary cables to play your games in RGB by using either VGA or component hook-ups. The SNES in particular looks great! It’s probably still a good idea to keep a CRT or two around, but with this and proper audio mods you can update most, if not all, of the systems to be very playable on modern equipment.

  • @Mark Sweet! I will keep this post in my “Things I need to do when I build my ultimate gaming room” file. I appreciate it.

  • CDC

    I undersand the complaints about streching graphics on HDTV, but it’s a simple matter of adjusting the settings on your TV to not do it. Yes, you will have vertical letterboxes. If streching bugs you, deal with it.

    As for the pixilation and horrific polygons, I hate to break it to you-that’s how it was. There’s nothing wrong with your TV, you’re just too used to seeing fancy HD content, and a better picture highlights the technological “inadequacy” of the older consoles. Get over it.

    If you can’t stand seeing the original pixels, there’s a very cheap and efficent solution. Buy a roll of wax paper. Tape it over your screen. Problem solved!

  • The Anarchyz

    For me, it’s simple, i play 4:3 content in 4:3 and 16:9 content in 16:9, i don’t give a shit if there are letterboxes, it’s better than stretching…

    BTW, PS3 upscales PS1 and PS2 (on the older models) titles greatly, as for the NES, SNES, N64 and Gamecube ones, the Wii handles them nicely, of course if you have the original consoles it’s gonna look bad without a hardware mod… Xbox? Xbox360 takes care of that… as for the exclusive titles on Sega systems, a lot of them are being handled by Sega (like the ultimate Genesis collection), others are coming for the Wii, so i don’t worry about having the HD problem…

    Now, an old TV is always nice to have, reminds me of a simpler time…

  • On a related sidenote, there are now television simulators for emulators for older Atari games and the likes:


    I was reminded of this comic when I read that :)

  • @Guido Yeah, I was thinking about updating the news post with that link. But I think your response should be good enough ;)

  • Mike

    I’ve seen the same problem. If you mess with the video settings, you can make them look good. They set the brightness too high, and the contrast too low.

  • Jo

    Another reason why it probably doesn’t look great on your HDTV is probably the size. Not only are those pixels super clear and square, but probably blown up huge compared to what we had before.

    I recently decided to play Zelda on my 42inch and it looked amazingly horrid.

  • The Anarchyz

    Which Zelda, because Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask look decent on a 42″ (of course you have to take the vertical letterbox), Wind waker, Four Swords and Twilight Princess look good… Now, if you mean Zelda, Adventure of Link or a Link to the Past, then you’re right…

  • LandStander

    I know exactly what you mean!!
    I cannot read any text in any 360 game because I don’t have an HD TV.

  • Another reason to keep an Analog TV, is that you don’t have to calibrate the lag on the GH games >_> It’s such a hassle and you never get it right. Ha!

  • sinni800

    I can only say: Truth said.

    You can’t really play old games on high resolution TV/Flatscreens. It often gives me a headache watching the blown up sprites. Either they’re pixelated or badly blurred. I’d rather have pixelated than the other, though.

    By the way, did you read my E-Mail I sent a while ago?