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PC gamers: Do you play older/emulated games at lower/native resolution or do you upscale?

For older/emulated games, do you play them at lower resolutions or do you upscale

  • I upscale to my monitor's native resolution or somewhere close

    Votes: 69 73.4%
  • I play at the lower, original resolutions

    Votes: 17 18.1%
  • I upres past my monitors native resolution and downsample

    Votes: 8 8.5%

  • Total voters
    94

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
A week or so ago i saw a video like this


This video was basically going over why older resolutions work better for older games since they were designed with those low pixel counts in mind. While they had a hard time really justifiying doing so for the PS2 and Xbox generation, for 90s games they felt that you can't truly enjoy them without the lower, original resolutions (and in the case of 16 bit games, with 0 filters)
I am just going to copypaste my comment that I made under the video for my thoughts


no
to elaborate more, i honestly feel the dip in visual fidelity isn't really worth not being able to see the imperfections many of these games have. It strains my eyes a bit more due to the harder edges and feels VERY unnatural to look at especially for 3d games. I want to immerse myself into these environments but having everything i see clouded by tons of pixels takes away from that.

I used to exclusively play on my PS2 (i bought one last year) and a lot of the games looked great... but then i got a gaming PC, the PCSX2 emulator and loaded up a copy of Ratchet & Clank and i could never go back. Being able to properly see the entire environment in front of me with 0 pixels visible is a miracle

For games older than the PS2, i feel that the best solution is the CRT Royale Filter. That basically is one of the most accurate CRT filters you can get. I played Paper Mario with it on (at 4k ofc) and it looked so crisp, smudged out all of the ugly pixels on the HUD and contributed a lot to the game's aesthetic (while also letting me properly see the environment and characters at full detail in all scenarios) There are other benefits a CRT may have, but those benefits will come when I get a proper monitor to put my PC on and not just this 4k tv with only 60hz and lots of input lag

I'd easily take the tradeoff of seeing every single nook and cranny the game has as opposed to viewing it through a lower resolution. I never grew up during the SD era of gaming as by the time i was old enough to comprehend what the fuck a video game was, the Xbox 360 was on its way out to make way for the shiny new consoles, so i may be VERY biased here. Majority of my gaming life has exclusively been at HD with a couple of exceptions (handhelds and Nintendo consoles)

As per usual for my types of threads, you guys know what to do!
 

Komatsu

Gold Member
I always upscale, unless the emulator in question does not allow it (e.g. Mednafen Saturn). Granted, PS1/SS games don't really gain that much by upscaling, but it makes a world of difference for NGC/PS2/XB games.
 

AV

We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
It depends if it looks better or not. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, and I adjust my settings on a per game basis.

Yep. Some stuff just looks weird and terrible upscaled. In the same way that Evil Dead in 4K was nice, but it lost a lot of the old gritty, dirty VHS charm.

At the same time, things like fake scanlines are fetid dogshit. Either buy a CRT or play it clean. Might as well sit crossed-legged on the floor eating Pizza Hut pretending it's 1993 at that point. It's not.
 

01011001

Member
just to be pedantic for a moment...
Upscaling is running at a lower res and letting software or the monitor strech it to the full pixel grid.

running at higher internal resolution =/= upscaling

running at a lower resolution than your output monitor supports but still playing it in full screen = upscaling



I play at the nativ res of my monitor if possible, if not I chose a resolution that's as close as possible to my monitor resolution.
so I am not upscaling :) if possible
 
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64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
just to be pedantic for a moment...
Upscaling is running at a lower res and letting software or the monitor strech it to the full pixel grid.

running at higher internal resolution =/= upscaling

running at a lower resolution than your output monitor supports but still playing it in full screen = upscaling



I play at the nativ res of my monitor if possible, if not I chose a resolution that's as close as possible to my monitor resolution.
so I am not upscaling :) if possible
you're right and frankly i didn't like the terminology i used there but i can't exactly find a word for "running at higher internal resolution" and the closest thing i can think of is upscaling
 

Xyphie

Member
2D consoles I don't really do anything special. Don't really like the vast majority of shaders and such, scanlines maybe because the art is kinda made for it. The one improvement I can think of that I actually like is HD Mode 7 on SNES emulators.

3D games = Superscaling and HD texture mods and such all days. A game like Super Mario Galaxy can basically be turned into a current-gen game on emulators. Yuzu with 3x resolution scale and FPS mods is the Switch Pro Nintendo refuses to give us.
 
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64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
At the same time, things like fake scanlines are fetid dogshit. Either buy a CRT or play it clean. Might as well sit crossed-legged on the floor eating Pizza Hut pretending it's 1993 at that point. It's not.
smackdown live what GIF by WWE


There is far more to the look of a CRT TV than just 'scanlines'
there's the pixel/color blending, the bloom, the blur, the motion resolution... plopping scanlines on an image and claiming it's a 'CRT' filter is one of the dumbest things you can do. It's not a CRT filter at that point, it's a PVM filter
 
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Holammer

Member
Found out that Zombie Panic in Wonderland DX had a Steam version awhile ago. It's a perfect example where higher resolutions look completely wrong.
It's a straight port of the Wii original and it looks too bright, washed out and details are horrible.
In the Kansas scene here, look at the tiles on the porch roof? In high resolution they stick out and the texture is lowres & looks godawful. Inject a CRT shader and the illusion is complete, it looks correct and gives volume and depth to the geometry. The entire scene gets dramatic lighting and color reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz Technicolor the artists intended to convey.

PS2 era games and back were designed to be viewed on a CRT, the artists viewed and tested the games on them to ensure the correct look.
The shadowmask of a CRT should be understood as an early form of image reconstruction.




In this boss fight stage, look at the ground texture, the temple roof, vegetation and stars? That's not how it's supposed to be viewed. The CRT shader gives it the correct look and texture. Precisely what the artist intended. Look at that crunchy color on the lanterns.


 

TintoConCasera

Gold Member
i'd get one myself but those things are heavy and honestly with the filters we have these days i think i'm fine enough with what we have, currently

i care more about refresh rate and motion resolution, which getting a 144hz monitor will solve (for the most part) anyways
Yep, can confirm. Had to ask a fren to help me just to take the CRT out of the car trunk. :goog_relieved:

Having one is cool if you have the space, but I'd say playing on a normal current monitor is perfectly fine, unless you are a purist.
 

Crayon

Member
you're right and frankly i didn't like the terminology i used there but i can't exactly find a word for "running at higher internal resolution" and the closest thing i can think of is upscaling

I think we're just talking about original-res vs higher-res here.
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
Found out that Zombie Panic in Wonderland DX had a Steam version awhile ago. It's a perfect example where higher resolutions look completely wrong.
It's a straight port of the Wii original and it looks too bright, washed out and details are horrible.
In the Kansas scene here, look at the tiles on the porch roof? In high resolution they stick out and the texture is lowres & looks godawful. Inject a CRT shader and the illusion is complete, it looks correct and gives volume and depth to the geometry. The entire scene gets dramatic lighting and color reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz Technicolor the artists intended to convey.

PS2 era games and back were designed to be viewed on a CRT, the artists viewed and tested the games on them to ensure the correct look.
The shadowmask of a CRT should be understood as an early form of image reconstruction.




In this boss fight stage, look at the ground texture, the temple roof, vegetation and stars? That's not how it's supposed to be viewed. The CRT shader gives it the correct look and texture. Precisely what the artist intended. Look at that crunchy color on the lanterns.


Great post! CRTs are crazy good for what they're intended to be used for
BUT at the same time.... i have no idea how the game rendered at a higher res like 4K would take away from the CRT reconstruction effects. All the positives here come from the CRT filter working its magic and not from the lower resolution.
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
PGXP on PS1 emulators actually made 3D games for that console playable again for me.
HARD agree. PS1 games look great most of the time but the shimmering isn't exactly ideal as nostalgic as it may be for some people. When it's not there the games can look like N64 games at times.
 
For PSX and N64 games, I like to set the internal resolution as high as possible, downscaling the result to the native one. This process eliminates shimmering and aliasing while mainteining the image how it's supposed to look. The image is very pixelated, but I really like how it looks in motion.

 
The word "upscale" isn't right, it's rendering at a higher resolution.

Personally I prefer to run at the original resolution almost all of the time. Though the previous poster's idea of rendering at a higher res then downscaling to original resolution (then upscaling again to the display lol) isn't a bad one.
 
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RoboFu

One of the green rats
Original always.. I can even tell when a emulator didn’t have the exact same PlayStation dithering.
 
It's amazing how good some PS2 games look upscaled.
So I take offense at "it was designed to look like shit". No it was a hardware limitation the developers were talented and often went the extra mile with things you couldn't see on your 20 inch CRT.
 

RoadHazard

Gold Member
Like that video concluded, PS1/N64 3D is really shit, and therefore generally looks better at its original resolution, but once you get to the generation after that things start holding up really well at resolutions several times higher than they originally ran at.
 
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ACESHIGH

Member
Pixel art games: native resolution with high end CRT filters.

3D rendered games: Native monitor resolution with CRT filters and improved AF. If something is broken when rendering at a higher res. I leave it as is.
 

RoadHazard

Gold Member
tbh idk about this, N64 3d looks awful with the low res antialiasing
i get it was meant to be viewed with a CRT, but looking at now it looks really blurry and not sharp at all

Yeah, but it also doesn't look good in HD. It's just unsalvageable I guess!
 
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nkarafo

Member
I only use upscale when the graphics themselves can support it.

PS1/N64 graphics are not good enough for current day native resolution. There aren't enough polygons and the textures will only look worse. I do upscale them but only slightly (640x480 maximum) to make them a bit cleaner. But i still use accurate graphics emulation at the same time, for instance, Parallel RDP allows upscaling the N64 graphics without removing it's native filters. So even upscaled, it doesn't look unnaturally sharp.

Later consoles like the Gamecube, Dreamcast, etc, i can upscale further since the graphics are good enough to support that. Naomi 2 games look great at 1080p for instance:




2D graphics/sprites, i never use any of the awful filters that mangle the art, like the ones that smooth out the pixels. I only use CRT shaders that actually help the art look like what the developers intended.





Yeah, but it also doesn't look good in HD. It's just unsalvageable I guess!

It looks good at 2x upscale using Parallel RDP and maybe a CRT filter with some blurring (with or without scanlines).











Better than the original N64 but not unnaturally high-res. It still gives you much of the authentic look thanks to Parallel RDP still emulating all N64's native filters even when up-scaled (unlike GlideN64, which looks too sharp). It's something between the real console and the VC N64 games on Wii.
 
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tygertrip

Member
just to be pedantic for a moment...
Upscaling is running at a lower res and letting software or the monitor strech it to the full pixel grid.

running at higher internal resolution =/= upscaling

running at a lower resolution than your output monitor supports but still playing it in full screen = upscaling



I play at the nativ res of my monitor if possible, if not I chose a resolution that's as close as possible to my monitor resolution.
so I am not upscaling :) if possible
Yea, right on, i was like wtf is he talking about. His post had me all confused. I thought maybe he was suggesting going out and buying a different lcd monitor for every resolution!
 

tygertrip

Member
Looks like it. I can be your daddy tho.

Come here, I'll show you some scanlines like you've never seen. :messenger_blowing_kiss:

Apparently CRT filters have improved a lot over the years, specially at reao high resolutions like 4K. Thing is I had the space and was lucky enough to get a Trinitron second hand, so I thought "eh, why not".
A couple of years ago my son dragged some of my old consoles out of my parent's attic and next thing i know im dragging a goddamn 200 pound 32" tv through the house. As an aside, one of the consoles was my old 2600, and i had to break it to him it hasn't worked since the 80s!
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
Games have more value on their original console, do I want access to 100,000 games with bugs, mods or do I want an authentic gaming experience that treats me like a worthy gamer? Playing on the original console is worth more to me than roms.
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
A couple of years ago my son dragged some of my old consoles out of my parent's attic and next thing i know im dragging a goddamn 200 pound 32" tv through the house. As an aside, one of the consoles was my old 2600, and i had to break it to him it hasn't worked since the 80s!
Your poor back
 

tygertrip

Member
i'd get one myself but those things are heavy and honestly with the filters we have these days i think i'm fine enough with what we have, currently

i care more about refresh rate and motion resolution, which getting a 144hz monitor will solve (for the most part) anyways
I hate to break it to you, but the motion resolution on a crt blows even the best 144 hz monitor out of the water. But it aint worth breaking your goddamn back over, that is for damn sure!
 

RoboFu

One of the green rats
never upscale. I want as close to the original as possible. Even more so with consoles that had platform defining graphics like the PS1 and Saturn.
 
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