Nobody can argue against the convenience that comes with playing retro video games with emulators, but there are some retro gamers who swear by playing video games on an old-school CRT TV.
So why are CRT TVs better for gaming? There’s a technical argument to be made. For example, CRT TVs offer less input lag. But there’s also an argument to be made about how great classic games actually look on old school TVs, despite their low resolution. You can judge for yourself after checking out these 10 comparisons.
Mario Kart 64 – Sharp Pixels vs. Sony KV-20FS100
A common thread throughout these comparisons is how CRT TVs smooth out the sharp pixel edges and blend everything together nicely. This couldn’t be more obvious in this Mario Kart 64 example. The sharp pixels on modern LCD and LED displays make the 2D kart sprites stick out even more than they did in 1996.
Siren In Final Fantasy 6 – Sharp Pixels vs. Sony KV-14AF1
On modern displays, the brilliant pixel art in Final Fantasy 6 looks blocky and jumbled, but a CRT displays the art as it was meant to be seen. Look at how the colors on Siren’s skin blends together nicely.
Dracula In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – Sharp Pixels vs. Sony KV-13M51
Dracula’s features are lost in the sharp pixels, especially along the brow and eyes. Also notice how the red in Dracula’s eyes have an ominous glow on a CRT, whereas the eyes are represented by two awkward red dots on modern technology.
Mega Man 2 – Sharp Pixels vs. Sony KV-14AF1
This Mega Man 2 example highlights how water effects don’t translate well on modern technology. But on a CRT, the water actually looks like water.
Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory – Sharp Pixels vs. Sony KV-13M51
The most striking differences in this example can be found in the hair and skin color. While the sprites don’t look bad on a modern display, it’s understandable why many people would prefer the CRT.
Super Mario RPG – Sharp Pixels vs. Sony KV-27S42
While the sprites in Mario games aren’t very detailed to begin with, you can see how Peach’s dress looks much more like a dress on a CRT instead of a blob of pixels.
Chadarnook In Final Fantasy 6 – Sharp Pixels vs. Sony KV-14AF1
The fog/mist in this example looks too sharp and blocky on LCD and LED displays. On a CRT, it looks more hazy and cloudy.
Streets of Rage 2 – Sharp Pixels vs. Sanyo DS-13320
If you were playing Streets of Rage 2 on an LCD display, you might mistakenly believe that Blaze has some sort of skin condition. On a CRT, the shading on the skin just looks much better.
Richter in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – Sharp Pixels vs. Sony KV-13M51
This example from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is much like the earlier example with Dracula. The details on Richter’s face look better on a CRT.
Final Fantasy 7 – Sharp Pixels vs. Sony KV-14AF1
This portrait from Final Fantasy 7 looks like a blocky mess on modern displays. Fun fact: during the development of Final Fantasy 7, the developers used high-end Sony PVMs and BVMs.