Almost 90 million people worldwide own Nintendo Wiis. Millions of those Wii owners spent money on retro games on Nintendo's Virtual Console to replay classics like Super Mario World. And millions of those people were in for an ugly surprise: old, low resolution games do not look good on LCD TVs. Between upscaling games designed for 224p output and inappropriately stretching them to 16:9, modern flatscreens do Virtual Console games no favors.
But the problem goes deeper than that: LCDs and plasmas simply look different than the cathode ray tube televisions old games were designed for. Emulators allow us to run games at their original resolutions or control image scaling more accurately, but that's only a partial solution. Here's where it gets cool: programmers with a passion for preservation have developed filters to bring the CRT look alive on modern displays. We're talking about manually introducing color bleed, scanlines and even the rounded corners and bulge of the CRT into perfectly emulated images.
The attention to detail may sound crazy, but comparisons will make you a believer. Read on to see the filters in action as we dig into the technology keeping the analog video look alive and flickering in the digital era.