Best way to play non-widescreen games on a Widescreen TV?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andrew*Jones, Jan 20, 2003.

  1. Andrew*Jones

    Andrew*Jones Extra

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    Well, I recently upgraded to a widescreen TV and I now have all my systems connected to it (with component cables -yeah!), but playing non-widescreen games with the grey bars on the sides sucks. I have a "panorama" zoom mode, but that looks horrible as well, and trying to use 16x9 zoom modes also distorts the picture. Is there anything I may have over looked that I should try? I wish all games were in widescreen!

    Also, by setting my display as 16x9 in the PS2/Xbox dashboard, will it automatically strech games for 16x9 mode? Maybe that is my problem...should I set them to 4x3 and let me TV do the streching?

    Thanks,
    Andrew
     
  2. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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    I play almost all games in 16x9 mode, most games still look great, even with the minor distortion. In some, I can hardly tell.

    If you set the XBox for widescreen in the dashboard, it will put the game into 16x9 mode automatically if supported. I think the PS2's widescreen setting is only for DVDs, and any 16x9 games will have an option in the game itself (Since I still don't own a PS2, I can't be sure).
     
  3. Andrew*Jones

    Andrew*Jones Extra

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    Do you play the games in just normal widescreen (16x9), or do you use any of the zoom features of the TV? I think that 16x9 seems to distort them a little to much for my taste.

    Thanks,
    ANdrew
     
  4. Aaron Copeland

    Aaron Copeland Second Unit

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    I too just play them in 16x9. The distortion doesn't bother me the same way watching TV that way does...I guess because games aren't real where the items on-screen during TV shows usually are real (i.e. real people, etc...). If that makes any sense...
     
  5. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    I personally think it's insulting to the designers of the game who spent long hours to create the worlds, character models, and various in-game effects when we distort them just so that we can fill up our TVs. I mean, don't we usually belittle the Joe Sixpacks of the world for wanting to fill up their TVs with non-widescreen movies? Why is it that we have a double standard for games?

    I say, play the games in their native aspect ratio of 4:3 and get some matteing material to cover up the gray bars on the side.
     
  6. Eric C. Mylonas

    Eric C. Mylonas Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with you to a point. However, unlike film, stretching a game image to fill the screen does not result in a loss of imagery that the creator intended to be displayed, which is completely unlike the concerns many have with pan & scan (where actual parts of the picture are literally sheared off).

    I find that if your television has a non-linear stretch mode, the ever-so-slight distortion is hardly noticeable and, in no way, mangles the creator's intent.
     
  7. Keith Frederick

    Keith Frederick Stunt Coordinator

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    I have had my widescreen TV for 8 months, and have viewed every type of programming on it. 4:3 games, when stretched, typically look fine. I would challenge anyone to tell the difference. Only sports games, that are simulating actual people, can look funny when stretched. But Mechs in MechAssault and Aliens in Halo look just fine.
     
  8. Michael St. Clair

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    There is no right answer about what looks 'best'. How games look stretched depends on how the TV's stretch modes are designed and on the personal preferences of the player/viewer, which vary.

    As far as original intent, the answer is obvious. If you care about original intent you play a game in the aspect ratio for which it was designed.
     
  9. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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  10. Ricky Hustle

    Ricky Hustle Supporting Actor

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  11. Tim Markley

    Tim Markley Screenwriter

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    I play all of them in stretch mode and hardly notice. I'd much rather do that than have the bars on the side.
     
  12. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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  13. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Whelp, I guess I can live with my own double-standard on this issue. I play all my X-BOX games in 16x9.

    Actually stretching 4:3 material to 16:9 on DVDs doesn't bother me as an OAR supporter. I might think you're a bit weird wanting to watch the movie all stretched horizontally, but it's your right, it's your TV. Just as I wouldn't go after someone that decided to "Zoom" their letterbox movies to fill up their 4:3 TV. Again, their TV, their preference.

    What I want is for *all" movies to be in OAR on DVD. And as far as I can tell, all video games are in their OAR on the game discs. How I choose to play it is my right.

    [edit]P.S. I'm friends with a pretty high-ranking person at Activision and he doesn't seem to mind my stretching the game when he comes over...and yes on one of the games he was a lead... [​IMG][/edit]
     
  14. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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  15. Cameron Seaman

    Cameron Seaman Supporting Actor

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    Even though I very strongly support OAR for film, I used to play video games using stretch modes. I no longer do so.

    If the game is formatted for 4:3, then 4:3 is the only natural way to play the game. Right now, I'm doing this with grey bars on the side, but I am considering making mattes at a later date.
     
  16. Joe michaels

    Joe michaels Second Unit

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  17. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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  18. Eric C. Mylonas

    Eric C. Mylonas Stunt Coordinator

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    For starters, it's not the same thing: you don't lose any information playing a 4:3 game in a 16:9, non-linear stretch mode (or even linear, if you prefer the short, fat people).

    However, playing, say, Starfox Adventures in 16:9 on a 4:3 set crops the image, thereby deleting detail and parts of the image.

    So, to answer your question, no, I wouldn't play a 16:9 game on a 4:3 set.
     
  19. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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  20. Eric C. Mylonas

    Eric C. Mylonas Stunt Coordinator

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    Does your TV have a non-linear stretch mode? There is virtually imperceptible distortion. Really, you have to look for it in 99% of the cases. Perhaps your set isn't equipped with such (I'm pretty sure it is, though)?

    As for the gray bars, they will burn the screen given enough time--at least on a plasma display (which is what I play on).

    Oh, and one other thing: I used to play DOA 3 on a 4:3 set in 16:9 mode (Sony Wega), as well as a few other Xbox games (which escape me at the moment).
     

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