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About
Systems I own:

Sears TeleGames Pong
Atari 7800 ProSystem
Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
SNES 2
TurboGrafx 16
Saturn
PlayStation
Nintendo 64
Dreamcast
Xbox
GameCube
PlayStation 2
Wii
Xbox 360
PLAYSTATION 3 (60GB, fully PS2, PS1 compatible)

OG Game Boy
Game Boy Color
Game Boy Advance SP
Game Boy micro
Nintendo DS Lite
Game Gear

Used to own:
Atari 2600
Game Boy pocket

My game collection

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GameTrailers video review:



1UP video review:



GameSpot video review:



No video review yet but here's IGN's written review.

1UP's Super Mario Galaxy song from their latest show:



Whe-hew! Definitely looks good for my most anticipated game of this year. Totally getting this game at Toys "R" Us with the $25 gift card Tuesday, unemployment be damned!

Update: added the video review from GameSpot and updated the title.








Hello D-Toid! In case you missed it, this is a two-part series (unless I decide to make another part, who knows). The first part mainly dealt with what you need to know when buying a HDTV for your gaming needs. Part 2 will mainly deal with how to get the most of your HDTV in relation to gaming but it can also apply toward hooking up DVD players, etc.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not responsible for you getting the wrong HDTV or wrong cable or whatever. This is meant to help people, but I am human (as far as you know) and I might not have everything 100% right. I am pretty confident on most of this though. On that note, if any of this needs to be corrected, please let me know in the comments so I can make the changes. Thanks. Also, keep in mind this guide is meant for US readers. I'm not versed in the different cable types and resolutions of other countries.

Connection types

Now that you have a HDTV, the last thing you want to do is hook your console up to that old school RF adapter. Even your dusty NES can do better than that. Naturally you want to go with the best available connection for the console you're using. First though, you'll need to understand what connections are better than others and why.

RF Adapter

I'm assuming most everybody knows better, but here it is anyway. Unless you're hooking up an Atari 2600/5200/7800 system where you have no choice, avoid these at all costs. They're functional but the worst kind of connection you can use, quality-wise.

Composite (RCA cable)

Really unless you’re using your grandma’s TV, you can probably do better than these also. This is the best you can do for the NES though. Most old TVs at least have S-Video so it’s better to go with those for the other consoles if you’re still stuck with a SDTV or are using old consoles. That leads me to…

S-Video

S-Video is the next step up and has better color quality than composite. For gaming, S-Video cables will come along with white and red composite audio cables and many times, will have the standard yellow video cable as well so you can use the cable on a composite connection or a S-Video connection. S-Video is pretty much going to be the best you can do on most consoles made before the PlayStation 2 (before 2000). S-Video and below cannot transmit HD signals or progressive scan – the best you can do is standard SDTV 480i resolution.

Component

Right, so now we get into EDTV and HDTV connections. Component can transmit 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and sometimes 1080p and is a huge difference over S-Video and below. I say sometimes because it depends on what you’re doing and which console. The Xbox 360 will support games at 1080p but not HD-DVD movies with the add-on drive. For that, you would need to use VGA or HDMI. DVDs on the 360 can be upscaled to 480p via component – no higher.

VGA

This should be familiar to you all as I’m sure you have at some point connected a computer monitor to a PC using this connection. This kind of connection can also be found on select HDTVs. While it’s meant for hooking up a computer, it could be used to hook up game consoles as well. On a HDTV, you will typically have the VGA port itself along with ports for white and red RCA cables for sound. This is typically better picture quality than component and useful if you are hooking up a Xbox 360 without a HDMI connection or a Dreamcast. Be aware though that you can only use certain resolutions through the VGA port on most HDTVs. For instance, the highest mine will go is 1024X768. You’ll need to consult your TV manual for details. If you haven’t bought the TV yet, you should be able to download the manual from the TV manufacturer’s website.

HDMI

This is currently the best kind of connection you can get. It supports all the way up through 1080p and combines the best quality video along with the audio connection in the same cable. You’ll want to use this one as much as possible. The PS3 can upscale DVDs to 1080p when using a HDMI cable.

Best connections for each console
With that out of the way, I’m sure some of you are wondering what the best connection is for your particular console, so here we go without further adieu:

Xbox 360 – HDMI if you have one of the newer ones with the port for it. If not, then VGA. If you don’t have a VGA connection on your TV (since they aren’t common), then component is the next best thing. All games for the 360 will display in HD, some even in 1080p. This applies to original Xbox games that are compatible with the 360 as well.

PlayStation 3 – HDMI. If you have an older HDTV with no HDMI port, component is the next best thing. All games for the PS3 will display in HD, some even in 1080p.

Wii – Component is the best. The Wii doesn’t do HD (just ED) but it does do progressive scan and widescreen and for that, you’ll need a component cable. Not all games support progressive scan and widescreen but most do and Virtual Console games do as well. GameCube games that support 480p (most of them) will display at 480p on Wii also with the component cable.

Xbox – Component is the best. As far as I’m aware, all original Xbox games can do 480p with some doing 720p (very rarely). To get progressive scan working, you’ll need the component cable.

GameCube – Component is the best. Most GameCube games support progressive scan and you’ll need a component cable to use it. The Game Boy Player can output in progressive scan as well. Unfortunately, this cable won’t come cheap and you’ll want to have one of the earlier models of the GameCube. There are cheap component cables on eBay that connect to the normal multi-AV port but those are not worth using. Earlier models of the GameCube had a digital-AV port in the back for plugging in the component cable. The port was removed on later GameCubes to reduce cost. The only cable that can plug into this port is the official cable made by Nintendo. Nintendo no longer makes them though so they go for about $50 or so on eBay. eBay also lists the official Japanese component cable for around the same cost – those will work too.

PlayStation 2 – Component is the best. A lot of games are in progressive scan, especially the newer ones.

Dreamcast – VGA is the best, believe it or not. It’s not HD but it will display 640X480 and most games support it. The next best is S-Video.

Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Saturn, SNES – S-Video is the best. The smaller SNES redesign will only work composite or lower.

NES , Genesis – composite is the best. The NES redesign will only work with a RF adapter.

Atari 2600/5200/7800 – RF adapter is the only choice.

More info on connection types can be found at Amazon's HD 101 guide. For more info on which games support what resolutions and whether they support widescreen or not, check out the HDTV Arcade forums. When you get there, click "HD Game Database" at the top and select the console the game appears on.

Gaming mode
Once you have everything all hooked up, you'll want to know about this. Most newer HDTVs have a "gaming mode" that you can use to reduce gaming lag and this is especially useful in older consoles. For more info on gaming lag, please see Part 1 and to see if your HDTV has this mode, check your TV manual or look up the manual on the TV manufacturer's website if you haven't bought the TV yet.








Sorry guys, I was going to have part 2 by now but life threw me a curve ball. That's how it goes I guess. I got laid off my job of over 8 years Friday. It's the third layoff experience I've been through at that company and one before that but I always made it through. Not this time. It's cool though, I was too stressed at that job anyway, time to move on. I'm getting severance pay through the end of the year and if I find another job soon, I'm paying off my car with it (last payment was going to be in March) and Super Mario Galaxy, here I come!

So anyway, priority is spending time with my girlfriend this weekend, job hunting Monday and then if I have time, part 2.








Well, it's almost that time again, that dreaded and wonderful time when the awesome and chaotic mix either to make total disappointment or a total triumph. Nope, not a console launch (thank God we won't have to deal with that again for awhile). No, not Christmas, although you're getting warmer. Black Friday is coming really soon and with it, possibly the best Christmas season ever for game releases. It's also a great time to get a HDTV to really enjoy those games to their full potential. I've been researching and planning this for a long time and actually went ahead and got one since I got a great deal on an outgoing model. I figure I can put some of that knowledge to good use and help my friends at Destructoid.

Part 1 will cover the knowledge you need to buy the best HDTV for your gaming purposes. Part 2 (coming soon) will go more in-depth on the types of connectors for hooking up your consoles to the HDTV and how to get the best quality picture out of your retro or modern console.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not responsible for you getting the wrong HDTV or wrong cable or whatever. This is meant to help people, but I am human (as far as you know) and I might not have everything 100% right. I am pretty confident on most of this though. On that note, if any of this needs to be corrected, please let me know in the comments so I can make the changes. Thanks. Also, keep in mind this guide is meant for US readers. I'm not versed in the different cable types and resolutions of other countries.

Resolution and Progressive Scan vs. Interlaced
Old non-HD consoles run at the standard definition, which is 480i, also known as SDTV (for standard definition). The 480 stands for the resolution (in this case 640X480) and the "i" stands for interlaced. This is the method it uses to draw the screen. The other method is progressive scan that is represented by a "p". Progressive scan results in a nicer, sharper picture. As you can imagine, 480p looks significantly better but it doesn't look near as good as HD. 480p is considered "EDTV" which is a step between SDTV and HDTV. 720p and 1080p look better still. Some older HDTVs run at 1080i but pretty much every new TV is 720p or 1080p now. You’ll want to avoid 1080i because of gaming lag (discussed below) and also because you can’t get the most out of the Wii and the last gen consoles since you won’t be able to run progressive scan, meaning they will still run at 480i. 720p is a major difference over 480i and 480p and is considered "HD". There is not as big of a difference between 720p and 1080p. Most say it isn't really noticeable on a TV that is under 50". 720p TVs are really coming down in price now so that's probably the way to go for most people. I'd only get a 1080p set if I was getting a much bigger screen than 50" and had a whole lot of money (I don't).

Gaming Lag
A major thing for retro console gamers to worry about with HDTVs is gaming lag. This is something that you don't have to worry about on a old-school SDTV but you should definitely be aware of in HDTVs. It won't affect modern console gamers using the better types of cables but it can still happen. Non-CRT 720p HDTVs have to scale up from 720p to their native resolution which is a little higher still. If the content you have hooked up to your HDTV isn't in 720p or 1080p, your HDTV has to scale it up to 720p or 1080p to display it. These scalers work fine for DVDs and TV content. Games, however are more demanding. Because most scalers in TVs aren't that fast and really aren't designed for gaming, it can be an issue. On some HDTVs this creates what's known as gaming lag. Basically the image on the screen isn't being updated fast enough to match up with what you're doing on the controller which can make an annoying disconnect between you and the action. This is the most notable on fast-paced games where timing is key (fighting, FPS, sports games and Guitar Hero for example - although Guitar Hero II actually has a setting to adjust for this) so if you're really into these, pay close attention. The biggest thing that causes lag is when the TV has to switch a 480i signal into progressive scan. This makes more of a difference than the resolution. As such, this affects the PlayStation 2 (most games run at 480i) and older consoles the most (consoles that came out before 2000). As long as you're using component cables on them, it shouldn't affect the original Xbox, GameCube and Wii too much as they will run at 480p for most games. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 can both display at 720p or 1080p natively so it's not as much of a problem for them. Note: the Xbox 360 needs to be hooked up with a VGA or HDMI connection (not available on earlier models) and the PS3 needs to be hooked up with a HDMI connection to output 1080p natively. A creative way around gaming lag problems is to use the Wii's Virtual Console or the Xbox 360's or PS3's backwards compatibility. All Virtual Console games are displayed in 480p even though the original games were not in progressive scan. GameCube games that support 480p (most of them) will also display in 480p on the Wii. Original Xbox games that are backwards compatible in the Xbox 360 will display at 720p, 1080i or 1080p. This is true for PS1 and PS2 games in the 60GB and 80GB PS3 as well. The upcoming 40GB PS3 is not backwards compatible. When the console itself does the scaling instead of the TV, it's much faster, making the gaming lag noticably less. It would be a good idea to bring in your oldest console and hook it up to the TV you're considering buying. Yeah, you might get some weird looks but hey, it's the only way to see for sure and it's a good chunk of money. The sales rep/manager should understand.

Display Type
LCDs, plasmas, DLP and CRTs oh my! Which to get? Here's the breakdown:

LCD


Most are familiar with this type of display because we use them for computer monitors. If you have a flat computer monitor, this is what it is. LCD TVs are the same thing really. You know how if you set the resolution too low on your monitor, it looks like crap on a LCD but it looks great if it's on the right resolution? The same goes for LCD TVs. If you're running a lot of old consoles, don't expect them to look really great on a LCD. Also, some fast movement is blurred on LCDs, which you may have noticed on your computer monitor. Watch during fast moving scenes on the store demos (watch the crowd in a football game for instance) to see if it's bad enough to cause a problem with you on the particular TV that you're looking at. Newer LCDs are getting better about this. On the bright side, these displays are really coming down in price, they are thin and have great viewing angles (you don't have to be directly in front of the TV).

Plasma


These tend to be the most expensive TVs but even these are coming down in price and sometimes they are comparible to LCD prices. They are thin like LCD TVs. They don't have the motion blurring problem which is nice, the blacks look the best on these and they also have a great viewing angle. Unfortunately though, they are prone to what's known as "burn-in". Basically if one image stays on the screen for long enough (like the HUD or a pause screen), it will burn itself into the display and stay there, leaving that part of the TV a little darker. Supposedly newer TVs only have a problem with this when they are left at the same screen for hours or if something on the display stays the same for hours such as the HUD or the TV station logo. The Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 have burn-in protection that can be turned on in the settings. Basically the screen goes darker when you haven't touched the controller for awhile which helps prevent screen burn-in. On the PS3, you can set the time before it dims to 5, 10 or 30 minutes in the Display Settings. If you get a plasma, it's a good idea to turn off the TV if you're playing an older console and plan to be away from the TV for awhile, just in case.

DLP


Grandma's Boy! I love that movie! Oh sorry. These seem to be being discontinued thanks to LCDs coming down in price, but you may find a really good deal on one of these as I did. These TVs look flat from the front but they are about 5-6 inches deep, unlike the really thin LCD and plasma TVs. The picture is great but there are a couple of things you need to be aware of. On most DLPs, they don't have that great of a viewing angle. You will find some though that are a lot closer to the viewing angle of a LCD or plasma. The other one is bulb replacement. DLPs have a $200 bulb that needs to be replaced every 5000-6000 hours of use (every few years or so). Supposedly this will make the TV itself last even longer though since once a LCD or plasma is dead, nothing can easily be replaced like this and it will cost a lot more.

CRT


Note: the image does NOT look that good on CRTs.. These are the really old-school big-screen TVs and are all but gone now on the bigger TVs. They are deeper than DLPs, have poor viewing angles, are not very bright and a lot of them run at 1080i. As they are old news now, you will probably find these a lot in classifieds and other used sources. It's best to stay away from these now that the other display technologies are cheaper.

Connection Types
There are a lot of different connections used to hook up game consoles which I will go over much more in-depth on Part 2. For now, know that you need a TV with component connections and it would be a very good idea to get one with HDMI connections also, especially for the future. Luckily, all HDTVs now pretty much have these connections. The amount of connections aren't really important as you can use a switch box. If you can find a TV with a VGA connection, that's a plus. If you are hooking up consoles made before 2000, it'd be good to find one that has a S-Video connection as well.


Amazon's HD 101 guide is a good guide to look at for more HDTV info, as well as CNET's HDTV World. The AVS forums are a great place to go as well.

No type of HDTV is perfect so you just have to decide what's best for you.

Phew. That took awhile. Look for Part 2 to come soon!








Check this out, I made the quite the haul recently. I've been trying to find local places to get games since all the ones I knew before disappeared other than the giant that is GameStop. GameStop is ok but usually their prices leave something to be desired and them not carrying systems older than last gen just doesn't do it for me (although I did pick up a Monster Cable component cable there for Xbox for $7.19!!). Also, I hate paying $5+ shipping for one game only from the Internets for $5 games.

I was looking around pawn shops for games when I was told to check out a "place down the street that has lots of games" called Price Busters. I figured what the hell and checked it out. I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was not in heaven. NES, SNES, Genesis, GBA, N64, PS2, Xbox, GameCube titles galore with a bunch of DVDs and some Xbox 360 games for added fun.

Just some of the stuff they had:





I spent $35.43 and walked out with all the below:




It was money I didn't really have - I was supposed to be going to this big car show a couple of states away with my girlfriend. I'm so lucky to have such a cool girlfriend. She told me not to worry about it. She even got her a Game Boy micro and a couple of games. The next day we went back and I picked up these for $19.34:



Could you do this at GameStop? I think not. Consider this a Public Service Announcement: if you are into old games, do yourself a favor and look up "video game stores" for your area in the phone book. You may be glad you did. Make sure to support these places and maybe they'll be able to stick around.

On a side note, I did stop at a GameStop awhile back and picked up The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons for Game Boy Color for $5 but I can't get the damn thing to work, even after cleaning it. It just shows a scrambled Nintendo logo. It does that on my Game Boy Color, Advance SP and Game Boy Player for the GameCube. Anybody have any ideas on that?







SuperDave
6:57 PM on 10.23.2007

Hello Destructoid! I figured I would use my first blog post to describe myself a little since the right side is pretty full with all of the systems that I own.

I'm 28 years old and as you can probably tell already, gaming is my #1 hobby. I've been in it since I had an Atari 2600 as a kid. I grew up with my NES and SNES and never had a Genesis since I wasn't a rich kid. Now I don't see the need as I can get the games on the Virtual Console. While I do tend to have nostalgic feelings for Nintendo consoles and games, as you can tell I'll get whatever platforms have the games I want, eventually getting all consoles by the end of that generation.

I do have a girlfriend, debunking the age-old myth that you can't have a girlfriend if you're a hardcore gamer.

I'm not shy about my opinions so I'll be posting a lot of opinion-related posts. If you don't like my opinions, don't troll, kthxbai.

My posts will have to do with old consoles as well as new ones as I frequently dabble in both retro and modern (getting the most of your system, top 10, 15, 20 lists that span multiple generations, etc).

If you are into the STFUAJPG mentality, you've come to the right place. More to come very soon.