I have a couple of notes I’d like to make, having lived through the CRT era but no longer owning any CRT displays.
I absolutely get the “intended” argument. Games designed during this era were made knowing the screen they would be displayed on, and took advantage of that. A lot of the dithering present in the “raw” pixel art was never intended to be seen; the artists knew it would be blended by the display.
The “gatekeeping” argument, as I see it, is simply a statement against the group trying to say “it isn’t even worth playing unless you play it on original hardware on a CRT”. I don’t see any of that here on IC. Rather, I overwhelmingly get the feeling that everyone here essentially is in the “play stuff! enjoy it!” camp, regardless of the mechanics any individual employs to do so.
Of course, we can have discussions around how CRTs look nicer for some things – but this is a far cry from telling people they shouldn’t even bother unless they own a CRT.
Emulators have come a long way, also. Some of the CRT shaders are very good. Are they perfect? No, of course not. Is the experience the same on my gaming LCD monitor as it would have been on a CRT? No. It’s still pretty dang good, though. For example, here is the title from Super Metroid, just scaled and showing the “raw” pixel art:
and here is the same title screen, but with a modern CRT shader enabled within the emulator (crt royale with a ntsc composite input layer):
It’s clearly not perfect, but it is pretty good and at least closer to the “intended” result, whatever that actually means.