Do you use CRT, scanlines, & other filters when playing on modern displays?

If so, why and when? Or why not? No judgment, no shade. Genuinely curious how people approach and think about this topic.

I’ve been a no filters or effects, give me them raw pixels (ideally integer scaled) kind of person for at least 10 years. I don’t have a CRT and haven’t had one since I bought my first HDTV about 14 years ago. But I started trying out different filters this week, various curving and scanlines and such just to see what it’s like. It’s kind of fun! But I’d love to know if there are any practical reasons aside from novelty.

I don't play rereleases of 240p games unless they have a decent CRT filter. SEGA AGES Phantasy Star for Nintendo Switch has a really fun one, Sonic Mania is kind of a quality standard, and Sonic Generations does the absolute bare minimum with a slight blur filter, and it keeps me from wanting to play the game for any real length of time. Mainly because I can/have play the originals on a CRT already.

Mostly depends on my mood. I play a lot of old games in emulation and my monitor is 32". If you're going to play Metroid 4 or any other GBA game on it, you want an LCD effect.

I've had very mixed results using the "shaders" which is Retroarch's word for "filters". I like the LCD one, and I found a generic "CRT Hylian Glow" one that I like for nearly everything that isn't the GBA. Unfortunately, there are a few emulators that seem to crash with that filter applied (Dreamcast) and my hand-me-down PC I use for emulation doesn't have enough CPU/GPU overhead to apply a shader to GameCube and not drop frames, so those are raw.

I also liked using the CRT shaders in _Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online Edition_. And the composite filter in the _Mega Man Legacy Collection_ is great!

But I didn't like the filters/shaders in _Sonic Mania_ and just cut my eyballs on the raw pixels and you know what? My eyeballs liked it!


@“Brett”#p118303 integer scaled

If the scaling isn't integer, things get ugly fast!

I always try to find good ones but I get really picky and indecisive with them too which can lead to messing around with filters more than actually playing games.

one of the reasons I almost always use scanlines when playing old games on modern TVs is that I‘m extremely sensitive to brightness and i like how it slightly dims the picture I’d that makes sense (if i spend like 2 hours playing a very bright an colorful game without looking away form the screen I'll get dizzy an my pupils will take like 10 minutes to adjust to q different lighting situation) i should probably get that checked with a doctor…)). I also just kinda like how it looks.

@“穴”#p118326 I am not a doctor, but I think they will say you shouldn‘t spend 2 hours staring at a very bright screen without looking away! I know it’s easier said than done but take regular breaks. It's not good for your eyes to stare at a fixed distance for prolonged periods of time, and we also tend to blink less when we play games. I try to do the “20-20-20” thing (at least every 20 minutes, focus on something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds).

As I've gotten older I have been noticing I get eye strain a lot more easily, and a little bit of self care really makes a difference.

As for CRT shaders/scanlines - yeah I love em! For me there is no hard and fast rule, it really depends on the game. I think a lot of early 3D really benefits from some added blur and lines to break up the image - N64 in particular. It can be a bit jarring to switch between the two but I find that once you've adjusted you sort of subconsciously.. fill in the gaps? Some pixel art just looks great when perfectly scaled up and sharp, though.


@“antillese”#p118317 If you’re going to play Metroid 4 or any other GBA game on it, you want an LCD effect.

CRT scanline & composite blending can be great for GBA games too though, especially Metroid! For me personally, that's what I prefer unless I'm playing on real GBA hardware. I haven't seen the LCD effect on the analog pocket in person but I bet that's pretty good too.

Still waiting for the "ultimate universal CRT shader", I guess Mike Chi's Retrotink and the Mister is the closest we've come so far!

Maybe dumb question: why don‘t they just build these in as customizable features in modern displays? Given all the things my tv/monitor can do that I mostly don’t want it to do, it seems like there'd be some ability to throw some of this in there. Is it just that it would be bad, or add more lag?

I don't ever use filters. I want the pixels. I think this is because I grew up as much, if not more, on emulation than I did consoles. At a certain point, the raw pixels are just what those games look like to me.

this is 2xSAI/Super Eagle erasure

I do when they‘re good. M2 sucks at them which is too bad because they make the best rereleases. same for Hamster’s ACA and their insistence on blurring the picture… NSO's GBA one is surprisingly pretty good.

I use them sometimes. I used to be all about the raw pixels but for some games, I like the softness that a CRT shaders gives it.

I think a high-quality CRT/scanline filter (just about everything I‘ve seen from the past few years) can be very nice; I’ll use them so I voted “yes”!

But when they‘re bad (eg just a “soft” display option in a retro collection from 2010) I’d rather stick with sharp pixels.

When playing SMRPG recently I forgot they were even a thing, turned one on and was blown away by how much clearer and more realized the art looked. I‘d say they’re pretty much required, IME

I always use Sharp Bilinear filters on modern screens to create even pixels and eliminate pixel shimmering.

I only use 240p CRT filters on PC CRTs or high framerate (120hz+) displays with Black Frame Insertion because those displays offer **_motion clarity_**. PC CRT monitors and can be made to look like the lowliest consumer CRT or a high end PVM (albeit with slight darkening of the picture due to the artificial scanlines which may be a good thing to those sensitive to light anyway). Even a Raspberry Pi can look awesome on a PC CRT.


Cheap low-end PC CRT with scandoubled 480p output and 75% scanlines on a MiSTer



Same monitor with Sony PVM filter preset at monitor's native 1024x768 resolution

I've dabbled with CRT filters on LCD monitors and the motion blur combined with the extra stuff on top just makes it look too muddy, smeary and dark. Will use them with PC CRT monitors all day long though.

I will use LCD pixel grid filters with handheld emulators on bigger flat panels, because those have better motion clarity than the original screens but the pixel grid keeps the games looking as intended.

I'm not to picky either way. Sometimes I like using filters, sometimes the raw pixels are cool. Really depends on the game.



I just got an Ambernic RG35XX and the default emulator configurations are all Super Eagle garbage.

@“copySave”#p118471 that's awesome dude, anyplace where you post more of your CRT pics?

@“antillese”#p118503 oh man that's crazy. Can you show me what it looks like on that little screen??

I don‘t use them, but that’s mostly because with most old games I play them on a CRT! and I don‘t play emulators because I don’t use my computer for games, so this is kinda my “chance” to look at the sharp pixel version vs the soft version I usually see. Sometimes I'll turn them on on a re-release but then I kinda go… eh!!! and turn it off. I hear the filters are a lot better now but for me the sharp pixels are exotic now, so why not give them a look.