Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 27, 2016

Email: Screen Lag

Master Malstrom,

I am writing to explain more clearly what the one e-mailer probably meant when he mentioned screen lag.

Unfortunately, Nintendo has no control over how much lag a particular television injects into your gaming experience. Nintendo could make a console with absolutely zero lag time, but if the gamer plugs it into a television that utilizes ‘features’ designed to make the image ‘more stable’ then the gamer will experience lag anyways.

The worst part is that the amount of lag varies greatly from TV to TV. An old CRT would refresh its screen at 60Hz or faster, which means that the time it takes to display one frame to the next would be about 17ms. Generally, it would only take one frame (17ms) to display Mario jumping after you pressed the A button. An average LCD television can add well over 130ms to the time between your pressing the A button and your seeing Mario jump on the screen. Most televisions have a game mode that disables all the features and reduces input lag. However, even then, the amount of lag varies from model to model.

So, while the main reason for the integrated screen is obviously for on-the-go gaming. The integrated screen can also be a selling point for those that value a precise response. Generally these are the Call of Duty gamers where a few frames of lag can mean losing a match, but I personally have experienced frustrating lag just playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Not having to worry about what my television will do to my gaming experience will be a welcome relief.

A Reader

 

I can’t say if that is why I get frustrated with NSMB Wii or other things of the game. I DO know that I refuse to play an old school console on a HD TV since there is significant lag. People say you cannot feel it, but you can. In fact, when Super Mario All-Stars came out in the early 1990s, Super Mario Brothers 3 would feel ‘off’ to me and still does to this day. There is something amazing about playing the original Super Mario Brothers 3 cartridge on original hardware on a CRT. It is so precise!

Also, arcades always had their own integrated screen. And was the arcade screen across the room when you played? No! It was right in front of your face. In some ways, this is why I like handheld gaming ‘better’ because of that. But there are other issues I have had with Nintendo handhelds such as button size and hand cramping.

January 12 cannot get here soon enough.

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