Written by Ryan Johnson Friday, 08 April 2011 03:53
I have a problem, one that afflicts thousands, if not millions: SD Vision. You see, living a normal life has caused the need to make sacrifices, and it appears that gaming companies don't think "not buying an HDTV" should be one of them. Even if I had the money laying around, tech is advancing so fast right now that I wouldn't buy one. LCD, Plasma, to 3D or not to 3D, too many options right now. What do I game on? A 32" tube TV. I have an awesome projector, but the bulb is dead, let alone there's no HDMI ports.
I wear glasses, but they are the appropriate prescription. Lately, I put in games, and I cannot read on-screen text. For some unknown reason, developers are slowly but surely shrinking the font size, or using very stylized fonts that are difficult to see on a standard television. Even some in-game maps are getting so detailed that on SD they look like a muddled mess, unable to follow to a destination. I am very excited to play Transformers: War for Cybertron, but on my standard TV I can't really read it. The font is specialized, and so small that I think that even if I had an HDTV I would have to get closer to the TV just to read it. I bought a VGA cord for the 360 to play on the computer monitor when my family occupies the TV...that helps a bit when I need finer resolution, but do I want to have to move my system from its native location just because developers want to shrink the words?
I saw this again recently with Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime. I cannot follow the story without moving to the VGA. Even the menus on Pac-Man Championship Edition DX are illegible on SD TV! Did we really need to make THAT font small?? Pac-Man does just fine in SD, yet to understand options I have to get two inches from the screen and guess! My wife avoids the reliable hard-wired Xbox Netflix and instead goes with the less reliable Wi-Fi Wii. Why? She can't read the font on the HD style Xbox from her chair!
I work with people with mental and physical handicaps. One of them is a gamer, and he has to sit five inches from the screen to play most games these days. Console manufacturers: the day that you make your console incompatible with tube TVs, I will stop complaining. But if I have the option to hook up my system via composite, every game I play should be legible in composite. How hard would a font size option be? Or better yet, give up this artsy-fartsy minitype and just make the game readable? I bet all the beta testers these days are playing in HD. There is a market split that game developers are ignoring right now, and it isn't going away anytime soon. It will probably be at least a year before I can even bring myself to debate purchase of a new television, and I'm afraid of how many awesome games I'm going to be delayed on playing just because the developer wants to use 2 point font.