Lunchtime Discussion: The Impact of HD

As some of you know (particularly if you listen to Second Nature), I live with another member of TSA’s staff, Davs (djhsecondnature). We get along well, and he tends to have more/newer games than I do. However the one point where he mocks and teases me is over TVs. See our front room TV is ok, it’s a clunky old wide-screen CRT, but it was free and it works so we don’t complain. The difference comes in our rooms. See in his room Davs has a 32″+ 1080p TV. By contrast in my room I have a 17″ CRT that isn’t even wide-screen. This leads to comments of my room feeling like “the past” and other hurtful, hurtful things. The point of this story? Well he has HD and I don’t, and I play the same games on both TVs – he doesn’t, I think he’d explode if we played games on my TV – so I can make a real comparison about how HD has impacted and effected gaming. In my opinion? Well it hasn’t really.

See for me gaming is all about the fun. It doesn’t really matter all that much how a game looks. Yes from a technical stand point it’s very impressive to see what they can squeeze out of a TV and I will freely admit that content does look better when viewed on a HD TV, but I don’t really feel that I need to shell out a lot of money to get the “full HD experience”. I’m enjoying the game just as much on my slightly dodgy CRT as I am on a lovely TV. If I had a top of the line, state of the art, brand new TV to compare to I’d probably come to the same conclusion. Of course it’d be nice to go out and grab a new TV and be able to read on screen text without squinting a  lot, but beyond that I don’t really have any desire.

See I don’t understand why it really matters to people. People tell me all the time that the game looks smoother, or crisper or some other word that in resolution terms clearly means ‘good’. There are a few issues I have with this. For a start there are a significant number of issues that effect the output of a game and effect the TV you’re watching them. In fact on the few times I’ve looked around AV forums resolution of the TV is actually ranked far lower than other issues. Aside from that, as I said above, it doesn’t effect how much I enjoy playing the game. If I took my Master System sitting on my wardrobe, hooked it up to my TV and played it there, then played the copy I have on my Xbox 360 – why do I own Sonic so many times? Damn you Sega – on the same TV and then took it up to Davs’ room and played it there I can 100% guarantee that I would enjoy the game the same amount. And what about HD titles? Well there are a few I’ve played on both consoles, notably Shadow Complex, and I’ve enjoyed those games the same amount regardless of their output resolution.

And now comes the bit where I throw it out to you guys. Do you actually care about HD? Does it honestly, genuinely effect your game-playing experience or are you just telling yourself that because you paid several hundred pounds for a bigger TV that outputs in higher resolution? Will you not play a game that ‘only’ outputs in 640p? Or is the story and game-play what really matters to you?