Saturday, May 7, 2011

Getting the most out of your PAL N64 console.

What has always annoyed me about the PAL N64 console is that the best quality video you can get out of it is AV composite which gives an absolutely disgraceful signal. It might sound silly, and it probably is, but I've a personal vendetta against those three red, yellow and white cables.

AV Composite go fuck yourself!
Nintendo in their infinite wisdom decided not to impliment RGB scart or s-video output on PAL N64 consoles, two far superior video standards nd despite RGB scart being supported heavily in Europe. Even the PAL SNES supported RGB scart! Even more maddening is that NTSC machines have s-video support and can be modded to support RGB. AV composite gives a horrible blurry picture with washed out colours and image artifacts like dot crawl. It looks awful. If you are using these cables on any of your consoles that support RGB or s-video then throw those cables out and run down the shops and get yourself some RGB scart or s-video cables, you'll thank me later. The increase in visual quality these cables give is amazing. Remember the people giving out about not being able to read text in Xbox 360 games on standard def TV's and blaming it on the developer not supporting standard definition. Well I had a standard definition TV for a while and had no trouble reading text since I was using an RGB scart cable. The problem was people using the pack in AV composite cables.

What you should be using

Anyway I learnt that s-video cables can be modified and can be used on PAL N64 consoles. I picked one up from who I've dealt with before and would recommend. Make sure you get the modified s-video cable for PAL N64 consoles. The cable works beautifully and even though it's not the massive improvement it is for other consoles thanks to the awful anti-aliasing solution employed for the N64 it's still a massive improvement over composite. This my friends is the best thing you can buy for your N64. I tried it out on a few games. Perfect Dark in its high res mode looks stunning now, like a different game. Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64 similarly look amazing. 2D games like Mischief makers look fantastic. Colours are much more vivid and there's more definition to the image since there's less blurring and no dot crawl artifacts. It's like playing a different console. I can't recommend this cable highly enough.

Here's some pictures stolen from google images to show the benefits of s-video. Remember that composite looks worse in motion due to dot crawl, the stills make it look better:
Composite quality

S-Video Quality

Composite Quality
S-Video Quality