Sega Genesis Screen Resolution
Screen resolution is important when trying to emulate the experience of retro consoles faithfully. The number of pixels that the original hardware supports, and stretching it to fit newer displays can create some wonky distortions that can affect your gameplay or just your overall experience. Emulating is a great way to play the best games of the past without needing to drain your wallet buying the original hardware. Getting that pixel-perfect recreation of these classic games running on your computer can take a little technical know-how plus some patience, so here is a quick guide to make your emulator look beautiful.
What was the Native Resolution for the Sega Genesis?
This answer can depend on where you are from/which region your Genesis is from. If your console is from what is known as the “PAL” regions (Europe and Australia), the Mega Drive displays at 320×240, which is equivalent to 76,800 pixels. The “NTSC” regions (North America and Japan) displayed 320×224, equal to 71,680 pixels.
This probably does not mean much to most gamers, but it is key in properly running the correct aspect ratios. While these numbers are what the Genesis could output, many games did not use the entirety of the screen that they were given, which produced black bars around the game that players, especially those from PAL regions, are probably familiar with.
Getting Pixel-Perfect Pictures in an Emulator
For this guide, we will be using the Kega Fusion emulator for Genesis, 32X, and CD. This emulator has been supported for a long time on Windows, Linux, and macOS and is relatively easy to use.
Once you have Kega Fusion installed, you are greeted by the all too familiar TV static that many players probably saw back in the day. The program itself has a pretty simple layout with File being used to load ROMs, Video for video settings, Sound for sound settings, and Options for miscellaneous settings like setting up a controller or screen grabbing.
When you load your ROM (I used Castlevania: Bloodlines to test the video settings), boot your game and head over to the video tab. Right now, your game probably looks a bit blurry since pixels are somewhat combined due to aspect ratio settings.
The first setting that should be changed is the “Window Size” tab. This setting should be changed to 320×240 to simulate the original aspect ratio of the Genesis. Second, your “Full Screen Resolution” should be set to whatever your monitor’s aspect ratio is. It will stretch your game to fit your monitor, but won’t stretch the pixels to make it blurry. One setting that is up to personal preference is the “Scan Lines”. These can outline the pixels to create a cleaner look, but it is up to you. Finally, to erase the blur, you will need to turn off the “Filtered” setting.
Now your game will look closer to the original hardware than ever before. Bask in the glory of HD Genesis titles accessible from your PC.