Emulation on a Plasma Redux

Posted March 31, 2014

I’ve been researching SuperGuns a bit recently, certainly intrigued by the thought of having a stack of JAMMA PCBs in the corner to pull from. Especially shmups. While adding to my Saturn and Dreamcast wishlists, I’ll often check out the arcade originals in MAME. And shmups tend to play great. But after moving a lot of my retrogaming to the tv, where the actual consoles and a comfy couch replace the need to hunch over a desk, I thought I’d give the iMac-to-plasma another go for MAME, which is really the only thing I’m still using emulation for.

In a previous post I mentioned MAME shaders not rendering once it reached the plasma. And honestly, they give the image a quality that’s very much missing without them. Trying it again this weekend, it worked fine, and actually looked pretty good. Really good. What changed? Since then, there was an update to SDLmame, and we’ve replaced our previous plasma with a Panasonic TC-P55VT60 (grab one before Panasonic shuts off the tap!). The cable is just a simple Mini-DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter ($10-15). The sound is fine, not super impressive. The iMac is only passing 2-speaker stereo for me, even after trying optical, but it’s not like those games are in Dolby (though this was still the case even when trying DVDs that did have Dolby 5.1).

Playing Gunbird 2 was a ton of fun, with vertical scanlines and a wireless gamepad rounding it out. As a vertical shmup, and no ability to go Tate with this shockingly non-rotatable 55″ plasma, the game still occupies a large portion of the screen, certainly bigger than any Tate-ready LCD I’d have. Is it the buttery consistency of a PVM? No way, what are you, crazy?

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