Making a Retro Gaming Scaler - 8bit and 16bit to VGA

Sega Genesis

About a dozen years ago, I had a 27" VGA monitor instead of a TV.  It was fantastic, because even back then most of my entertainment was run through a computer, including TV.  The real kicker about having it was the incredible picture that I could get out of my game systems, if I could just get them to work with VGA.  At the time, the prime example of this was the Sega Dreamcast, which looked utterly amazing in VGA (and still does).

I'd long dreamed of playing my games with crystal clear picture.  I didn't know at the time that folks over in Europe have been playing this way since the systems came out - the TV connection standard over there is called SCART, and it connects the red, green, and blue pins directly to their TVs, producing the best possible picture from the systems.  I had moved on to emulation, which has its own share of issues.

Fast forward to this year.  I have been rediscovering my classic game collection, because I was given a projector that was a bit older, so it had all of the old and new connection types - playing the old games on a 5 foot by 7 foot screen is nothing short of amazing.  But it brings into stark relief the terrible picture that component cables have.  So, whereever possible, I upgraded the cabling to SVideo.  Better, but still not perfect.

Then, thanks to some YouTube videos, I learned about SCART, and how to convert that signal to other signal standards.  Specifically, since it's a well known format, there are several devices out on the market, and devices that you can make, that will convert the SCART cable's signal over to VGA or HDMI.  I decided to create a device to convert the game system signals to VGA, using a cheap scaler that's common in arcades.  It's not the world's best device, but it's pretty darned amazing.  It's amazing enough that I've now made a few.

Here are some Imgur albums of the scalers that I've created; if there's any interest, I'll detail out how I made them.  If you're interested in me making one for you, contact me, I'm sure we could work something out.

 Comparing Composite to VGA picture

The above picture was taken off of a projected image - as such, it's at a bit of an odd angle, and since it's so large, you'll see some effects from the actual projector (screen door).  Nonetheless, you can still see the dramatic improvement that this scaler makes.

 

 

Retro Gaming Scaler - Going from RGB to VGA
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