MiSTer’s PSX Core 16:9 Mode Explained

Now that FPGAzumSpass’s PlayStation 1 FPGA core is out to the public, I wanted to highlight one of the coolest features available for flat-panel gamers:  True widescreen 16:9 support.  There’s been a bit of confusion about this, as certain menu screens (including the PSX BIOS screen) and logos stretch when this mode is enabled, leading some people to assume it’s just a “stretch mode”.  The true answer is a bit more complicated:  Not all games are compatible and the ones that are often still have a few stretched elements…but it often doesn’t matter.  For example, a few games stretch things like your life bar and score, but all actual gameplay elements are properly rendered in the same shape;  In my opinion, that’s totally fine and is not what I’d consider “stretching your game”.

Luckily, some awesome members of the retro gaming scene have created videos explaining and highlighting this for us.  I’d strongly recommend starting with Lu’s video above, as it’s a short runthrough of how to enable it, with some great side-by-side comparisons.  Also, TheRestartPoint just uploaded a video of the public release core (linked below) following up on the same subject with some more extended gameplay footage.  One thing that stood out to me in TheRestartPoint’s video was how the elements shifter after the game was un-paused.  This is an important thing to note:

If you pause the game and enter the MiSTer’s menu, some elements won’t re-align right away.  That means you can pause, enable 16:9 mode, look at the screen and think “oh, this game only stretches” and go back to 4:3.  So, let that be a lesson – When testing games to see if the 16:9 mode is working, do it in-game (not on title screens) and make sure to play for at least a few seconds before deciding if it’s rendering properly.  And of course, re-check occasionally, as some games may get better as the core evolves.

Thanks to everyone in the community highlighting this stuff!  I’d love to see another comparison video demoing the best times to use dither blending options and any other way to clean up the early 3D graphics often found on the PS1!

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