News Article

Super Mario Galaxy Shines in 720p

Posted by James Newton

Shame it's not on the Wii itself, though

Whatever you think of Nintendo's decision not to include HD-support in the Wii, you can't deny that the console's seen some beautiful looking standard-definition titles, prime amongst them Super Mario Galaxy. Now the game's seen a bit of a high definition facelift with the latest iteration of the Dolphin Wii and Gamecube emulator, as these screenshots show off Mario's galactic adventure in stunning 720p.

Whether or not the enhanced beauty the emulator brings to supported titles will spur Nintendo to include HD in its future consoles is still up for debate, but there's no denying the difference it makes. Having seen these screenshots, do you think Nintendo made the right decision not to include high definition support in the Wii? Does it change your mind about their HD standpoint? Let us know!

[via kotaku.com]

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User Comments (84)

CorbsAdmin

#3

Corbs said:

That looks sweet. I know the debate will rage on, but the Wii should have supported at least 720p. Minimum.

Tails

#4

Tails said:

Beautiful as Always :closes eyes Picturing in my mind the Lava Levels: Ohh Goreous... :3

antdickensAdmin

#5

antdickens said:

This is entirely my point about the Wii and 720p, you don't need to spend extra dev times on games, just improve the graphics card output and it instantly looks a whole lot better. Massive shame. I hope future Wii consoles will upscale all these old games.

James

#6

James said:

I can't look at the regular screenshots in the same way now... thanks for ruining one of my favourite games with this news, you loser!

maka

#9

maka said:

Looks nice. It seems Nintendo left the posibility of HD open and Wii games will be able to to take advantage of it when Nintendo releases the expected Wii HD. The fact that old games will look better will be a good selling point...

opeter

#10

opeter said:

OMG, I would like to see some other games upscaled :o

EDIT: when will we see an update for Wii to output 720p, or even better, is there any news about Wii HD?

Terra

#11

Terra said:

The more I look at this sort of stuff, the (somehow) more I want Wii HD.

EDIT: Of course, I know Graphics aren't everything like some of you have said but it's always a good thing to have nice graphics though. Gameplay must come first.

Machu

#12

Machu said:

Whilst those do look very very shiny, I shall not get involved in this debate, graphics mean s*** and I'm sticking by that. Graphic technology will improve hand over fist until we reach a level where we just take it for granted, I've got half a lifetime ahead of me where I'll be playing ultra-realistic games and maybe even virtual reality type stuff. I'm in no rush, whenever you are ready Nintendo. Just keep the gameplay comin'!

cr00mz

#13

cr00mz said:

i guess it looks ok, but it wouldnt make the game anymore fun to play. Besides shiny graphics is really overrated, i mean after a couple of hours the initial wowness just disapears and you get used to it, just as the Wiimote in the beginning was the best thing since sliced bread, now noone gives a crap.

I remember when i bought my xbox 6 months ago after having only wii and ps2, the graphics were indeed amazing and fantastic and whatever adjectives there are in the english language, then i bought the HDMI cable and holy look at assassins creed with its amazing and beautiful scenary. now 6 months later i yawn at it seriously.

Rambytes

#14

Rambytes said:

For me, graphics is only eyes-candy. What I mean is, the gameplay is MORE important. It's good to have some good graphic, but if the gameplay su*k, you will not play. I think in overall, game from Nintendo (not 3rd party) push more graphics from the Wii...

you cannot say that Mario Galaxy is not great... and it's only in 480... So yes graphic it's important, but I prefer have a 480 game for the graphic but having fun to play with...

James

#15

James said:

Yes, gameplay is important - nobody here is arguing with that - but if you could have the same Nintendo gameplay but with better graphics, wouldn't that be a better package?

MickEiA

#16

MickEiA said:

They should not have gone to HD they made the right decision maybe their next console in 5 years time or that's what I hope i'm begging for Nintendo don't start work on a new console until another 2-3 years

calculon

#17

calculon said:

For everyone spouting nonsense about graphics only being eye candy, I guess you either have really bad eyesight or don't own a HD LCD television. Without a doubt the extra resolution sets the bar that much higher for HD users who are tired of fiddling with their TV's sharpness and constrast settings to get each game looking good.

Wii SD visuals are either horribly jagged or look like vaseline-o-vision depending on sharpness settings and to get the equivalent 720p image, I ain't forking out a couple of hundred quid for a decent hardware upscaler considering I can buy a much more powerful console for the same money.

It's about time Nintendo offered people a free trade-in to get the Wii properly HD compatible, that way for those who don't care it won't cost a penny but others such as myself will be that little bit happier. At least that'd be one thing fixed for Nintendo's considerably flawed 'current-gen' home console.

Bensei

#18

Bensei said:

I only see in the Star and the Piranha pic enough difference, but I don't know that much about HD

timp29

#19

timp29 said:

Is this article claiming they made super mario galaxy in 720p, but the Wii down scales all graphics? That doesn't really make any sense. Is it that this emulator upscales graphics? In which case its not really proper HD anyway...
Looking at the screenshot, its 800x600 (might be scaled by the website) which isn't even a 16:9 ratio.
Anyway, all things aside animation is more important than pure graphics. Galaxy has fantastic animation, its a joy to watch mario fly through space when firing out of one of those stars or whatever. I thought this was a fantastic game, but after a while it all got a bit too much the same.

opeter

#20

opeter said:

I would like, that Wii would fully support anti-aliasing (like in the screenshots above). That would be great. And if my LCD TV with 1366x768 resolution could be native used by Wii. That's all I want.

Darknyht

#21

Darknyht said:

All throwing HD onto the console would have done is upped the sticker price and confused grandma and grandpa on how to hook it up. Both of which Nintendo was trying to avoid.

Don't forget that much like the original NES, Nintendo has managed to get their product into most households, including those generally seen as non-gamers.

calculon

#22

calculon said:

@darknyth: Have you actually seen how many different TV connectors you can buy the the Wii already? Composite, SCART and Component - and that's all just so people can enjoy slightly better visual definition. I'm current running on Component because quite frankly both SCART and Composite suck in comparison.

Why not just offer two options: SCART and HD and avoid composite (ugh) and component altogether - it would avoid having to deal with multiple tiny connections for older people who tend to suffer more with bad finger joints. Just being sensible.

I've always looked for better visual fidelity on TVs, whether it's replacing the N64's RF with SCART and Gamecube's composite with RGB SCART.

metakirbyknight

#23

metakirbyknight said:

Now, I would have payed the extra for the console and the games. This is so beautiful and it wasn't even designed in 720p, just up scaled. Nintendo bring on the 1080i.

warioswoods

#24

warioswoods said:

Honestly? These screenshots aren't adding anything to the graphics whatsoever. The game is already every bit as gorgeous as what you're seeing above--while, when looking only at screenshots, a higher resolution will show you more detail, you usually see all that detail via movement and animation anyway.

This game doesn't need a higher resolution, it looked absolutely perfect the way it was. Err, except for those of you who, for some unfathomable reason, have hooked your Wii up to your high-def TV, which will, indeed produce jagged edges, will make your VC games look much more awkward and likely play with an additional bit of lag, etc.

LCD TVs, which a good many high-def owners have, introduce a whole host of problems, and are often not uniformly superior to standard TVs at all, not by a long shot if you take everything into consideration. I've watched movies on so many LCD TVs at the homes or friends or family and seen the quality of the film virtually destroyed by the ghosting artifacts produced during movement, something that tech doesn't handle well. Then they include special modes to insert more frames in order to reduce these blurring effects--a mode called Movie Plus or something like that on Samsung LCDs--and it only ruins the film even more by giving motion, particularly horizontally panning shots, a horribly awkward sped-up feel, like an old film where the framerate isn't perfectly consistent.

There are some high-def TVs out there now that solve most of the above problems quite well (not perfectly, though), but during at least the first year of the Wii, the only HD televisions out there at a reasonable price point were riddled with these severe problems. Oddly enough, although early HD adopters will act as if they are pickier or more perceptive regarding images, and use this to justify the HD purchase, they usually have no clue what they're missing in some of the fine details that actually matter a great deal more than resolution, once you get past the initial "wow, that's crisp" and look at color fidelity, movement, etc.

The HD support offered by the other consoles was a sham anyhow--look at the PS3's Blue-Ray nonsense. The tech wasn't anywhere near affordable yet at launch, so they just packed it in anyway and sold the consoles at a loss. Microsoft's game division was also losing money for a very long time before it came out profitable. Neither of these things should be possible, but they are possible due to the fact that these other 2 companies involved in gaming are not just gaming companies but are multimedia giants, and they can afford to subsidize their hardware or game system sales, even if unprofitable, by drawing upon larger agendas that extend well beyond gaming (eg, Sony's agenda to push the Blue-Ray format at all costs). That's bad for fair competition, and bad for all of us in the long run.

Nintendo was sadly the only one of the three who actually made the difficult decisions to put together a console whose features and price point made sense given current technology. It would be nice if they had some real competition in this arena, but again, the other 2 companies involved are not even close to competing on level ground, and would clearly lose if they were ever forced to do so (a company that is only involved in gaming can't afford to sell at a loss for years). What we need is for the gaming portions of Sony and Microsoft to be split off from the main companies as completely separate entities, because, again, this kind of thing is terrible for fair competition.

The next Nintendo console will support HD, but that point it will make sense to do so. I'm not convinced that it would have made a whole lot of sense at the Wii's launch, given the overall tradeoffs involved and the need to offer the console at a low but definitively profitable price.

maka

#25

maka said:

It's not upscaled, but rendered at a higher resolution. You can upscale with any HD television, but the image won't look as good. That's why it's nice to know that Wii games can be rendered at a higher resolution. It probably means Nintendo was thinking about releasing a HD Wii all along and all the games wll be compatible with the higher resolution.

City_Of_Delusion

#26

City_Of_Delusion said:

Nintendo's reason for not including HD is probably along the lines of "how many bedrooms has HD TVs? Answer: not many". Alas, the Wii has proved extremely popular in living rooms, so that arguement is invalid. Still, anyone expecting a Wii HD before 2011 is, frankly, going to be extremely disappointed.

I wonder what Resi Evil on the 'Cube will look like with this upscaling emulator?

Cthuloops

#27

Cthuloops said:

Even though I don't own a HD tv, I would still like some HD graphics, mainly because they look hella good, even on a SD tv. :)

koopa85

#28

koopa85 said:

HD is so overrated! If HD is so important then why does Super Mario Bros. still look good to me and better than a lot of HD games. Graphics don't have to be HD to look good. Odin Sphere had some of the most beautiful graphics of any game ever and it looks like Muramasa will also and neither of these games are in HD. All I'm saying is that you can look at a piece of poop in HD and it still looks like crap.

James

#29

James said:

I feel some comments are missing the point here, which is that if a Wii emulator can output Wii graphics at a higher definition than the machine itself, why doesn't the console?

Nobody is suggesting Nintendo should focus on HD graphics - the point that's being made is that their best games would look nicer in HD, and although that's not the be-all and end-all I think anyone who says they don't want their favourite games to be better in any way - graphically, aurally etc. - is a very peculiar kind of gamer indeed.

thewiirocks

#31

thewiirocks said:

@Prosody - If you don't have enough hardware, you don't have enough hardware. Pure and simple.

It's been a while since I dug in the internals, but I seem to recall that the framebuffer was just large enough to hold a standard definition signal. (The GCN/Wii have a dedicated FB as the final stage before output which contains pre-computed values for each pixel. i.e. All the alpha compositing and effects have been applied.) While I would not be surprised if the signal generator could handle a larger frame, the necessary buffer simply isn't there.

Of course, if you have an emulator, there is no fixed framebuffer. You're emulating it. And if you're emulating it, you can change the size.

I think anyone who says they don't want their favourite games to be better in any way - graphically, aurally etc. - is a very peculiar kind of gamer indeed.

I think the revolt is not against games getting better, but rather against the attempt to shift focus. Most Wii gamers are focused on the quality and fun factor of the gameplay, not the graphics. They often dislike the heavy focus other consoles have on their graphics/sound. They just want to play games that aren't all clones of Quake and Unreal or simulations so "realistic" that they sap all the "fun" out of the title.

Now you're telling them, "Hey, let's focus on the graphics!" Is it any wonder you get a strong reaction?

Especially when many Wii games don't even take advantage of the graphics the system has available today. I don't really need to see how ugly Guitar Hero's PS2-ported graphics look by upping it to 720p, thank you very much.

SMEXIZELDAMAN

#33

SMEXIZELDAMAN said:

i think it looks the same... i dont have a wii but my friends do and it doesnt really matter to me how much better it looks. some games i like BECAUSE of their un-realistic graphics.
Take legend of Zelda windwaker for example. It looked gorgeous with its cartoony style nad if it had looked realistic i probally wouldnt have enjoyed it as much.

James

#34

James said:

@thewiirocks - clearly you're much more informed about the Wii's hardware than me, so thanks for giving me some more information about its internal bits (which are well over my head). I didn't mean to say "why isn't the Wii capable of it?", but rather, "why wasn't it made capable?" - my apologies for not being clearer.

I didn't mention anything about Unreal or realism at all, and I'm certainly not implying a shift of focus from gameplay to graphics. If you've read any of my reviews on the site you'll know I'm a gameplay and ideas man over and above any "graphical frippery".

I love Mario Galaxy's graphics as much as the next man, but would I like them to be a little crisper and sharper? Yeah, of course I would. Let's not confuse "higher definition graphics" with "realism" either - making a console output at 720p doesn't automatically make Wind Waker look like Enemy Territory.

ejamer

#36

ejamer said:

"Why not just offer two options: SCART and HD and avoid composite (ugh) and component altogether - it would avoid having to deal with multiple tiny connections for older people who tend to suffer more with bad finger joints. Just being sensible."

I'm happy that Nintendo isn't sensible, because I wouldn't have been able to play Wii if they followed your suggestion. But I'd happily change my turn if someone buys me a new TV with the appropriate connections!

Point being: Many people would benefit from HD graphics, and I'd love to see them as an option... Unfortunately, a large group of people either (a) still aren't properly equipped to take advantage of them or (b) simply don't care. The added cost for both hardware and software simply wasn't justified when the Wii was originally designed/released.

SwerdMurd

#37

SwerdMurd said:

tbh I can't see how the Wii could've supported 720p...if you do the math, there are more than double the amount of pixels in 1280x720, as opposed to 800x480...to me this means major frame-rate sufferings if the console attempted to output this definition...I'm not very familiar with 3d graphics processing in the first place, but given how many PS3/360 games run at 720p instead of 1080p and still don't run at a smooth 60fps, I understand the omission.

@ ejamer - Isn't SCART europe/Canada/etc. only? Don't recall ever seeing it in the US.

Modern_Legend

#38

Modern_Legend said:

I know its about gameplay but man no matter who you are, if ur asked the question, would u like to play it normally or in HD, DOESNT MATTER WHO U R, you will not say it doesnt matter, you'll try and play it cool like it doesnt and say maybe ill try the HD, but the point is u wil pick HD if u had the option lol even i a gameplay guy admits to that lol

Machu

#39

Machu said:

Lets just hope we get a backwards compatible upscaling HD Wii 2 in the next 2 yrs (which I'm almost certain we will) while the other boys are playing 'the long life cycle' game.

For the record, I played SMG on a 42" HD using component cables and it looked flippin' gorgeous, dunno what the fuss is about.

thewiirocks

#41

thewiirocks said:

@Prosody - You have to remember the state Nintendo was in when they designed the Wii. They were the low-man on the totem pole selling their console for $99. Despite the blue ocean strategy, they had no idea how much market share they were going to recapture.

In result, they made the Wii as cheap of a machine as possible. They aimed for the console to eventually be sold at the $99 price point. To do that, the Wii originally had no internal storage and shipped with a "menu" disc. Then at the last minute (after the Wii proved to be so popular at the E3) Nintendo added the internal storage and dropped the menu disc.

Another interesting last minute change was a commitment to WiiWare. As far as I can tell, Nintendo was originally going to support the Virtual Console. I imagine part of the reason they had branded Wii SD cards was that they had been considering supporting ONLY those cards so that they could guarantee performance. That became unnecessary in the end, so the official Wii cards languished. Notice the lack of branded DSi cards.

LoopyLuigi

#42

LoopyLuigi said:

Agreeing with Mr Wiirocks, I also want to add that at the time, I believe they said that less than 10% of households had HDTVs, and most of them were not in the "gaming market" so at the time, it made sense for Nintendo to not add the cost of HD to their system. Of course, 3 years later LCDs are WAY cheaper now but even without 720 support, the Wii still looks really nice on an LCD. Of course, even the NGC supported 720, so why remove that feature. So, in conclusion, I say that the Wii should have been able to support 720 all along without being more expensive, but not 1080.

Kojak

#43

Kojak said:

the movies on Youtube of HD Smash Bros are even more impressive - and these Game would really profit from HD! especially when zooming out and much is going on on the screen!
So for gods sake: make a HD-Wii Nintendo!

Twilight_Crow

#44

Twilight_Crow said:

Mmmm?... I actually have a really bad eyesight, so I see no difference at all :P; or maybe it is because I'm on my Wii? is that possible?
In fact, I've checked out HDTVs and frankly I've never been able to notice a big difference, that's why I simply don't care about HD, I have a small LCD EDTV, no special cables, and I love the way it looks, I need no more; specially if it's gonna cost more money, or work.
I understand that most of you who can notice the difference are eagerly waiting for Wii HD, I'm Ok with that new technology, but I really hope for the thing to have both options.

Kelvin

#46

Kelvin said:

Does it change your mind about their HD standpoint?
Not really. I still don't see the point of HD for movies and TV, let alone video games.

Darknyht

#47

Darknyht said:

"Why not just offer two options: SCART and HD and avoid composite (ugh) and component altogether - it would avoid having to deal with multiple tiny connections for older people who tend to suffer more with bad finger joints. Just being sensible."

Well, SCART isn't a standard in the US to start with. Here is RCA, RGB, or HDMI. HDMI being relatively new to the field was not on many Televisions (had mine not been stolen, I would have only had RCA as an option) in 2006. If you want evidence to back it up look on AV forums and you will find many upset early HD TV adopters that are in trouble because their very expensive TV lacks HDMI. RCA on the other hand has generally been on every television sold since the late 80's, heck it was even on the television I was given until I bought my new one that had real wood paneling on it. I believe it was from the early 80's (the remote had five buttons on it).

HD, 720p, 1080i televisions were (and still are) all relatively new and at the time expensive options. Back then HD-DVD and Blue Ray were just hitting the market and selling players for $500-$750. So they were correct in saying that jumping in on that (at the time) expensive market made little sense. Especially when it was rare to have an HD capable (let alone Digital) TV in the house.

But don't worry, I am sure that eventually they will drop the price in the current model and start selling a Wii-plus or something that has beefer guts to it. They've done it successfully twice with the DS, so why not the Wii. Throw in some controllers with motion plus built in and I would even be tempted.

cr00mz

#50

cr00mz said:

@NESGamepro
i have a HD in my house. and i do indeed think its overrated. I'm not saying that i wouldnt want to see HD graphics on nintendo games, i would very much like to see it. But nintendo has made up their minds and are not intrested in HD. As i mentioned earlier the initial wow factor of HD is really reduced once you get used to it. Same goes for everything. I remember when i bought my 40" LCD TV last year after having a 21" CRT, the wow factor at first was huge, i mean even 2 months after i bought it, it was still a big deal. But now a little over a year its kinda meh now.

Stuffgamer1

#51

Stuffgamer1 said:

HD may not have much "wow factor" with me anymore, but 480p on my 720p TV is blurry/pixelated enough that I still want the upgrade. After all, once you get used to HD, it's the standard, and SD just looks bad.

The original Xbox was capable of running 720p, so you can't really argue that it would've cost SOOO much for Nintendo to put it in the Wii. If all it would take is a better framerate buffer or whatever, that probably wouldn't have cost all that much extra.

XD375

#53

XD375 said:

Even games as early as the N64 can be rendered at these higher resolutions. :D This isn't just a Wii thing.

That's (part of the) reason why N64 games look so much better on the Virtual Console. (The other half is because N64 had bad hardware to begin with,)

BlueFlameBat

#54

BlueFlameBat said:

Not having HDTV was a surprising mistake for Nintendo, who once claimed to think ten years in advance. Before she left, a spokesperson whose name escapes me at the moment mentioned that not enough households own HDTVs. Funny how rapidly that's changing.

warioswoods

#56

warioswoods said:

@greatmuffs1

"...480p on my 720p TV is blurry/pixelated enough that I still want the upgrade. After all, once you get used to HD, it's the standard, and SD just looks bad."

No, SD just looks bad on your HD set. Most HD sets make standard definition look absolutely terrible, by introducing jagged edges and generally pixellating the appearance. That's not how it looks at all on a nice CRT TV, because those aren't fundamentally pixel-based in the same way--it looks perfectly smooth, with no edges whatsoever. Even if you have an HD set that will do some upscaling / smoothing, the smoothing is not nearly as natural as a CRT television, and the processing will likely introduce noticeable lag. So, going backwards will look pretty bad for an HD owner, but not because SD was ever jagged or artificially blurry to begin with, instead it's your HD tech that is actually causing the problem.

Stuffgamer1

#58

Stuffgamer1 said:

@warioswoods: If the Wii was meant to be played only on tube TV's, they shouldn't have been putting widescreen in most of the games! Who ever heard of a widescreen CRT? Not me, anyway.

And guess what else? I don't have room for two quality TV's in my room, especially at the level needed to play with motion controls! So that, coupled with the widescreen, makes me play my Wii on my HDTV.

It is my understanding that tube TV's are dropping out of the market, getting hard to find as LCD's get cheaper and cheaper. What then? Will we have a 720p compatable Wii by THEN? You don't make yourself look too smart when you accuse me of making my Wii look bad because my TV is an HDTV (I also have a PS3 and 360 hooked up to it). I know you're better than that, dude.

warioswoods

#59

warioswoods said:

@1's gruff mate

I'm not accusing you of making your Wii look bad, I'm just noting that there is a problem with what I see as the overly hasty adoption of HD, since there are definite trade-offs to consider, even though the manufacturers want everyone to believe that LCDs have always been better than CRTs for every purpose--that's simply untrue. They are becoming so, in more recent models that greatly reduce motion blur, have much less lag than before, and can upscale more smoothly, but they tried to saturate the market with these before they took many crucial backwards-compatibility details into account. Entire model lines of LCDs a few years ago were virtually useless for classic gaming, since many brands didn't even think to include an option to disable all the lag caused by the automatic upscaling. I can't even stand to watch movies on the Samsung LCD (not even a very old model) that a family member has, since it does this horrible motion adjustment thing to reduce ghosting, but it ends up making the film feel jerky and sped up during certain shots.

I simply feel it necessary to point out the Wii's standard-def graphics (in particular on a title like Galaxy) are wonderfully smooth and crisp, with not a jagged edge in sight--unless you run them on an HD TV, where you'll suddenly be introducing considerable edges and pixellation where it was previously smooth. So it's a difficult trade-off and hard decision to make if you're really wanting a high-def TV for your living room--in your case, you have 2 high-def systems, so it certainly makes sense for you to have an HD TV, but you should recognize that your Wii games may often look worse on that setup than they would on a CRT television.

And yes, I certainly do believe that the next system from Nintendo will be fully high-def, but, given the release date of the Wii, I see plenty of good reasons for them not to have jumped on the HD bandwagon and, by extension, raised the cost of the Wii's hardware for something that would not impact most of their consumers.

(There are indeed widescreen CRTs, by the way, but that's another issue).

SmaMan

#60

SmaMan said:

All the Wii really needs is an up-converter. Makes even regular DVDs look even better in SD. I just got an HD 16:9 tv and while I still don't consider HD to be a requirement, the games are beginning to show their pixels...

Stuffgamer1

#61

Stuffgamer1 said:

@warioswoods: Okay, so the one point of mine you still haven't addressed is the assertion that having 720p support WOULDN'T have been much increase to the Wii's cost at all. Don't make the system's graphics any more powerful; just give it the throughput the emulator that started this debate has. How much could that possibly have cost?

I must admit that sadly, I don't have the best HDTV for Wii gaming out there. I was tricked into thinking it'd be just fine ("bang for the buck," the guy at Best Buy said), but it turns out that the Samsung model that costs $200 more does a MUCH better job with the Wii than my Westinghouse (I know because the demo TV at Gamestop is Samsung). And I have friends with a massive 1080p TV that outputs their Wii better on composite cables than my TV does on component! Boy, does THEIR TV have a kick-butt upscaler built in!

Y'know what's funny? The majority of official Nintendo ads for the Wii I've seen show it being run on an HDTV...what's with THAT? :P

thewiirocks

#62

thewiirocks said:

Stuffgamer1 sez... Okay, so the one point of mine you still haven't addressed is the assertion that having 720p support WOULDN'T have been much increase to the Wii's cost at all.

Let's do some back of the envelope calculations. 480p is properly 852x480 in widescreen, giving 408,960 pixels. 720p is 1280x720 pixels is 921,600 pixels. That's a 225% increase in memory and computing power, just to render a sharper version of an image we can already see.

And that's assuming the Wii supports the full horizontal resolution in widescreen mode. Which as I recall, it doesn't. The Wii's framebuffer is 640x480 pixels. It produces a 480p anamorphic image that stretches to the screen. (Like a DVD.) Which means that it's actually 307,200 pixels. This raises the difference to a full 3 fold increase.

For comparison, the Wii is considered approximately 2-3x more powerful than the GCN based on the increased clock rate and the doubling of the TEV units. Thus to support 720p, Nintendo could have:

a) Given us 720p with Gamecube graphics
b) Increased the Wii's power another three fold from its already increased specifications.

Obviously option A was a no-go and option B would have clearly raised the cost of production. Ergo, the statement that 720p would not have raised the price of the console is patently... false.

QED

Stuffgamer1

#63

Stuffgamer1 said:

Was the original Xbox really all THAT much more powerful than the Gamecube, or the Wii for that matter? Like I said, if IT could do 720p, there's no reason the Wii couldn't. The Wii's graphics are barely if any better than the Gamecube anyway, so option A is, in fact, what I'm asking for, and is not an obvious no-go at all.

Darknyht

#65

Darknyht said:

@stuffgamer1 the TV in my living room is a flat panel CRT HD TV. Picture is much better than a LCD, but thing is a pain in the butt to move. :-). In case you wanting to see it, it was manufactured by Samsung around 2006. I bought it to see the Steelers win the Superbowl with the Bus.

I don't think it was a question of what was possible in 2006, I think it was more a question of what really mattered in 2006. HD is new, like it or not. Adoption will take time, and jumping on a bandwagon when you don't know if a technology will take off it silly. Especially when you are sitting in third place because of two previous consoles that failed to capture the market lead. Nintendo was positioning themselves to make a profit when parents bought the Wii (like the Gamecube) for their little kid to play in their bedroom. I really don't think they thought (or planned) for it to be in everyone's living room.

Remember how long the VHS lasted after DVD came out? That same curve applies to HD vs SD adoption (or Blue Ray vs DVD, or any new technology). You are on the front end of that wave, and there are many, many people still behind you that needs to adopt.

MakeMyBiscuit

#66

MakeMyBiscuit said:

I don't really see too much of a difference at all. If anything the shots of the sky look grainier. I have a newer 42 inch LCD Vizio HDTV and I use component cables for my Wii for 480p.

Super Mario Galaxy is just a good looking game anyways. I would just be happy if all game developers used 480p widescreen.

I just had a friend come over to do an interview on gaming and I had The Conduit on my HDTV and he said it looked very good and he is an Xbox 360 owner.

Bottom line not every developer uses 480p with component cables and that is already in the system so I'm not sure they would go for 720p. Not only with 720p tax the system as someone said I think it costs more for game companies to develop games in "HD" which could shut out smaller game developers.

Stuffgamer1

#67

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Darknyht: There's an important difference with this new technology wave, though: Older formats are downgraded on the newer tech. VHS never looked any worse than it always had when DVD came out, and DVD looks no worse than it did with Blu-Ray (in fact, Blu-Ray players can upconvert DVD's, making them still look good even on HDTV's). But now that we're talking about the TELEVISION upgrading instead of a media device that connects to it, there are never-before-seen compatability problems.

Also, Iwata said his idea was to rope new people into gaming, which would naturally result in many systems in living rooms. Even their early Wii ads all showed people gaming in the living room.

@MakeMyBiscuit: No no no! Nobody's asking them to change the development at all! If the Wii could output at 720p, it would eliminate my blurring/pixelating problems, even just running the same games (try playing a PS2 game on a PS2 with HDTV, then the same game on a BC PS3 with upscaling to get my point)!

Darknyht

#68

Darknyht said:

@Stuffgamer1 They are not downgraded, they just are being displayed on a screen that is not intended to display them. That is one of the problems of LCD's. You get the same issue if you change the resolution on a laptop to something lower than what it was designed for. That is one of the reasons I went with a CRT TV. Well that and the fact that LCD Displays get dimmer the longer you use them. The advantage of them are that they use less power, are lighter, and are more environmentally friendly.

You also have to realize that marketing is always going to hype something far past what the intent is. Think of how many games, movies, and television shows are made to look better than they really are. The easiest to see this with is movies, how many times have you seen a preview that makes a film look great but when you see it the only good parts were those that were in the 2 minute preview.

I guess I probably should have compared this more to the transition from black-and-white televisions to color ones. You could still watch the shows on the black-and-white TV, but there was a world of difference between the two. Got the joy of experiencing that first-hand too since my first TV was a 13" black-and-white TV when I was a kid.

Honestly, it probably was not a very forward thinking decision. Like I said, I believe that there will be a Wii-Plus (ala DS Lite and DSi) in the near future. The fact of computer technology is that processing power gets cheaper (and usually smaller) the older the tech is. Eventually it will cost very little and/or save on manufacturing to redo the design of the components that make up the Wii. When that happens, upscaling will probably be one of the selling points.

calculon

#69

calculon said:

@66 (thewiirocks): Some of the most inaccurate statements I've ever heard.

Firstly, the supposed 'power increase' to switch from 852x480 widescreen to 720 HD is 125%, a whole 100% less than you claim.

Secondly, it's only the pixel fill rate that needs to be increased to accommodate the higher resolution which is probably the least expensive aspect of video graphics processing, the current scaling tech would probably handle texture interpolation fine. So I'm afraid your point about it being a lot more expensive to incorporate HD is simply not true.

In addition, you all seem to forge that Nintendo are a bunch of money grabbing SOBs - yes they DIDN'T integrate HD to cut costs, but there really was is no reason to think Nintendo couldn't have recouped the costs by other means. Frankly its one of a multitude of dumb oversights that Nintendo have made with the Wii and just like the rest it's as annoying as hell but livable and consider this: I've heard it'll cost Nintendo no more than $85 to produce a Wii by the end of the year and they're still pumping them out at full retail - I somehow think that Nintendo would have had no problem at all in recouping the cost of implementing HD by now.

thewiirocks

#70

thewiirocks said:

@Stuffgamer1 - You have to remember two things:

1. The XBox was an expensive machine sold at a loss. The GCN made a profit at $99.
2. Just because you can output 720p doesn't mean that you get as high quality of a picture. You often have to take a quality hit to get that increased sharpness.

Nintendo could have made it possible to output at higher resolutions, but the resulting quality loss probably wouldn't be worth it.

@calculon sez... Some of the most inaccurate statements I've ever heard.

Don't blow things out of proportion or anything. It was late and I made one slightly inaccurate statement. I think the rest of my post was clear enough to make up for it.

Firstly, the supposed 'power increase' to switch from 852x480 widescreen to 720 HD is 125%, a whole 100% less than you claim.

My apologies. That should have said 225% of the current solution. Which would be a 125% increase as you stated. I stated later in my post that we're looking at doubling or tripling the power of the current console. That is still a correct statement.

Secondly, it's only the pixel fill rate that needs to be increased to accommodate the higher resolution which is probably the least expensive aspect of video graphics processing

Maybe if you're still living in the turn of the century where every game uses muddy PS2 graphics. Per-pixel effects makes textel costs a linear increase. You want more pixels? Great. You need more TEVs or pixel shaders to give you the same effects on more textels in the same time. Or you need to increase the clock to process more textels in less time.

So your fill-rate point is simply irrelevant. We want good looking 720p or this is all for naught.

In addition, you all seem to forge that Nintendo are a bunch of money grabbing SOBs

I'm not sure where you get that idea. I was only pointing out the state that Nintendo was in. They were trying to offer a highly affordable console. That has nothing to do with being "money grabbing". It just seemed like good business back when Nintendo did it. Especially for a market that was used to paying less for Nintendo's consoles.

I've heard it'll cost Nintendo no more than $85 to produce a Wii by the end of the year and they're still pumping them out at full retail - I somehow think that Nintendo would have had no problem at all in recouping the cost of implementing HD by now.

Hindsight is 20/20. The original plan was to have the Wii selling for $99 by now. And Nintendo is relatively on target for that. Had they known then what they know now, they might have beefed up the hardware a smidgen and hidden the extra features at launch.

I say "hidden" because Nintendo's decision also played into feedback they were hearing from the market: Games were getting too expensive to produce. The move to HD was only going to cause those costs to skyrocket. By staying behind the curve, Nintendo helped restrain costs for their console. Of course, many publishers ran the upgrade treadmill anyway, but you can't fault Nintendo for not trying.

Stuffgamer1

#71

Stuffgamer1 said:

@thewiirocks: The original Xbox was released eight years ago. Do you REALLY expect me to believe that the tech that was in that thing isn't dirt cheap by now? Also, I'm positive that the thing was selling at a profit by the end of its lifecycle. That's how game consoles usually work; selling at a loss at the start, selling at a profit by the end. Just look at the PS3; Sony's breaking even on every console sold now. Give it a bit more time, and the thing will actually be profitable. The PS2 was sold at a loss at launch, but now it's the console Sony actually makes money on, and it's selling for $100.

And still nobody has commented on my note that Nintendo has been advertising the Wii with HDTV's from day one. I don't remember a single ad that used an SDTV. But of course, they only use the fancy-pants models with the amazing built-in upconverters so we won't know how bad it'll look on OUR TV's. How do you explain THAT BS, huh?

SanderEvers

#72

SanderEvers said:

Nintendo should talk with Microsoft and allow them to release this on the XBOX 360 (Mario on XBOX, a guy can dream right?) it will outsell any XBOX 360 game times 10.

Also, guys, upscaling from 480p to 720p/1080p will only work if done correctly, the Wii simply doesn't have the power for it.

warioswoods

#73

warioswoods said:

@stuffy

"That's how game consoles usually work; selling at a loss at the start, selling at a profit by the end."

That's the part to which I am deeply and fundamentally opposed. No product should see the light of day until the combined technology in it is actually affordable. The only reason we have this rule constantly broken is that we have 2 enormous multimedia and tech giants in the gaming business now, Sony and Microsoft, and they can sell at a loss all they want, running their gaming divisions well into the red, so long as it's justified by other agendas that reach beyond that part of the company (eg, winning the BluRay format war). That's the polar opposite of fair competition, and stacks the deck in favor of just this kind of ridiculous strategic power play. In proper competition, the company that produces the best product based on the current tech limitations and production costs is the winner, not the company whose pockets are deep enough to dive further and longer into the red than any other, which is all the PS3's launch was about. I'll never spent a cent on anything produced by either of those companies until they split off their gaming divisions as completely separate entities and stop this nonsense.

(Well, I wouldn't spend a cent on a Microsoft product either way, because my profession is web development and I can tell you that MS is the single biggest barrier to the future of online technology, and has been for quite some time; the only reason they've been able to keep screwing things up so long is that they have very, very deep pockets thanks to a legacy stranglehold on various businesses that is fortunately nearing its end--but that's another topic.)

I'm equally opposed to tech being pushed to consumers as the latest and greatest thing when it hasn't completely cleared all the quality hurdles that it should, and that's exactly how I view the first many years of HD adoption--retailers were just looking for the next big craze, so HD sets were pushed like nothing before, without regard for all the trade-offs involved. It's not so bad now, as there are decent models out there that address most issues, but over the last several years I've watched as countless TVs in friends homes, family homes, bars, etc have degraded in various important measures of quality just in order to have a higher resolution and a thin CRT-less body. Those are respectable goals, but they shouldn't have started hitting homes until they worked out all the issues.

So yes, I feel strongly about the various companies involved in gaming and about how HD was rolled out, and I'm personally quite happy that Nintendo didn't go along with everyone else. I do see that, at this point, it makes perfect sense for any future console they release to have HD built-in, and I even agree that there is a pretty decent argument for an upgraded HD-ready Wii to hit the market soon for anyone who really feels like upgrading--but I'm not at all unhappy with how they handled the Wii's launch.

Stuffgamer1

#75

Stuffgamer1 said:

Okay, fine. Say the Wii WAS better off without the ability to output in 720p, but now it needs the ability and Nintendo decides to release an HD Wii. Anybody here not deathly afraid of being forced to re-download their entire VC/WiiWare library if they bought one? I sure am, because I see little reason to think that Nintendo will go out of their way to do right by their customers and find a way to make a transfer of licences possible. I think they COULD, via Club Nintendo, I just don't think they WOULD (unless their legal team can convince them they'll be sued otherwise, I hope).

Also, for whatever it's worth, I managed to get my Wii looking a good bit better on my TV with a little bit of settings tweaking and laying a few inches further back. I usually like sitting up to play, but that doesn't really work well if I want Wii to look good. :(

thewiirocks

#76

thewiirocks said:

@Stuffgamer1 - The Wii was released in 2006. Only 5 years after the release of the original XBox. Stating 8 years is a bit disingenuous because there is no console being released right now.

Additionally, I find it doubtful the XBox ever made money. (Microsoft's financials certainly suggested otherwise. The game division was losing money hand over fist at the time.) The design was a poor one. It was basically a PC stuffed into a console shell. The problem with that is that there is a ton of extra hardware in there that isn't needed for the core goal. In result, the console was far more expensive to produce than it by all rights should have been. Notice that Microsoft learned from this and used custom hardware for the 360.

Finally, I'd like to reiterate that this isn't about simply producing 720p. That's the easy part. Nintendo could have slapped some extra memory in there for another $10 and called it a day.

The problem is producing high quality output at 720p. Even the PS2 was capable of 1080i, but the quality of the image was relatively poor. To get a high-quality image with the type of bump-mapped textures you see in Mario Galaxy and SSBB, you need to increase the computational power to match the greater resolution.

Don't believe me? Go look up the XBox games capable of 720p. Go on, I'll wait. Notice how few of them there are? Many don't even run at 720p at all times. There are several that only support it during cut-scenes or other less intensive periods. Even the exception that prove the rule (Soul Calibur II) didn't really gain much from being in 720p. The GCN was quite competitive with its mere 480p support and powerful graphics hardware.

And still nobody has commented on my note that Nintendo has been advertising the Wii with HDTV's from day one.

I think it's a case of "So?" If you go in the store, what do you see? Walls lined with CRTs? Nope. Flat panel displays everywhere you look. That's just the current state of technology. Regardless of whether or not much of Nintendo's audience has SDTVs, they're not going to shoot themselves in the foot by advertising with some guy squinting to see his 12" CRT set.

But of course, they only use the fancy-pants models with the amazing built-in upconverters so we won't know how bad it'll look on OUR TV's. How do you explain THAT BS, huh?

You're too funny. You actually believe TVs shown in commercials have images on them? (You think that's air you're breathing? :P)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but TV images are almost always composited on in post-production. CRT screens are actually the reason for this little trick. You see, while it was possible to sync up a camera and CRT to prevent the flicker/tearing you always see when you point a camera at a CRT, it was never worth the trouble. It was always easier to just slap a fake image on top. There you go, crisp as can be! ;)

thewiirocks

#77

thewiirocks said:

Say the Wii WAS better off without the ability to output in 720p, but now it needs the ability and Nintendo decides to release an HD Wii.

Nintendo doesn't generally do that sort of thing. If they released a Wii capable of HD, it would be a new console generation. Especially since all their APIs make assumptions about the underlying hardware.

Anybody here not deathly afraid of being forced to re-download their entire VC/WiiWare library if they bought one?

Not really. Just keep your Wii around. It's not going to look any worse. ;)

Stuffgamer1

#78

Stuffgamer1 said:

Okay, I actually DID figure the video in those commercials isn't actually running on the TV's in real time. I opted not to go that route in my post for reasons that I quite frankly can't recall, but were probably stupid. :P

Nintendo has released two upgraded models of the DS thus far, just as they did two GBA. Why not drive the trend to new levels with consoles, especially given this whole HD problem?

If they DO release an HD Wii, don't you think I MIGHT want to play my downloaded games on IT instead of on my old SD Wii? DUH? Sure, it won't look any worse than it does now, but those same games could look BETTER on the new model! That's the whole POINT of the upgrade! Not to mention I don't have infinite space in my small room for a bazillion consoles... :P

thewiirocks

#79

thewiirocks said:

Nintendo has released two upgraded models of the DS thus far, just as they did two GBA.

Incorrect. They released one more model of DS and a next generation of handheld. The DS Lite had no feature differences unlike your Wii HD concept or like 360/PS3 which mess with the hardware on a regular basis.

The DSi is a next generation system of roughly double the power of the DS that's backwards compatible with DS software. It's almost the exact same idea as the Wii, new input method and everything. While I'll grant that it's having some difficulty being accepted by the market as a new system, that probably has more to do with its lack of launch software. Even the downloadable software (which appears to be the direction Nintendo is pushing) is rather weak at the moment.

If they DO release an HD Wii, don't you think I MIGHT want to play my downloaded games on IT instead of on my old SD Wii? DUH?

And yet, you might not be able to. Such is the way life goes sometimes. I'm planning to keep my Wii around for that very reason.

Sure, it won't look any worse than it does now, but those same games could look BETTER on the new model!

Somewhat doubtful. You're not exactly talking about the crème de la crème of Wii graphics here. For the time being, those are still relegated to discs. Perhaps that will change with the next generation and larger storage capabilities, but for now your VC/WiiWare titles will look no better or worse running on this gen or next.

Not to mention I don't have infinite space in my small room for a bazillion consoles.

See? Nintendo was thinking ahead! The Wii is the size of 2 DVD cases. ;)

Now if I could just figure out where to stash all the controllers... :P

LEGEND_MARIOID

#80

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I "wouldn't be unhappy" if the Wii's graphics were superior but I can't say I am too chuffed. That isn't what I got a Wii for anyway. I would own a PS3 if I was that bothered about graphics. Gameplay wins everytime for me.

Still, the SMG shots DO look lovely...wow!

Stuffgamer1

#81

Stuffgamer1 said:

@thewiirocks: I used to try to defend the DSi as a new system that's more than a mere upgrade, but gave up when people refused to listen. :P

If my WiiWare games have graphical problems related to lack of upscaling, it only stands to reason that they WILL look better on a system that CAN upscale them. Look at My Life As a King for example, seeing as it looks just as good as a retail game anyway. Upscaling=GOOD!

Also, you haven't seen my room. I don't have room for another console, even one as small as the Wii (can't stack systems like I can my game boxes, after all). There's a reason I no longer have a Gamecube, and I want my next Nintendo console after the Wii to let me play all my purchased Wii games, download or not. The OTHER companies have intelligent systems for being able to do just that in place, why not Nintendo? :(

Ricardo91

#82

Ricardo91 said:

Don't see much of a difference myself. And Galaxy doesn't look nearly as bad as that first picture on my puny 480i TV.

VsionEffect

#83

VsionEffect said:

I think playing wii on a good 32" 16/9 CRT television in 60 Hz is the best thing.
Wii on HD TV sucks.

Hokori

#84

Hokori said:

@83 agreed I think people are trying to make the wii's graphic look worse then they are I mean when I play Galaxy it looks closer to the #2 Pic then the #1 pic

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