Projector Reviews

Gaming on Projectors – Best or Brightest?

“Best mode” refers to a calibrated mode that focuses on reproducing a picture as accurate to the source material  as possible.  I takes into consideration many different aspects of the picture – color balance, color saturation, skin tone, brightness, contrast, gamma adjustment, etc.

“Brightest mode” is usually a calibrated mode that focuses more on light output rather than accurate image reproduction.

There is often lots of talk about “best mode” vs “brightest mode”, and they both are useful, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on their uses/impact on gaming.

 

I’ll start off by saying that 90% of the time…I keep my projector in “best mode”.   It’s probably my OCD kicking in, but I can’t seem to get the thoughts of gaming with “inaccurate colors” out of my head.   So when I switch back and forth between the two modes in my light controlled room, I rarely choose brightest mode over best mode.

I find the whole thing funny really because most colors in video games are either so arbitrarily basic or so blown out of proportion it really shouldn’t matter.  But still…I want to play 8-bit Super Mario Bros in all of it’s glory with accurate colors, damn it!

 

I consider myself to have a pretty good eye for stuff like this.  What makes matters even more humorous is that there have been many times that I have been playing games for hours in “brightest mode” thinking to myself  –  “Wow, the colors look really great!” – and not even realizing until I check the settings that I’m not even in “best mode”.  To be honest, half the time that I’m in brightest mode is when I’ve forgotten to change it back after a previous session of intentionally putting it there.

So when is the other 5%?   I can see a couple situations where brightest is useful.  It sounds obvious, but when the image is washed out…brightest mode is great.  Sometimes the picture can benefit a lot more from extra lumens than it can from near perfect colors.  I’m fortunate enough to not have to deal with light pollution or washed out images because I have a completely light controlled room, but there still are some situations where I’ll put it in bright mode.

Some games are just too ridiculous (in terms of color or content) to even matter.   Geometry Wars is a perfect example of a game full of stimulus overload and neon madness.   My eyes end up watering too much to care, and my accurate color obsession is put on the back burner.   LocoRoco Cocoreccho is a game where you control a butterfly to lure herds of multi-colored, singing, bouncing blobs to a finish portal – an example where I can’t really take anything seriously.  When it comes to these types of games, the extra brightness only adds to the awesomeness of the experience.

 

In the end, it really comes down to personal preference.  Most of the time, I can’t stop thinking about accurate colors, so I sacrifice some brightness to put my mind at ease.

Many people prefer the brighter image when gaming in spite of everything – and rightfully so.   Although it is getting more important, it’s still no where near as critical to have a perfectly calibrated image while playing a video game as it is while watching a BD.

So play around, see what you like, and stick with it.

And as always –  game on!

 

-Pete