Debunked: Nintendo Switch Online's NES Games Are NOT Causing Screen Burn-In

Some users have complained of screen burn-in after using the Nintendo Switch's NES online game library, but that may not be what's happening.

Now, nobody was expecting a smooth and flawless transition to Nintendo Switch Online. The smack-talk about the service has been reaching fever pitch lately, and hopes were… well, they weren’t sky-high, that’s for sure. What nobody was expecting, though, was a big fracas so early on about the included NES titles causing screen burn-in. It looks as though we can rest easy on that issue, though.

So, yes. Welcome, at last, Nintendo Switch Online. We’ve been expecting you… for darn months. There’s been much debate about the merits of the service, Nintendo’s woeful track record with this sort of thing, the worth of NES games, the relative cheapness of the package… we’ve been over and over it all as Nintendo remained tight-lipped in the run-up to the launch.

Now that Nintendo Switch Online has finally launched, in the early hours of today, we can hop on and sign up for our seven-day free trials. Those who have already done so found a cause for alarm nobody could have anticipated.

The included NES titles feature a CRT filter, for those who want to experience the games as they would have appeared back in the day. This is all well and good, but as Nintendo Soup reports, users have complained of experiencing screen burn-in after using the filter. In the example, a player noticed this after twenty minutes of Dr. Mario with the filter on. The problem persisted in other Switch games, even after restarting the console.

Naturally, the Reddit community has had all manner of colourful comments to make on this issue. According to some of the more tech-savvy among them, though, we’re not actually looking at true burn-in at all.

So, what’s the culprit?

Via: Nintendo Soup

As PCgaming4ever states on Reddit, “I did some testing and in less than 3 min you can see what appears to be burn in. Now what made me realize it wasn't burn in was that it was blue just like the ladder color in Donkey Kong (true burn in is a light grey color). So I did a test I let the "burn in" go away and then I left it in CRT mode for about 3 min to get a nice "burn in".

Then I switched it back to 4:3 or pixel perfect either works and closed the program to make sure it starts rendering in the correct mode… by the time I opened the game and let it render the game scene again it was gone.”

In short, the issue may be more related to rendering than to true burn-in. Another discussion, over at ResetEra, supports this:

“It's because Nintendo's CRT has the same "wobble" the NES Mini had, rather than being just scanlines. On the NES Mini, we could hack it to turn the wobble part of the filter off.

Basically, the edge of the NES pixels are being shimmered back and forth super rapidly to create the RF cable style effect. The pixels are being changed between two identical unrelaxed states over and over (on static parts) and eventually that remains and they can't relax.

This is the retention you see and it's why it's not a copy of the UI (as ghosting would be) but rather a map of the pixel shimmering.”

So, there we have it. At present, this is just amateur deduction, but it all ties in with what we know about the NES Mini. As we await official word from Nintendo, it would appear that no permanent ‘damage’ is being done to our systems. It’s important to note, however, that this issue has been reported by players using both handheld and docked modes, and it may be best to lay off of the filter for now if you’re unsure.

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