clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This Nintendo Switch CRT hack is useless, but man does it look cool

An incredible way to experience your Switch games

There’s no reason to play a Nintendo Switch on a black-and-white CRT in the year 2018, when its games are optimized for and look beautiful in HD. Still, YouTuber My Mate VINCE didn’t need to have a good reason to get his Switch working on an old-school TV; he instead just decided to hack his system and connect it to a Sony Watchman Pocket Television, just because he could.

Vince’s setup is fairly complicated, requiring numerous connectors from the Switch’s HDMI port into a VCR with rabbit ears attached. The way it works is that the Switch isn’t physically connected to the 1986 Watchman Pocket Television hardware; games are basically broadcast to the Pocket Television through the VCR and the RF antenna hooked up to it.

The signal is weak enough that Vince doesn’t have to worry about neighbors hacking into his Switch setup, and he can still play games with seemingly no lag within his own home. (He can’t stray too far from the antenna, though.) It works well enough that he plays fast-paced games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Metal Slug 3 with the tiny 32-year-old device — to which he strapped his Joy-Con controllers, making it truly a portable black-and-white Switch display.

Surprisingly, all three games he shows off — Breath of the Wild, Metal Slug and Mario Kart — actually look really beautiful in grainy black and white. It’s definitely not an ideal way to play the Switch, as Vince points out; that screen can’t measure more than 3 inches, and the idea of playing games on a double-A battery-powered handheld these days is frightening. But if you have a healthy interest in tinkering with hardware and somehow still have a Pocket TV kicking around, playing your Switch this way could be worth trying.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon