Dwindling CRT Supply Spells the Death of Classic Arcade Machines
Ron Perillo / 4 weeks ago
Before the days of connected internet gaming, players would have to travel to their local arcade and actually challenge their opponents in person. Facing off in classic games such as Pac-Man and Asteroid, and much later Street Fighter, gamers would be standing side by side in front of a CRT screen, pouring quarters they have saved from their allowance into the slot until its time to close. There is a warm glow in a CRT display that is not present in a modern LCD screen, and that warmth gives that authentic touch to a restored arcade cabinet.
Unfortunately for arcade gaming fans, the dwindling supply of CRT displays means that the days of authentic arcade video gaming is numbered. The stock of 29-inch CRT screens has almost been depleted and the last company manufacturing these displays have already sold their manufacturing equipment to a Chinese company according to Dream Machines, the worlds largest producer of arcade machines. What makes it even sadder is the fact that the Chinese company are reportedly unable to replicate the same winding procedures. Much of CRT production is actually done by hand. A laborer has to actually manually be involved in each creation as it is put together and the tube is integrated with the electron gun required to show the display. An episode of Discovery Channel’s “How Did This Get Made” gives an excellent overview of what is involved in making this display in a factory:
Dream Machines themselves only has 30 CRT arcade monitors left in their stock. When it is gone, it is gone. Fans who wish to restore or recreate an authentic arcade would now have to just accept the fact that they have to use LCD screens and accept the limitations it has as well such as non-optimal refresh rate and screen tearing via V-sync issues. The only other option would be to wait for display technology to develop further enough that the authentic warm glow of a CRT display can be emulated.