A widescreen hack is an emulator feature that make older games playable on 16:9 aspect ratio.
Most video games before mid-2000s were developed for TVs and monitors with 4:3 aspect ratio. If these games are played on 16:9 aspect ratio, the game is either displayed with black bars on each side or stretched to fill the whole screen. Some emulators however provide a widescreen hack option to make these games look nice on modern monitors.
Some games before mid-2000s do have built-in 16:9 aspect ratio support, but usefulness of this option will vary. Some games just add black bars to top and bottom, while others have very zoomed out camera, so widescreen hacks may still be useful in these games.
- 1 Limitations
- 2 Emulators (2D)
- 3 Emulators (3D)
- 4 External links
A widescreen hack basically hacks camera size and position, so depending on the game there might be graphical glitches.
- 2D sprites/HUDs such as health bars or minimaps might look stretched or displayed on wrong location.
- Enemies or objects outside of 4:3 area might suddenly appear or disappear, because the game skips rendering for offscreen things. Similarly, the screen-wide visual effects such as fade-in and fade-out may only affect the 4:3 area of the screen.
- WideNES: is a novel technique to automatically and interactively map-out NES games, in real time. This allows you to peek beyond the screen boundaries of NES games. Currently only implemented in the emulator ANESE.
Games with specific patches:
- Genesis Plus GX Wide - a fork of Genesis Plus GX with widescreen support. Currently only available as a libretro core.
There are two plugins for Project64 that has widescreen hack support.
- Jabo's Direct3D: The versions included in Project64 2.x has a widescreen hack option, though the plugin itself is buggy compared to versions came with Project64 1.6 (the version before the widescreen hack option was added). Jabo backported this widescreen hack to the 1.6.1 version, which retains the stability of 1.6 with some of the fixes from the other, buggier plugin.
- GLideN64: Currently the only known plugin that can do both widescreen hack and custom texture packs, though the system requirement is much higher than Jabo's. As of May 2018, it now has a new overscan feature that lets the users manually edit offsets to remove black borders/lines around the edges of a game's video output and is compatible with any widescreen hack. The widescreen hack does not work if running the plugin in LLE mode, however.
Some games have specific widescreen codes made by the community to render the game at wider aspect ratios. These codes are generally more reliable than widescreen hacks and work on real consoles too. You can find a few ones in pj64 forum.
Dolphin has a widescreen hack under graphics options.The aspect ratio option must be set to 'Force 16:9' to make it work.
Some games have specific Gecko Codes to fix the aspect-ratio in widescreen. Check the game page in the Dolphin Wiki to find those codes. It's also possible to enable them in RetroArch (guide on reddit).
- PCSX-Reloaded has the widescreen hack in the CPU options.
- ePSXe also has the widescreen hack located within the GTE Hacks options. This feature was added in version 2.0.5.
- DuckStation and SwanStation, a new PSX emulator, also has a widescreen hack located in the Enhancement Settings.
Some games have specific widescreen codes made by the community to render the game at wider aspect ratios. These codes are generally more reliable than widescreen hacks and work on real consoles too. The PCSX2 forum has a thread dedicated to them.
PCSX2 can render the games in 16:9 aspect ratio if game supports it, but for other ones that do not have this option game-specific patches are required. See PCSX2 widescreen game patches and PS2 widescreen hacks for patches. Also there is a dedicated repo for various PCSX2 patches.
See this page for Ultrawide/Eyefinity/Surround (21:9, 32:9, etc) hack tutorial and codes/patches list.
Some games have specific widescreen codes made by the community to render the game at wider aspect ratios. These codes are generally more reliable than widescreen hacks and work on real consoles too. In gbatemp there is this compilation of codes. In a different thread there are even more codes to adapt 4:3 nDS games to 16:10 n3DS screen.
Some games have specific 21:9 ultrawide patches made by the theboy181. Also yuzu has a dedicated "Switch Mods" page for ultrawide or super ultrawide mods.
Nintendo Wii U
Use these packs for ultrawide.
The PCGamingWiki has a page section dedicated to xbox widescreen hacks.
Use these patches for 21:9 or 32:9 enhancements.
Flycast has widescreen support available via hack that creates widescreen automatically with HUD supports or cheats, use only one of those.
Redream has widescreen support available in the
Manage cheats menu.
RetroWide - forum for discussing widescreen development, both ROM-hacking and technology on the emulator side.