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Interview: 1080up.org’s Jeff Rivera

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Jeff Rivera is a representative of 1080up.org. They are an organization dedicated to ensuring the Revolution will support High-definition televisions. In an interview, Perrin Kaplan, a representative from Nintendo, stated the console will not include the support. That sent video game message boards into a frenzy with countless debates on both sides, but Jeff is here to clear things up.

Please explain who you are and what you do.

My name is Jeff Rivera and I am in charge of the 1080up.org project. Basically we are a movement created by gamers that is dedicated to creating a platform where Nintendo fans can express their opinions regarding Nintendo’s decision to nix HD support from the Revolution. We also ensure that Nintendo is hearing the voices of each member that joins the movement.

Why do you feel HD support is important in the Revolution?

I feel that Nintendo has been the great innovator in the gaming industry for many years; and they do have a solid history of competing on a technological level as well. I don’t see any reason why they should abandon one or the other. Many gamers out there bought their first HDTV because of gaming this generation supported by the Xbox and PlayStation 2 and many more will make that decision during the next generation as HDTV prices are continually falling. Should the Revolution not support HD resolutions, the Revolution is going to be behind the technological curve by years when compared to the competition. I want to be able to enjoy Nintendo’s library in high-definition. Shouldn’t we all? Right now Nintendo isn’t leaving it to the developers to decide whether or not to implement these HD resolutions; it should be their choice. I don’t think it’s wise for Sony or Microsoft to be forcing the HD on developers either, it should remain optional, just like it has been for this generation.

How do you respond to those people that believe it’s not necessary, or state that only a small number of homes actually contain the necessary equipment?

I really don’t have to do much besides point out that prices on HDTV sets are dropping quickly. You can go to a Wal-Mart and pick up an HDTV for less than $500 now. Admittedly it’s not the best set out there, but even the big name brands like Sony, Sharp, Samsung, Panasonic, and Mitsubishi are dropping their prices. Gamers on message boards are constantly showing pictures of their new HD sets as the prices have really come down the past year or two. I would expect with all NTSC broadcasts going to 100% digital programming that the prices will drop even further as analog sets will be made completely obsolete.

Nintendo has gone on record as stating only 1% of Gamecube owners own the (component) cable needed to showcase that consoles progressive scan capability. Does that not mean there’s no market for it?

I don’t think so. I think the market is there. Nintendo really hasn’t made known to anybody how to get these component cables. I had to order mine from Nintendo.com a couple of years ago after finding out from an EB Games manager that they weren’t available in stores. I think Nintendo could have doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled their sales of the cable by just letting people know where to get them. Combine that with the fact that HDTV is relatively new to the casual electronics consumer, and it should be expected that the cables would have sold poorly in this generation. In the next generation, however, people are going to be actively looking for these cables as HDTV will be the standard and the average consumer will know what component cables are.

Classic gamers are sure to read this interview. How do you respond to them since the earliest generations of gamers grew up using RF units and modulators?

I’d just like to remind them of how great it felt to plug those audio/video cables in for the first time; the jump in picture quality was outstanding. Sure, it didn’t enhance gameplay, but none of us would be happy going back to an RF unit now. Imagine playing Madden in 720p on your friend’s PS3 and having to go back and play it in standard definition on your Revolution. The difference would be frustrating and a little aggravating.

Is HD that important to gameplay, or is it just a way to make games look better?

Like I said earlier, it doesn’t affect the gameplay much at all. Games will still be just as fun, and a boost in resolution won’t change that much. However, go play F-Zero GX on a widescreen TV in progressive scan and then jump to a regular A/V set without widescreen. The impact of the game feels much less pronounced as it did on the widescreen pro-scan set.

How do you feel about those who think that by debating the lack of HD support, you’re a graphics-first gameplay-second person?

I can understand their argument, but I want them to understand a few things. I’m going to support the Revolution no matter what Nintendo decides in the end. I have always loved Nintendo for the innovative and polished content they create, and that won’t change for anything. I do believe that Nintendo should offer their fans and developers the best product available, however. Ommitting HD resolutions is just handicapping the system from the get go when compared to the PS3 or Xbox 360.

Does this put Nintendo as a disadvantage, or will most of the population not notice the difference (or care)?

Initially it won’t matter as much if Sony and Microsoft don’t exploit the difference in their marketing approach. It will have a longer-term effect though once the HDTV set saturation level increases worldwide. Gamers will start to wonder why games on the competition’s look noticeably sharper on a console of what I assume to be pretty equal power.

Nintendo is anticipating releasing the lowest priced console in the upcoming generation. Does not including HDTV support help them towards that goal?

I’m sure it does, but I’m one of the many that wouldn’t mind paying a little extra for HD support. If you play your console for the next 5 years, then does paying a little extra really seem like such a big deal?

The following few questions will focus on basic and general questions about the HDTV format.

What about those who have seen HDTVs and see no difference?

They need to either get an eye exam or just look harder. I watched the NBA Finals in HD and the difference was outstanding. If you really don’t care, then by all means don’t upgrade. If you notice a difference, it will start to bother you over time though.

The date for federal regulation of HDTV broadcasts continues to be pushed back. Why?

I think it’s just trying to ease the market into change. It’s kind of like how the cell phone business has gradually changed from analaog networks to the superior digital standard we have now.

Is HDTV too expensive?

Not really. If you want the absolute best HDTV out there, you’re going to have to penny pinch for a while though. If you just want a decent one, you don’t have to sacrifice much to pick one up. I bought my first HDTV working a job that paid me just over minimum wage and I was paying rent at the same time.

Thanks for your time and I hope things go as planned for you.

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to get my message out. I’m a big fan of the site and your work.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.