Don't Worry, Switch Online's CRT Filter Isn't Damaging Players' Screens

Illustration for article titled Don't Worry, Switch Online's CRT Filter Isn't Damaging Players' Screens
Screenshot: RobotHaus

Nintendo’s online service for the Switch also grants you access to some classic Nintendo games, and the NES library even provides a filter so it looks like you’re playing them on an old school CRT television. Unfortunately for some players, playing those games with this filter on has left them with an afterimage on the screen.

Not every player has experienced this, but the ones who have are understandably concerned. The afterimage appearing for some looks a lot like “burn in,” which is a shorthand for describing when an image on a screen burns into the screen itself, permanently damaging it. Reddit user Matdave bought the Switch’s online service last night and began playing some old NES games right away, only to notice a discoloration on their Switch’s screen afterward.

“When I finally backed out to the home screen around midnight, I noticed there was a weird discoloration against the grey background,” they told Kotaku via Reddit private messages. Initially, they just let their console go to sleep, assuming it would go away. “A few minutes later I turned the Switch back on and the discoloration was still there. My first thought was that it was damaged. I started looking for cases of pixel stay in NS, which is when the ‘CRT mode’ glitch started trending on the internet.”


On both Reddit and and the gaming forum ResetEra, other players have also been reporting that playing the classic NES games in CRT mode has lead to discoloration in their screens. Another Reddit user called PCgaming4ever decided to test out the CRT mode and see if they could replicate it, and they could. After observing it in action, PCgaming4ever told Kotaku that they believe it’s a rendering issue.

“The reason I realized it wasn’t your typical ‘burn in’ and was in fact some type of rendering issue due to it actually displaying the color of the ladder still,” PCgaming4ever said over Reddit private messages.

Another difference between this glitch and burn in: the pixels move.
Gif: PCgaming4ever

Kotaku reached out to Nintendo regarding this issue and they did not respond in time for publication.


Luckily, if you boot up the NES games without the filter, the discoloration goes away. As PCgaming4ever noted, that suggests it’s a rendering issue: “The color from the ladder was still showing and when I re-rendered the scene with a different mode it went away almost instantly, which confirmed my suspicion.”

This glitch is still worrisome for players, especially if they don’t realize that they haven’t permanently damaged their screens. Both players that talked to Kotaku said they hope Nintendo fixes this problem. Matdave thinks they should at least disable the CRT filter for the time being.


“I was born in the 80's so having an old Nintendo game stuck on the screen is nothing new to me,” Matdave said, “but it is still pretty scary when it happens on your Switch the first time.”

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My distaste in the service’s launch is pretty immeasurable. I have this image saved on my phone so I continue to remember that I’m not paying for a product.