So I have a buddy who refuses to play competitive gaming (mainly FPS games) on anything else but a a 4:3 ratio CRT television set (consoles only). He's actually super good at games like Call of Duty and Halo, but only on 4:3 ratio screens, because 16:9 gives him "too much information to worry about." I thought this was kind of interesting because it makes a lot of sense that, along with controller lag, the player should only worry about targets within his or her's peripheral vision. So my question is: does anyone else here still play on 4:3 ratio screens, and why?
Depends on the game, but I could see benefiting from having a narrower point of view in certain FPS situations; albeit there's a lot more benefits to having a wider field of vision. FPS's are mostly about anticipating where the opponent will be and approaching them the right way, since only a handful of people are twitchy enough to win more than 75%-80% of head-on conflicts non instagib/railgun/AWP region (and it's not even possible with a controller). Having more information on screen is going to be more useful in situations where you aren't trying to out-twitch the opponent (i.e. you're a competent FPS player).
That kinda falls in line with what a lot of PC players do. You set the hud region as small as possible but crank up the FOV and all the information is close, with the advantage of better peripheral vision - 4:3 generally cuts off what would probably be considered peripheral stuff. I watch a lot of anime and older tv, so I generally tolerate 4:3, but I can't imagine, with the HD centric development stuff going on, he'll be able to keep doing that moving forward. I helped my rather moronic potential step-brother set up Xbox One (that he now rarely touches) on an SDTV in his room, and I could barely read the on-screen installation instructions from a foot away. Also, input lag for HDTVs isn't too much of an issue these days, most gaming lag is probably due to wireless controllers (it's a shame I had to go to eBay to get my trust old wired 360 pad).
Yeah, it's all about taking advantage of how fast he is with the targets on his screen. Even if there was two enemies on screen coming at him; and one is outside his peripheral vision, he will always, at the very least, nail one before the other gets to him, because his focus is dead set on whatever he can see. I thought it was interesting to watch his argument at play, because he is absolute garbage on a 16:9 television.
Preferring LESS peripheral awareness is kind of nuts. But the CRT factor may give him a real advantage. Good ol' CRT's refresh rate is faster than HD monitors, so he can see and react to things a tiny bit faster.
If he's playing online that isn't going to matter though, the difference between CRT and LCD response time is negligible unless you're a competitive Street Fighter/Quake player playing on a local connection or something. playing locally.
The benefit of blocking out the extra view is that you get more paranoid. I call it paranoia factor. I was very good (not sure if I still am) at Call of Duty and Halo because of the limited FOV. I also play competitive shooters with the sound off. This makes you even more wary about things. I am always greeted with WTF reactions when I say these things. Then I would show them how I play and if you have played or seen Quake/UT pros play it kind of looks like that. But, I would do this on high sensitivity controllers. I have some issues with Keyboard and Mouse that make me sorta terrible at Quake and UT. On the other hand console games with Auto-Aim I can pick up really well (and abuse that fact).
Talking about the display in particular and refresh rate stuff. Quake pros swear by 120hz monitors. I recently bought an 144hz monitor. What I can say about playing PC Shooters with a higher refresh rate is that the experience and animations are silky smooth. I don't see the benefits of the extra frames though. There has been a really small amount of research in the area of perception and refresh rate. The jury is still out on whether it is beneficial or not but most papers I read seem to think that the benefits are negligible at best.
EDIT: Yeah I played street fighter 4 locally with a friend on the 144hz monitor with an uncapped framerate and the animations were much crisper and easier to see. Like I said the only benefit BUT BY FAR THE BEST is the strain on your eyes because of how clean everything looks.