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Having Fun

Change your screen resolution: it could be a whole new ballgame

by George Legge

Baseball player Any ardent gamer will tell you the best video contests have the most arcade-like detail. Depending on your system, you can maximize your gaming experience with crisp, dazzling graphics by changing your monitor's display settings. If you want to smack one out of the park in life-like games such as Microsoft® Baseball 2001®, learn to make your display a heavy hitter.

What you see is what you get
Obtaining gaming realism on your computer depends on several variables, but ultimately great display, or resolution, and the color produced by your monitor can make or break the look of a game.  Most monitors still use the same elements found inside your standard color TV--very small phosphor dots called pixels that glow when hit by electron particles. Resolution is measured by the number of pixels being "sprayed," or “painted,” both horizontally and vertically on the desktop. The computer, its peripherals, and the monitor together determine where, what shape, and what color mixture each pixel will be, from 16 colors to millions of colors.

Pushing the envelope
Typically, most color monitors display a basic 256 colors at a resolution of 640 pixels across the screen and 480 pixels vertically (640 by 480)--about 300,000 pixels in all. You can increase this visual output depending on your system’s components. Obviously, the more color and resolution the better; however, increasing display color can also reduce resolution. The trick is to find the right balance using Control Panel.

To change your display resolution:

        1. Click the right mouse button anywhere on the desktop, and then click Properties.
        2. On the Display Properties tab, click Settings.
        3. In the Colors list, select the best (last) color setting available.
        4. Move the Screen area pixel slider as far to the right as possible. Note the number of pixels. You probably won't want less than 800 x 600 for gaming.
        5. In the Colors list, select the next lower setting. Move the Screen area slider to the far right and note the pixels available. Determine which setting gives you the best resolution. Remember, the more pixels, the better the resolution.
        6. Select the color setting that offers the best resolution. Click Apply.

          Windows will temporarily change your desktop.
        7. If everything appears normal, click Yes when asked if you want to keep these settings. If another message appears asking if you want to restart your computer, click Yes.

Should your screen go blank or appear to go wild don’t panic. It will return to its original setting after 15 seconds. When it does, click the next lower selection from the Colors list and continue with the rest of the setup as above.

Let the games begin
Hopefully, you'll notice an immediate improvement to your display. Just be careful you don’t get dust in your eyes during your next game of baseball!


George Legge

George Legge found the 16 colors his monitor offered were too graphic-intensive for most of the games he plays.

Icons too small on your new desktop?
To increase the size of desktop icons: 

  1. On a blank portion of the desktop, click the right mouse button. Click Properties, and then click Appearance.
  2. In the Item list, click Icon. Click the Size arrow to see size options, and select a size. Click Apply.
  3. Try different settings until you’re satisfied, and then click OK.

For more information on changing display resolution see
Stop squinting: it's time for a new resolution.

Find out how Windows 98 can enhance your gaming experience by reading The Fundamentals of having fun.