Hardware: MyGica Game Box

Buying a full HD monitor seemed like a wonderful idea for playing next generation consoles. Why should I fork out obscene amounts of money on a TV, when I only the screen for gaming and DVDs? At first the purchase seemed like a great idea, until I realised the one gaping flaw in my plan. Most PC monitors don’t come with scart inputs. I needed to find some kind of adaptor to convert it into a VGA connection.

After some thorough research on the internet, I came across this product. The HD Game Box from MyGica takes the simple RGB component cable from most games consoles (perhaps most importantly from the last generation, including PS2, Xbox and Wii) and allows it to be switched into a VGA cable with external audio output.

The Game Box is just smaller than two DVDs stacked together. This is by no means obtrusive, but will of course be another addition to the user’s media centre. The initial setup couldn’t be simpler. Switch the box on and select the appropriate source input on your monitor – you’re away. A few cables are provided, but you may need a couple more for specific tasks such as linking out to a speaker system, or recording straight to a VGA card on your computer.

Most consumers will want to do a bit of a tinkering before they embark on their first gaming session. The resolution button changes the picture dimensions, adjusting the screen size so that it fits your monitor as snugly as possible. Unfortunately I couldn’t find an option that fitted my monitor exactly, although this maybe due to the irregular screen size (is 28″ normal?!) – my best efforts had a small border on the left and right, with the left being wider.

The image quality is perfectly playable, but doesn’t quite match the standard you’ll find on a television. A normal TV will soften some of the edges, rounding off character models and smoothing out dodgy animation. Out of the games I tested, I could estimate that the quality was at around 80 – 85% of what I would find on a normal television set.

The MyGica Game Box is one of the best options you’ll find for playing old consoles through a PC monitor. There are alternative devices and TV tuner cards that you can try, but this is one of the simplest and most convenient to use. The picture quality is a long way from being perfect, but if you don’t have a TV this is worth looking into.

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