Means of upscaling 8/16-bit visuals are hardly something new; anyone familiar with MAME knows already that it's able to smooth out those rough edges via filters and the such. Which many choose not to employ, especially these days. Those who wish to partake in the classics want the closest to the original package as possible.

Hence why the following will both confuse and possibly irk a good deal of those aforementioned folks: researchers have developed a totally brand new and supposedly sophisticated algorithm that reconstructs pixel-based images into vector graphics. What you see above is "a complex blend of pixel analysis and spline curves". How this is any different from what MAME already does is not exactly clear, plus the fact that the author of the article chooses to refer to the dolphin from Super Mario Word that's used as a test subject as 8-bit will no doubt rub people the wrong way further (it's 16-bits, duh).

The real question is obvious: what's the point? Especially these days, when appreciation for pixel art is at an all-time high. Yesteryear's visual style no longer has the stink of inferiority across the board; aside from being embraced as something culturally significant among diehard gamers and art aficionados, among mainstream gamers and the general public, it's something nostalgic and simply "cool" again (aka marketable).

Remember when the first screens of the XBLA version of Guardian Heroes were revealed? Everyone got up in arms over the smoothed out visuals, and the pitchforks were only lowered when it was revealed that the original graphical mode was in tact. Then again, advances in technology doesn't necessarily have to make people happy per se, and it might have some other application, outside of gaming. Perhaps to enhance low-resolution video feeds, as the first commentator in the source states. Who also says: "To hell with video games."

[via Extreme Tech]