When we talk about vertical vs. horizontal, we are referring to the format of the video game image as it is displayed on the monitor. In a nutshell, a vertical image is taller than wide, and a horizontal image is wider than tall.
If a monitor is positioned for normal viewing, so that the screen is wider than tall, such as with a television or computer monitor, it is said to be horizontal. If you were to play a video game, such as Street Fighter (photo), on a horizontal monitor, the game would appear correct, because that game is formatted for display on a horizontal monitor.
If you were to install a horizontal monitor into an arcade cabinet, so that you could play horizontal games, the cabinet would be called a horizontal cabinet. Further, the horizontal cabinet would be built differently from other cabinets (more about this in a moment).
The only type of video games that you could play in the horizontal cabinet would be horizontal games. Unless, you had a special type of multicade system (more about this in a moment).
A non-horizontal video game image displayed on a horizontal monitor would appear to be laying down on its side (more about this in a moment).
Some video games were designed with images that are wider than tall. Typical amoung them are the scrolling fighter games, such as Street Fighter, which is a horizontal video game.
But, many other video games were designed with images that are taller than wide. Typical amoung them are classics such as Galaga (photo). Video games whose images are taller than wide are called vertical games.
Likewise, when a monitor is rotated 90-degrees from horizontal, in order to correctly display a vertical game, the monitor is said to be oriented or mounted vertically. And, so it goes with the arcade cabinet built to support a vertical monitor, it is said to be a vertical cabinet.
A horizontal game displayed on a vertically mounted monitor will look like it is standing on its end, and it would be.
Horizontal vs. vertical games:
As already mentioned above, video games are designed with either vertical or horizontal formatting. You can think of the difference this way. If stuff is coming at you from out of the sky, that is probably a vertical game, for example, Galaga.
Or, if characters are walking around a landscape and fighting each other, that is probably a horizontal game, for example, Street Fighter.
Horizontal vs. vertical cabinets:
There is a subtle difference between a horizontal cabinet and a vertical cabinet - the horizontal cabinet will be a few inches wider. The reason is, of course, because the monitor is mounted in a normal widescreen fashion. And thus, is wider than if it were mounted vertically.
There is also another important difference. The horizontal games graduated to a larger monitor. Almost all of the classic games were played using a 19" CRT monitor, usually mounted vertically. While, the later games were played using a 25" CRT monitor, usually mounted horizontally.
CRT monitors are being replaced by LCD/LED monitors. For more on this topic visit Choosing The Best Monitor For Your New Multicade
Based upon the prior information, it should be clear that you cannot play both horizontal and vertical video games in the same cabinet. Well, technically you could. But, you would have to swap game circuit boards (provided they were both JAMMA boards) and rotate the monitor.
Or, you could use an Ultra Edition 2500-in-1 multicade system, which displays horizontally, but will reformat vertical video games to display proportionally correct on a horizontal monitor. Pretty cool.
There are many multicade systems around that will display both vertical and horizontal game images. But, beware that the vertical images will not be proportionally correct.
For example, Frogger would look real short and real fat. That is the visual effect of stretching a vertical image to fill a horizontal monitor screen.
Some everyday examples:
The matter of vertical vs. horizontal can be illustrated by some everyday examples.
If you are reading this website page at your computer, then you are viewing a horizontal image displayed on a horizontally oriented monitor. If you were to rotate the monitor 90 degrees, the monitor would then be vertically oriented and the image would appear to be standing on end. The horizontal image would not automatically reformat for correct presentation on a vertical monitor.
The preceding example illustrates the situation that occurs with arcade video games - vertical games images will not reformat to display correctly on a horizontal monitor, and horizontal game images will not reformat to display correctly on a vertical monitor.
Thus, you cannot mix vertical and horizontal games in an arcade cabinet with a fixed orientation monitor.
However, if you are reading this website page on your smart phone, then most likely, you are viewing a slightly scrunched horizontal image on a vertical screen. And, for more normal viewing, you can rotate your phone 90 degrees and view the horizontal image on a horizontal screen.
The smart phone capability for reformatting of images is a suggestion of the process required to view proportionally correct vertical game images on a horizontally oriented monitor. The 2500-in-1 is a multicade system capable of such a process.
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