Ghosting in Games: What is ghosting in video games & how to fix/prevent it?

Ghosting in Games: What is ghosting in video games & how to fix/prevent it?

Ghosting in games is an annoying part only a gamer can understand. It’s a technical phenomenon that ruins your gaming experience and causes damage to your eyes. While playing games or watching videos with fast action, you can see the awful trails of elements on your screen which looks annoying. And if you’re playing games from genres like shooting or action. Then ghosting in video games could destroy your gaming experience like never before.

Thus, we’ll be covering all the topics like what is ghosting in games & how to fix/prevent it. So whether you’re a gamer facing the same issue or a newbie trying to purchase a monitor for gaming needs. This article is your one-stop solution to provide all the info related to ghosting games & ways to fix this issue in your monitor.

Ghosting in games only depends on your monitor, nonetheless many gamers think that this is a glitch of the game. So before getting deeper into this article, I want to clear this doubt for many of you guys out there.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the article about what is ghosting in video games & how to fix it?

What is Ghosting in Games?

Ghosting in Games: What is ghosting in video games & how to fix/prevent it?
Courtesy: Reddit

Ghosting in monitors is a phenomenon that occurs due to the slow response time. Because of this, the human eye can perceive old pixelated trails of moving elements on your screen. It makes previous images continue to follow new ones. That makes a smearing effect on your display and feels like colors have been distorted. The stale image of elements looks blurry and appears to follow the fresh image that seems like a ghost following someone. This is why we refer to this as ghosting in video games.

This issue was common when LCD was new in the market and usually was seen on cheap LCD monitors. However, the new gaming consoles like PS5, Xbox S/X, PS4(an old one) are very demanding in terms of resolution and pixels. Therefore, old monitors and TVs can’t play those highly intense game smoothly with the old technology they’re carrying with themselves.

However, ghosting in games doesn’t cost any harm to your display. But with time it starts getting worse and you’ll lose the charm of your gaming. The blurry image and smearing effect can make your game unplayable when you’re in an intense fight of Call of Duty or PUBG.

Some other names in the gamut of monitor problems are screen burn-in, image burn-in, screen-burn, and ghost image. Because there are plenty of other terms we use for the unwanted glitchy phenomena.

Ghosting isn’t only about games. It could happen anywhere like while watching movies, videos, & doing important work. Therefore let’s jump to the next section of this article, where we’ll be learning the causes of ghosting in video games.

What Causes the Monitor Ghosting in Gaming?

To understand why ghosting in games occurs. First, we need to understand the basics of refresh rate and response time. Because these are the essentials and most of the gamers never bother to check ’em out while building their dream computers. So the first & foremost is ‘Refresh Rate‘.

Refresh Rate in Monitors

The refresh rate always measured in Hertz(Hz) and an average monitor has at least 60hz per second, which means a monitor shows 60 images in a single second.

Every image is different from another that lets your monitor run smoothly and allows it to play movies and games without any annoying effect. Many latest game titles do support 4k or 240 fps in some instances. So for these moments, some monitors come up with 75hz, 120hz & 144hz to provide you an extraordinary experience.

Response Time in Monitors

Ghosting in Video Games because of refresh rate from Techy Nickk
Courtesy: Viewsonic

On the other hand, response time is more related to CPU or GPU. It simply means that how much time your CPU or GPU taking to send a fresh image of the game. Sometimes, if you’re having an old CPU or GPU then it could be a raw deal for you to handle.

So it’s good if you’re having a powerful CPU and GPU that provides fast response time. Nowadays an ideal response time is 3 milliseconds which refers that the lower the response time the higher you’ll experience smoothness in your gameplay and movies.

Now, the basics of Refresh Rate & Response Time has been cleared. So basically when you’re receiving a high refresh rate and low response time then you’ll be feeling the real gaming on your computer. Moreover, there are three different types of LCDs that are IPC, VA, & TN. VA type of LCDs have a very bad record in ghosting as they have the slowest response time among all the other LCDs.

However, a cheaper LCD whether it’s a VA or IPC could also give you the problematic ghosting effect while you’re playing games or watching movies. So it’s highly recommended to go for a good monitor with a meaningful price tag.

How to Test Screen Ghosting in Monitor?

Testufo is an amazing tool to solve and identify your monitor's issue

So if you’ve faced a minor problem while playing your favorite game and have doubts about your monitor. Then you can test the capabilities of your monitor through a free tool named Testufo that lets you see the details like FPS rating, refresh rate in hertz, pixel per frame, etc. The tool is pretty powerful and more than enough to provide all the details about your monitor.

You just have to select the ideal settings of your computer like resolutions and more. Consequently, the app will display everything you should know about your system. Moreover, it shows the result that if your monitor works fine then it’ll show a bold and green “READY” on your screen. However, if you’re out of luck and the website shows something is wrong with your monitor. Then it’ll show you the possible things you could fix to make your gaming setup more usable.

It’s a tool I recommend to my friends as it’s free and provides all the basic detail one should need to decide whether they need a new monitor or fix the one they already have.

How to Fix Monitor Ghosting in Video Games?

Now that we’ve already discussed what is ghosting in games, what are the main causes, & how to test your monitor for ghosting? Now it’s time to figure out how can we fix this issue in our systems. So if you’re an unhappy kid Googling things up to remove this experience from your life. We’ve sorted some easy and doable steps to solve this nuisance in your gaming.

Turn on/off your Overdrive

Well, many of you guys must be thinking that what the heck is Overdrive and how I’ll be turning on or off this thing? Basically, Overdrive is a technical hack in your monitors that lets users improve their displays’ response time by a few milliseconds. However, it’s not recommended for users who don’t know what they’re doing. And monitor manufacturers always use the best settings for your display. But still, if you want to make sure that your efforts give you some results. Then you’d try this one first.

To turn on/off your Overdrive, try to find the settings on your monitor that you can access from the buttons available on it. Every monitor has its own way to display its settings so you’ve to figure out, what your computer calls overdrive in its own language. The basic & most often used terms are response time compensation, OD, response overdrive, etc.

Moreover, if you’re in luck, then you could find direct buttons to adjust your overdrive according to your preference. But that’s a rare case and most probably you’ve to find out the settings by yourself. Aftward, when you’ll find the settings, put your Overdrive on max so that your monitor can reduce the response time as quickly as possible.

If you’ll see modes in your Overdrive setting like “Normal”, “Fast”, and “Faster” then choose the faster option. Although, Faster couldn’t be an option for all. Here’s come another issue known as Inverse Ghosting.

What is Inverse Ghosting?

Sometimes choosing the faster option or putting your Overdrive on max could lead to inverse ghosting. This means, that you’ll see a trail of shadow right next to the moving objects on your screen. And to keep your display safe from this issue. I’d recommend you to put your Override setting on medium or test it on which option your monitor gives the best output.

Check Your Cables

Tangled Cables of your monitor could also cause ghosting in games

Cables are crucial after all these are the only way to transfer your data from CPU to monitor. First of all, try to untangle all the clumsy wires from the back of your PC as they can decrease the ghosting in games drastically. Moreover, if you’re using a cable that is very poor in terms of condition or chewed by cute little mice in your house. Then you should be considering changing the wire as soon as possible.

So try to make your cables a little tidy and if broken then replace them. Because poor cables could cause ghosting in video games.

Try to Overclock Your Monitor or Laptop

Overclocking your monitor and pc could fix the issue in most of the cases

It’s another option for people who finds both the options useless. Overclocking is one of the best methods to deal with ghosting in games. However, it’s also not recommended to people who don’t know what they’re doing. But if you’re sure and know the proper steps. Then overclocking could increase your refresh rate and decrease the response time rapidly in just a few seconds.

I’d highly recommend you to get assistance from an expert to implement this method. Because it could fry your processor or cause a black screen without any trace.

Update Your Drivers

If everything was running fine and suddenly spoils your mood with some unwanted smearing effects. Then you should be checking out your display drivers. Because Display drivers for graphics cards and processors help a lot. Basically, these drivers help your GPU & CPU to coordinate with each other properly. And works as a bridge between GPU/CPU and the monitor.

In Windows 10, just go to your settings and search for the latest updates. You’ll find the best and recommended drivers for your Windows and CPU.

Get a New Monitor

After trying all these steps. If you’re still not able to fix ghosting in games or videos. Then you might need a new monitor with a high refresh rate. It’d possible that you’re using an old monitor that was used by your ancestors as well. But it’s time to say goodbye to your old buddy. Moreover, try to get a monitor that supports up to 75 Hz as it could make your gaming experience more smooth and delightful.

But keep one thing in mind, that if your GPU isn’t producing enough FPS to give you an amazing experience, then going for an expensive monitor could be a waste of time & money. So before getting a new monitor for your gaming needs. Try to check your GPU first.

Similar Monitor issues

Just like ghosting gaming or ghosting in games. There are some other problems that people usually get confused about and relates to ghosting. Thus, I’ll be clearing all the doubts about some similar issues to ghosting in video games.

Image Retention

This issue mostly occurs on LCDs and TVs where a faded image shown permanently on your display. However, it’s an easy to solve issue among the ones I’ve listed. And can be fixed by turning on/off your device. So if you ever face this issue in your life. Just restart your device and start getting fun like before.

Burn-In Effect

Likewise Image Retention, you’ll see a faded image on your display. But unlike Image Retention, you won’t be able to fix it. And you’ve to buy a new TV with an OLED display to make your life like it was before. However, this issue only occurs on OLED and you can prevent it by not leaving a static image on your display for a long time.

Motion Blur

It’s a very common issue and can be found on almost every type of display out there. In the Motion Blur issue, you can see the smearing effect with some dark shadow following the fresh image on your display. However, monitors with a 120 Hz refresh rate shows a lower tendency to get hit by this issue. But they also can face Motion Blur.

The verdict of Ghosting in Games

Monitor ghosting isn’t going to destroy your computer permanently. But it could make your gaming experience bitter. Therefore, I’d suggest you guys, research for a good monitor before making a decision.

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Techy Nickk is a website managed by a group of Technology lovers, who love to read and write about games, apps, gadgets, tech, and reviews.

Tom Clancy Game Ghost Recon