Should be the same regardless of whether you have a CRT or LCD. Why would you want your desktop running at a lower resolution than a game? If you want to run a game at 1600x1200 or more, it should be reasonable to expect you to want your desktop at that resolution too. The desktop environment should be smart enough to scale elements and text to fit the higher resolution, if that is the concern. I couldn't imagine any other reason not to, anyway.
It's the other way around - say the desktop is 1600x1200 but you want to game at 1024. The look is different with native 1024 vs gpu-scaled-1024-to-1600.