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PS1, PS2 and original XBOX

Last response: in Video Games
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February 15, 2013 3:36:09 AM

(The third paragraph is pretty much a rant so feel free to skip it)

Hi,

I am 29 years old and have been gaming pretty much my whole life. I am ashamed to say I've only recently become aware of the fact that PAL games have been mostly inferior their NTSC versions in the past.

I have been aware for a long time that PAL runs at 50hz and NTSC at 60hz. I just assumed the games ran at the same speed but slightly less smoothly. I didn't realise that a) the vast majority of games ran approximately 17% slower and b) they were vertically squashed.

I am amazed this is not more well known and that nothing was done about it for so long (considering most of the world used PAL or SECAM). If for instance there was an equivalent with music (CD's or Audio tapes) and the same proportion of customers were receiving inferior quality goods compared to the radio (for this comparison this would be arcade machines) or USA and Japan there would have been public outcry! Yet nobody gave a crap when it came to video games (and sadly when I told my best friend, he didn't either and told me maybe I am the only person that does). I am genuinely very upset to find this out. I have spent a huge amount of time and money on video games. Now I have discovered I have been playing lazily converted second rate versions and quite frankly I feel robbed. It just seems a bit of a slap in the face considering the price of video games and the fact it was never made well known.

I have heard certain games were optimised and wish to find out which ones. Allegedly Codemasters put more care into their PAL releases. This makes sense since Toca Touring Cars and Toca 2 (PS1) were both released in Europe before the US and Japan. So in the case of optimised PAL titles such as these I would keep them to play via my PS3. However whether I decide to keep my PS2 and XBOX depends on the amount of titles that either have a 60hz option or were optimised for PAL. I intend to buy a US PS2 and XBOX so I can either just restart my collection or buy the titles that were poorly converted (though I think the former will be more likely and more practical but potentially more expensive).

So if anyone knows of a list of optimised PAL releases or a forum more suited to this question I would appreciate it. As for older systems I am so grateful to the hard working emulator community.

More about : ps1 ps2 original xbox

February 18, 2013 11:32:17 PM

Win the old Xbox video game system yes now take to pampa west day hab
February 19, 2013 10:46:09 PM

I thought that NTSC/PAL slowdowns were only a problem in the really old systems (Megadrive, SNES, and earlier).
And that from the PlayStation on up games were pretty much the same the world over.
Except on a few handhelds like the Game Boy Color and Advance.
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February 20, 2013 2:06:19 AM

Zraster said:
I thought that NTSC/PAL slowdowns were only a problem in the really old systems (Megadrive, SNES, and earlier).
And that from the PlayStation on up games were pretty much the same the world over.
Except on a few handhelds like the Game Boy Color and Advance.

From what I've read apparently not. Supposedly only a hand full of PS1 games were optimised (though despite this still ran a little slower than the NTSC versions).

The early days of the PS2 allegedly was not great but became better later in its life with a fair amount of titles actually offering a 60hz mode.

My understanding is with the XBOX the majority of games either were optimised or offered 60hz. In a discussion on the subject I did read a comment naming Halo 1 (in the context of the discussion suggesting it was a bad PAL release) although I could not tell if this was sarcasm.

I've also heard handhelds were exempt from this as the have their own screens. The reason it happened with consoles is that they had to work on PAL televisions. PAL televisions run at 50hz and have a slightly higher resolution. Allegedly a lot of developers could not be bothered to do the extra work it takes to compensate for the differences in display technology.

Ps: I have used the words allegedly, apparently and supposedly as this knowledge was not acquired first hand. My sources for this info are various forums with some threads being dedicated to modifying hardware and software to convert PAL to NTSC.
February 20, 2013 5:46:35 AM

Zraster said:
I thought that NTSC/PAL slowdowns were only a problem in the really old systems (Megadrive, SNES, and earlier).
And that from the PlayStation on up games were pretty much the same the world over.
Except on a few handhelds like the Game Boy Color and Advance.


Negative. PS1 and many PS2 PAL games still run at 50 fps (or 25 fps in some games in these generations, and older generations far moreso). In most older games this actually means that the game runs at a slower pace. On the flip side, PAL is (very very slightly) higher resolution. OP is correct though that as a gamer and particularly where old games are concerned, they are inferior for all practical purposes (including speedrunning for very obvious reasons).
February 20, 2013 10:22:17 AM

Just because a game updates the screen at 50hz instead of 60hz doesn't mean the game actually runs slower. The animation is just not as smooth.
February 20, 2013 10:32:30 AM

Zraster said:
Just because a game updates the screen at 50hz instead of 60hz doesn't mean the game actually runs slower. The animation is just not as smooth.

I understand what you're saying and mentioned it in the original post but that is not the case. As I understand it they simply used the refresh rate for the timing of the game and when they converted to PAL they didn't compensate for the difference in timing, hence the games ran at the same percentage slower as the refresh rate is.
February 20, 2013 10:38:41 AM

From what I understand, old consoles like the NES used the clock frequency of the CPU to time the video signal. And because PAL TV's have a different frequency than NTSC TV's then the CPU's clock rate has to be adjusted for the correct signal. 17% slower CPU's in PAL systems is close enough for most people, and some games were optimized for maximum performance on the slower CPU's. But newer systems have RAMDAC chips on them to solve the NTSC/PAL problem. I don't know what was the first system to use dedicated RAMDAC chips but I think maybe the 5th generation consoles had them. If so the Xbox and PS2 are probably the same in NTSC and PAL regions.
February 20, 2013 10:50:35 AM

Zraster said:
From what I understand, old consoles like the NES used the clock frequency of the CPU to time the video signal. And because PAL TV's have a different frequency than NTSC TV's then the CPU's clock rate has to be adjusted for the correct signal. 17% slower CPU's in PAL systems is close enough for most people, and some games were optimized for maximum performance on the slower CPU's. But newer systems have RAMDAC chips on them to solve the NTSC/PAL problem. I don't know what was the first system to use dedicated RAMDAC chips but I think maybe the 5th generation consoles had them. If so the Xbox and PS2 are probably the same in NTSC and PAL regions.

Well I'm no expert but I did see an entire thread all about trying to convert PS1 and PS2 titles to NTSC and the people there seemed pretty sure (some of them owned both PAL and NTSC machines). They seemed to know what they were talking about try Googling about it as I don't have all the answers I'm afraid :) 
February 20, 2013 4:53:59 PM

Zraster said:
Just because a game updates the screen at 50hz instead of 60hz doesn't mean the game actually runs slower. The animation is just not as smooth.


In a lot of older games, the speed of gameplay is tied to the framerate. In these cases (of which there are a lot) 50fps actually means the gameplay is slower, not just less smooth.
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