Friday, 1 June 2007

PAL region

The PAL region is a video game publication territory which covers Australia, New Zealand, and varying European countries. The majority of games designated as part of the region will not play on NTSC-U/C or NTSC-J region consoles because of regional lockout. While this is the most common occurrence, some Xbox and Xbox 360 games are region-free encoded, since Microsoft's policy is for publishers to decide. Nintendo handhelds are region-free, but their consoles are not.

Games ported to PAL have historically been known for having game speed and framerates inferior to their NTSC counterparts. Since the NTSC standard is 60 frames per second but PAL is 50 frames per second, games were typically slowed down by approximately 17.5% in order to avoid timing problems or unfeasible code changes. In addition to this, PAL's increased resolution was not utilized during conversion, creating a pseudo letterbox effect with borders top and bottom, leaving the graphics with a slightly squashed look due to an incorrect aspect ratio caused by the borders. This was especially prevalent during previous generations when 2D graphics were used almost exclusively. The gameplay of many games with an emphasis on speed, such as the original Sonic The Hedgehog for the Sega Mega Drive, suffered in their PAL incarnations.
Despite the possibility and popularity of 60Hz PAL games, many high profile games, particularly for the
PS2 console, were released in 50Hz-only versions. Square Enix have long been criticized by PAL gamers for their poor PAL conversions. Final Fantasy X runs in 50Hz mode only, and 17.5% slower and bordered that while prevalent in previous generations was considered inexcusable at the time of release. In stark contrast, the Xbox featured a system-wide PAL60 option in the Dashboard and the overwhelming majority of PAL games offered 50 and 60Hz modes with no slowdown. Current generation PAL consoles such as the Xbox 360 and Wii also feature system-wide 60Hz support.
Nintendo's Wii Virtual Console service has been criticised due to PAL games running in 50Hz only, despite the ability to run in 60Hz mode.
In recent times, several PAL releases have lacked the standard PAL mode and offered 60Hz only, including
Metroid Prime 2 for the Nintendo Gamecube and Dead or Alive 4 for the Xbox 360.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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