PAL Region - Criticism of PAL Region Video Games

Criticism of PAL Region Video Games

Games ported to PAL have historically been known for having game speed and frame rates inferior to their NTSC counterparts. Since the NTSC standard is 60 fields/30 frames per second but PAL is 50 fields/25 frames per second, games were typically slowed down by approximately 17.5% in order to avoid timing problems or unfeasible code changes. FMV rendered and encoded at 30 frames per second by the Japanese/US (NTSC) developers was often down-sampled to 25 frames per second for PAL release—usually by means of 3:2 pull-down, resulting in motion judder. In addition to this, PAL's increased resolution was not utilised 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 Mega Drive, suffered in their PAL incarnations.

Despite the possibility and popularity of 60 Hz PAL games, many high profile games, particularly for the PS1 and PS2 console, were released in 50 Hz-only versions. Square Enix have long been criticised by PAL gamers for their poor PAL conversions. Final Fantasy X runs in 50 Hz 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 60 Hz modes with no slowdown. Current generation PAL consoles such as the Xbox 360 and Wii also feature system-wide 60 Hz support.

Nintendo's Virtual Console service has been criticized due to PAL games running in 50 Hz only, despite the ability to run in 60 Hz mode. This does not seem to be the case on 3DS Virtual Console games.

In recent years, few PAL releases have lacked the standard PAL mode and offered 60 Hz only, notably Metroid Prime 2: Echoes for the Nintendo GameCube and Dead or Alive 4 for the Xbox 360.

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