Sony has confirmed that a large number of games from its new PlayStation Classic are based on PAL versions, even on the North American version of the console. This means that they will operate at 50Hz slower than the 60Hz NTSC format.
If you were not in Europe or Australia during the dark days of contradictory global standards in analog TV, you may not know what it's all about. As a European who has suffered from all this, let me tell you that it was zero. The PAL standard is no worse than the NTSC standard. It runs at a slower refresh rate, but has a higher resolution, with 576 vertical lines on the NTSC resolution of 480. But the reality of the video game industry by far the most important markets, most console games were therefore designed for NTSC and had to be converted to PAL format.
The result? Most games slowed by 17% to compensate for the refresh rate difference, and many did not update the resolution, resulting in a crushed image with large black bars at the top and bottom. Some developers have taken the time to produce good PAL conversions properly timed for 50Hz and in good resolution, but even at best, playing a PAL game on a modern 60Hz TV may be quite chaotic.
Of course, no one will play the PlayStation Classic in the hope of experiencing a fluid high definition experience. And of course, most Europeans just bit the ball and played those bad conversions in the day. Many people will never notice the difference. But for reasons of preservation, it is disconcerting that Sony has opted for lower versions of games.
The PAL games on the PlayStation Classic are:
- Arena Toshinden Battle
- Cool boarders 2
- Derby of destruction
- Grand Theft Auto
- Flash jumping!
- Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
- Resident Evil Director's Cut
- Tekken 3
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
It's nine out of 20. I do not remember if Cool boarders 2 If I'm honest, the PAL conversion was solid, but I know that playing the 50Hz version of Tekken 3 will be less than ideal. The advantage is that we did not notice any mailboxes so far with the system.
Why would Sony make this decision? It is possible that broader language support is a concern, or perhaps the long delays common to European versions make the PAL version the most stable version. But it's certainly odd to see these PAL editions appear on any North American product in any form, and it's an unwelcome retreat from pre-HD times where we really had to think about that sort of thing.