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Do you prefer PAL or PAL60?

your prefered PAL cart format  

25 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you prefer PAL or PAL60 format?

    • PAL (50Hz)
      8
    • PAL 60 (60Hz)
      17


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As a North American 2600 developer interested in supporting everyone in their preferred formats, I'm asking those of you in PAL countries who play 2600 homebrews on real hardware: Do you prefer your games in the standard PAL (50Hz) format, or PAL60 format?

 

If you're not quite sure what I'm talking about, the PAL standard has a slower framerate than NTSC, but has more vertical resolution. PAL60 is pretty much the same as NTSC with PAL colors, so it has a faster framerate and a lower vertical resolution. While its used for in some NTSC->PAL videogame and videotape conversions, compatibility isn't perfect.

 

If you wish to do an A:B comparison, davyk made a number of PAL60 conversions of classic 2600 games. Here's a choice few...

 

PAL60: Asteroids, Berzerk, Surround, and Yars Revenge.

 

vs. the original PAL (50Hz)...

 

Asteroids (1981) (Atari, Brad Stewart) (CX2649, CX2649P) (PAL).bin

Berzerk (1982) (Atari, Dan Hitchens) (CX2650) (PAL).bin

Surround (1977) (Blockade) (Atari, Alan Miller) (CX2641, CX2641P) (PAL).bin

Yars' Revenge (Time Freeze) (1982) (Atari, Howard Scott Warshaw) (CX2655, CX2655P) (PAL).bin

 

Please feel free to voice your opinion and why you feel that way, or fire away with any questions!

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OK, I voted for PAL (50), because according to my experience, it's modern (i.e. flat screen) TVs that have problems with PAL60, not CRTs (their analog electronic is pretty tolerant as I found out when playing around with the Falcon030s screen modes). This is due to the fact that the embedded controllers do not "understand" PAL60, as it is not a standard. They have no problem with NTSC though, so I usully fire up an NTSC console for 60Hz gameplay.

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Hm? How can a TV accept NTSC and not PAL60? PAL60 is plain NTSC with PAL colors, no?

 

Edit: I see now that it might realize to be on NTSC-timing and then actually switch to NTSC-interpretation-mode and b0rk all the PAL colors yet again ;-) Ironic...

Edited by enthusi

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I have a small 10" LCD TV that displays a fuzzy and b/w picture if I boot an NTSC or PAL60 cart on a PAL VCS. OK, a composite mod mends this, but as I am slow at soldering, this is a very tedious solution.

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Excellent info, Thorsten! You're right that PAL-60 isn't a standard, but I do see it has some minor popularity as a NTSC stepping-stone format, and is used in a range of things like VCRs, Xbox360 games, Dreamcast games, etc.

 

That said, its a darn shame to hear that modern compatibility isn't great. When using 50hz on the 2600 anything using flicker looks worse, and it makes conversions a bit tricky to balance speed-wise.

 

[edited the compatibility info in the top post]

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I prefer PAL60. I have no problem with it on my 14" CRT. I have tried a few different LCD tv's and the VCS just looks crap on all of them whether at 50Hz or 60Hz. Granted, some look less crap than others but they're all crap nonetheless! I will always use CRT's for my old consoles. And besides 50 Hz flicker just kills your eyes... on any TV.

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I hear you on the LCD TVs. On both of my LCD TVs, my 2600 and 7800 are both a blur-fest.

 

Totally frustrating when you want to see those square crisp pixels in all their glory.

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Currently the poll stands at 6:1 in favour of PAL60. I think the takeaway is that pal60 is strongly preferred, but developers should make pal50 an option, if possible, for those with incompatible TVs.

 

Thanks a lot to those that participated!

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I would favor PAL50 too, but that often requires a lot of extra work to utilize the extra space and to keep the game play mostly identical.

 

E.g. if a developer doesn't use factional math for object movements, but instead choses to move them e.g. every 2nd frame, he cannot adapt the speed to PAL50. This is often not lazy programming but simply running out of resources (RAM, ROM, CPU...)

 

So I voted for PAL60.

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How come PAL 60 is not a standard? Even the Xbox console officially supports PAL 60. Perhaps, the fact that Atari 2600 only sends this signal via RF might be the source of troubles. Certainly, modern CRTs with AV connections should accept 60 Hz fine.

 

I personally prefer PAL-50 because the 50 Hz video mode simply looks nicer. The pixels tend to be sharper and crispier. Just my personal experience. So, the ideal game is the one that is correctly coded for 50 Hz (speedwise).

 

Talking about CRT TV obviously.

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Pal 60 obviously. Why would you want games running in a shrunk squashed window and slower than intended (only some companies did this I know, Atari made proper speed conversions as I read).

 

Full screen full speed gameplay at 60hz? What's not to like?

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At least PAL CRTs (probably modern NTSC CRTs too) are quite tolerant to deviating frequencies. Most can adapt easily to 60Hz.

 

Not sure about LCDs.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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People keep stating the limited size for PAL50 games?

There is no intrinsic need for that. Assembloids2600 has the same playfield size for PAL and NTSC for example.

So either Im missing something or that argument should not be generic...

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I like PAL60 games - as my monitor supports this format nicely.

 

I love playing the games at 60hz like they were meant to be played!

 

My favourites are the trakball version of Centipede and Millipede and Missile Command! So good!

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PAL 60 for ease of porting and keeping the timings intact.

It's not like the developers cared much for the expanded resolution of regular PAL, better to have games that play the same on both sides of the pond (outside the inevitable color palette approximation).

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