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Rhomaios

Cart Variation by Region: Starting when?

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The Colecovision BIOS check if the cart is licenced... But I don't know if it stops PAL carts to play on an US Coleco.

The Atari 7800 Prosystem include a cart check to prevent non atari carts to play, if I recall right, but again, I don't think it lock Euro games on an US unit.

The Pal 7800 doesn't even have this safety because it prevented PAL 2600 games to play.

 

I can't say for sure, but the NES seems to be the first system with a software protection and zoning.

Edited by CatPix

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The Intellivision II had a special function that locked out unlicensed games. Specifically, it was designed to lock-out third-party competitors.

 

In practice, most of Coleco's earlier games were locked out.

 

This was not really a "region lock," but it shows that technology companies have always tried maintain competitive advantage by excluding competition.

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In addition to the signature check, the 7800 does indeed do a check on the region byte encoded in the ROM. Some carts may be flagged with all regions, where others may be locked to a specific region.

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The Colecovision and Intellivison were never officially released in Japan, right? They were just available from import shops.

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Indeed, but they were available in Europe.

I can confirm that US carts and Intellivoice aren't region locked. They works on my PAL Intelli.

Going back earlier that those systems, there is a form of system locking for the Radofin Advanced Programmable Video System. While it's the same system internally, some clones have different shaped carts (the Interton VC 4000 and MPT-05 series) which prevented games for one system to be played on another.

However, some Radofin-to-Rowtron adapters were available.

It's not a region lock, but as early as 1978, it was already there.

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While it technically is not a console, doesn't the TI-99/4(A) have a GROM check to prevent 3rd party cartridge games? I suppose trying to shut out competition and trying to divide your own market into different regions are two different things. Of course some of the older console games technically mismatch between video modes, they might not lock out in the NES sense.

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Thanks for the replies. I guess the NES was the first. How annoying of them to introduce such a terrible idea. :/

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The Colecovision and Intellivison were never officially released in Japan, right? They were just available from import shops.

The Intelivision WAS available in Japan for a year or two. Bandai published it in Japan under license with Mattel.

 

No idea about the Colecovision, though. I don't think so.

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Thanks for the replies. I guess the NES was the first. How annoying of them to introduce such a terrible idea. :/

 

 

NES has a 10NES Chip to Lock out Import Games

 

IIRC, imports will play on a US NES with a cartridge converter, so technically it's not really a "lockout" like with what you found in later CD systems (PS1, Saturn, Dreamcast); The "lockout" was made a thing due to different sized carts with more/less pins than the other region, they were incompatible due to a physical difference. I believe the 10NES only comes in to play with unlicensed games, but as you know, companies were able to work around that as well (Tengen probably being the most notable example for a variety of reasons).

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IIRC, imports will play on a US NES with a cartridge converter, so technically it's not really a "lockout" like with what you found in later CD systems (PS1, Saturn, Dreamcast); The "lockout" was made a thing due to different sized carts with more/less pins than the other region, they were incompatible due to a physical difference. I believe the 10NES only comes in to play with unlicensed games, but as you know, companies were able to work around that as well (Tengen probably being the most notable example for a variety of reasons).

 

Yeah, the cartridge incompatibility was the first quite like it, i.e. a deliberate change to stop imports. Quite idiotic. My Toploader is nigh too high with my homemade converter and a regular Famicom cart, much more a tall one.

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Yeah, the cartridge incompatibility was the first quite like it, i.e. a deliberate change to stop imports. Quite idiotic. My Toploader is nigh too high with my homemade converter and a regular Famicom cart, much more a tall one.

 

Was it deliberate though? I mean, for that specific reason anyway (i.e., to stop imports). The saying goes, at the time, Nintendo redesigned the Famicom because retailers were wary about stocking anything that remotely resembled a then-traditional video game system. Hence the toaster-like box. With the design the NES has, it would admittedly be tough to slide a famicom-sized cart in and out with ease. Regardless whether that's entirely true or not, I think it was more than simply wanting to block imports at the time.

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Was it deliberate though? I mean, for that specific reason anyway (i.e., to stop imports). The saying goes, at the time, Nintendo redesigned the Famicom because retailers were wary about stocking anything that remotely resembled a then-traditional video game system. Hence the toaster-like box. With the design the NES has, it would admittedly be tough to slide a famicom-sized cart in and out with ease. Regardless whether that's entirely true or not, I think it was more than simply wanting to block imports at the time.

 

Even if the cart was longer, it didn't have to use different pins.

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And to add a lock chip. Truely the Famicom doesn't have it, but creating different lock chips fot the US market and TWO for the PAL market is an attempt at controlling the market, even inside a market.

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One of many of Nintendo's bad ideas

 

Many popular manufactures other than Nintendo had lockouts included in their systems (Sega's Saturn and Dreamcast, Sony's PS1 and PS2, etc., etc.).

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But that's years after the NES. if you look at consoles from the same generation : the Master System doesn't have any lockout feature, at least between US and Euro games.

The Atari 7800 PAL doesn't have any cart checkout because it was messing up with the 2600 carts, so they dropped the feature on the model.

The PC-Engine and the Turbografx-16 have a different card pinout, but no lockout feature. (apparently, Asian models (non-Japanese ones) check if the card is Asian or not, but that's about it; and it's was likely made to avoid rampant piracy.)

 

So, Nintendo did launched this trend of software locking.

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Many popular manufactures other than Nintendo had lockouts included in their systems (Sega's Saturn and Dreamcast, Sony's PS1 and PS2, etc., etc.).

 

Yeah, but Nintendo was the only real Japanese one that shoved Japanese controls and Japanese games down our good ol' Western throats! </sarcasm>

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Yeah, but Nintendo was the only real Japanese one that shoved Japanese controls and Japanese games down our good ol' Western throats! </sarcasm>

 

:lol:

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Was it deliberate though? I mean, for that specific reason anyway (i.e., to stop imports). The saying goes, at the time, Nintendo redesigned the Famicom because retailers were wary about stocking anything that remotely resembled a then-traditional video game system. Hence the toaster-like box. With the design the NES has, it would admittedly be tough to slide a famicom-sized cart in and out with ease. Regardless whether that's entirely true or not, I think it was more than simply wanting to block imports at the time.

The lockout chip on the NES was deliberate for sure. Nintendo wanted to control the market, and also prevent the flood of bad games that sunk the classic consoles before the crash. At least now they could control what came out, and make extra money on it. Sure, not every game was good, but at least they could claim 'we QC'd it and promised it won't crash!' :P

 

And that's true, at least....I can't think of a single authorized NES game that had a serious bug or crash, unlike some Atari 2600 games.

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Yeah but it's the console which messes up, where was the QC there?

 

And the trouble with the QC was kids actually thought the games are ALL excellent, when this obviously wasn't so. The flood of bad games still happened.

Edited by high voltage

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The lockout chip on the NES was deliberate for sure. Nintendo wanted to control the market, and also prevent the flood of bad games that sunk the classic consoles before the crash. At least now they could control what came out, and make extra money on it. Sure, not every game was good, but at least they could claim 'we QC'd it and promised it won't crash!'

 

I wasn't speaking to the lockout chip (that's an obvious given), I was talking about the differences in cartridge sizes.

 

 

And the trouble with the QC was kids actually thought the games are ALL excellent..

 

Keep living in your dream world, dude.

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I wasn't speaking to the lockout chip (that's an obvious given), I was talking about the differences in cartridge sizes.

 

 

Oh, sorry. Well, I think the lockout chip IS one reason for the different size -- the Japanese carts didn't have one. Also, they were made bigger on purpose so that they didn't look like any past classic era video game carts, all part of Nintendo's plan to not call this a 'console' or 'cart'. And finally the bigger size allows for the mappers that were used for many oft he NES games to improve what the system could do.

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The Atari 7800 PAL doesn't have any cart checkout because it was messing up with the 2600 carts, so they dropped the feature on the model.

The PAL 7800 doesn't have the cart signature check because the cryptographic check could not be exported outside the US, at the time it was released. Some PAL carts don't work in NTSC machines because the expected signature in the ROM image isn't correct.

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