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Atari 7800 Best OS Upgrade PAL/NTSC issue

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Hi everyone!  So I went ahead and installed one of Best’s OS BIOS upgrade PAL/NTSC mod kits, and while NTSC games load perfectly, as does Asteroids when it autoloads, the PAL cart I have (Meltdown) loads, but the screen is about an inch and a half or two inches too low on the screen.  The 2600 game Asterix I loaded on my Harmony cart does the same.  This is all being output through composite via the UAV mod, but it did the same when I was using the original RF.  Anyone ever do this mod and get good results?  Thanks!

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That is normal. The PAL/NTSC label means that it will work on either PAL or NTSC 7800s. Not that PAL games will play correctly on your NTSC 7800.

 

Mitch

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I then question what the point of the kit is.  Skipping the bios screen to have Asteroids autoload is okay, but not really needed. Best says in their description that some 7800 games will require a PAL Maria chip to function correctly, but it also says that all 2600 games will load. Only a couple of the eight or so PAL 2600 games I tried (on a Harmony cart) worked correctly without the same offset image displaced.  Is their description just meaning that the local region 2600 games will all load correctly, for example Robot Tanks or Activision Decathlon that have issues with some boards?  Has anyone ever created a list of 7800 PAL games (or vice versa) that do load correctly with the upgrade?  Again, thanks a lot!

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The normal NTSC 7800 bios will not load PAL 7800 games due to the encryption check. Using the Asteroids bios removes that restriction. Other than that and the built in Asteroids game there is no difference to the normal bios.

 

Mitch

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Okay.  It seems like Best is overselling the abilities of the upgraded chip a little in their description then.  It implies that more PAL games that would not normally play would work with the upgrade. Here is what they say:

 “This Atari Euro 7800 upgrade chip will also allow you to play more of the Atari 7800 PAL Games that will not normally / properly run on the NTSC / US version Atari 7800 consoles.  Some Atari 7800 PAL Games require a PAL 7800 MARIA chip and will not run on a US 7800 motherboard modified with the Best 7800 OS EURO upgrade.”
Are there games that normally load, but display incorrectly and this allows those games to work?  Thanks!

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Yes, that is not really correct. You can now play PAL 7800 games with the Asteroids bios but not necessarily play them well. It does not modify your NTSC console to PAL format in any way.

 

Given that only one 7800 game was  a PAL exclusive (Sentinel) and that game is available as an NTSC proto repro. I am not sure why you would want to play PAL 7800 games on an NTSC 7800. Basically the only benefit to the Asteroids bios is the built in Asteroids game.

 

Mitch

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As @Mitch stated all the Asteroids BIOS really allows for is the ability to load up all 7800 games PAL or NTSC. The normal BIOS will only play NTSC 7800 games due the encryption check. That encryption was not present on the European BIOS in PAL lands. I've never seen much point to the BIOS chip replacement and have only installed it on one client's 7800 as they purchased the kit and requested I install it. But I personally like the rainbow startup screen and 2600 games regardless of being PAL or NTSC will still load up on a stock 7800 the same way. The reason some of the Activison games don't always work was due to incompatibilities in the 7800 revisions themselves and isn't because of the BIOS.

 

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Okay.  Thanks for helping clear all that up.  I think that some PAL games are cheaper than the NTSC versions (I bought a PAL Mean 18 for $20 when the NTSC was $40), so maybe people want to try games on real hardware without some of the cost? Either way, I appreciate the info!  

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34 minutes ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

As @Mitch stated all the Asteroids BIOS really allows for is the ability to load up all 7800 games PAL or NTSC. The normal BIOS will only play NTSC 7800 games due the encryption check. That encryption was not present on the European BIOS in PAL lands. I've never seen much point to the BIOS chip replacement and have only installed it on one client's 7800 as they purchased the kit and requested I install it. But I personally like the rainbow startup screen and 2600 games regardless of being PAL or NTSC will still load up on a stock 7800 the same way. The reason some of the Activison games don't always work was due to incompatibilities in the 7800 revisions themselves and isn't because of the BIOS.

 

Yeah, the boot rainbow isn’t bad at all, nothing like the ColecoVision’s long wait at startup.  I suppose having Asteroids boot up when there is no cart at least lets you know the console is functioning correctly rather than the black, etc. you get otherwise.  At least it is pretty easy overall to add.  Thanks!

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