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(i)

The PAL
PAL
REGION ( PAL
PAL
being short for PHASE ALTERNATING LINE) is a television publication territory that covers most of Asia
Asia
, Africa
Africa
, Europe
Europe
, South America
South America
and Oceania
Oceania
. It is so named because of the PAL television standard traditionally used in those regions, as opposed to the NTSC
NTSC
standard traditionally used in Japan
Japan
and nearly all of North America .

Most video games designated as part of the region will not play on NTSC-U/C or NTSC-J region consoles because of regional lockout . While this is the most common occurrence, some Xbox and Xbox 360
Xbox 360
games are region-free encoded, since Microsoft
Microsoft
's policy is for publishers to decide. Sony
Sony
has a similar policy for the PlayStation Portable
PlayStation Portable
, but most publishers choose not to encode a region on their UMD games. With the exception of Persona 4 Arena , PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Disc
games are region-free. The PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
and Xbox One
Xbox One
are completely region free, allowing usage in all standard regions, although the Xbox One was originally going to have region locking before changing this due to consumer outcry. All Nintendo
Nintendo
home consoles except for the Nintendo
Nintendo
Switch have region locking either by software encoding or physical differences in media and consoles.

In contrast, most Nintendo
Nintendo
handhelds are not region-locked, along with most other historical systems ( Neo Geo Pocket , Sega Game Gear , etc.), except partially for the Nintendo
Nintendo
DSi and fully for the Nintendo
Nintendo
3DS which features region locking for the DSi and 3DS specific software respectively (for example, DSiWare games and apps).

Australia
Australia
uses PAL
PAL
version games only for the Wii
Wii
, PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
and sometimes the Xbox 360
Xbox 360
. Nintendo
Nintendo
DS games in Australia
Australia
use either their own localisations or localisations from North America
North America
to reduce release date delays on games, but some distributors use European versions as they are fully aligned to a certain European subsidiary (e.g. Konami and Capcom of Europe) for unknown reasons.

As most hand-held consoles use their own proprietary display system, incompatibilities of differing TV systems are not relevant. However, the same regions often exist for localisation and distribution purposes.

CONTENTS

* 1 Release area * 2 60 Hz operation * 3 Criticism of PAL
PAL
region video games * 4 See also * 5 References

RELEASE AREA

The scope of the PAL
PAL
region varies with systems and publishers. The following countries and areas are normally included in a PAL
PAL
region release:

* Afghanistan
Afghanistan
* Albania
Albania
* Algeria
Algeria
* Angola
Angola
* Argentina
Argentina
* Armenia
Armenia
* Australia
Australia
* Austria
Austria
* Bangladesh
Bangladesh
* Bahrain
Bahrain
* Bhutan
Bhutan
* Belgium
Belgium
* Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
* Botswana
Botswana
* Brazil
Brazil
* Brunei
Brunei
* Bulgaria
Bulgaria
* Cambodia
Cambodia
* Cameroon
Cameroon
* Canary Islands
Canary Islands
* Cape Verde
Cape Verde
* China
China

* Croatia
Croatia
* Cyprus
Cyprus
* Czech Republic
Czech Republic
* Denmark
Denmark
* East Timor
East Timor
* Egypt
Egypt
* Eritrea
Eritrea
* Estonia
Estonia
* Ethiopia
Ethiopia
* Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
* Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
* Finland
Finland
* France
France
(with PAL- SECAM
SECAM
TV) * Gambia * Georgia * Germany
Germany
* Gibraltar
Gibraltar
* Greece
Greece
* Greenland
Greenland
* Guernsey
Guernsey
* Guinea
Guinea
* Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau
* Hong Kong
Hong Kong
* Hungary
Hungary
* Iceland
Iceland
* India
India
* Indonesia
Indonesia
* Iran
Iran
* Iraq
Iraq
* Ireland * Isle of Man
Isle of Man
* Israel
Israel
* Italy
Italy
* Jersey
Jersey
* Jordan
Jordan
* Kenya
Kenya
* Kuwait
Kuwait
* Laos
Laos
* Latvia
Latvia
* Lebanon
Lebanon
* Lesotho
Lesotho
* Libya
Libya
* Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
* Lithuania
Lithuania
* Luxembourg
Luxembourg
* Macau
Macau
* Macedonia * Madeira * Malawi
Malawi
* Malaysia
Malaysia
* Malta
Malta
* Maldives
Maldives
* Moldova
Moldova
* Monaco
Monaco
* Montenegro
Montenegro
* Morocco
Morocco
* Mozambique
Mozambique
* Namibia
Namibia
* Nepal
Nepal
* New Zealand
New Zealand
* Netherlands
Netherlands
* Norway
Norway
* Oman
Oman
* Pakistan
Pakistan
* Papua New Guinea
Guinea
* Paraguay
Paraguay
* Poland
Poland
* Portugal
Portugal
* Qatar
Qatar
* Romania
Romania
* San Marino
San Marino
* São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe
* Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
* Serbia
Serbia
* Seychelles
Seychelles
* Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
* Singapore
Singapore
* Slovakia
Slovakia
* Slovenia
Slovenia
* Somalia
Somalia
* South Africa
Africa
* South Sudan
South Sudan
* Spain
Spain
* Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
* Swaziland
Swaziland
* Sweden
Sweden

* Switzerland
Switzerland
* Sudan
Sudan
* Syria
Syria
* Tanzania
Tanzania
* Thailand
Thailand
* Turkey
Turkey
* Uganda
Uganda
* Ukraine
Ukraine
* United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
* United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(Akrotiri and Dehekelia included but using the same flag the UK has) * Uruguay
Uruguay
* Vatican City
Vatican City
* Vietnam
Vietnam
* Yemen
Yemen
* Zambia
Zambia
* Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe

60 HZ OPERATION

During the mid-1990s, the practice of modifying consoles such as the Super NES and Mega Drive to allow 60 Hz operation became somewhat common among PAL
PAL
gamers, due to the rise in NTSC/60 Hz capable PAL
PAL
TVs and the relatively simple nature of the modifications. Beginning with the fifth generation of consoles , which introduced more powerful hardware and 3D graphics, developers had the ability to output at full PAL
PAL
resolution without borders or stretching, although games still typically ran slower and all ran at 50 Hz. Beginning with the Dreamcast
Dreamcast
and continuing through the sixth generation of consoles , developers began including PAL60 modes in their games. Games that run at PAL60 are produced with the same colour encoding system as 50 Hz PAL
PAL
signals, but with the NTSC
NTSC
resolution and field rate of 60 Hz, providing an identical gaming experience to their NTSC
NTSC
counterparts, however some games, such as Tekken 4 and Tekken 5 , will actually use the NTSC
NTSC
colour mode when in 60Hz mode; these games will appear in black and white on PAL-only televisions.

CRITICISM OF PAL
PAL
REGION VIDEO GAMES

Games ported to PAL
PAL
have historically been known for having game speed and frame rates inferior to their NTSC
NTSC
counterparts. Since the NTSC
NTSC
standard is 60 fields/30 frames per second but PAL
PAL
is 50 fields/25 frames per second, games were typically slowed by approximately 16.7% 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
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
PAL
incarnations.

Despite the possibility and popularity of 60 Hz PAL
PAL
games, many high-profile games, particularly for the PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
console, were released in 50 Hz-only versions. Square Enix have long been criticised by PAL
PAL
gamers for their poor PAL
PAL
conversions. Final Fantasy X runs in 50 Hz mode only, and 16.7% slower and bordered that while prevalent in previous generations was considered inexcusable at the time of release. In stark contrast, the Dreamcast
Dreamcast
was the first system to feature PAL60, and the overwhelming majority of PAL
PAL
games offered 50 and 60 Hz modes with no slowdown. The Xbox too featured a system-wide PAL60 option in the Dashboard, with almost every game supporting PAL60. Seventh generation PAL
PAL
consoles Xbox 360
Xbox 360
, PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
and Wii
Wii
also feature system-wide 60 Hz support.

Nintendo
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.

In recent years, few PAL
PAL
releases have lacked the standard PAL
PAL
mode and offered 60 Hz only, notably Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Geist for the Nintendo
Nintendo
GameCube , and Dead or Alive 4 for the Xbox 360
Xbox 360
. As of the eighth generation, consoles such as the Wii
Wii
U , PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
, Xbox One
Xbox One
and Nintendo
Nintendo
Switch have all games exclusively in 60 Hz, with 50 Hz only being used for video playback and, in the Wii
Wii
U's case, backwards compatibility with Wii
Wii
and Virtual Console games.

SEE ALSO

* PAL
PAL
* NTSC
NTSC
* Advanced Television Systems Committee standards * SECAM
SECAM
* Regional lockout

REFERENCES

* ^ http://kotaku.com/514419715 * ^ PS2 News: Final Fantasy X in 50Hz only shocker - ComputerAndVideoGames.com * ^ PAL
PAL
Virtual Console games slow and bordered - Vid

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