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Thread: NTSC vs PAL on Game Gear?

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    I DON'T LIKE POKEMON Hero of Algol j_factor's Avatar
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    Default NTSC vs PAL on Game Gear?

    Is Game Gear hardware the same worldwide? The CPU clock speed is listed everywhere as 3.57 Mhz, the same as the NTSC Master System. So does that mean Game Gear games are at 60 Hz, and the Game Gear with converter runs SMS games at 60 Hz? That would mean that someone in Europe (or Australia) who got a Master Gear converter would find that the games play at a faster speed than they're used to. But I've never heard anyone say that. And how about SMS games that have differences when running on an NTSC console, like James Pond II? Does the game run in "NTSC mode" when put on a Game Gear? Is the Master Gear converter incompatible with the "50 Hz only" SMS games?


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    Bite my shiny, metal ***! Hero of Algol retrospiel's Avatar
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    Yep, all Game Gears (and Game Boys) are 60Hz and 60Hz only.

    SMS games don't run too fast on a Master Gear. They run at the correct speed (60Hz). They run too slow on a PAL Master System.
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    Master of Shinobi evilevoix's Avatar
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    Why did people put up with Pal? How did this become a thing? 25 frames a Second and then you get slower games with slower sound? How did this happen?

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    I DON'T LIKE POKEMON Hero of Algol j_factor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retrospiel View Post
    Yep, all Game Gears (and Game Boys) are 60Hz and 60Hz only.
    Thought so.

    SMS games don't run too fast on a Master Gear. They run at the correct speed (60Hz). They run too slow on a PAL Master System.
    For the most part, yes. What I am curious about is the SMS games that supposedly only work on PAL consoles. One of those games is supposedly Micro Machines. But that's a bit silly then, since the game was released for the Game Gear at the same time.

    And what's the deal with the TV tuner? That little thing couldn't possibly be doing active conversion, so I guess the GG screen can handle NTSC, PAL, and PAL-M? Did they release a TV tuner in France?


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    urusei yatsura Master of Shinobi lumclaw's Avatar
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    Video decoding takes place. The screen doesn't have analog composite video in.

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    Raging in the Streets A Black Falcon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    For the most part, yes. What I am curious about is the SMS games that supposedly only work on PAL consoles. One of those games is supposedly Micro Machines. But that's a bit silly then, since the game was released for the Game Gear at the same time?
    I would imagine that they probably don't work correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    Why did people put up with Pal? How did this become a thing? 25 frames a Second and then you get slower games with slower sound? How did this happen?
    Being locked into a PAL region myself BITD, I was blissfully ignorant of these issues until I realised my AES Fatal Fury ran slower than the version at the arcade. That and US/Japanese MD games run through a Honey Bee convertor into my PAL MD had their music slowed down.

    The nonsense continued into the PSX era, I imported an NTSCU unit with MK3, TV convertor and so on - then a mate later got the PAL version and not only was it not as smooth, but there was sound glitches as well.

    Good times.

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    I DON'T LIKE POKEMON Hero of Algol j_factor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lumclaw View Post
    Video decoding takes place. The screen doesn't have analog composite video in.
    Not sure if I'm parsing your comment correctly, but the Game Gear does have analog composite video in via the TV tuner accessory. Apparently the screen can handle both PAL and NTSC; a PAL to NTSC video converter would have been a significant piece of kit back then. But I did some searching and I couldn't find any evidence of a French model Game Gear TV tuner.


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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    And what's the deal with the TV tuner? That little thing couldn't possibly be doing active conversion, so I guess the GG screen can handle NTSC, PAL, and PAL-M? Did they release a TV tuner in France?
    Well, Segaretro has this to say on that matter:

    "TV Tuners also differ depending on the television standard. For example, the US model uses NTSC, whereas the European model uses PAL. On top of this there are several different types of PAL - the United Kingdom for example uses PAL-I and so had a different TV Tuner to France and Germany."

    Here's a picture of the continental european Tuner:



    and here's the UK one. Box is basically identical, save for the sticker that says "PAL-I" instead of PAL B/G/A

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    urusei yatsura Master of Shinobi lumclaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    Not sure if I'm parsing your comment correctly, but the Game Gear does have analog composite video in via the TV tuner accessory. Apparently the screen can handle both PAL and NTSC; a PAL to NTSC video converter would have been a significant piece of kit back then. But I did some searching and I couldn't find any evidence of a French model Game Gear TV tuner.
    I mean the Game Gear has no internal composite input. The TV tuner is converting it into a format the console understands.

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    I DON'T LIKE POKEMON Hero of Algol j_factor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Falcon View Post
    I would imagine that they probably don't work correctly.
    Weird that I've looked and looked, and can't find anyone making any kind of statement about it. No compatibility list, nothing about Micro Machines specifically, nothing more than a vague mention that some games don't work. Even where you see the mention of European SMS games that won't work on a US console, the Master Gear converter is not mentioned one way or the other. I guess no one cares about these things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantar View Post
    Well, Segaretro has this to say on that matter:

    "TV Tuners also differ depending on the television standard. For example, the US model uses NTSC, whereas the European model uses PAL. On top of this there are several different types of PAL - the United Kingdom for example uses PAL-I and so had a different TV Tuner to France and Germany."

    Here's a picture of the continental european Tuner:

    and here's the UK one. Box is basically identical, save for the sticker that says "PAL-I" instead of PAL B/G/A
    But France uses SECAM. What use would a PAL TV tuner be there?

    Quote Originally Posted by lumclaw View Post
    I mean the Game Gear has no internal composite input. The TV tuner is converting it into a format the console understands.
    As I understand it, the TV tuner can only pass along the video that it's given. Such a simple little device cannot, AFAIK, convert 576i/50Hz to 480i/60Hz. Also that would make the PAL version of the TV tuner a completely different device from the NTSC version, not a simple alteration. So, the Game Gear screen must be capable of handling both.

    The way to test this would be to try both a PAL and NTSC composite device on the same TV tuner, and/or both a PAL and NTSC TV tuner with the same input device.


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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    But France uses SECAM. What use would a PAL TV tuner be there?
    You're right! Seems like Segaretro is wrong about that...

    I found this little footnote on the French Wikipedia entry on the TV Tuner Game Gear:

    "L'accessoire TV Tuner ne fut jamais commercialisé en France à cause de problèmes de perception de la redevance audiovisuelle, mais le fut dans d'autres pays francophones comme la Suisse."

    So it seems the GG TV Tuner was never released there due to licensing problems, though it was released in french-speaking regions like Switzerland, which is a PAL-country (I believe "redevence audiovisuelle" is the television and radio licence fee.... sorry, my french isn't very good.)
    Last edited by Phantar; 01-13-2015 at 11:31 AM. Reason: I found the entry on the French Wikipedia entry for the Game Gear, not the TV Tuner
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    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    For the most part, yes. What I am curious about is the SMS games that supposedly only work on PAL consoles.
    SMS compatibility issues are among the weirdest and most confusing I've seen in retrogaming, because there are so many damn variables: the BIOS, the 50/60Hz issue, the console revision, etc. Some of those PAL-only games work fine on a US Genesis, for example.

    That said, I kinda expect the Game Gear to handle pretty much everything we throw at it. It even has a TMS9918 compatibility mode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evilevoix View Post
    Why did people put up with Pal? How did this become a thing? 25 frames a Second and then you get slower games with slower sound? How did this happen?
    We didn't have any choice, and the PAL standard was decided on decades before video games we're a thing and anyone could feasibly recongise this as a problem.

    We still put up with this shit now, in 2015.

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    Master of Shinobi evilevoix's Avatar
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    Man am I glad to be NTSC. Very interesting thread btw. It is interesting how the game gear took a pal signal via the TV tuner aswell

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