NTSC vs PAL Considerations

Beginning in the 1960’s, three major analog color television standards were created: NTSC (all of the Americas, minus Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil; Japan; one or two African countries, and a handful of other southeast Asia and Pacifica nations), PAL (southern Asia, Australia, roughly ½ of Africa, and the non-NTSC parts of South America) and SECAM (Russia, kind-of-France, and the other ½ of Africa; there were almost NO consoles specific to SECAM regions).

You don’t have to remember any of that.


What you do have to know is that, when it comes to consoles (handhelds did have some region lock, but it wasn’t due to these standards, so have different considerations), NTSC and PAL are different. While your flashcart of choice will mostly likely work in any region its matching console was designed for (i.e. your Everdrive 64 will work in either your NTSC Nintendo⁶⁴ or your PAL Nintendo⁶⁴) your dumped titles will not magically work on the opposite standard television (i.e. your PAL The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time will not work on an NTSC Nintendo⁶⁴; likewise, your NTSC Super Mario⁶⁴ will not work in a PAL Nintendo⁶⁴ without issues.) In other words, in terms of Nintendo⁶⁴ titles (note: this is just an example, the same principle does apply to other systems), the 6 PAL-Exclusives are not going to run right on an NTSC Nintendo⁶⁴; likewise, the 150 NTSC-Exclusives are not going to run right on a PAL Nintendo⁶⁴.

Understanding NTSC-J vs NTSC-US #

Again, these are for-example (there are others) colloquial indicators (or “nicknames”) and not official titles, NTSC-J = NTSC-in-Japan, NTSC-US = NTSC-in-North-America (sorry once again, Canada). Because these are both NTSC, games dumped from either region will work in the opposing region’s console—they’re both the same standard, just different languages (so, get ready to Duolingo or use the snot out of Google Translate).

A note on SECAM #

SECAM was that kid in school that got the N-Gage because his parents didn’t get it or because they were Cold War dictators; in other words, they had something to say they had something, but they missed out on so much more. To knowledge, the only SECAM console that ever existed was the SECAM Atari 2600 (which is kind of cool-looking); further down that rabbit hole, it would seem there very tiny fraction of the 2600 Library that was compiled and minted for SECAM. Same rules as above (NTSC vs PAL) should apply, should you find yourself so lucky.

Disclaimer #

The information contained in this post is based on discussions, pages and forums around the web. flashcarts.net, its members, moderators, and contributors do not claim to own any or all of these flashcarts; nor vouch they will never harm your system; nor guarantee any suggested price; nor warrant completeness of lists at any given point, nor speak on behalf-of any retailers, seller or vendor. In other words, use this for educational purposes and at your own risk.

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