Sony’s PlayStation Classic, a retro version of the original PlayStation, launches today. However, it mixes PAL and NTSC games, which is problematic for more than one reason, as reported by Digital Foundry.
Slower PAL games with judder
Nintendo has led the way with its retro consoles that have proven so popular that the company has struggled to meet demand. Sony has clearly been paying attention but in its urge to get its own version out of the door, it has taken a few shortcuts, it seems.
The game console comes pre-installed with 20 classic games, 9 of which (see table at the bottom) are in 50Hz PAL format. This dates back to the analog days of PAL (Europe etc.) and NTSC (USA, Japan etc.) when most games were developed in Japan and the US in 60Hz NTSC format and had to be converted to 50Hz for PAL countries. This conversion typically involved forcing games to run at approx. 83% of full speed. The games simply felt noticeably slower as most studios did not bother to make a true 50Hz version of their game.
PlayStation Classic is outputting at a locked 60Hz – like modern game consoles – so those 9 games that are converted into 50Hz PAL format are not only running more slowly, they also produce judder (50->60Hz).
For a company who has made some of the world’s most popular game consoles, this is sloppy – especially because Sony could have picked the original 60Hz NTSC version of these games for inclusion in PlayStation Classic. The only good news here is that PlayStation Classic is resizing the PAL games to full screen, so no black borders at the top and bottom.
PlayStation Classic launches today and was supposed to be a celebration of the original PlayStation console but instead it looks like a rushed job.
PlayStation Classic games (PAL versions in bold)
- Battle Arena Toshinden - Cool Boarders 2 - Destruction Derby - Final Fantasy VII - Grand Theft Auto - Intelligent Qube - Jumping Flash! - Metal Gear Solid - Mr. Driller - Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee - Rayman - Resident Evil Director’s Cut - Revelations: Persona - R4 Ridge Racer Type 4 - Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo - Syphon Filter - Tekken 3 - Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six - Twisted Metal - Wild Arms