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WiiU

Wii U European VC: The 50Hz Debacle

by Nicholas Bray - January 27, 2013, 5:57 pm PST
Total comments: 25

I shouldn't have to import a system to get an equivalent experience. 

Virtual Console on Wii U, what a great idea! Last week, Nintendo announced and then released the first Virtual Console game for Wii U. Many were excited at both the announcement and the forth-coming games that have been promised. Nintendo pleased all of their fans, right? This announcement was a great surprise, right? Well, it was great for the Japanese and American regions, but European countries, Australia and New Zealand were once again treated to an inferior version of the released VC game, Balloon Fight.

What? Inferior? How, you say? Well, Nintendo has decided to give us the original 50Hz versions of these classic games. You see, the TV’s that were sold across Europe in the 80’s and 90’s used the PAL video standard. This meant that the resolution and refresh rate of the screen differed from the Japanese and American standard, NTSC. The PAL refresh rate (50 Hz) is slower than NTSC (60 Hz), and when video games were first sold in countries that use the PAL standard, they had to conform. The conversions were almost always done badly – games ran 17.5% slower than they were supposed to – and because PAL has a greater image resolution, games had large borders on the top and bottom of the screen to fill the dead space. A lot of games even featured slower music.

When the original Wii Virtual Console started, Nintendo unwisely chose to continue using these converted versions instead of the originals, even though the vast majority of people would no longer be affected due to newer TV’s supporting the NTSC standard.

We are now on the precipice of a new Virtual Console service, and it seems that Nintendo will still be using the slow, bordered, PAL-conversion messes. There is absolutely no good reason why we should endure these inferior versions of the games anymore. Nintendo has to recode the emulation for these VC releases, so why not include both a PAL and an NTSC version? I say they should either provide the choice of version on the eShop or include both ROMs in a single package with a menu option to switch between PAL and NTSC. The former option is probably necessary, because otherwise Nintendo would only be speeding up the PAL version, which could be an even greater mess. If the game originally had PAL optimizations, speeding it back up could make it really wonky.

Nintendo is charging people in PAL territories the same as people in NTSC territories, for worse versions of VC games. We should be angry, we shouldn’t have to put up with it, and we most definitely should not have to import the better releases from America. Frustratingly, the 3DS eShop versions of NES games (yes, even Balloon Fight) were NTSC across every region.

People have taken to the Balloon Fight Miiverse community to express their disdain for this issue. If you live in a country where you receive the PAL version, get on the Miiverse, Yeah! all of the posts complaining about it, and contribute to the awareness in any way that you can. Nintendo ignored this problem on Wii, and I hope that they reconsider and address this problem on Wii U. I advise people in these affected regions to not buy any of these releases if they can help it. Don’t put up with mediocre products.

Thanks to Daan Koopman for editing the Miiverse video.

Talkback

OblivionJanuary 27, 2013

boo hoo

LudicrousDa3veJanuary 27, 2013

I'm pretty surprised they didn't address this; though to be fair, back in the day I did have a few discussions with PAL folks in which they defended their version as being superior. An option should be available, at the very least. Easier would be to just NTSC everybody.

Edit... after actually watching a comparison video, for everybody running PAL... I'm sorry. Wow.

EnnerJanuary 27, 2013

Inexcusable laziness or carelessness on Nintendo's part to offer the inferior versions of the game on Virtual Console. I can see for an RPG that reprogramming the localization for 60hz would be a lot of trouble, but in all cases European customers should be have a choice.

OblivionJanuary 27, 2013

Why should they? The Virtual Console is supposed to keep with the original spirit of the game. They shouldn't have to change it if that's all the EU region had back then. If they had to change the refresh rate, what's stopping them from changing things from beloved games such as Ocarina of Time or the original Super Mario Bros? It causes a precedent that doesn't need to be there. Like I said: boo hoo

TJ SpykeJanuary 27, 2013

They have done it with some games. Like letting you send pictures taken in Pokemon Snap to your Wii Message Board, or adding online to that one Street Fighter on Genesis.

azekeJanuary 27, 2013

I've got one of the Street Fighter IIs on Genesis VC. Does it also have that issue?

Also hopefully Super Metroid will be okay, cause that's the only game i will buy on Wii U VC.

But yeah, bad form, Nintendo.

Quote from: Oblivion

If they had to change the refresh rate, what's stopping them from changing things from beloved games such as Ocarina of Time or the original Super Mario Bros? It causes a precedent that doesn't need to be there. Like I said: boo hoo

Don't know about OoT but Majora's Mask on VC has numerous improvements: widescreen, textures and framerate (still pretty choppy though).

Quote from: Oblivion

Why should they? The Virtual Console is supposed to keep with the original spirit of the game. They shouldn't have to change it if that's all the EU region had back then. If they had to change the refresh rate, what's stopping them from changing things from beloved games such as Ocarina of Time or the original Super Mario Bros? It causes a precedent that doesn't need to be there. Like I said: boo hoo

Im sorry, but releasing a 60Hz version would not be that difficult, and wouldn't really require them to go in and edit the games actual code if they just used the existing roms. Releasing versions that are accurate to how the games were originally made should be something that they are willing to do, the 50Hz versions are not how these games are supposed to be played.


Movies on blu ray come out in their intended frame rate these days. Tons of movies were also chopped, edited and adapted to work within the confines of old display technology, going by your logic we should still be getting those versions too.

broodwarsJanuary 27, 2013

Why is this even an issue? The Wii versions of these Virtual Console games allegedly ran just fine, so why is Nintendo back to releasing terrible versions of these games on the European Wii U?

StogiJanuary 27, 2013

For shits.

The Wii versions had the same issues.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJanuary 27, 2013

Quote from: MegaByte

The Wii versions had the same issues.

Shh.  Knowing that would have required, at the very least, reading the actual article.

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 27, 2013

This is not an issue that we should have to be dealing with in 2013.

This s*** is inexcusable.

DaMooseJanuary 28, 2013

I have never noticed any issue with this. I'm in Australia, and have many SNES/NES VC games on my Wii.

If you compare, it's very clear. You would at least notice the games being proper full screen and not bordered.

bernietoastJanuary 28, 2013

I am not liking this 50hz VC again.


I am in Australia and only recently (about 6 months ago) had a first hand look at the difference as I have imported a US SNES. I loaded in Mega Man X and it hit me  ::) how much smoother and fluid the game is. It makes you appreciate the game on another level.



In saying that I think it is unlikely that they will add a switch for 60/50, it may not be much work but I think there are only a handful of the population that will care. Here's hoping though.

Aero LeviathanJanuary 28, 2013

Quote from: azeke

Don't know about OoT but Majora's Mask on VC has numerous improvements: widescreen, textures and framerate (still pretty choppy though).

Majora's Mask (and VC OoT) is not widescreen. The game outputs a 4:3 image, which the Wii (and Wii U in Wii mode) annoyingly stretches to fill a 16:9 screen, making all of the characters look deformed compared to the original. This can be fixed on some TVs by setting it to 4:3 mode.

The textures also have not changed. Framerate improvements (as in a reduction of framerate drops, not an increase in the maximum framerate), if any, have nothing to do with any changes made to the game itself, only the more powerful hardware it's running on.

What has changed (IIRC) is that the game, like other N64 VC games, is running at a higher resolution than on the original N64, which will appear to make the image look sharper, especially if you're using component or HDMI. But the textures are as blurry and muddy as ever. MM had better textures than OoT to begin with because of the use of the Expansion Pak, which is included as part of the emulation.

Ian SaneJanuary 28, 2013

Okay, I've realized something I actually like about the Miiverse - it allows for us to post legitimate criticism towards Nintendo where they can't ignore it.  When they came up with the idea they probably imagined this rosey fantasyland of gamers helping each other out and praising Nintendo.  Well Nintendo has a reputation for doing some really annoying goofy stuff and now, like it or not, they're going to hear about it.  Unless they just ignore all criticism, this could in theory, inspire them to improve their product.

This whole PAL thing is just idiotic.  It actually seems like it would have taken more work to specifically make the PAL versions available instead of just using the North American ROMs in the European, unless there is some EU laws that would be broken if they did that.

ShyGuyJanuary 28, 2013

Europe continues to pay for the sins of the fathers...


Is the 50hz debacle bigger than the Pokemon X debacle?

I just like saying debacle.

It seems like Nintendo has hidden the most popular Miiverse post regarding this issue. There are still tons of others, but this one was the main one everyone was supporting. Find user Meggie to find the post, I think that will still work.


EDIT: Actually, seems like after 4 days or so the posts are automatically moved away. I didn't realise this.

Mop it upJanuary 28, 2013

I feel for you folks. I guess I don't really know what it's like to play 50hz versions, but I can sort of imagine it from playing certain ports of games that had similar issues, like the SNES port of DooM that has a border and sluggish framerate, amoung other things. I wouldn't want to have to play all my games like that, for sure. Unfortunately I don't think Nintendo will change this, but they certainly won't if they don't get any feedback, so it's good that people are speaking up.

FreudianLemurJanuary 29, 2013

Whilst I agree with you that we should have the option or just have the NTSC one instead, we're all forgetting one problem. The NTSC versions don't have all the European languages, and it'd probably be more complex than simply copy/pasting the text from PAL to NTSC. I suspect this is the main reason. They're still just being lazy, but it's not as simple as some of us seem to think.

CosatsJanuary 30, 2013

Although this is a nintendo related site it is the only one you cannot view its videos from whithin the Wii U browser. Please, fix this.

AnGerJanuary 30, 2013

This is simply dumb. On the other hand, it is to an extent understandable as many games would have to be re-rated for them to be released which is a pain in the ass because we Europeans have different rating systems for every country.

@FreudianLemur: Well... yes and no. Many European languages are spoken in other parts of the world (I'm looking mainly at Spanish and French) so I doubt it would be that big of a problem – except for cultural differences maybe.

Pixelated PixiesJanuary 30, 2013

I would just like to restate. This issue is decidedly not understandable. As with the issue of not being able to view mature content or download mature games during certain parts of the day, Nintendo seem to be the only company who keeps falling into these ridiculous problems.

Reports have been surfacing this last week which show that the Wii U has been selling pretty miserably in Europe. Nintendo seem to be chalking this up to them having put forth a reduced marketing effort in that region. Personally, I think it's because Nintendo of Europe are bunch of idiots. They recieved alot of credit (and rightly so) for localising Xenoblade and The Last Story, but this amateur s*** really needs to stop. Nintendo are arguably the biggest and best financed video game company on the planet. They should start acting like it and stop treating people in Europe to inferior services.

AnGerJanuary 30, 2013

Quote from: Pixelated

I would just like to restate. This issue is decidedly not understandable. As with the issue of not being able to view mature content or download mature games during certain parts of the day, Nintendo seem to be the only company who keeps falling into these ridiculous problems.

I agree on that in general. However, the issue at hand is also a problem for Sony as they still sell PS1 classics in Europe as the 50Hz version only. Unlike with Nintendo however, we can bypass this simply by creating an US or JP account. (It also grants us access to more games)

Quote from: Pixelated

Personally, I think it's because Nintendo of Europe are bunch of idiots. They should start acting like it and stop treating people in Europe to inferior services.

This is also a problem that doesn't only lie with Nintendo. We have been shit upon by many gaming companies over the years – mainly Japanese companies which simply fail to bring their games to Europe fast enough (even when the only language the game offers is English) or ignore us completely. Also, it is a problem within Europe. Because there are a lot more countries to take into consideration which are pretty different in respect of laws – one of them being the youth public protection law which directly relates to the boards that rate games (at least here in Germany) – but also in terms of media access (including internet access) and the way people handle money.

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