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(01-23-2013, 10:14 PM)
Neff's Avatar
Forgive me for starting this thread despite there already being a VC and Nintendo download discussion, but I feel this needs a spotlight as it's a big issue for European Wii U owners.

Balloon Fight only runs in 50hz on the console and Gamepad.

50hz is an antiquated refresh rate used almost exclusively by European CRT PAL televisions. NTSC CRT tvs from the US and Japan refresh at 60hz. Almost every console/arcade videogame ever made is created for hardware designed to refresh its display at 60hz (60fps) regardless of the framerate of the game engine itself. To allow a 60hz game to display on a 50hz tv, the game's hardware must be commanded to run slower either by permanent design, or by the game itself. In PAL's case, almost every console from the NES to the Dreamcast is slowed down by 17% compared to their NTSC counterparts, depending on the hardware manufacturer or game developer. The result is a drastic difference in gameplay speed and music.

Sonic the Hedgehog comparison

FFX comparison

F-Zero X comparison

Castlevania comparison

Balloon Fight comparison

Another side-effect is the higher resolution of PAL, which NTSC games must literally compress themselves to conform to, leaving blank borders at the top and bottom of the screen.

Some console games have used clever workarounds, bumping up the speed and stretching the game engine vertically, but the tradeoff was still always second best. And sadly in most cases, developers rarely gave a thought to Europe at all and released games as unoptimised shadows of their original versions.

For gaming enthusiasts and collectors, these failings are obviously very disheartening.

Fortunately it all came to an end in 2005 and 2006 when 360 and PS3 allowed users to instruct the console to display *every* game in 60hz.

Then Wii came along and unwisely locked all its VC games to 50hz. Despite 3DS admirably featuring NTSC-speed/display vc games, we're apparently back where we started with Wii U.

I know I'm not alone in my disappointment. The Balloon Fight Miiverse has many posts from people happy with the game, but also a surprising amount of people dismayed about the lack of 60hz, all these were posted within the last five hours;

60hz is the standard for DD/compilation ports of old games, and ironically, even Nintendo themselves agree that the 60hz experience is superior. From the first page of most of their first party Wii manuals:


It may be too early to cry, future games may very well incorporate 60hz or offer alternate versions, but in 2013, any trace of PAL at all is a shockingly bad move. Nintendo really need to heed the complaints, and they need to address this issue.


Have your say here.