>> Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Whoever thought CD-i games are compatible with players worldwide without any region code slowly find out a few issues. Recently we've seen Jimmy who discovered some issues with Family Games 2: Junk Food Jive. Jimmy: "Just got my copy of Family Games 2: Junk Food Jive and the minigames that actually scroll (Zapp! and Room Service) weigh the character down to the bottom of the screen and don't allow the use of the "up" button making the games unplayable. Room service even distorts the screen with color bands at the top and bottom! I've tried this on a DVS CD-i, CD-i 450 AND a CD-i 220 and all have the same result. This is the first problem I've ever had with any CD-i game (all Family Games I minigames work for me!) and wonder if these minigames are actually playable? Is it because I'm using a USA region CDi?"
I love it that, with these kind of questions, I'm still learning about CD-i every day, thanks to the guys of the CD-i community. As it seems, there are differences between PAL and NTSC CD-i players, but what that is besides a different resolution, I still don't know. There's only one version of Family Games 2, so there's no difference in a PAL and NTSC release of the game. Devin: "It sounds like a possible NTSC/PAL issue. Although pretty much all CD-i games were designed to function on both NTSC and PAL systems I'm aware of some issues, but this is very rare indeed. You could put it to the test as the DVS has an NTSC/PAL switch. However I'm not sure if American TVs support the PAL standard at all. Here in Europe it's quite common for TVs to support both NTSC and PAL video standards with a simple A/V composite hockup."
According to cdifan (our CD-i guru) the technical difference between PAL and NTSC players is only the resolution (560 versus 480 lines, respectively) and the display frequency (50 Hz versus 60 Hz). However, this can impact on games in major ways. It all depends on how a game is programmed. I know for a fact that Alien Gate plays differently on different TV standards (NTSC is either slower or faster then PAL; it depends on the version) and the same is probably true for other games as well. Jimmy: "The massive color bands that appear at top and bottom as soon as I move suggest something is wrong. I tried the PAL/NTSC switch on the DVS CD-i player and the screen turned black and white and started rolling! I was able to make my way into the Doom service minigame and it seems to work. I didn't know there were region differences this significant in any CD-i game. At least I know what I have to do to play the game now. A word of warning to future NTSC gamers who want to play this game!"