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Written By: James Dunford
|Which PlayStation should I buy?
For many people the decision which PlayStation to buy is an easy one; you buy the one in your local High Street shop or store. You get a valid warranty, the machine will work with your television, and if anything goes wrong, you can go to the shop and play merry hell with the staff.
Outside Japan, people will always buy imported machines. Why? Some people buy them because they want to play Next Generation titles nearly twelve months before they are released in their country or they wish to play the games as 'nature' intended, full screen and full speed. If you live in Japan, then you have no problems, the PlayStation was released there first so you can walk into any game shop and buy one. The television system is NTSC and your voltage is 100 Volts.
Life is sweet.
If you live in the USA or Canada, then you may have imported a machine from Japan to skip the 11 month wait for the US release or to play rare Japanese RPGs, which are apparently unappealing to Western tastes. The television system is also NTSC and your voltage is 110 Volts, which is nearly 100V, if you are concerned you can buy a extra power supply that gives 100V. You can plug in and go.
Life is sweet.
If you live in Europe or Australia/New Zealand, things aren't so nice. Your tv system probably isn't compatible with NTSC and your power supply is 220 - 240 Volts. With other game systems, PAL versions of games are often released much later than NTSC ones, and are often not optimised to run PAL so you get black borders top and bottom of your screen squashing the games, so in fighting games Cammy looks like Eddie Honda and Eddie Honda looks like Jabba The Hut (Uncanny!).
Life is sweet as a lemon.
Sony have promised that PAL releases will be optomised for PAL and will not suffer any slowdown and will be fullscreen. Though Sega promised something similar with the PAL Saturn, the fighters in Virtua Fighter are fatter and move slower than the NTSC ones, and this game WAS optimised for the PAL release.
My feelings are that a US or Japan based 3rd party software house is not going to spend time and money changing their game to run more efficiently on PAL, when it could be making the thing run faster on NTSC!
Games are often released earlier in the US than in the other markets, so again non-NTSC areas lose out. The solution is to import, either a Japanese machine and software and potientially have langauge problems (mainly RPGs, with their intensive use of text, things like Tekken are fine), or import a US machine and software, and pay less too!
However there are a few things that you need.
A tv or monitor that supports a 60Hz refresh rate. (Many new, expensive tvs support this automatically), and a stepdown transformer that will take 220-240V @50Hz supply and change it to 110V @60Hz.
Please note that the views expressed in this review are those of the writer and not of A.P.I