Sony revealed more details about the upcoming list of PlayStation Classic games that will be bundled into the $99.99 system come December 3rd, 2018 next week. However, not every game is going to be exactly how you remembered playing them, especially if you are used to the NTSC versions of the game that were released in North America.
Over on the PlayStation Blog, Justin Massongill, the social media manager at SIEA, outlined more details about the PlayStation Classic, including things like how much it weighs (6.0 ounces), and its dimensions (5.8″ x 1.3″ x 4.1″). But the more important part of the FAQ addresses which regional iterations of the games will be included in the bundle.
The post notes that Battle Arena Toshinden, Cool Boarders 2, Destruction Derby, Grand Theft Auto, Jumping Flash!, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, Resident Evil Director’s Cut, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, and Tekken 3 will all be based on the PAL region releases.
What this means is that these games will be running at a different hertz than what they were during their release as NTSC titles in North America. The PAL region releases were for the European consoles, and that means that they’re running at a lower hertz. In the U.S., the NTSC versions of games were running at 30 fps at 60 hertz, while due to regional signal broadcasting differences in Europe, the PAL versions of games ran at 25 fps at 50 hertz.
So what does this mean in plain ol’ English? It means that the PAL versions of these games will be running at lower frames than the original NTSC releases. This also means that they will suffer from the dreaded input latency and make it difficult to pull off and read certain moves in the fighting games, specifically Battle Arena Toshinden and Tekken 3.
Mark Julio, a community adviser for the Tekken fighting game community, pointed out that this is likely going to cause issues with some fans who will think that the game isn’t that fun to play due to the FPS differences.
For games like Resident Evil or Grand Theft Auto, the changes may not seem terribly important given the genre of games, and for people who aren’t seriously into fighting games they may not think much of the difference between PAL and NTSC versions. However, it makes a huge difference when you’re playing the actual game and you find that your button presses are registering fractions of a second slower than they should, and the game is ultimately playing slower than what it was intended to.
This is why at EVO tournaments and other high-caliber FGC events they use old CRTs for some games to reduce frame lag from the display outputs. The idea is to make sure that the game is running at the highest frames possible with the highest hertz possible from the television or monitor; the FPS can make or break a combo, counter, read, or a finish, and it’s not something gamers want to have to deal with when playing leisurely or competitively.
Some longtime PlayStation gamers also chimed in on the comment section noting that they were canceling their pre-order due to the inclusion of PAL games for the U.S. release of the PlayStation Classic. Others wondered if Sony would at least be correcting the FPS differences between the releases, while others simply decided they weren’t going to buy a unit at all.
For people who don’t care much about precision gaming, accurate input latency, or frame-rate issues that could cost you a match, a round, or make you lose the game, it may not matter too much to them because they simply want to get a taste of nostalgia from twenty years ago. For those who do care about losing up to five frames per second, they will likely look elsewhere to get their fix of classic PlayStation gaming, especially for the fighting games.