Traveling Abroad


fullcollectionAlexander the Great’s worst feeling was having no more land to conquer. Lucky for you, however, today we have the technology to go overseas and steal some of their cool stuff.

North American and Southeastern Asian systems were encoded with NTSC and most other countries with PAL. I don’t work for the FCC or NBC, so to me, most of this is like a colorful NES version of a Japanese take-out menu. But it’s along the same lines as DVD coding. Our games don’t work over there and their games don’t work here. They don’t have the same screen size standards we do, the same frame-rates, or the same color palettes, so like everything else involving a television, they made games for over here and the same games for over there. But sometimes, things get overlooked (you can buy me a beer for not using the “Lost in Translation” cliché).

I suppose if you’re one of those anal-retentive collectors, you already plan on getting the PAL version of every game, but as far as I’m concerned, a good collection doesn’t require nonsense like buying a duplicate specifically for a different cover. But there were games restricted to Europe and Australia, and eventually you’ll want to measure the ups against the downs of adding just these exclusives to your library.

shadowwarriorsKeep in mind, these aren’t unlicensed games – they’re just games that for various reasons were officially licensed in other countries but never the US. For example, the soccer and cricket games probably wouldn’t sell as well in the US as they would in Europe.

There were several differences with the games that were released in The States as well. Titles and sprites were sometimes an issue, such as the elimination of the word “ninja” from everything, the fact that no child in the United States can locate New Zealand on a map (Kiwi Kraze – NTSC/The New Zealand Story – PAL), or the gore-censorship robot substitutions for every human. (Here’s a great article on the subject.)


Now this collection won’t come easy and it certainly won’t come cheap, but by the time you decide to tackle it, you should have enough North American cartridges to keep you busy, so take your time.


1) You can boast about a more complete collection, showing off titles that a lot of people have never heard of.

2) You have the opportunity to own some entertaining games that weren’t available in North America.

3) It’s a short list.


1) They can’t be played in the original system if the lockout chip hasn’t been disabled. Plan on picking up a top-loader.

2) They’re all relatively expensive.

3) Two of them are ridiculously unaffordable.


1) Overseas shipping costs. Look for the free icon.

tmhtBut it’s something to think about tucking away for the future. I didn’t bother with any of them (or really know anything about them) until I accidentally ended up with a Parasol Stars in a lot and wondered what the letter “A” at the bottom was for. After looking into it, I decided that when my North American licensed and unlicensed collections were complete enough for my standards, I would head overseas. And I think this is the poetic way to accomplish it – you’re supposed to take care of business at home before you travel.

mm3palBut as I mentioned, it’ll cost you and go ahead and write off Rodland and Mr. Gimmick!, both carrying an “Impossible” rarity rating. But there aren’t too many, so if you’re looking for something else to pursue after you fill your shelves, they’re a fun addition to your addiction.

- 3-in-1 Super Mario Bros./Tetris/Nintendo World Cup

- Aladdin

- Astérix

- Aussie Rules Footy

- Banana Princebeautyandthebeast1

- Beauty and the Beast

- Championship Rally

- Crackout

- Devil World

- Die Schlümpfe (The Smurfs)

- Dropzone

- Duck Maze

- Elite

- Hammerin’ Harry

- International Cricket

- Kick Off

- Konami Hyper Soccer

- Legend of Prince Valiant

- Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque: La Legende d’Or (Knights of the Zodiac: The Golden Legend)

- The Lion King

- Mr. Gimmick!parodius

- New Ghostbusters II

- Noah’s Ark

- Over Horizon

- Parasol Stars: Bubble Bobble 3

- Parodius

- Rackets & Rivals

- Road Fighter

- Rodland

- Super Turrican

- Trolls in Crazy Land

- Ufouria: The Saga