What Is the SNES PAL Version?

Written by tim daniel
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What Is the SNES PAL Version?
Despite its age, the SNES remains popular. (Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The Super Nintendo Entertainment system (SNES) is a 16-bit video game console. Released in 1990, SNES still enjoys a strong fan base and nearly folkloric status because of its catalogue of 16-bit "glory days" mid-to-late 1990s titles. Classics like Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Super Castlevania IV, Donkey Kong 3, Street Fighter II, Super Mario Kart and the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past are forever etched into the collective classic gamer psyche. Many of these games are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, but the PAL versions of the system and games do not function on North American NTSC-encoded Super Nintendos.

PAL Defined

PAL stands for "Phase Alternating Line" and is the German-developed colour television standard of nations in Europe, China, Africa, South America and the Middle East. PAL television owners cannot change the colour hues on their sets. PAL delivers 625 lines of resolution at 25 frames per second. The Brazilian version of PAL -- PAL M -- delivers broadcasts at 30 frames per second.


At their support site, Nintendo notes that products made by Nintendo for use in the United States are not interchangeable with products made for use in other regions. For example, the North American and Japanese standard -- NTSC -- is not compatible with the European, Chinese and South American-region PAL. This compatibility standard applies to both games (cartridges and discs) as well as consoles. PAL SNES games and consoles are not compatible with NTSC games and consoles.

Additional Factors

In addition to a television broadcast standard such as PAL, Nintendo lists several compatibility concerns for U.S. Nintendo users attempting to use a Nintendo product made in another country. These include different electrical standards, languages, government regulations and packaging requirements. Nintendo stresses that games and systems -- including the SNES -- intended for use in different countries will not work in the United States.

SNES PAL Repair in Other Regions

Nintendo of America notes that PAL Super Nintendo system owners (or any other Nintendo product) outside of the PAL region in need of repair must contact an international distributor near them. Nintendo does not offer repair or warranty for Nintendo products outside of the designated region.

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