Looking for PS2 games...
December 10, 2005 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Trying to think of the name of a PS2 game, and looking for another in Australia...

I'm just about to buy a PS2 (at the insistence of my girlfriend - poor me!) and I can't think of the name of a game I saw. It's hard to describe, but it was fairly surreal graphics, and you flew through this surreal world to techno music. As I recall, the music was both something you responded to, and something your actions helped create. This should ring some bells for people (I hope)

The other thing I'm trying to find is somewhere in Australia where I can pick up both Katamari Damacy and We Love Katamari Damacy. I've been reading about these games forever and I itch to play them.
posted by tomble to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total)
Best answer: It's probably Rez, but it could be Frequency or Amplitude.
posted by aubilenon at 6:38 PM on December 10, 2005

To address the 2nd part of your question, is finding copies of these games a specific problem in Australia for some reason? I'm not trying to be facetious, but the Katamari games are hugely popular, and Australia contains many reputable cities, each of which likely has a selection of electronics retailers...

Worse case scenario: I'm happy to ship some copies to you, assuming that Canadian and Australian PS2s play the same discs.
posted by chudmonkey at 6:45 PM on December 10, 2005

Well, whic was it?
posted by aubilenon at 6:58 PM on December 10, 2005

Response by poster: chudmonkey - thanks for the offer. We Love Katamari is coming out here in Feb, but the original Katamari simply seems to be unavailable here.

Aubilenon - 5 minutes for an answer, thanks! I knew it was some short name but it just wouldn't surface in my mind. Rez is the one I was looking for!
posted by tomble at 6:59 PM on December 10, 2005

The big problem is NTSC vs. PAL -- the US and Japan use NTSC, but Australia uses PAL. My understanding is that the original Katamari Damacy was only released in the Japanese and US markets, so everyone else is out of luck (or need a converter, if that's possible). We Love Katamari is supposed to be getting released in more countries, presumably in PAL, eventually.
posted by xil at 7:03 PM on December 10, 2005

xil is correct. There was no PAL release of Katamari Damacy... there was even a petition for one but no luck.

I'm in Sydney and the only way we could play it was to buy a copy from Amazon and borrow a game developer friend's PS2 test kit which plays both NTSC and PAL games. For a more permanent solution I'm trying to find a local mod-chipping store that might be able to make out PS2 play NTSC games. Since the High Court recently ruled that PS1 mod chips are legal, I'm hoping this won't be too difficult.

It's totally worth the effort to play it... the game is fantastic and I was amazed at the number of non-gamers who fell in love with it as well.
posted by bruceyeah at 7:47 PM on December 10, 2005

Note there can be some problems with modded consoles playing import games (most modchips can handle booting them, I've only ever seen one that couldn't [a nasty NH7 clone]). The main problem is simply the TV standard...

A colour fix can be applied to the motherboard to force the console to output the appropriate colour signal (in your case PAL instead of NTSC), but from what I recall that will not fix the sync issue. Most PAL TVs expect a 50 Hz signal. Your console will output a 60 Hz PAL signal.

So... if you have an old TV with a vertical hold knob you're in luck. Twiddle with it until the picture stops rolling. If you don't have such a TV, but have a multisystem/multifrequency TV you're in luck again (and don't even have to twiddle knobs, and might not even need the colour fix). If you have neither, you're hosed unless you get an NTSC -> PAL converter (with frequency downconversion... good luck!)

Or, if you have a capture card on your PC, set it for NTSC and enjoy. :o)

BTW: From what I know, they haven't pressed copies of Rez for years now. It's an awesome game, I highly reccomend it. But, well... you might need to use that modchip for something OTHER than just playing imports. Remember they do boot CD-R and DVD-R (in the case of Rez, it's on CD).

Oh, one last bit of advice: If you haven't soldered some seroiusly hardcore stuff before (we're talking surface mount parts here) don't even CONSIDER buying the chip and doing it yourself. If you can't find a place to mod your console (don't try games stores unless they explicitly state they will mod stuff, they will hate you for life for asking) buy the chip and take it to the most grungy, seedy looking TV repair place you can think of (the one where the guy chain smokes all day... remember it? :D ). I'd be VERY surprised if they didn't accept your business for installing it, assuming you provide diagrams. You shouldn't pay more than $100 for labour (a good deal less if you're lucky).

OOO! One last tip: You'll find lots of places in China on the web with really poor spelling selling chips super cheap. They're almost all knockoffs, but they'll usually do the trick. And (unlike most other countries) they're usually into customer service. If you tell them to mark it "Toy Repair Parts - $1" on the customs invoice they will. Or if you ask them to send it in an express mail envelope (EMS over there), no problem. If you get some from China, get as many friends as you can in on the deal, since the more you buy, the more you save (and you'll only pay shipping once...).

posted by shepd at 8:19 PM on December 10, 2005

I realise you didn't ask this, tomble, but shepd -- indirectly -- did.

The PS2 doesn't output PAL60, it outputs NTSC, because Sony are lazy. Newer models may have been altered to provide PAL60, but this is unlikely, because Sony doesn't encourage developers to put 60hz options in their PAL games anyway, which is bloody annoying. However, NTSC/60hz signals aren't an issue in PAL countries. The vast majority of PAL TVs made in the last fifteen years can understand a 60hz signal. Some can understand NTSC colours, too. Most will have an RGB Scart socket. Our two old PAL tellies, from about 1990 and 1994 respectively, understand 60hz just fine.

An RGB Scart cable for the PS2, plugged into AV1 on the telly, will bypass the NTSC colour system worries* and look way better than s-video or composite.

Multisystem TVs are the standard in PAL countries, not the expensive exception, and on the off-chance that a TV doesn't understand 60hz or doesn't have an RGB socket, a new telly will probably be much cheaper than a converter, and look nicer, too.

* It sends the colour information in its own format and doesn't care whether the source is PAL or NTSC.

As for Rez: PAL Rez has a 60hz mode. Make damn sure to use this, or it will be crap: slow and out-of-sync.

Options for running Katamari if you don't have a mod-chip and don't want one.

1. Use a boot disc and Google for "swap magic". You have to mess about every time you load the game, but it's cheap.

2. Get a hard drive for the PS2 and a legal copy of HDloader or similar. Buy Katamari and use WinHIIP on your PC to transfer the ISO to the PS2's hard drive. Install the HD in the PS2 and play the game; HDloader doesn't care about region protection. This is an expensive option, but it will be handy for other games, as loading times off the HD will be greatly reduced. Not all games are compatible, but our Japanese copy of Katamari works fine off the HD.

If you can't find a copy of Rez and don't want to mod your PS2/use a boot disc/get a hard drive, you can get yourself a second-hand Dreamcast and download it for that: a properly adjusted CD ISO will happily run on an unmodded DC.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:34 AM on December 11, 2005

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