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What game gear games are effected by region?
Post Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:19 pm
Last edited by relo999 on Yesterday at 1:33 pm; edited 7 times in total
What game gear games are effected by region or are exclusive to a certain region? I know the vast majority aren't effected and practically all play on any system, but not all.

From what I know:

    -GG Alleste 2 is power strike 2 outside of Japan and gets a different title screen.
    -Donald no magical world (japanese exclusive) changes language based on region.
    -Pop Breaker is only playable on a Japanese system.
    -Puyo Puyo, a Japanese exclusive, is called "Puzlow Kids" when played on a non-Japanese system.
    -Tails Adventure changes language based on region
    -Magical Puzzle Popils changes the default language on bootup based on region and is changeable in the options menu.
    -Batman Returns has a soundtest menu if you hold start on bootup but only when running on a Japanese system.
    -Streets of Rage called Bare Knuckle on the title screen on a Japanese system.
    -Streets of Rage II called Bare Knuckle II on the title screen on a Japanese system.
    -Ristar has an extra level when played on a Japanese system
    -Buster Fight (japanese exclusive) changes language based on region.

    -The TV Tuner is region specific hardware supporting different TV standards based on the region it originates from and some exclude input connectors, but aren't effected by the region of the console.


Master system games are also affected by the region of the Game gear when played with the Master system converter. This includes a PAL to NTSC as some PAL exclusive Master system games play better in the game gears PAL mode. Normal game gear games only check for Japanese to English. So the PAL/NTSC Differentiation seems to be exclusively used for Master System games.

(Edit: I'll just keep this as a complete list as looking online there is none, just some odd mentions of specific games as examples of the game gear being region locked)
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Post Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:39 pm
I think Aztec Adventure will show a "Nazca '88" title screen on Japanese systems.
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Post Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:00 pm
Didn't know master system games where affected as well, but does make sense.
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Post Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:33 pm
I did not recognize that the thread is about GG games. I am sorry.
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:14 am
Batman Returns have a Sound Test code, but this code will only be enabled if the game checks it is running on a japanese Game Gear. If the game is running on a non-japanese Game Gear, the code is disabled.
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:52 am
Thanks!

It seems that their is no list of this online, just some mentions of games as examples of the game gear having a region locking system of sorts. Thus I'll keep a list of it in the OP so there is at least some centralized list. I'll add things when I find them or are posted here.
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:08 pm
I believe TV tuner and TV auto tuner do not check nor care about Game Gear console region. The only incompatibility I know of is some tuner models won't work in the Majesco Game Gear. I have tuners from several regions and they seem fine in different-region consoles in my testing, other than the Majesco incompatibility and of course McWill LCD mod incompatibility (that one affects video but not audio)
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:34 pm
Hmm, any way to bypass some of them (such as Pop Breaker) with a PAR or Game Genie code?

I'd also be interested if linking up games from different regions would work.
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:16 pm
S.F wrote
Hmm, any way to bypass some of them (such as Pop Breaker) with a PAR or Game Genie code?

I'd also be interested if linking up games from different regions would work.


It seems that yes, you can bypass (or rather change) the region with a Game Genie code. At least when it comes to Ristar, and probably others, however it doesn't fully change the region. It might be the case that the gamegear, like the megadrive, rechecks the value when text is loaded the same way you can switch languages in streets of rage mid intro text scroll.


Quote
From spending a few minutes on SMSPower, it would seem the Game Gear can check the region by reading I/O port $00, bit 6.
in a,($00)
bit 6,a
jp z, xx (where Z flag is 0 for Japanese, 1 for non-Japanese)
So the corresponding hex would be DB 00 CB 77 CA xx. My guess is you would want a Game Genie could that would switch the CA to C2. (jp z, xx to jp nz, xx)
The two matches I find in a hex search of the ROM are address $01CE and $022E. I'll leave it someone more familiar with the game to make a GG code and test if it actually works.

Quote
Amusingly enough...it works! When the game is about to load the pirate ship level (as it still has the name "planet terra" instead of the japanese "fanturn", it instead force-loads the cut level!

Source: https://forum.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?167105-Can-a-SEGA-Game-Gear-Game-Genie-change-the-region-of-the-system

As far as I'm aware the only method short of buying a gamegear with a different region is a full region mod: http://arcadefixer.blogspot.com/2016/11/game-gear-country-switch.html

However seeing as the content does exist within region affected roms someone can probably relatively easily make a romhack to force a region or patch out Pop Breakers lockout.

As for linking, I don't know. I can't test that but that is a good question, I imagine it would work.
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:07 am
relo999 wrote
S.F wrote
Hmm, any way to bypass some of them (such as Pop Breaker) with a PAR or Game Genie code?

I'd also be interested if linking up games from different regions would work.


It seems that yes, you can bypass (or rather change) the region with a Game Genie code. At least when it comes to Ristar, and probably others, however it doesn't fully change the region. It might be the case that the gamegear, like the megadrive, rechecks the value when text is loaded the same way you can switch languages in streets of rage mid intro text scroll.


Quote
From spending a few minutes on SMSPower, it would seem the Game Gear can check the region by reading I/O port $00, bit 6.
in a,($00)
bit 6,a
jp z, xx (where Z flag is 0 for Japanese, 1 for non-Japanese)
So the corresponding hex would be DB 00 CB 77 CA xx. My guess is you would want a Game Genie could that would switch the CA to C2. (jp z, xx to jp nz, xx)
The two matches I find in a hex search of the ROM are address $01CE and $022E. I'll leave it someone more familiar with the game to make a GG code and test if it actually works.

Quote
Amusingly enough...it works! When the game is about to load the pirate ship level (as it still has the name "planet terra" instead of the japanese "fanturn", it instead force-loads the cut level!

Source: https://forum.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?167105-Can-a-SEGA-Game-Gear-Game-Genie-change-the-region-of-the-system

As far as I'm aware the only method short of buying a gamegear with a different region is a full region mod: http://arcadefixer.blogspot.com/2016/11/game-gear-country-switch.html

However seeing as the content does exist within region affected roms someone can probably relatively easily make a romhack to force a region or patch out Pop Breakers lockout.

As for linking, I don't know. I can't test that but that is a good question, I imagine it would work.


Thanks for the information. That's good to read!
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 6:50 am
Here's a small patch for Pop Breaker that seems to get it working in all regions by properly masking reads from IO port $00 when checking for the Start button

This patch also sets the CRC in the export header, but I don't think that actually matters

Apply to:

128K 'Pop Breaker (Japan).gg'
Checking for export header with matching CRC... NO
sha256:f0d59c30cb596dce269285243f2afea16517d396383c05b7f4c8fc79e87c32bf Pop Breaker (Japan).gg
sha1:9c358504d3c106dd62bd8981132b47cdb95903de Pop Breaker (Japan).gg
md5:e0e2fbd5834c04574795c923b0147f39 Pop Breaker (Japan).gg
mekacrc:75675BCE2FD003F9 Pop Breaker (Japan).gg
crc32:71deba5a Pop Breaker (Japan).gg

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:52 pm
So, Pop Breaker region lock... something deliberate or a side effect of sloppy programming?
(I had only heard of that on some crappy licensed NES game which reads the controller port and expects to always receive a 0x40 or 0x41 result, rather than masking the result to just the relevant bits)
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 6:17 pm
KingMike wrote
So, Pop Breaker region lock... something deliberate or a side effect of sloppy programming?
(I had only heard of that on some crappy licensed NES game which reads the controller port and expects to always receive a 0x40 or 0x41 result, rather than masking the result to just the relevant bits)


Sloppy programming. It assumes port $00 reads always return either $80 (Start not pressed) or $00 (Start pressed) several places. Also it's entirely possible my patch is incomplete or has negative side effects since I'm still quite bad at this game (I previously didn't play it much since my McWill Game Gears are both export versions and the original display didn't age well) and haven't actually disassembled it
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:24 pm
bsittler wrote
Here's a small patch for Pop Breaker that seems to get it working in all regions by properly masking reads from IO port $00 when checking for the Start button

This patch also sets the CRC in the export header, but I don't think that actually matters

Apply to:

128K 'Pop Breaker (Japan).gg'
Checking for export header with matching CRC... NO
sha256:f0d59c30cb596dce269285243f2afea16517d396383c05b7f4c8fc79e87c32bf Pop Breaker (Japan).gg
sha1:9c358504d3c106dd62bd8981132b47cdb95903de Pop Breaker (Japan).gg
md5:e0e2fbd5834c04574795c923b0147f39 Pop Breaker (Japan).gg
mekacrc:75675BCE2FD003F9 Pop Breaker (Japan).gg
crc32:71deba5a Pop Breaker (Japan).gg


Excellent. Hopefully someone can convert/use it for a PAR or Game Genie code.
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:06 am
It's unfortunately quite a few bytes that are affected, so it would need to be many codes I think. Also it's a ROM patch so a device that patches RAM wouldn't be able to do it
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:38 am
I just wanted to THANK bsittler for the Pop Breaker patch!! Been looking for something like that for quite some time. It's a good game, really.

And I'd also like to contribute to the list of games:
- Buster Fight (japanese exclusive) changes language based on region.
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Post Posted: Yesterday at 3:20 am
bsittler wrote
Here's a small patch for Pop Breaker that seems to get it working in all regions by properly masking reads from IO port $00 when checking for the Start button

This patch also sets the CRC in the export header, but I don't think that actually matters


Awesome! Sadly I can't properly test it seeing as I only have a Japanese system so I imagine if the patch fails it would still run fine.

I'm curious, how hard would it be to patch roms that set language based on region? I imagine nobody really cares enough to patch games that have just a region specific title screen, but personally I'd love to play Donald no Magical world and Tails Adventure in English and I imagine lots of Ristar fans would like play the level that's missing on international hardware.

karl_oz wrote

And I'd also like to contribute to the list of games:
- Buster Fight (japanese exclusive) changes language based on region.


Added it to the list.

bsittler wrote
I believe TV tuner and TV auto tuner do not check nor care about Game Gear console region. The only incompatibility I know of is some tuner models won't work in the Majesco Game Gear. I have tuners from several regions and they seem fine in different-region consoles in my testing, other than the Majesco incompatibility and of course McWill LCD mod incompatibility (that one affects video but not audio)

Missed this comment, sorry.
Do you know if they also can receive the same range of channels? I know that Japan, the US and Europe all have different bands to broadcast TV on. Seeing as most areal TV broadcast have gone the way of the dinosaur in most places I don't know if you can test this.

But looking online they do have different ranges, based purely on markings on the cases (though that might just be purely to mark the location of channels but under the hood it might be the same, I don't know).

Japanese Ranges are marked on UHF:13, 20, 30, 40, 50, 62
European Ranges are marked on UHF:21, 30, 40, 50, 60, 69
American Ranges are marked on UHF:14, 30, 40, 50, 60, 69
VHF are also marked differently between regions and with markings at different locations.

Granted if the TV tuner works fine regardless of region of hardware it isn't really effected by the region and rather different TV tuners are region exclusive.
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Post Posted: Yesterday at 3:49 am
Last edited by bsittler on Yesterday at 11:38 am; edited 1 time in total
Correct, tuners are specific to different broadcast standards (tested and verified with various RF-producing consoles) and some exclude input connectors (regulatory compliance perhaps?) but they all don't care which region the Game Gear console hardware in which they are inserted was configured for prior to sale

Edit: and no, they aren't generally compatible. Both encoding (PAL variant or NTSC) and channel assignments (both frequency and bandwidth) vary incompatibly, though some coincidental compatibilities do exist especially if color or audio is ignored
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Post Posted: Yesterday at 9:44 am
Last edited by bsittler on Today at 6:52 am; edited 2 times in total
Wouldn't be surprised if these hacks are incomplete, but I was at least able to force JP vs. non-JP title screens in Power Strike II ~ GG Aleste II with a two-byte patch in each case. I didn't bother adjusting the export header checksum and just left it 0000 for these

Apply to:
256K 'Power Strike II (U).gg'
Checking for export header with matching CRC... NO
sha256:68f660e8c595dbd65648e6edb82b769da76ab71fd36741aec0c9d76f52025ab1 Power Strike II (U).gg
sha1:e4db2140761b43426024bd08c4372bb9b8979d3d Power Strike II (U).gg
md5:d5836ec389ec2c81bd54728b96b87152 Power Strike II (U).gg
mekacrc:580F2481F9E66BAA Power Strike II (U).gg
crc32:09de1528 Power Strike II (U).gg

Game Genie codes, generated using Maxim's tool and tested on real hardware:

GG Aleste II [HACK+FORCEJP]
3E3-5AF-805+803-5BF-E6A

Power Strike II (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT]
3E3-5AF-805+C03-5BF-E6A

Pro Action Replay codes, not tested on real hardware yet (I don't have a GG PAR yet though I ordered one today):

GG Aleste II [HACK+FORCEJP]
00C8-1880

Power Strike II (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT]
00C8-18C0
GG Aleste II [HACK+FORCEJP].png (286.92 KB)
GG Aleste II [HACK+FORCEJP] — Game Genie, GG Aleste 2 cartridge, and McWill-modded export Game Gear
GG Aleste II [HACK+FORCEJP].png
Power Strike II (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT].png (444.13 KB)
Power Strike II (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT] — Game Genie, GG Aleste 2 cartridge, and JP Game Gear with original screen
Power Strike II (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT].png
Power Strike II (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT].ips (15 B)
Power Strike II (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT].ips
GG Aleste II [HACK+FORCEJP].ips (15 B)
GG Aleste II [HACK+FORCEJP].ips

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Post Posted: Yesterday at 1:37 pm
bsittler wrote
Wouldn't be surprised if these hacks are incomplete, but I was at least able to force JP vs. non-JP title screens in Power Strike II ~ GG Aleste II with a two-byte patch in each case. I didn't bother adjusting the export header checksum and just left it 0000 for these


The English Aleste II patch works fine on my Japanese system, I now get the power strike II bootup screen and plays fine as far as I can tell.

Also updated the OP with the info about the TV tuner.
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Post Posted: Yesterday at 9:59 pm
Last edited by bsittler on Today at 6:50 am; edited 1 time in total
Here are some patches for Puyo Puyo / Puzlow Kids. Testing again was not extensive, but at least the title screen and UI language for most screens seems to be affected

In this case I only had to edit one byte for each direction of forced region switching. Checksum is left zero. Game Genie codes (again thanks to Maxim's tool) are tested on real hardware but Pro Action Replay codes are completely untested as my PAR is still en route

Game Genie codes:

Puyo Puyo [HACK+FORCEJP]
003-AEF-E6E

Puzlow Kids (J) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT]
003-ACF-F7A

Game Gear Pro Action Replay codes: (untested)

Puyo Puyo [HACK+FORCEJP]
00D4-5B00

Puzlow Kids (J) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT]
00D4-5B01

Apply to:
256K 'Puzlow Kids (J).gg'
Checking for export header with matching CRC... NO
sha256:284cf8e186dcaa8174909c9fd4200f4e4dae325b2ad20e541814fc0355d5eee7 Puzlow Kids (J).gg
sha1:8ea2e623858221c5d39eb1e0f6532a0b23b00305 Puzlow Kids (J).gg
md5:a5fce989c4fcf6faf37c5a1779df8a22 Puzlow Kids (J).gg
mekacrc:6D6D979B9D368E93 Puzlow Kids (J).gg
crc32:d173a06f Puzlow Kids (J).gg
Puzlow Kids (J) [HACK+FORCEREGION].png (349.11 KB)
In each picture the export console with McWill screen is below, the JP console with original screen above; bottom row of pictures are without the code, top row are with the code applied
Puzlow Kids (J) [HACK+FORCEREGION].png

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Post Posted: Today at 12:33 am
Last edited by bsittler on Today at 6:49 am; edited 1 time in total
These are region-forcing patches (not tested very extensively yet) for Tails Adventures, the one whose ROM internally says "GG TAILS ADVENTURES < Ver1,02 > 1995/07/21 @SEGA". It needed only a single-byte changed in either RAM or ROM to force the region in either direction

Game Genie codes (verified on real hardware, and again made with Maxim's tool):

Tails' Adventures (U) [HACK+FORCEJP]
00B-9FE-E6B

Tails' Adventures (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT]
3EB-9EE-7F1

Pro Action Replay codes (not tested yet):

Tails' Adventures (U) [HACK+FORCEJP]
00D1-2C00

Tails' Adventures (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT]
00D1-2C40


Apply to:

512K 'Tails'\'' Adventures (U) [!].gg'
Checking for export header with matching CRC... NO
sha256:92a9985333df0ee46e9a44b97bda37c565de831bbcbc9b740cd43637b0f5072a Tails' Adventures (U) [!].gg
sha1:da3df145b8e9f2a2e680d2c92939084d4530ed90 Tails' Adventures (U) [!].gg
md5:a8bdb1beed088ff83c725c5af6b85e1f Tails' Adventures (U) [!].gg
mekacrc:134A286D9BE1D8BA Tails' Adventures (U) [!].gg
crc32:5bb6e5d6 Tails' Adventures (U) [!].gg
Tails' Adventures (U) [HACK+FORCEJP].png (319.81 KB)
Tails' Adventures (U) [HACK+FORCEJP] — left is with the code applied, middle is code entry, right is original/unmodified state — all on McWill-modded export hardware
Tails' Adventures (U) [HACK+FORCEJP].png
Tails' Adventures (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT].png (301.59 KB)
Tails' Adventures (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT] — left is with the code applied, middle is code entry, right is original/unmodified state — all on original JP hardware
Tails' Adventures (U) [HACK+FORCEEXPORT].png

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Post Posted: Today at 12:59 am
edit: added patch to force export localization too

For Ristar TCRF lists a Game Genie code to swap the missing level branch (I think?) — it is:

C21-CEF-C41

I have decoded this using Maxim's tool and attempted to produce an equivalent IPS patch and attached it to this message, but I haven't yet played far enough to see the results

I've also created a larger patch that attempts to force Ristar into Japanese regionalization. This is not tested much yet, but does seem to change the name of the first level. It's far too large to fit in a Game Genie, unfortunately; likewise I've created a patch to force export localization, which is even larger!

Apply to:
512K 'Ristar the Shooting Star (U) [!].gg'
Checking for export header with matching CRC... NO
sha256:11fb379a516db0e15e0ddb97b84ca8cd066138733c37a51102a5e8fbebad141d Ristar the Shooting Star (U) [!].gg
sha1:d0d950097471553b6a96dc9cf0fb14ddb3a7dda2 Ristar the Shooting Star (U) [!].gg
md5:06f0a495fbb70fad50246da715f8add7 Ristar the Shooting Star (U) [!].gg
mekacrc:66C33CFBDC17A706 Ristar the Shooting Star (U) [!].gg
crc32:efe65b3b Ristar the Shooting Star (U) [!].gg
Ristar the Shooting Star (U) [HACK+SWAPMISSINGLEVEL].ips (14 B)
IPS conversion of Game Genie code C21-CEF-C41 from TCRF

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