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Atari 2600 Secam


Krystal Sharky
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Hello, i bought an atari 2600 model "dark vador" S2 some years ago and i noticed that with some games the colors are very weird compared to the screenshot on the box or on internet.. so i wonder if my atari is for sure a secam version and not a pal one (i bought it in france)

Here is some pictures to show you.(sorry for te bad quality but the colors are the same.)

 

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Yes, it's a Secam VCS. Atari didn't develop a specific TIA chip for French market and instead added external ciruit to generate SECAM signal using just the 3 luma output of the PAL or NTSC chip. The result is a palette with only 8 colors compared to 128 for NTSC and 104 for PAL.
A handful of PAL Atari games in the early '80s were programmed to look good on SECAM too, including Pole Position, Mario Bros, Obelix, Asteroids, Battlezone. Activision also released separate version of a few games for PAL and SECAM.
In addition to that, the "TV TYPE" switch actually turn on/off color in the video signal, while on PAL and NTSC its behaviour is controlled by software and later games used it for other function. "Secret Quest", for example, needs the switch to access the status screen, and it's unplayable on a SECAM console.

Only 4-switch consoles were produced in SECAM, all the "jr" are PAL. There was also a junior with SCART output (PAL composite signal) sold in France, while the RF version seems more common.
And all the Atari 7800 for French market were equipped with RGB SCART output and they're based on the PAL version, so they'll play PAL games with correct colors.

Interesting to note the score in the "Space invaders" picture, showing extra colors: that's an artifact which only happens on SECAM, due to the way the color information is split into two components and sent over two scanlines.
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/212910-early-vcs-secam-version-differences/?do=findComment&comment=2767356

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Hi, as he's french, I'll answer is his language.

 

Salut,

La version secam ne sort que 8 couleurs, c'est lié à l'utilisation des circuits noir et blanc. Donc si ta console est secam et que tu utilises des cartouches pal ou ntsc, le résultat sera toujours "carnaval" :)

Il n'y a qu'avec de rares cartouches secam (reconnaissables à un sticker S) que tu auras un résultat plus ou moins acceptable.

A mon humble avis, la version secam est la pire, une hérésie qui n'aurait jamais du exister !! Le principal atout de la vcs est justement sa palette incroyable, et elle est ici réduite à 8 couleurs criardes.

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