=============================================================================== a u s t r a l i a n .d8888b. .d888 d88P Y88b d88P" 888 888 88888b. .d8888b .d88P 888888 8888b. .d88888 888 "88b 88K .od888P" 888 "88b d88" 888 888 888 "Y8888b. d88P" 888 .d888888 888 888 888 d88P X88 888" 888 888 888 Y88b 888 88888P" 88888P' 888888888 888 "Y888888 "Y88888 888 888 888 888 888 888 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Australian PS2 FAQ By sebivv: email@example.com Version 2.0, 27 September 2005 This FAQ is for use exclusivly at GameFAQs. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Version History: 27 September 2005 - Version 2.0 Much needed update. Complete re-write. Revised formatting. Added PStwo section, updated hardware and software sections. Updated new ratings system. Added dedicated Grand Theft Auto section. =============================================================================== Contents: NOTE: To quickly scroll to a section, copy the section number (ie. 2.1.1) and paste it into the find function in your browser. = 1.0 General Notes = 2.0 Hardware - 2.1 General Hardware info - 2.1.1 Colour System - 2.1.2 Network Adapter - 2.1.3 PS2 Hard Drive - 2.1.4 Other Accssories - 2.2 Old "Playstation 2" - 2.2.1 Pricing - 2.2.2 Plus Version - 2.2.3 Other Consoles - 2.3 Slimline "PStwo" - 2.3.1 Pricing - 2.3.2 Noteworthy differences - 2.3.3 Other Consoles - 2.3.4 AC Adapter safety recall = 3.0 Software - 3.1 Title restrictions - 3.2 Exclusive titles - 3.3 Release dates - 3.4 Pricing - 3.5 "Platinum" titles - 3.5.1 Description - 3.5.2 Rebranding - 3.6 "Network Play" titles - 3.7 Preowned titles - 3.8 Overseas titles - 3.9 Overseas DVDs = 4.0 Ratings and Censorship - 4.1 Restrictive nature of Australian market - 4.2 Recent changes to ratings labels - 4.3 Ratings System - 4.4 The 18+ Category - 4.5 "Refused Classifiction" - 4.6 Banned and Modified titles - 4.6.1 Banned titles - 4.6.2 Modified titles - 4.6.3 Titles under review - 4.6.4 Grand Theft Auto Series = 5.0 Importing into Australia - 5.1 Consoles - 5.1.1 Points to note - 5.1.2 Country comparison - 5.1.3 Requirements after importing - 5.1.4 Important notes on slimline PStwo - 5.2 Software - 5.2.1 Importing censored titles - 5.2.2 Importing from overseas - 5.3 Accessories - 5.4 The PS2 Hard Drive and Final Fantasy XI - 5.5 Other Important notes on importing = 6.0 Contact / Questions = 7.0 Credits = 8.0 Copyrights =============================================================================== 1.0 General Notes: =============================================================================== + Why have the FAQ? Although Australia is a subset of the PAL gaming market, it does have a frew significant differences in games, hardware and ratings. This FAQ is a references for Australian gamers who are interested in importing games and exploring the differences in the Australian market. + European/PAL Compatibility Much of this FAQ can be applied to other PAL markets, excluding Australia-specific sections. + New Zealand Compatibility NZ shares the same hardware as the Australian market. However, game ratings and some game content is very different and should not be confused. + Spelling This FAQ uses British-English (ie. colour). =============================================================================== 2.0 Hardware =============================================================================== 2.1 General Hardware info -------------------------- 2.1.1 Colour System Australia uses the PAL colour system. This system runs at 625 line resolution and 50 Hz refresh rate. In comparison, North America (UC) and Japan (J) use NTSC, which runs at 525 line resolution and 60 Hz refresh rate. There are some issues with the slower refresh rate that comes with the PAL colour system. See the "60Hz Compatibility Guide" at GameFAQs for more information. 2.1.2 Network Adapter There are significant differences between the NTSC UC/J and PAL network adapters. The US Network Adapter supports dial up connections and allows the PS2 console to be plugged directly into a phone socket. The PAL Network Adapter can only be used on broadband internet connections. Sony Australia has said the difference is because of the geographical distance between Australia and the US, where most game servers are located. Only a broadband connection will give a sufficient transfer rate for play. 2.1.3 PS2 Hard Drive The PS2 Hard Drive has not yet been released on the PAL market. It is very unlikely Sony will decide to release it in the future, especially since the slimline PStwo units cannot use it. It is possible to import the hard drive to play games like Final Fantasy XI. For more infromation see section 5.5. 2.1.4 Other Accessories The PAL market sells the tranparent red Dual Shock 2 controller that is not available in the US. The PS2 Linux kit which is no longer available in North America is still available on the PAL market. In Australia is must be bought directly from Sony as it is not sold in retail outlets. 2.2 Old "Playstation 2" ------------------------ 2.2.1 Pricing When the Playstation 2 was first released in Australia the recommended retail price was close to AU$800. The old Playstation 2 models are no longer being produced in Australia and therefore buying them new is difficult. Just before their discontinuation the RRP was AU$299. This equates to approx US$226. 2.2.2 Plus Version Shortly before Sony released the slimline PStwo models in late 2004, they released the plus (+) models. They could be identified by the plus symbol in the corner of the console's packaging. Plus models were the original PS2 models with built in IR receiver and the ability to play DVD-R and DVD-RW discs. 2.2.3 Other Consoles The PAL market had the exclusive "Satin Silver PS2" for a short time. It was introduced over the 2004 Christmas period. The console was similar to other PS2 models however had a silver body. It was originally packaged with two silver Dual Shock 2 controllers. Later models were only packaged with one. The Satin Silver consoles used different laser lenses and several batches had severe game playback problems. The original Satin Silver PS2 is no longer available. The original Playstation 2 models were also widely packaged with games (usually Sony produced games). Some games to be sold with consoles as a pack have included: Metal Gear Solid 2, Gran Turismo 4, Final Fantasy X. 2.3 Slimline "PStwo" --------------------- The slimline PStwo console in Australia has the model number SCPH-70002. It is identical to the UK PAL version however is packaged with a Figure-8 cable with an Australian plug on the end. 2.3.1 Pricing The recommended retail price of the slimline PStwo units as of September 2005 is AU$249.95. This equates to approx US$188. The US version of the console retails for around US$149.95. 2.3.2 Noteworthy Differences + Power supply The slimline PStwo has an external power transformer. Although this may sound like a hassle, it makes importing consoles a lot easier. See the importing section for more info. + Internal Network Adapter The network adapter is built in to the slimline PStwo. The UC version of the slimline PStwo only supports broadband connections, which is the same with PAL / Australian versions. + Laser issues with mod chipping There are many reports of the SCPH-70002 lenses burning out after a mod chip was installed. This seems to happen on earlier batches when playing disc-intenstive games such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Of course Sony will not cover this under warranty due to the mod chip. 2.3.3 Other Consoles As with the original Playstation 2, a Satin Silver version of the slimline PStwo has been released. It retails for RRP AU$259.95. The slimline PStwo is sometimes packaged with games such as Singstar Pop. 2.3.4 AC Adapter Safety Recall In September 2005 Sony issued a worldwide recall of PStwo power adapters. Sony found a part used in the adapters was prone to overheating. Recalls are handled by the regional divisons of Playstation. =============================================================================== 3.0 Software =============================================================================== 3.1 Title Restrictions ----------------------- Australia is restricted to the PAL market, which itself only gets a small percentage of games made. Other titles will not be released in Australia if distributors do not feel they will make good sales. For example Australia only has one version of Dancing Stage (the UK translation of Dance Dance Revolution) while the UK has several. 3.2 Exclusive Titles --------------------- The only games exclusive to Australia are AFL-related (Australian Football League). AFL is the popular local sport in Australia. Titles include those part of the "AFL Live" series (usually one released each year). Another series called "AFL Premiership" was created in 2004 (one game released per year). 3.3 Release Dates ------------------ Australia usually gets titles a few days after European PAL releases. Very rarely a game will be released in Australia before other countries. 3.4 Pricing ------------ The average popular new release title will retail for between AU$99.95 and AU$109.95, depending on the store. This equates to approx US$75. 3.5 "Platinum" Titles ---------------------- 3.5.1 Description "Platinum is the PAL equivalent of the North American "Greatest Hits" range. To qualify for Platinum a game must sell 500 000 copies. When a game becomes Platinum, its price drops to AU$49.95. The packaging for the game is also changed. Instead of the regular black or blue plastic case, platinum titles have a silver case. The front artwork is changed (see Rebranding section below). 3.5.2 Rebranding In August 2005 Sony Europe changed the artwork design for Platinum titles. Previously the designed featured the original game artwork cropped down and surrounded by a silver border. The Platinum logo banner is displayed across the bottom of the case and the regular Playstation logo across the top of the case has a silver border. Instead of a white background spine with black writing, the platinum case has a black background spine with silver writing. Any artwork on the game CD is discarded and the disc has a generic black print of the game's title. The new design features the same silver background for the Playstation logo. However the original artwork is cropped with a thin silver border and black background. A new circular Platinum logo with a red background is placed at the bottom of the case. 3.6 "Network Play" Titles -------------------------- "Network Play" is the label given to PAL games that have online gaming components. It is the equivalent of the US's "Online" labels. The label is a blue strip that appears just below the Playstation 2 logo on title artwork. It will either be labelled "with network play or "network play only". A small logo will also appear on the spine of the game. 3.7 Preowned Titles -------------------- The most common place to buy preowned games in Australia is via Electronics Boutique stores, which are located nationwide. Other smaller local game stores may offer pre-owned titles. eBay is also a popular option. 3.8 Overseas Titles -------------------- Out of the box, Australian Playstation consoles will only play PAL PS1 and PS2 games. Games imported from Europe and other PAL countries will work, however games from the US or Japan will require a mod chip. 3.9 Overseas DVDs ------------------ Australian PS2 consoles will only play Region 4 DVDs (Australia and New Zealand). A mod chip is required for playback of DVDs from other regions. =============================================================================== 4.0 Ratings and Censorship =============================================================================== 4.1 Restrictive nature of Australian market -------------------------------------------- In comparison to other western video game markets, Australia is quite strict. on game content. In Australia, video game ratings are distributed and enforced by The Office Of Film and Literature Classification. The main difference is that these ratings are managed by the government, rather than the industry (as is the practice in the United States). A long-running argument against the ratings system is that the lack of more mature ratings is outdated. The argument has been drawn out for a long time and reached a climax in early 2005 when the ratings were put under review. However no changes were made. The Grand Theft Auto series has also put the ratings into the spotlight (see GTA section below). Critics have noticed a recent trend of inconsistancy in OFLC decisions, particularly over sexual content in a game. While some decisions show a trend towards leniency, other contradictory decisions are made because of political pressure, particularly in the case of the Grand Theft Auto series. 4.2 Recent changes to ratings labels ------------------------------------- In August 2005 the OFLC changed the ratings labels placed on all games. Previously the labels were a black and white sticker 2cm x 2cm placed on the top of the case in the bottom left corner. The new labels are 4cm x 3cm and required to be printed on the game sleeve, often covering up parts of the game cover art. The label is circular and split in two: the left contains the rating with a coloured background (the colour depends on the rating). The right half is white with black text explaining the ratings advice (eg. "Contains mild violence). The colour scheme is as follows: G - Green PG - Yellow M - Blue MA15+ - Red (with black "RESTRICTED" bar) 4.3 Ratings System ------------------- G For General Audience Games rated G are available to play by anyone. PG Parental Guidance Recommended Previously G8+. Available for anyone to play however parental guidance for those younger than 15 is recommended. M15+ Mature Games rated M15+ are available for anyone to play however are recommended for those aged 15 and above. MA15+ Mature (Restricted) Games rated MA15+ can only be sold and/or played by people aged 15 and above, except if accompanied by a parent or guardian. 4.4 The 18+ Category --------------------- A controversial topic in the Australian video game market is the R18+ rating. As of yet it does not exist (it does for movies). The cinema equivalent states a movie may not be watched by anyone under the age of 18. Gamers have long wanted an R18+ rating for games. The category has been proposed in Australian parliament 2-3 times in last few years. However, it looks unlikely in the near future as the idea has already been rejected in early 2005. 4.5 "Refused Classification" ----------------------------- "Refused Classification" (or RC) is the technical term used for games that have been banned. If a game receives an RC rating, it becomes illegal to sell, play or import the game on a state level. Games which have "sensitive content" that would rate higher than the MA15+ rating receive an RC rating because there is no 18+, and are therefore banned. Because the legality of RC games is enforced on a state level, the punishment for breaking this law varies in different states of Australia. The most common punishment for individuals is a fine of AU$10 000 and AU$50 000 for businesses who sell or display the game. 4.6 Banned and Modified Games ------------------------------ 4.6.1 Banned Titles There are currently two PS2 titles banned in Australia: + BMX XXX This game was banned because of "excessive nudity". Players can choose a female character who rides a BMX bike topless. This nudity was deemed unnecessary by the OFLC and the game was given an RC rating. The game was not banned in New Zealand and was even sold with a label across the front bragging "BANNED IN AUSTRALIA!". + Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude The newest LSL game was refused classification by the OFLC due to sexual content. This stirred some convtroversy shortly after when the OFLC allowed "Playboy: The Mansion" to go on sale in Australia. 4.6.2 Modified Titles There are currently four PS2 titles in Australaia that have been censored in some form: + The Getaway This game was originally given the MA15+ restricted rating. For some reason Sony Computer Entertainment resubmitted various versions of the game and they were refused classification. A final edited version went on sale with the MA15+ rating. It has 20 seconds of cut scenes edited out. + Shellshock Nam '67 (NOT MODIFIED) There has been a lot of confusion over whether this game was edited. The alpha version was shown to the OFLC and refused classification. A later version was submitted and rated MA15+, prompting gamers to suspect it had been censored. Atari denied the claims. It later turned out that Atari edited the game in the final development stages all over the world, so technically the Australian version is not censored. The other three titles that have been modified are part of the Grand Theft Auto series - they have their own dedicated section below. 4.6.3 Titles Under Review There are two titles considered "under extended review". Although the OFLC has passed these games for sale, events after the game launch led the OFLC to review their decision. The OFLC does not give any final decision on this review. The two games that are under review have been on sale for a long period of time and it's unlikely they will be banned in the future. + Hitman: Contracts This game was released in March 2004 with an MA15+ rating. A few months later a conservative journalist complained about the game in a major newspaper. This began debate over the game and prompted an extended review. + Manhunt This game caused some controversy when it was banned in New Zealand and not Australia. Usually NZ is more liberal when it comes to violent games. However this time Manhunt was passed in Australia with a MA15+ rating. The 2004 Stefan Pakeerah murder case in England brought Manhunt back into the spotlight. As with newspapers and TV news around the world, Australian press incorrectly reported the game caused the murder. When it was found the game belonged to the victim and not the murderer, the Australian press ignored the information. However the damage had already been done. A state parliament member published a press release opposing the game. This lead to the OFLC placing the game back under review, more than six months after it was released. 4.6.4 Grand Theft Auto Series The GTA series has an extremely bad track record in Australia. It is also the game that has gained the most attention for video game violence and has placed a spotlight on the OFLC ratings system. + Grand Theft Auto 1/2 (PLAYSTATION 1) When GTA 1 was released it was considered borderline MA/RC. However the OFLC considered the "top-down" view lessened the impact of the game's violence and passed it with an MA15+ rating. GTA 2 was the same. + Grand Theft Auto 3 Arguably the most well-known example of Australian censorship. The game's distributor Take 2 "jumped the gun" and assumed the OFLC would give the game a MA15+ rating. The game was shipped and went on sale branded with this rating on the cover. However, after it went on sale the OFLC refused classification on the title, effectively making it illegal. Take 2 defended the rating but to no avail. Copies of the game were recalled from stores and quickly replaced with a new censored version. This new version had several minutes of cut-scene footaged removed. The editing surrounded a scene where a mechanic talked about having sex. Take 2 also removed the function where players can pick up prostitutes and have sex with them. Since players could beat up the prostitute aftewards, the OFLC deemed this as sexual violence, which is not allowed in Australia in video games or movies. The cover art on the new version was also different. Before the game was recalled some fans were able to buy the uncensored version. After the ban, gamers began importing the game from nearby New Zealand where it has not been censored. Most were successful, however there was a report of a shipment of six games being confiscated by Australian customs. + Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Take 2 removed seven seconds of footage before submitting this game to the OFLC. Again the prostitute feature was removed. Gamers again turned to New Zealand to import uncensored versions of the game. + Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Surprsing GTA: SA was initially released and given an MA15+ rating with no modifications or editing. Fans of the series were not convinced at first and ordered copies from New Zealand. However it later turned out the Australian version was not modified and even contained the prostitution feature, which had caused the censorship in the previous two games. It is believed the prostitution feature was left in because it is in context: the ability to pick up a hooker depends on respect, weather, car type, appearance etc. However in mid-2005 the "hot coffee" modification was released onto the internet by a gamer who found secret content through the game's code. The mod unlocked a mini-mission where the player had sex with a woman. The mission was left in the game's coding but was not accessible without the hot coffee mod. The modification led the ESRB in America to up the game's rating to "Adults Only". In Australian the OFLC "revoked" the game's classification and it was pulled from shelves. They stated this new content could not pass under current ratings. Take 2 resubmitted the game for classification in September 2005. The new version cannot be changed by the "hot coffee" mod and was rated MA15+. Furthermore the ratings advice was changed from Medium Level Animated Violence, Medium Level Coarse Language" to "Strong Violence, Strong Coarse Language". =============================================================================== 5.0 Importing into Australia =============================================================================== 5.1 Consoles ------------- 5.1.1 Points to note + Colour Systems Australia users the PAL colour format. Consoles from the US and Japan use NTSC. If you plan to import an NTSC console you will need to make sure your television can display NTSC pictures. Most newer television sets sold in Australia will display both colour systems. + Voltage Australia uses a 220/240 Volt power source. The US and Japan use 110 Volts. This presents a problem on older consoles as the power transformer is located inside the console. If you import a 110V console you will need transformer to convert 110V to 240V. These can be quite expensive, however if you can afford one they can be bought from stores such as Dick Smith Electronics, Jaycar Electronics or Alltronics. + Games and NTSC UC/J If you import a console then expect to import games as well. While PAL games are universal on PAL consoles, there are two different NTSC "regions" for games: UC for North America and J for Japan. NTSC-UC games will only play on NTSC-UC consoles, and the same applies for NTSC-J. If you want to play Japanese games, you will need to import a console from Japan. + Importing difficulties Sony doesn't like people importing consoles and games from other regions, and will sometimes discourage stores from shipping overseas. There have been reports of PS2 shipments coming out of Japan being blocked by local authorities. In the US major game retailers such as EBgames will not ship overseas. 5.1.2 Country Comparison + Europe (PAL) Because Australian PS2 consoles will play European PAL games, there is no advantage to buying a console from Europe/UK. The only benefit would be the ability to play Region 2 DVDs, which is monst cases are also Region 4. PS2 regioning can be unlocked by a mod-chip installation. + Japan (NTSC-J) Unless you are really into Japanese games, or know the language, I don't recommend it. If you are importing an older "Playstation 2" unit there is also the issue of voltage. + USA (NTSC-UC) If you want to play NTSC titles that have not been released in PAL format, there is the option to buy a US console. Keep in mind these consoles will not play Japanese games. US consoles take a 110V power supply. + Canada (NTSC-UC) Recommended if you want to play NTSC titles. Canadian consoles will play North American NTSC games and also operate on 220 volts, the same as Australia. They will also allow you to play Region 1 DVDs. 5.1.3 Requirements after Importing If you import a console you may need one of the following: + Power transformer To convert 110V to 240V. These are available from stores such as Dick Smith Electronics, Alltronics or Jaycar Electronics. + Figure 8 Cable This is the cable that runs from the console to the power outlet (on the old Playstation 2 consoles), or from the external power transformer to the power outlet (on the slimline PStwo). You will need to swap it for one with an Australian plug on the end. Luckily these cables are very common and cheap. + Games In most cases you will need to import games from wherever you imported your console. 5.1.4 Important notes on slimline PStwo The slimline PStwo has an external power transformer. This makes importing them a lot easier. The transformers themselves will accept any voltage from 110-240V whereas previous Playstation models with the tranformers built in would only accept voltages used in their local region. If you import a slimline PStwo you only need to swap the figure-8 cable that comes with the external transformer (they aren't wired together). 5.2 Software ------------- 5.3.1 Importing censored titles The most common place to import censored titles from is New Zealand. With the exception of "Manhunt" New Zealand games aren't censored or banned to the same degree as Australia. NZ is geographically the closest PAL country so postage will be less. 5.3.2 Importing from overseas If you are looking for titles that have not been released in PAL format, USA or Canada are the best countires to import from. Keep in mind you will need a mod-chipped Playstation 2 or need to import one from either country. Unless you specifically want a Japanese game, avoid importing from there. 5.3 Accessories ---------------- There is no point importing standard accessories from other countries. In almost every instance it will be cheaper to simply buy the Australian version. You may want to import peripheral accessories made for games you import - for example a dance mat for Dance Dance Revolution. 5.4 The PS2 Hard Drive and Final Fantasy XI -------------------------------------------- The American PS2 Hard Drive will work on Australian consoles (older Playstation 2 units). You will need to import it from the US or Canada. As there are no PAL games with Hard Drive support, Final Fantasy XI is pretty much the only reason you would want to import a Hard Drive. You can play FFXI on an Australian console by providing a fake US address during signup. To buy credit, you will need to use a credit card. If you have a home computer with reasonable specs, it is much easier (and cheaper) to simply buy the PC version of the game. 5.5 Other Important notes on Importing --------------------------------------- There is a small chance you may have to pay import duties on anything you bring into the country. This generally happens if the value exceeds AU$500 or if there are many items including in one shipment. If you import a game that has been banned in Australian, there is a small chance of it being confiscated by customs when it arrives in the country. This is very rare but there have been a few reports. Couriers are not always the best idea. Packages delivered by courier services are often more frequently searched by customs. For best chances at smooth shipping, only ship in small amounts. =============================================================================== 6.0 Contact / Questions =============================================================================== Feel free to contact me with any questions to add to this FAQ. The address is: firstname.lastname@example.org Please label the email with "PS2 FAQ" in the subject line. =============================================================================== 7.0 Credits =============================================================================== Playstation North America - http://www.playstation.com Playstation Australia - http://www.playstation.com.au Playstation UK - http://www.playstation.co.uk Refused Classification - http://www.refused-classification.com Future Gamerz - http://www.futuregamez.net =============================================================================== 8.0 Copyrights =============================================================================== "PlayStation" and "DUALSHOCK" are registered trademarks and "PS2" is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. is a registered trademark of Sony Corporation. "PlayStation" and the "PS" Family logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Copyright Sony Corporation 1995, 2000. All rights reserved. "PSX" is a registered trademark of Sony Corporation, Copyright 2003, 2004. All rights reserved. =============================================================================== AUSTRALIAN PS2 FAQ COPYRIGHT SEBIVV 2004-2005 THIS FAQ IS FOR USE EXCLUSIVELY AT GAMEFAQS.COM AND MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED ON ANY OTHER SITE, OR IN ANY OTHER FORM.