I have an original NES from England that I bought in the early 90s. I just found it again in the attic, and I want to hook it up and start playing it again. However, I now live in the USA and it's region locked. Is there any way around this?


There are two critical differences between an NES made for the UK versus one for the US: the CIC chip and the video output.

The CIC chip is designed to forcibly reset the system any time there isn't a cartridge with a proper matching CIC chip in the slot, but the system can easily be modified to eliminate for a matching CIC chip (or any CIC chip for that matter) in the cartridge.

The video output of a UK NES will be PAL format rather than NTSC. Monitors which are just designed for use in the USA won't work with PAL signals, but some monitors will auto-detect PAL or NTSC and display either kind of signal just fine. Unfortunately, I've not seen such dual-format capabilities advertised as a feature, so I don't know how to determine which ones would work.

  • 1
    Not to mention screens like my Samsung from a few years ago. Its composite input can accept either PAL or NTSC but it’s one of those really dumb screens that tries to rationalise everything as interlaced video, always trying to comb together successive fields. So old systems look terrible on it.
    – Tommy
    Mar 12 '20 at 23:05
  • There are mods to give a NES an HDMI video output which is another potential solution, see retrorgb.com/hidefnes.html as an example.
    – bodgit
    Mar 13 '20 at 10:14
  • 1
    also what would probably work is a HDMI adapter without modding the console. I have that for my oric (SCART => hdmi RGB) and it works very well Mar 13 '20 at 13:25

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