Video games are often released in different versions in different territories. The obvious way to do this is to program a different version of the game for each territory. But there's also a shortcut: release the exact same game in different locations, and program it so that the game does different things depending on what system it's played on.

This can produce odd results to anyone who has an imported game system; playing a domestic game on an imported system may cause it to behave like an imported game. For instance, if your system is Japanese, playing a domestic game may cause it to produce Japanese text.

This can also be used for RegionCoding, where the "different thing" done on the wrong system is "not run".

A related phenomenon is that in some European releases with multilanguage support, the system's language settings will affect which language the game is played in; even in cases where language is not selectable per se, the media would have all languages. So if a, say, French or Spanish gamer bought a game from the UK, the game would play in their language even if there's no mention in the instruction manual or the packaging that the disc contains any language other than English. This is less prevalent in later games as the disc space becomes more of an issue.

In some cases (not, unfortunately, the [=PS3=]), it's possible to modify a game system with a switch (or even in some cases a converter) that lets the user select whether the system is domestic or imported. The user can then buy one game locally and make it play as either a domestic or import version by flicking the switch. This first became widely known during the UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis era. A decent [[UsefulNotes/{{Emulation}} Emulator]] will let the user pick what country the emulated system pretends to be.

Systems which do this include:


[[folder: Useful Notes/MSX ]]

* ''[[VideoGame/{{Gradius}} G Gofer no Yabou Episode II]]'' becomes ''Nemesis 3: The Eve of Destruction''
* ''Akumajō Dracula'' becomes ''Vampire Killer''.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Sega Master System ]]

* ''Aztec Adventure'' becomes ''Nazca '88''.
* ''Power Strike'' becomes ''VideoGame/{{Aleste}}''.
* ''Super Wonder Boy: Monster World'', the Japanese version of ''VideoGame/WonderBoyInMonsterLand'', plays in English on a western SMS-- with a slightly different translation from the Western release, no less. Even the title is slightly different (instead of ''Wonder Boy in Monster Land'', it becomes ''Super Wonder Boy: Monster Land'').
** Playing ''VideoGame/WonderBoyIIITheDragonsTrap'' on a Japanese console will change the game's title to ''Monster World II'' and will enable FM sounds if an FM Sound Unit is installed. The text will still be in English though.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Game Gear ]]

* ''GG VideoGame/{{Aleste}} II'' becomes ''Power Strike II''.
* The GG version of the first ''VideoGame/PuyoPuyo'' becomes ''Puzlow Kids''. Instead of releasing it internationally under that title, Sega [[DolledUpInstallment opted to release it]] as ''VideoGame/DoctorRobotniksMeanBeanMachine'' instead.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Sega Genesis[=/=]Useful Notes/Mega Drive ]]

See [[ this link]].
* A ''lot'' of games have very minor changes in behavior from setting the country between Japan/US. Some only add/remove the "TM" on the "SEGA (TM)" screen before the actual game, or just change the title.
** ''VideoGame/FatalLabyrinth'' becomes ''Labyrinth of Death'' with kanji in the title, and plays in Japanese. This happens even in the Japan-only CompilationRerelease for the UsefulNotes/SegaCD.
** ''VideoGame/{{Streets of Rage}}'' changes to its Japanese name ''Bare Knuckle'', among other changes. The sequel also becomes ''Bare Knuckle 2'', but only if you change the country setting ''in the middle of the game''.
*** Averted with ''Streets of Rage 3'', since each version is coded to work only on its specific region.
** ''Truxton'' becomes ''Tatsujin''.
* ''MysticDefender'' may be one of the most extreme cases. This is really a ''Manga/PeacockKing'' adaptation. Running it in Japanese mode changes the name of the main character to Kujaku, gives him a robe, makes fetus-like enemies flesh colored instead of green, gives the levels names, changes the effect of some of the magic, and uses a picture with the opening text, never seen if the game is played normally.
* Even some {{Fan Translation}}s take advantage of this. Fan translations for ''King Colossus'' and ''Battle Mania 2'' are in Japanese or English depending on what kind of machine you are running them on.
* ''Dashin' Desperadoes'', when played on a Japanese UsefulNotes/MegaDrive, changes the game's title ''Rumble Kids''. The curious thing about this is that ''Rumble Kids'' was never actually released in Japan.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Neo Geo and Neo-Geo CD ]]

Just about everything for these systems uses the same ROM or disk in Japan and America. Neo-Geo games were notorious for censorship (particularly of red blood, as in ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown'') that could be avoided by switching your system to the Japanese version.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Atari Jaguar ]]

Yes, even Creator/{{Atari}}'s last gasp system did this. The game ''SensibleSoccer'' had fake player names when played on an American system and real ones on a European system, because of licensing restrictions.


[[folder: [[Useful Notes/Playstation Three Playstation 3 ]]
The Playstation 3 brought this feature to the modern era (the [=PS1=] and [=PS2=] couldn't run imported games at all without a ModChip, so there was never a chance for it to happen there). There's no known way to make a switch, but games will play differently on a Japanese and an American machine. Since the Genesis era, Japanese censorship has gotten stricter while American censorship has gotten looser, so now the American version may be the less censored one.
* ''VideoGame/{{Uncharted}}'' notoriously is censored in Japan to not show blood. Early adopters of the [=PS3=] sometimes bought Japanese systems; if they bought the American version of the game it would run as the censored Japanese version. Some reports claim that a patch changed this.
* ''VideoGame/{{Resistance}}'' had this problem too, but it could be worked around by using a US save file.
* Playing the Japanese version of ''Super VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'' on a western console causes the game to swap M. Bison's, Balrog's and Vega's name to match the western releases of the game, and also switch the initial language to ''English'' with Japanese being the unlockable language instead of vice-versa. No doubt that if a western version of the game is played on a Japanese console, the reverse will happen. One would think {{Capcom}} only wrote one version of the game with all localizations inserted into the final product[[note]]Very possible given the 30GB storage capacity of UsefulNotes/BluRay discs[[/note]] and let the game decide what to do based on the console's region on first run.
* Some Japanese games [[DamnYouMuscleMemory switch the buttons for Accept and Cancel]] if they're played in a western console, even though the voices don't reflect this if the voices are doing a tutorial (i.e., calling accept "Maru" and cancel "Batsu", which is roughly circle and cross respectively).


[[folder: [[Useful Notes/Nintendo Game Cube Game Cube ]]
* Switching to the Japanese language option on ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosMelee'' is a neat trip into localization. It even reveals the origin of the Motion Sensor Bomb item if you can read the text on its trophy entry (which in English is only given as "TOP SECRET").


[[folder: Useful Notes/Nintendo DS ]]

This system is region-free, but can do something similar by checking the menu language. Of course, no switch needs to be installed in order to change the menu language and see the other country's version. (Unfortunately, this doesn't extend to the [=DSi=], which doesn't let you change the menu language.)

* Due to Capcom's unusual release schedule of the second and third ''Franchise/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' games, many imported them from Japan. If the Nintendo DS was set to English, the import games would display their titles in English on the main menu. If the DS was Japanese, so were the titles.
** But the language of the (imported) game itself was still selectable at the start.
* The ''VideoGame/SonicRushSeries'' has English text if the language is English, but the voice acting varies from the Japan and the rest of the versions.
* All versions of ''VideoGame/MetalSlug 7'' are identical and contain Japanese, English and all European languages, yet somehow it took them 4 months to release the first non-Japanese version.
* Playing ''Konami's Collectors Series: Arcade Hits'' on a console set to Japanese will change the menus and text to Japanese. It will also change the version of ''Gradius'' included in the compilation from the "USA" version (which is actually the ''Nemesis'' variant with the logo on the title screen changed back to the ''Gradius'' one) to the Japanese original ([[DifficultyByRegion which has some difficulty differences]] compared to ''Nemesis''). The ''{{VideoGame/Contra}}'' logo also changes to the Japanese one. Strangely, all the other games which had different names between regions (such as ''VideoGame/RushNAttack'' and ''[[VideoGame/{{Twinbee}} Rainbow Bell]]'') remain unchanged.


[[folder: PC ]]

Some PC games make a point of installing or running different versions of the same game based on your computer's locale setting.
* ''VideoGame/{{Spore}}'' changed its language according to your computer's locale settings, as do many other EA games. This could be reversed by copying the desired language files over the language the game chose.
* The open-source game ''VideoGame/TheBattleForWesnoth'' does this too, but it can be overridden by starting it as ''wesnoth --dummy-locales'' (which makes all languages available).
* Some applications weren't coded with the different locale settings in mind. Using them with the "wrong" locale can give results that range from text not fitting on the screen to crashing at launch. Or in particularly bad cases, corrupting data.
** Tools such as Applocale help, a bit.
* ''VideoGame/CitiesXL'', a ''VideoGame/SimCity'' clone which almost nobody would have ever heard of if not for the whole always-online debacle with the new ''VideoGame/SimCity'', had an unfortunate tendency to auto-detect your PC's language settings and then select ''the wrong language''. Fortunately there's a workaround.


[[folder: DVD ]]

It is a little-known fact that [=DVDs=] can do this. This is separate from normal DVD RegionCoding; [=DVDs=] can be programmed to play different content depending on what region the player is from.
* The ''BubblegumCrisisTokyo2040'' [=DVDs=] were released in Japan identical to the American ones, but are programmed not to show any trailers on a Japanese player.
* Of course, people figured out that you can use this to add another layer of RegionCoding protection. Which came back to bite them hard when it was discovered that some legitimate DVD players sold in the US had firmware bugs that caused the extra protection layer to flag a false positive, locking out said legit DVD player from the DVD, while the protection can be worked around on modified or region-free players by first playing a DVD of the same region that does not have the extra layer of protection, then swapping out the DVD for the protected DVD. Cue FacePalm.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Blu Ray ]]

Blu-rays can use the menu language for similar effects within the same region. Note that Japan and the USA are in the same region. The changes need not have anything to do with menus.
* Setting the menu language to Japanese on ''Film/BatmanBegins'' and ''WesternAnimation/BatmanGothamKnight'' magically adds a Japanese track, removes most other languages, and forces subtitles in some places. If the menu language is English, the Japanese track is completely invisible and can't be seen or selected in any way.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Play Station 2 ]]

It should be noted that there is an explanation to the examples outlined below: As the [=PS2=] was sold before the arrival of the Blu-Ray scheme, most of Asia is covered under NTSC-J and the consoles sold in the region are ''Japanese despite the fact that most people in the region do not speak or understand Japanese in the first place'' [[note]]as a matter of fact, a reasonably large chunk of Asia comprises of countries belonging to the British Commonwealth, and former US, Dutch or UK territories - and thus the people in the countries has had at least some form of education in the English language, but not Japanese[[/note]]. Late in the [=PS2=] era, Sony realized that one of the reasons piracy was rampant in the region is that many people want games in English, and thus began to officially include English subtitles and text in their Japanese-region games- going as far as to re-release some NTSC/UC games for NTSC-J consoles with no modifications.
* [[CaptainObvious If you're using a Japanese PS2, and have the system language set to Japanese, the Japanese version of ''Rez'' will run in Japanese.]] But set the system language to English, and you're in for a surprise: the game's text will be in English!
* Likewise, with the Japanese version of Sonic Gems Collection, if the system language is set to Japanese, the logo and menus will be in Japanese and ''VideoGame/SonicCD'' will play the original soundtrack. Change the system language to English, and the logo/menu text changes with it... and ''VideoGame/SonicCD'' plays the North American soundtrack.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Sega Saturn ]]

* Switches existed for this system, but this always affected region lockout--a game could never run in two regions, so couldn't have different behavior depending on region. However, the Japanese game ''[[TerraDiver Soukyugurentai]]'' had a glitchy, partial, language change which took effect if you set the country to US ''and'' used a VideoGame/GameGenie to prevent this from causing the region lockout that it normally does.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Sega Dreamcast ]]

* If you play ''De La VideoGame/{{Jet Set Radio}}'', a special version only released in Japan (and even then only through the Sega Direct service), on a Dreamcast with its System language set to English, all the in-game text becomes English. The same is true for Spanish, Italian and German, though all in-game voices remain in whatever language they where originally, and the characters go by their Japanese names.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Nintendo 3 DS ]]

* In VideoGame/PokemonXAndY, the Pokémon Vivillon has different coloring, depending on where your 3DS-System is registered.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Nintendo Switch ]]

* Like the Nintendo DS, the Switch is region-free, and the console's language and region settings can be freely changed in the system itself. Even foreign eShops can be accessed by creating Nintendo Accounts outside of the user's home country. Some games will change their text and voice languages to match the system settings, but others can change them in-game.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'' is a notable example, as it contains text and voice acting for eight languages (English, Japanese, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Russian) and changes its in-game text and voices according to the console's language. An update in May 2017 allows for the voice acting language to be changed independently of the text.
** Other games, such as ''VideoGame/Disgaea5 Complete'', contain full English text and voices in its initial release, despite not being released outside Japan for several months after the Japanese launch. Since the system is region-free, players are free to import the Japanese version and enjoy the entire game in English ahead of the official English launch.


[[folder: Useful Notes/Arcade ]]

* VideoGame/SnowBros 2 seems to be an early arcade board with all differences programmed into the same RAM and region settings is controlled from the DIP switches. The region settings determines the title screen language, which subtitles to display (if at all) and whether the level select screen has cutesy cartoon characters or deformed photoshopped babies.