This video game system from NEC is the first with a CD-ROM interface (as an option). Note that the non-CD-ROM games are shaped like cards (called HuCards) that one can fit in a wallet or something. In Japan, this system is called the PC Engine.

NEC also made the TurboExpress for playing the card-based games (not CD-ROMs) in a portable system.

The American name for NEC's PC Engine console. It was created by NEC to get a chunk of Nintendo's video game pie. It was released to the Japanese public in September of 1987. NEC did not think the United States was very important videogame-wise, and did not release it on this side of the Pacific until 1989. And yes, it really is spelled "grafx", although it is commonly shortened to TG16, due to spelling problems (grafx is usually misspelled graphx or graphics).

Because of Nintendo of America's 3rd party monopoly, NEC could not release most of its software. Thus, the TurboGrafx 16 was not successful in the United States, but remained #1 in japan until 1994.

It was the first videogame console to have a CD-ROM drive, which it called CDROM2. It also saw a later incarnation as the Turbo Duo.

Many net flame wars have sprung up over the belief that the Turbo Grafx 16 was not 'really' a 16 bit console. Sega and Nintendo fans usually win such wars because their large following in this country allows them to drown out all 12 of us TG16 fans.

Arguments against the 16 bitness of the TG16 include:

  • Core (main) processor bus width (8 bits)
  • Controller simplicity (only 8 buttons - directions, run, select, I, II)
  • Similarities to the NES - controller, gameplay style, appearance
  • Acceptance - TG16 'failed' because it was 8-bit

Arguments for the 16 bitness of the TG16 include:

  • Graphics processor, color depth, bitmap size (impossible for 8-bit systems)
  • Controller complexity - expanded to directions, run, select, I, II, III, IV, V, VI, theoretically more
  • Competition - it stood up well agains the Genesis and Super NES - if it walks like a duck...
  • Popularity - the PC Engine, the Japanese TG16, was the #1 16 bit system there)

On October 30th, 1988, the NEC PC Engine was borne into the world of video games. It was the first system to utilize 16-bit graphics, which meant prettier software. It was way ahead of its time, as Sega's 16-bit Mega Drive wouldn't appear until 1989 and Nintendo's Super Famicom wouldn't appear until 1990. The PCE was immensely popular in Japan, living healthily until 1994, when NEC unveiled its 32-bit PC-FX system (which didn't live as healthily).

The PCE's Western counterpart, the TurboGrafx-16, was released in 1989, and went directly up against Sega's Western counterpart of the Mega Drive, the Genesis. America loved the Genesis but pretty much ignored the TG16. Nintendo's Super NES eventually destroyed them both after a bloody advertising war, but the TG developed an immense American (and European) fan base, with obsessed video game collectors especially loving towards the system. NEC was definitely an innovator in video games, and this node is dedicated to their work.

So here's the list of most of NEC's PC Engine-based hardware, along with links to some software nodes.

Names are organized alphabetically, not chronologically! Dates are in the nodes where applicable!

Companies Responsible for this Whole Mess:

Japanese "PC Engine" Series:

"PC Engine" Series Accessories:

North American "TurboGrafx-16/TurboDuo" Series:

"TurboGrafx-16/TurboDuo" Series Accessories:

CD-ROM² & Super CD-ROM² System & Arcade Cards

Noded Software:
(Some nodes refer to different system versions. Those are noted in the parentheseses.)


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