When NEC announced the Turbo Grafx-16 the press was abuzz with anticipation. Up till this point in recent years it was clearly Nintendo holding the power of gaming in their hands. Sega was just a meddling second placer fighting it out with Atari and their 7800 console (it was not much of a fight at my school). Sega had announced they were bringing out the Sega Mega Drive as the Sega Genesis console. NEC was bringing out the Turbo Grafx-16 and Nintendo was content to keep their Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) on the market for a few more years. While it would be easy to bash the Turbo Grafx-16 for failing- it was more than an uphill battle for NEC, it would not be right as this was an iconic system for those that played it.
This week we have been celebrating the Turbo Grafx-16 and PC Engine (Japanese version). We have a Top 10 domestic games list, a Top 10 import games list and most valuable games list available. Not to mention the other history articles linked at the end of this one. To say that we are fans of the Turbo Grafx-16 is an understatement. Judging by the support the articles are receiving, so are our friends you the reader.
The Turbo Grafx-16 was not necessarily a 16-Bit console, it was 16-Bit where it mattered and lesser components elsewhere to cut costs. This approach was also taken by Atari with the Jaguar console which launched the following decade. NEC knew they had a battle on their hands so it was apparently though to bring the CD-ROM attachment over as quickly as possible (about a year later and with only two games).
The Turbo Grafx-16 launched with nine titles that covered arcade shooters, racing, brawling, action, adventure, sports, pinball and even action role playing. The spread was nearly perfect even though fans did not exactly show up with money in hand.
NEC kept the Turbo Grafx-16 line going for a few years. Add-ons were created that improved the power of the CD-ROM attachment and even a new revised console was released (Turbo Duo). NEC gave Sega and Nintendo a hell of a run for their money and fans today are still discovering this unsung hero of consoles.
Alien Crush (history article) Ebay
China Warrior (history article) Ebay
Dungeon Explorer (history article) Ebay
Keith Courage in Alpha Zones (history article) Ebay
Power Golf Ebay
The Legendary Axe (history article) Ebay
Victory Run Ebay
Vigilante (history article) Ebay
Check out my two year old article and read my thoughts on the Turbo Grafx-16 then and now.