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PC-Engine - any good retrospective views anywhere...


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I'm wondering if anyone can point me towards any good retrospective views about the PC-Engine / Turbographx 16

console hardware -whether on this site or elsewhere - that does a good recount on this entry into videogaming...

 

Maybe answering why - didn't it take off?

 

Was it too far ahead of it's time? Too highly priced?

Or simply too late with it's hot titles - eg. StreetFighter II, Outrun? and other such titles...

 

Maybe it was missing hot titles of it's own.

Nothing to match Super Mario Bros, Zelda and so on...

 

Surely it had it's shoot 'em ups (Spacey shooters) - but lacking in landbased / landscape shooters - eg. Raiden, Flying Shark and the likes of them? It did have Xevious - but no Terra Cresta?

 

The hardware seemed competent enough - but with it's fighting game (with Bruce Lee like character) - it didn't have enough fluid like animation with it's large sprites - and was not SF2 in quality - but then ahead it was pre-SF2?

 

I've always been interested in this hardware - tempted by it. But never got to try it out, nor see it going first hand - and can only go by videos - which I hope don't have frames missing - and will show it 100% as per the original.

 

Perhaps the reason for it not being successful - is that it didn't have more games the likes of R-Type running on it?

 

Harvey

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I love the PCEngine, but got into it much later in life. It has tons of great games which were later ported to SFC/SNES. It's true the system has a lot if excellent shmups (Parodius, Twinbee, Star Soldier series) but also plenty of other great games such as several versions of Bomberman, Bonks Adventure (PC Kid), Adventure Island, and plenty of weird stuff as well. My favorite game is Devil's Crush (pinball).

 

It seems however that the system was mostly popular in Japan and nowhere else. I grew up in France and I remember it was imported officially, but it was always this expensive system with some good games eclipsed by the mainstream SNES and Genesis. From what I recall even the more expensive Neo Geo was more popular as it had the edge of being arcade perfect.

 

From what I've read, the US units (TG16) were quite poorly marketed and expensive as well. They put Keith Courage as pack-in game when something like Bonk would have been much better (Keith Courage is meh at best). Then it released in the same month as the Genesis with Altered Beast... and apparently many developers were not allowed to port their games to the US because Nintendo had negotiated exclusive rights of those developers for the American NES.

 

Then the Supergrafx was a flop with only six games (some really good at least). The PC-FX was only released in Japan and unless you know Japanese (and like visual novels) it doesnt seem to have much appeal.

Edited by Newsdee
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Not that this really is what you're looking for per se, but if you need to find a reason to be excited about this console, I very recently wrote a review of it to inaugurate a new blog:

 

http://www.retrodrunk.com/2018/02/console-review-pc-engine-duo-rx.html

 

I LOVE this console. It's really hard for me to pick favorites, but it's one of the stronger consoles in my collection. Like Newsdee said, the Turbografx-16 was poorly marketed in the U.S., and it was too late in the U.S. It didn't have a enough time to really wow people; soon enough, "GENESIS DOES WHAT NINTENDON'T" was all over everyone's TV screens and consumers bit (not to mention that Sega actually aired an ad that mocked the Turbo's alleged 16-bitness).

 

If you're a video game collector at all, I would recommend it. My review above covers most of my opinions about the hardware and software. If you really don't care for shooters at all, I might hesitate at all, because that is really the primary strength of the console (and the variety and caliber of shmups will literally blow you away).

 

Love it!

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To say the PC Engine never took off would be a huge mistake because it cooked the competition for a time in Japan, even more so as CDs popped out too. The TG16 though never was given a chance to survive outside so it would be fair to question and wonder why NEC did the idiotic steps it took. The fact the chip games alone only got a 1 in 3 release in the US vs Japan severely limiting what appeared, the stuff that did, a good margin of it was sub par or average leaving a much more limited library of great things compared to Japan.

 

The system wasn't expensive as it came out at $200 which was fine for the time. The lack of games, the single controller included (and jack on system too) requiring extra controllers and a turbo tap to be bought were harmful.

 

When I finally decided last December to give it another go I straight up wrote off immediately buying another US based Turbo Duo or a TG16 base unit either specifically due to the crappy library. I got a Core Grafx II instead because there was just so much I really loved and even paid up in the mid 90s for with 'Magic Engine' to emulate what I couldn't do on my JP/US CD running US turbochip only playing Turbo Duo game. To see the library I have now so far on the CG2 almost all we never had here and it's a shame. The system very well did outperform the quality of the Genesis in many ways.

 

If you're curious about the actual games I can point you to two sites, and they do cover hardware and some introspective too I use greatly when researching another HuCard buy.

http://www.pcengine.co.uk/index.htm

http://www.videogameden.com/

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The system wasn't expensive as it came out at $200 which was fine for the time.

That's true about the base system. But the extras added up fast. I got the TurboGrafx-CD when it was released in the US ($400). Before getting the CD addon I bought the Turbo Booster Plus ($40) to get better than RF video. (Not needed with CD unit). I also got the Turbo Stick (? $) and as you mentioned the Turbo Tap ($ ?). It was an expensive system back then.

 

But it has so many good games. Krikzz has a Turbo Everdrive to enjoy the card games. Neosdstore has an ODE to allow you to enjoy the CD games. Great retro system.

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Well one could argue the same with the Sega Genesis too once you had to either buy Sega CD model 1, or buy that model 2 and the tray combo system on top. It really wasn't any more outlandish than what Sega did right along side of them. The problem was NEC USA was run by a pack of incompetents that refused to realize they needed to release core games from major players that hit both Nintendo and Sega with stuff that could have really added to the base in this country. Instead if you read that earlier linked 6 page piece they floundered their chances on one bad move after another then sheepishly let the system languish on the back half of its existence with a pittance of card and disc based games that was just so much too little too late to help.

 

The true costly annoyance of their setup was the 1 controller, 1 controller port out of the box design. I don't recall what the added controllers and tap went for, but if you figure they probably cost $20 or so in the day for probably both parts (let's be fair, say $50 to get the pair) it did add up some.

 

I keep waffling on buying the Turbo Everdrive and really need to. I'm just over 30 PCE games and I do like buying up the cheaper fun ones, but some the prices are just garbage and just one of the nice ones alone would more than cover the cost. I think I keep waffling for the reason of worrying if I'd commit to using it enough to get the value, and same for the next triple expensive bump up to the terra onion device that handles all discs too. I know I'd relish the fact I could play all those CDs I once had and lost -- US based stuff like Ys Book1+@, Godzilla, Gate of Thunder, and Cotton. And I had more from Japan with Dracula X, Macross 2036, Rayxanber 2 and 3, Panic Bomber, and more.

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Smoked by Sega and Nintendo in both quality and quantity, expensive in the USA, lacking in well known titles.

Pretty much this. And if you don't buy a $$$$ Duo or Super CD system (or the Super SD System3 or the HDMI counterpart I cant' remember the name of), you're missing out on the best games on the platform. I bought a PC Engine CoreGrafx in August. Sold it last month. It just didn't get enough play and I wasn't going to put out for any of the CD options. It's a nice, capable system, but all of its best games were available on the popular platforms. Even the Bonk games made it to the NES.

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That's true about the base system. But the extras added up fast. I got the TurboGrafx-CD when it was released in the US ($400). Before getting the CD addon I bought the Turbo Booster Plus ($40) to get better than RF video. (Not needed with CD unit). I also got the Turbo Stick (? $) and as you mentioned the Turbo Tap ($ ?). It was an expensive system back then.

 

But it has so many good games. Krikzz has a Turbo Everdrive to enjoy the card games. Neosdstore has an ODE to allow you to enjoy the CD games. Great retro system.

Ugh, don't forget buying a new System Card every time a new tier of games launched. As wonderful of a system as it is, the Turbo is stupidly complicated and expensive.

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I was there man.. as an adult (relatively) in college, I bought the Genesis at launch. Bought the TG16 at launch, and 2 years later bought the SNES at launch, and actively bought games for all 3. So my perspective is personal, and not something I read as history.

I was so blown away when the TG16 was new.. titles like Blazing Lazers were far and away superior to anything the NES could dish out. Genesis looked great but the titles were a little "stiffer", so I was a huge fan of the console and bought games constantly. However what a difference 2 years made as once the SNES hit, despite having a 2 year head-start, the TG16 in my mind was feeling tired and dated. Less titles were being released, and they felt antiquated by that point as new sidescrolling titles like Bonk 3 to me felt stale compared with the mode-7 excitement of the SNES when it finally made US landfall.

Regarding cost.. the Sega Genesis was just as expensive, but I recall I passed on a lot of the TG16 "extras" like the multi-tap and expansion port, so that would have made a difference.

Anyway.. I'm rambling. I think the TG16 had a HUGE headstart, but:
1. Games petered out..and you only had a trickle eventually, which is a shame with all the catalog they could have pulled from. The Genesis on the other hand just kept getting stronger with floods of games.
2. Seemed complicated with all the add-ons (vs. the Genesis where it was all-in-one box)
3. The SNES came out 2 years later and was the death knell since it offered mode-7 games and superior sound which instantly made the TG16 feel old.

Again this is personal perspective.. not a retro-review of what "bad decisions" the company made. I had no idea what the company was doing since I was just a consumer. :) But the difference was purely the games. I would buy TG16 games constantly.. and then slowly stopped doing so.

Edited by NE146
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If I relied only on my personal history, I'd blame distribution, because I never ONCE saw one of these things in the store in my area, I didn't even have a chance to try one. Closest I ever got was a Sears catalog spread or my one friend who had a Turbo Express, but NOT a proper Turbo (figure that one out). And he would barely let me play it!!!

 

As a 10 year old kid it honestly was akin to a Neo-Geo home system to me (though I know now that is a bad comparison). Nearly mythological.

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Pretty much this. And if you don't buy a $$$$ Duo or Super CD system (or the Super SD System3 or the HDMI counterpart I cant' remember the name of), you're missing out on the best games on the platform. I bought a PC Engine CoreGrafx in August. Sold it last month. It just didn't get enough play and I wasn't going to put out for any of the CD options. It's a nice, capable system, but all of its best games were available on the popular platforms. Even the Bonk games made it to the NES.

I mean...I guess that all depends on what you think the best games are. Blazing Lazers, Dungeon Explorer, Ninja Spirit, Alien's and Devil's Crush, Legendary Axe, didn't end up anywhere else that I know of. Many of the shooters are unique to the system. Some good games that did make it elsewhere, like Bonk or Cadash, are way better on the Turbo than the NES or Genesis.

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I mean...I guess that all depends on what you think the best games are. Blazing Lazers, Dungeon Explorer, Ninja Spirit, Alien's and Devil's Crush, Legendary Axe, didn't end up anywhere else that I know of. Many of the shooters are unique to the system. Some good games that did make it elsewhere, like Bonk or Cadash, are way better on the Turbo than the NES or Genesis.

That's fair. I didn't enjoy the system but lots of others have.

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That's fair. I didn't enjoy the system but lots of others have.

I do agree that there is something off about having the main mascot (Bonk) on another system. Doesn't lead to you feeling like you have to have X system to get that awesome exclusive.

 

Took me a while to get over feeling sorry for Sega when I saw Sonic on Nintendo machines. Just feels wrong!

 

Devil's Crush was on the Genesis, wasn't it? Maybe called something else, though...

Dragon's Fury! I forgot about that.

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NE146 I think your feeling is about right though. I went from the NES to the SNES, then in the N64 era into both the Turbo Duo then the Genesis after/during that point. I can appreciate the three but the SNES made the other two feel like a downgrade in some respects, but between the other two I felt the most stiff, bland, and less engaging of the two was the Genesis which I know gets Sega fans pissy saying that. The Duo I had did so much between the limited US cards and the great JP/US discs I picked up. That alone is why for the last few months I've been digging into the PC Engine as we were denied a lot, and there's plenty there that did not get put on other hardware. There are also cases where its version matched the source arcade game the best too.

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Sometimes I wonder where people grew up... I mean, I live in a pretty reasonably rural area of Texas and we still had merchants that offered TG-16 products... well... one at least.

 

I had seen TurboGrafx stuff in magazines for a while, but MacDuff's electronics in the local mall carried them. I still remember they had a big screen tv facing the window near the front so that anyone walking down the main hall could see it. They had Blazing Lazers on it. That was the first place I played a Turbo.

 

The local Hastings rented out games. I actually got several in my collection from when they quit renting them and sold them off.

 

And there was a place in the same shopping center as Hastings that was kinda like an arcade... they had probably about 20 TVs set up with TurboGrafxs and Genesises (what is the plural of these?) set up about evenly. You would pay a fee and get to play whatever for an hour or whatever. I remember playing a few games on the TurboGrafx there, but really only remember playing the Genesis games for some reason... I remember seeing Golden Axe, Herzog Zwei, Mickey Mouse Castle of Illusion, and Air Diver. The only TurboGrafx games I can really remember that they had there was Boxy Boy and I think Cratermaze.

 

And yeah, I know that the distribution kinda sucked for the TG-16, but I really think it just never was as good as Sega's distribution.

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From my personal observation, as far as I know the system was completely unknown in South America. It was all Famiclones and pirate carts down there, and later the Genesis became popular.

 

In France I vaguely remember seeing some rare units in electronics/AV stores (e.g. FNAC) and specialized game shops. I remember thinking it wasn't worth the asking price.

 

More than 20 years later I bought a SuperGrafx from a French guy :P

Edited by Newsdee
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