In 1991, the SuperNES was release to the North American market, some two years after it was released in Japan with the name Super Famicom. It was released in Europe one year after the North American market. More importantly, the SuperNES came to the important North American market two-years after Sega released their Sega Genesis.
Above: Super Nintendo Game Console
The SuperNES very quickly took over the Japanese markets. Competition in North America was a little more even with each console battling it out with software restrictions and their own in house game series. In fact, the SuperNES soon had a huge library of games in its inventory due to its ease to program and its impressive graphics abilities.
What made the SuperNES impressive were its scaling, rotational and rendering effects. Scaling and rotational effects were possible with its 8 different pallet modes: know to the community as layer-7. 3D rendering came later through the enhancement chip allowing the SuperNES to compete with the 32-bit consoles.
In 1988, NEC released the TurboGrafx-16. Upon release, the console outsold the SuperNES by a significant margin due to its amazing graphics and sound capabilities.
Above: Turbografx 16 Game Console
NEC was to release a CD add-on, which cost US$399.99.
While the console sold over 10 million units in it’s lifetime, most of those sales come from the Japanese market. In fact, few people in North America actually even heard of this console several reasons:
1) NEC failed to market the console.
2) Popular software titles released in Japan did not appeal to the North American market.
3) Software restrictions prevented the console from getting access to popular titles.
4) The primary producer of game titles, Hudson Soft, also produced software for Nintendo not allowing the TurboGrafx-16 to develop any killer games.
5) Rumours surfaced stating that the TurboGrafx-16 was actually not 16-bits, but was made up of two 8-bit processors.
So why was there only one game producer? The TurboGrafx-16 was actually a partnership between Hudson Soft and NEC. Hudson Soft came up with the idea for the game console, but needed someone to finance and build the unit, which is where NEC comes in.