Retro Game Consoles – TurboGrafx 16


TurboGrafx 16
1988-1992

In 1988, NEC released the TurboGrafx-16. Upon release, the console sold very well due to its amazing graphics and sound capabilities.

Turbografx 16 game console

Above: Turbografx 16 game console

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.

By 1994 the TurboGrafx-16 and its CD combination system the Turbo Duo were out of manufacture in North America, though a small amount of software continued to trickle out for the platform.

NEC released the 32-bit PC-FX console the same year in Japan.

Turbo Duo Game Console

Above: Turbo Duo Game Console

Plans were underway for a U.S. release of the PC-FX but an already flooded market of platforms including the more powerful 3DO and Atari Jaguar systems caused TTI, who by then had the US rights to the TurboGrafx platform, to halt its North American release plans.