Game Trivia

  • In the United States, NEC's American operations in Chicago, IL were overhyped about the potential of the TurboGrafx-16 and quickly produced 750,000 units, far above actual demand. Hudson Soft earned a large sum of money for the units produced as NEC paid Hudson Soft royalties for every hardware produced, whether sold or not.

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  • NEC motioned to sell the PC Engine in North America in 1988 and directed its U.S. operations to do so. Head boss of NEC Technologies Keith Schaefer formed a team to test the system out. The first thing they were not pleased about was the lack of enthusiasm in the name 'PC Engine'. The team also felt the console's small size was not very suitable to American consumers who would generally prefer a larger and "futuristic" design. As a result they renamed the system 'TurboGrafx-16', with the name representing the system's 16-bit graphics processor. They also completely redesigned the hardware into a large, black casing. However the redesign process took a long time to complete, and NEC in Japan was still cautious about the system's viability in the U.S., both of which delayed the system's debut in the American market to August, 1989.

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  • After the TurboGrafx-16 performed poorly in the United States, NEC decided to cancel the European release of the console. Units for the European markets were already produced however, which were actually US models modified to run on PAL television sets, and branded as simply TurboGrafx. NEC sold this remaining stock to distributors. In the UK Telegames released the TurboGrafx in 1990 in very small quantities. This same model was also sold in Spain and Portugal, though only through selected retailers. No PAL HuCards were ever made, and instead the European system can play all American games without modifications, albeit with the necessary slowdown to 50Hz.

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  • The TurboGrafx-16, known as the PC Engine in Japan, was a collaborative development effort between NEC and Hudson Soft.

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  • When the PC Engine was first released in Japan in 1987 it became incredibly successful with strong third-party support, outselling the Famicom in Japan when it debuted, and later became the main competing system against the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo.

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  • The TurboGrafx-16 is actually not a 16-bit machine since it operates on an 8-bit CPU. The 16 in the system's title refers to its16-bit graphics chip.

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  • The development of this system began due to specific circumstances for both NEC and Hudson Soft. NEC was very successful in Japan with their PC-88 and PC-98 computer lines while Hudson Soft was a video game developer. NEC was interested in entering the video game market due to their background and experience with hardware, but needed to approach a video game studio for support. They learned that, by coincidence, Hudson Soft was interested in making their own video game console after failing to sell then-advanced graphics chips to Nintendo, and that they needed an additional partner to secure the finances for designing the system. The two companies joined together to design the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16.

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  • The Japanese PC Engine is identified as the world's smallest home video game system.

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  • During the console's lifetime, there were as many as 17 different revisions of the system such as portable versions and a CD-ROM add-on. There was also the PC Engine SuperGrafx that was meant to be the successor to the original PC Engine, but was not successful and quickly discontinued. The majority of these revisions however, were mostly exclusive to Japan.

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  • The TurboGrafx-16 was first test-marketed in the United States in Los Angeles and New York City in late August, 1989, just two weeks after the Sega Genesis was test-marketed in the same two cities. This was poor timing on NEC's part as the system was being marketed in the United States to compete with the Nintendo Entertainment System.

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  • The TurboGrafx-16 was released in the United States with the pack-in game: Keith Courage in Alpha Zones. This pack-in title proved to be ineffective marketing for the system in the United States as the game was largely unknown to Western gamers, and that the game did not effectively showcase the system's technical capabilites. While the Sega Genesis was originally packaged with Altered Beast and later Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Super Nintendo was packaged with Super Mario World.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • In the United States, NEC's American operations in Chicago, IL were overhyped about the potential of the TurboGrafx-16 and quickly produced 750,000 units, far above actual demand. Hudson Soft earned a large sum of money for the units produced as NEC paid Hudson Soft royalties for every hardware produced, whether sold or not.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

    2     0


  • Development and design of the TurboGrafx-16 was deliberately meant to be cost-conservative, with funds going primarily towards the system's 16-bit graphics chip. The system ran on an 8-bit CPU, had only one controller port, had no LED light to indicate the system is turned on, lacked a reset button and only supported RF modulation for video output. Add-ons such as the TurboGrafx-CD player supported composite video however. These decisions allowed NEC to retail the console at lower prices than the competition and at one point, the base system's price point was as low as $99.99, far below the prices of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.

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  • Despite the TurboGrafx-16 being over-produced in the United States with 750,000 units made, NEC claimed that all of these units had been sold by March, 1991.

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  • One of NEC's marketing strategies for the PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16 was to promote the system primarily in large cities and highly-populated metro areas. This marketing proved very effective in Japan because of how considerably smaller the country is, and its population being closer to many major cities. When this marketing strategy was used in the United States however, it produced less than ideal results, as the United States is larger and there are far less of its population living in or close to a major city. This was one factor that caused the TurboGrafx-16 to go widely unnoticed by Western gamers.

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