TurboGrafx-16

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North American model.

The TurboGrafx-16, known in Japan as the PCエンジン, Pi Shi Enjin, "PC Engine" is a 16-bit video game console developed by Hudson Soft and NEC. It was released in Japan in 1987 and in the USA in 1989. Although it was marketed as a 16-bit console, only its GPU was 16-bit, its CPU was still 8-bit.

I never owned a TurboGrafx-16 and only played it once. Around 1990, my brother had a rich friend whose parents bought him all the video game systems, to keep my occupied as a tag-along, I was sat in front of their TG-16. I definitely played a Bonk game, and maybe a tennis game, but I don't remember? I never played the TG-16 again until around the 2000s using an emulator. Since then, I've played several of the more popular games, and beaten a couple, but over all, I'm not that impressed with the games.

Review

Good

  • I found the tiny game cards (HuCard) to be impressive when I first saw them. How could they fit an entire game on them compared to an NES cartridge? Of course, when you open an NES cart, you see just how small the games really are.
  • Putting turbo buttons on the default controller was a very nice idea.
  • The system does feature a pretty nice graphics chip, and a lot of the games have beautiful artwork.
  • The sound chip was really impressive at the time, six programmable waves! But I haven't found that many games that feature great music.

Bad

  • There just aren't that many good games for the system. I've played most of the highest-ranked games and found them to be only so-so (although, this is certainly affected by my now-higher expectations).
  • The system is heavily weighted towards traditional platformers and scrolling shooters. There just aren't that many popular games for the system that expand into other genres.
  • While I get that most games in the 1980s were one player (or hot-seat), the lack of a built-in second controller port is pretty shoddy. To play a two-player game, you must not only buy a second controller, but also the TurboTap.

Ugly

  • Nothing

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