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. In the early 1990s, my brother had a rich friend whose parents bought him all the video game systems. One day, while I was tagging along with him, the two wanted to keep my occupied so I was sat in front of his TG-16. I definitely played a Bonk game, and possibly another 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 catalog.

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 a clunky 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.

Games

See all TurboGrafx-16 Games.

These are games for the platform that I particularly like:

Links