Western markets model (top) and the original Japanese and French system (bottom).
|Units sold||Worldwide: 5.8 million|
Japan: 3.9 million
- max. 565×242
- majority: 256×239
- available: 512 (9-bit)
- onscreen: max. 482
(241 background, 241 sprite)
|Dimensions||14 cm × 14 cm × 3.8 cm|
(5.5 in × 5.5 in × 1.5 in)
The TurboGrafx-16, known in Japan and France as the PC Engine, is a cartridge-based
The TurboGrafx-16 has an 8-bit
The TurboGrafx-16 failed to break into the North American market and sold poorly, which has been blamed on the delayed release and inferior marketing. Despite the "16" in its name and the marketing of the console as a 16-bit platform, it used an 8-bit CPU, a marketing tactic that was criticized by some as deceptive. Developer Doug Snook of
However, in Japan, the PC Engine, introduced into the market at a much earlier date, was very successful. It gained strong third-party support and outsold the
At least 17 distinct models of the TurboGrafx-16 were made, including portable versions and those that integrated the CD-ROM add-on.
An enhanced model, the
The entire series was discontinued in 1994. It was succeeded by the
The TurboGrafx-16 or PC Engine was a collaborative effort between
The PC Engine made its debut in the Japanese market on October 30, 1987, and it was a tremendous success. The PC Engine had an elegant, "eye-catching" design, and it was very small compared to its rivals. This, coupled with a strong software lineup and third-party support from high-profile developers such as
In 1988, NEC decided to expand to the American market and directed its U.S. operations to develop the system for the new audience. NEC Technologies boss Keith Schaefer formed a team to test the system. They found was a lack of enthusiasm in its name 'PC Engine' and also felt its small size was not very suitable to American consumers who would generally prefer a larger and "futuristic" design. They decided to call the system the 'TurboGrafx-16', a name representing its graphical speed and strength, and its 16-bit
The TurboGrafx-16 was eventually released in the
Sega quickly eclipsed the TurboGrafx-16 after its American debut. NEC's decision to
After seeing the TurboGrafx-16 suffer in America, NEC decided to cancel their European releases. Units for the European markets were already produced, which were essentially US models modified to run on
From November 1989 to 1993, PC Engine consoles as well as some of its add-ons were imported from Japan by French licensed importer Sodipeng (Société de Distribution de la PC Engine, a subsidiary of
In December 1990, The TurboGrafx-series became the first video game console ever to have a contemporaneous and fully compatible portable counterpart with the release of the PC Engine GT, known as the
By March 1991, NEC claimed that it had sold 750,000 TurboGrafx-16 consoles in the United States and 500,000 CD-ROM units worldwide.
Later in 1991, NEC released the
For its American release, The Duo was licensed to Turbo Technologies, Inc., an American company co-founded by NEC and Hudson Soft to market the new console in the United States. Once again, NEC's first to market advantage was crushed when delays put the American release of the TurboDuo on October 10, 1992 - just five days before the Sega CD's American release.
Turbo Technologies ran
However, neither CD-based console would catch on and the North American console gaming market continued to be dominated by the Super Nintendo and Genesis. In May 1994 Turbo Technologies announced that it was dropping support for the Duo, though it would continue to offer repairs for existing units and provide ongoing software releases through independent companies in the U.S. and Canada.
The final licensed release for the PC Engine was Dead of the Brain Part 1 & 2 on June 3, 1999, on the Super CD-ROM² format. The last game on HuCard format was 21 Emon: Mezase! Hotel Ō on December 16, 1994.