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Platform - TG16.png
Released: 1987-10-30
Discontinued: 1994-12-16
Developer: Hudson Soft, NEC
Type: Hardware

TurboGrafx-16 is a game console created by NEC Electronics. In Japan, it was known as the PC Engine (PCエンジン PC Enjin). It was the first 16-bit console to be released. The TurboGrafx-16 was meant to compete with consoles such as the Sega Master System and Nintendo Entertainment System. However, the console did not get much third-party support, which led to there being more games for the Genesis and SNES, thus, the TurboGrafx-16 lost to both of them and faded into obscurity. Later, an addon known as the TurboGrafx CD (CD-ROM² in Japan, pronounced ROM ROM) was released, in which games could run on CDs with enhanced graphics and sound. Even with this addon, it didn't help the console. Another problem with the TurboGrafx-16 is that the console only contained one controller port, which meant that for consumers who wanted to play with 2 or more people, they were forced to buy the TurboTap. Many western developers also complained about the console being hard to develop games for. One of those people was Frank Klepacki when he had to compose the music to Westwood's game Order of the Griffon.

The TurboGrafx-16 never got an official European release. However, unlicensed 3rd party developers made clones of the console.

Unlike most game consoles at the time, the TurboGrafx-16 didn't use cartridges, but rather what was called Hu-Cards, which the player would slide into the console. Even though the cards are the same in the USA and Japan, the TurboGrafx-16 and PC Engine are region coded, so modifying the console is required to make the two regions compatible with each other.

Many variations of the TurboGrafx-16 were released, including the TurboExpress, which was a portable handheld TurboGrafx-16, similar to the Sega Nomad. The PC Engine Duo was released in Japan, which was a PC Engine with the CD addon in one console.



The TurboGrafx-16/PC-Engine used the HuC6280 chip, which was basically a modified and expanded MOS Technology 65C02 chip. This made it easier for developers who worked on NES games to develop for the system, as the two platforms shared similar assembly languages.

Music & Sound

The TurboGrafx-16 uses the HuC6280 for music and sound effects. The chip contains six programmable wave channels, similar to the Namco WSG.

Games released for the PC Engine ROM²/Turbo CD had the ability to use Redbook Audio. However, most of these cannot be played through a CD player. As a result, most of these games have had their music ripped into the APE format.