turbo grafx

Why I love the PC Engine...

Look at this item here.  Just look at it…  Surely it’s the new Steam Box, a tiny powerhouse for the next generation of games?  But no, what we have here is the PC Engine - a console that many people won’t even have heard of.  

So why is it so special?

  • It’s rarely seen outside of Japan, where in its heyday it actually knocked Nintendo off the top spot.
  • Despite being made in 1987, it’s STILL the world’s smallest games console (excluding hand-helds).  That makes it very easy to own without taking up much shelf space.
  • While the Neo Geo was the machine to have if you liked fighting games, the PC Engine is THE machine to have if you like shooters (though there were plenty of other types of games).
  • There’s a bewildering selection of games that were Japanese PC Engine exclusives, like Photo Boy, or Gomola Speed plus several RPGs.
  • Despite near-perfect conversions like R-Type and Street Fighter 2, the PC Engine has an 8 bit processor!  It does however have a 16 bit graphics chip - which ignited the debate about whether or not it was the world’s first 16 bit console.  Even Sega’s own properties like Space Harrier and Outrun were superior on the PC Engine.
  • The PC Engine was the first console to offer games on CDs, unlocking the potential of more memory and better sound.  This was provided as an add-on initially, but was built into later models.
  • Most games came on Hu-Cards - a credit-card sized item that was years ahead of its time.  Even when CDs were added, Hu-Cards continued to be popular.  Here are some Hu-cards.  Aren’t they amazing?

I managed to get a PC Engine in 2013, and I’ve been very pleased with it indeed!

You can read more about the PC Engine at:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TurboGrafx-16

A software directory is here:-

http://pcengine.co.uk/

100 great games:-

http://www.retro-sanctuary.com/Top-100-Turbografx-Games-Page-1.html

I’ve been waiting years and years to finally hook one of these things up and play the game that’s been my holy grail ever since I got on the internet and typed in “Castlevania.” Fortunately the console has a huge library of awesome games that make this new entry into my retro-gaming setup very much worthwhile.

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I am HUGELY inspired by video game music. More specifically, the old stuff. There’s just something about the fact that those composers had to work extra hard to make their music exciting since they were so limited with the tools at hand. Remember, the internal synths on the Nintendo, Genesis and Turbografx 16 only had 5-voice polyphony, which means they can only produce 5 sounds (and just 5 notes) at one time. This includes drums! So I always thought the music itself was more powerful as a result.


So here’s my tribute to the first level music from a little-known game called “Ninja Spirit”. I’ll probably be doing more of these in my spare time, so keep an eye out.

-R