The Famicom's Biggest Rival Is 25 Years Old
Posted by Damien McFerran
NEC's groundbreaking PC Engine comes of age
It makes us feel very old to say it, but NEC's popular 8-bit PC Engine console turned 25 yesterday.
Better known in the US as the TurboGrafx-16, the system launched in Japan on October 30th, 1987 (yes, we know we're a day late with this) - a time when the Famicom was enjoying a period of total and utter dominance.
Amazingly, it managed to wrestle market share away from Nintendo's format with its next-generation visuals and amazing arcade conversions such as R-Type and Space Harrier. The PC Engine was also notable for the fact that it was the first Japanese console to receive a CD-ROM attachment.
Although the system struggled outside of Japan, it remained a strong contender in its home territory, allowing NEC to take second place behind Nintendo - Sega was pushed into a distant third. An all-in-one system called the PC Engine Duo (Turbo Duo in the States) was launched later to compete with the Super Famicom, as well as a groundbreaking portable system called the PC Engine GT - which was essentially a PC Engine in mobile form, as it used the same internal tech and took the same game cards. The PC Engine family also included the ill-fated SuperGrafx, as well as many other hardware variants.
We'll be posting up a ridiculously in-depth retrospective of the PC Engine soon, but in the meantime why not mark the occasion by downloading some TurboGrafx-16 classics on the Wii Virtual Console?