The Famicom's Biggest Rival Is 25 Years Old

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?