I don’t really have that much to say about this system, as it’s just not one that I’m personally very attached to and I don’t even know all that much about it. I do know that it’s the US version of the Japanese PC Engine, a legendary system in Japan that’s more than just one console but is instead a series of systems that are both modular and backward compatible. The TurboGrafx system more or less duplicates the original Japanese PC Engine, and it does have the expansion port for system add-ons:
It’s about the butt-ugliest system ever made, isn’t it?
To the back of the unit you can attach the Turbo CD, and through various system card upgrades you can turn your unit into a Super CD unit. NEC also sold the Turbo Duo here in the US, which was basically a Super CD/HuCard combo with a faster CD-ROM drive and faster data streaming capabilities.
HuCards are what NEC called the PC Engine carts – they tried to rename them “TurboChips” in the US but the name didn’t take (possibly because it still says HuCARD right on the cart). Anyway, they’re pretty slick cartridges if you ask me:
Their small size and thinness allowed NEC to also produce a handheld called the Turbo Express that played the same games as the home systems (similar to Sega’s Genesis Nomad, but a bit smaller and without the carts hanging out the top). Turbo Zone Direct still sell these things for $169.99 – you won’t find them a lot cheaper than that anywhere else (even used), as this system has a major cult following these days (unlike the home system, which never caught on in America even among hardcore gamers).
Technically speaking, this system is a combination 8/16 bit system, and the games do seem to fall somewhere in between, say, the NES and the Genesis in terms of graphical quality. I don’t have a lot of games for this system and I don’t know much about the ones I don’t own, so I can’t really comment on the quality of gameplay – but I do know that there are a lot more PC Engine games than TurboGrafx games. You can get a converter to play these games here, but I don’t have one.
My system came to me brand new, and it still has its plastic protection on both the system and the controller (little hard to see on the controller because it’s still stuck on pretty nicely, but it’s there):
I don’t play this system much so I doubt that plastic’s ever gonna come off.