The TurboGrafx-16 Is Being Lovingly Recreated, But What the Hell Is a TurboGrafx-16?

When Kanye West briefly talked about naming an album of his after the TurboGrafx-16 a few years back, it was honestly the most attention that the video game console had gotten in North America in a quarter century.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/z3vbv3/the-turbografx-16-is-being-lovingly-recreated-but-what-the-hell-is-a-turbografx-16

I tried to get the Core Grafx Mini (the European version of the TG16 mini) but as far as I can tell it was never really released.

The Turbo is fuckin’ awesome. It’s hard to put in perspective now what a huge step up it was from the NES, especially since in the US it came out so much later, but in Japan it was out a solid year before the Genesis. It still blows me away how compact the original PC Engine is.

I have a lot of nostalgia for its sound, some of the tracks that system could put out, DAMN

Something absolutely nuts about the PC Engine is that it has some for the time very advanced resolution capabilities. Not advanced as in supporting higher resolution modes like we know today, but advanced as in it can do stuff like switch up what resolution it’s putting out on the fly and even display different elements at different resolutions at once. This isn’t a huge deal today but for a home game console in 1987 like holy shit.

I believe this was there because Hudson and NEC were playing around with the idea of higher definition displays even back then (and there’s even some video you can see from the early 90s of them running a super high definition 10 player version of Bomberman from it, it’s what would eventually become Saturn Bomberman!).

But anyway it had some really cool uses on the system itself:

  1. The Art of Fighting port actually uses this to imitate the zooming in and out effect of the arcade game, just a stunningly good port for that alone.

  2. Several of the vertical shmups on the system were ported from arcade games. Quite a few of these have a code you can put in to let you pay them with the arcade version’s vertical monitor proportions without squishing stuff.

  3. Several of the RPGs (Order of the Griffon probably the most notable) Can make use of higher resolution fonts to display more info in a smaller space.

  4. The games published by Face have cheat codes that let you play the game with four split screens without additional slowdown or flicker or anything, I assume the intention was for having multiple monitors linked for displays or maybe it was just a weird flex.

I don’t know, that’s just awesome.

1 Like