Besides the main competitors in the industry of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, there have been a number of other console developers in video games over the years. While people likely fondly remember the likes of Atari and Sega, another system celebrates its 30th anniversary this year – the TurboGrafx-16 Entertainment SuperSystem.
The TurboGrafx first released in Japan on October 30, 1987, and in that country was known simply as the PC Engine (it also carried this name in France). This was the true kickoff to the 16-bit era of gaming, as consoles up to that point only worked on 8-bit graphical systems.
The TurboGrafx came about because Hudson Soft, part of the manufacturing team, had wanted to sell advanced graphics cards to Nintendo and failed at doing so; they instead partnered with NEC to create the console. It was notable for being the first gaming console to have a CD-ROM peripheral as well as having the first portable counterpart with identical hardware to the console version. It was successful in Japan, at one point becoming the bestselling system in the nation, but failed to make a splash in overseas markets.
Unfortunately, due to an overall lack of support from third-party developers, the TurboGrafx didn’t last particularly long, especially in non-Japanese markets. NEC did follow up the system in 1994 with the Japan-exclusive PC-FX, a 32-bit system. It saw minor success, but NEC eventually dropped out of the industry entirely in 1998. The company would later supply both Sega and Nintendo with components those companies would use to develop the Dreamcast and Nintendo 64, respectively.
Those looking to play some classic TurboGrafx games these days have the opportunity to do so on either Nintendo’s Virtual Console service or on the PlayStation Network.