Johnny Turbo tells it like it is.
Okay, quiz time. To effectively market your video game console when it's struggling against two well-established competitors
, what would be the best course of action to take?
A. Purchase advertising space on television or magazines to showcase a wide variety of games you have available on your platform.
B. Set up demonstration kiosks in stores to let gamers play these titles for themselves.
If you answered C, you may have been working for NEC in the early 90s as a marketer for their console the Turbo-Grafx 16
, because that's exactly what they did: they presented multi-page ads in gaming magazines centering around a "computer expert" named Jonathan Brandstetter
, better known under his alias Johnny Turbo, and his loving sidekick Tony
in their quest to teach gamers the completely unbiased
truth about the TG-16 compared to NEC's self-appointed rival Se
- Episode 43: The Master Plan! — Johnny learns that Feka is marketing a CD system as "the first of its kind," and this simply will not stand. Johnny takes out the Feka goons who were selling the CD systems, and more in the shadows promise their revenge.
- Episode 44: Let 'Em Dangle! — See above, only this time, there's a great focus on the more recently released TurboDuo, which combined the TG-16 and its CD addon into one unit, a capability which the Genesis and Sega CD lacked at the time. Because everybody who wanted the Sega CD obviously didn't own a Genesis at the same time.
- Episode 45: Sleepwalker — Johnny's sidekick Tony gets A Day in the Limelight. And he has one hell of a dream.
Today, Johnny stands mostly as a curious and forgotten footnote in the history of a company which was losing ground in the US to Sega
and the Big N
, but thanks to the internet and webmaster Sardius, you too can experience the entire saga of Mr. Turbo here
. The first two "issues", as noted above, are fairly typical gaming attacks, with Feka presented as a faceless man assisted by identityless goons
, but then the third one — most likely an utter last-ditch attempt for NEC to just make some
sort of impact on the average gamer's mind — got... weird. Very, very weird.
Seriously, read the whole thing. It's much more amusing
than it should be.
Johnny Turbo and his advertising campaign provide examples of: