The higher energy videogame systemThe TurboGrafx-16, known as PC Engine in Japan, was a 16-bit console developed by Hudson Soft and sold by NEC that was released first in Japan in 1987 and in North America in 1989. Far more successful in Japan than it ever was elsewhere. Its mascot character was Bonk, or PC Genjin in Japan where the name was a clear pun on the system's name. The most unique characteristic of the system was that the games did not come on bulky plastic cartridges but rather on thin TurboChips (HuCards in Japan), plastic game cards with connectors clearly visible on the end. Discontinued? Yes indeed, the system did not sell very well in North America, competing as it did with massively successful Nintendo and Sega contemporaries. However its game library's inclusion on the Wii Virtual Console has lit the fires of nostalgia in the hearts of the few gamers who played and loved the thing, as well as introducing these old gems to a newer audience. The system was, however, extremely popular in Japan, outselling the original Famicom. It was particularly favored for shoot 'em ups, and many of the Vertical Scrolling Shooters produced for the system offered a narrow-screen "arcade mode" that distorted the aspect ratio to make the graphics seem even more arcade-like. Like all the venerable systems, this one had a few add-ons of its own. One, the Turbo Tap, was a connector for up to five controllers; since the TurboGrafx, unlike its competitors, only had one built-in controller port, this was necessary to enable multi-player in the (admittedly few) games that supported them. Another was the TurboGrafx-CD (PC Engine CD-ROM2) expansion, which opened more possibilities for the game library, especially with the Super System Card. The CD attachment was very successful in Japan, where it helped prolonged the lifespan of the system, but not so much elsewhere, to the point that only a handful of games were ever exported. NEC later released the Turbo Duo, which was a TurboGrafx with a little extra RAM and the CD drive and Super System Card built-in. The American release is infamous for its advertising campaign, Johnny Turbo. You can read the comics in their entirety here, as well as more info here. One of the extensions of the PC Engine that was only released in Japan was the SuperGrafx, which was simply a TurboGrafx with a extra video chip and more RAM. The hardware revision was a complete failure, only having five games specifically made for it. Slightly more successful was the Arcade Card, released in 1994 in a late attempt to upgrade the capacities of the system; it was mostly noted for ports of Neo Geo games. Finally, in the portable market, TurboGrafx had a clear advantage thanks to its slim game cards. The TurboExpress handheld console (PC Engine GT in Japan) was able to use exactly the same cards as the main console, so that it was essentially a small, portable TG16 with a screen attached. Yes it was heavy, and yes it was a battery-guzzler, but it still was nice to have a lot of those games on the go.
Games released on HuCard and/or TurboChip:
Games released on CD-ROM: