NEC TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine ‘HuCard’ (1987 – 1993)

The TurboGrafx-16 Entertainment SuperSystem (originally known in Japan as the PC Engine) was a video game console jointly-developed by Hudson Soft and NEC. It was released in Japan in 1987, and the US in 1989. A small number of slightly altered US models were available in the UK around 1990, released by Telegames.

Two major revisions, the PC Engine SuperGrafx and the PC Engine Duo, were released in 1989 and 1991, respectively. The entire series was succeed by the PC-FX in 1994, which was only released in Japan.

Due partly to it’s use of small ROM cards (called HuCards), the TurboGrafx-16 is a relatively compact video game console. Hudson Soft developed the HuCard from the Bee Card technology it piloted on the MSX. HuCards (called TurboChips in the US), are about the size of a credit card, but slightly thicker, and not unlike the Game Cards available for the Sega Master System. The PCB in a HuCard is protected by a rigid, glossy polymer that conducts heat. Since the TurboGrafx-16 leaves one side of the card partially exposed outside the console, heat disperses with less obstruction.

A CD-ROM peripheral became available for the TurboGrafx-16 in 1988, the first time this was used as a storage medium for video consoles.

The TurboGrafx-16 initially performed well in Japan, beating Nintendo’s Famicom in sales soon after its release, with no fewer than twelve console models released between 1987 and 1993. The TurboGrafx-16 family was discontinued in 1995, and the last HuCard titles had been published in 1993.

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