NEC TurboExpress

Nickname: PC Engine GT
Predecessor: -
Successor: -
Release Date: 30/11/1992
Discontinued Date: 31/12/1993
Additional Sizes: -
Display Palette: 512 Colors
Initial Price: JP¥44,800 | US$249.99
Supported Game Media:

TurboExpress - History of the console

TurboExpress or PC Engine GT in Japan is a handheld console released in 1990, one year later after the Game Boy by NEC Corporation and was essentially a portable version of TurboGrafx-16. The technical specs of TurboExpress were extremely high for the period that it launched, making it the most technically advanced handheld console into the market for many years.

The launch price in Japan was ¥44,800 and $249.99 in the USA. TurboExpress primary competition was Nintendo Game Boy, but also Sega Game Gear and Atari Lynx. Despite it's technical superiority, TurboExpress sold 1.5 million units, a lot less than its competitors. The price was quite high and increased one year after the console's launch from $250 to $300 due to an increase in the production cost for display. A few months later the price reverted back to $250 but the damage was done. In 1992 Nec Corporation had to cut the price to $199, but even so the TurboExpress couldn't take any proper foothold in any of the markets around the globe.

TurboExpress - Tech details

The games media for this large and heavy console is HuCards. It also has an LCD screen with a backlit, a screen with the same size of the Game Boy. However, unlike the Game Boy, the screen can display 64 sprites at a time with no lag and 481 colors at the same time from a 512 color palette. It has also 8KB of RAM and runs the same CPU as the TurboGrafx-16. The system's graphics were a source of this console superiority. The game pad is quite similar with the Game Boy's, although it features two addition buttons, called Turbo Switches that engage two levels of high-speed controller button re-triggering to assist the player.

TurboExpress - Disadvantages

In the disadvantages however, except of the high price, the power that this console consumes is immense. It needs 6 AA batteries for 3 hours of game play (there is also the possibility of an AC adapter if you stay home). Also a lot of users complained about sound failure due to bad quality of capacitors. Also pixels failure was quite often too. Lastly, because some games were designed to be played in TV for TurboGrafx-16, the tiny screen was too small to have a proper display quality. Also the save mechanism wasn't available for TurboExpress like TurboGrafx-16, so a password saving mechanism was offered as an alternative.

TurboExpress - Peripherals

Back in the advantages, TurboExpress offeres a two players game play via TurboLink. The problem is that there are only a few games that allowed two players game play, like Falcon or Bomberman '93. Another peripheral was the TurboVision that allowed the user to watch TV in the TurboExpress screen and with a flick of a switch the player could go back playing games.