Guides to jumpstart your Retrogaming lifestyle
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Breetai
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NEC Turbografx-16/Turbo Duo/PC Engine Guide

by Breetai Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:19 am

Please note that the creator of this guide will unfortunately be unable to add to it. It is being preserved here and any future questions would be responded to by the community - Mod Team

Since the Turbografx/Duo/PC Engine series of systems can get a bit confusing, I did up a quick guide that should answer most questions. Additionally, the compatibility guide at PCEngineFX is very useful (http://pcenginefx.com/main/nec_compatibility_guide.html).

Image
Image
(actually that is an Arcade Card Pro in the PC Engine above)

In the US, the released systems were the:
-Turbografx-16 (RF out only. An upgrade module for AV was available)
-Turbografx-CD add-on (which includes the IFU of course, and the System 2.0 Card (called the System Card))
-Turboduo (combo cartridge/CD unit with the Super System Card 3.0 upgrade built-in)
-Turbo Express (handheld TG-16. No, you cannot attach the CD unit)

*note: TG-16 controllers are NOT compatible with the Duo or any PC Engine system. You can get a conversion cord, though. Turboduo controllers work on all PC Engine systems and vice-versa.

System BIOS Cards (they are backwards compatible):
-System Card (aka. System 2.0/2.1) -had 64K of RAM
-Super System Card upgrade (aka. System 3.0/3.1) -this added 192KB of RAM for 256KB total


In Japan:
-PC Engine (RF only)
-PC Engine Core Grafx (same thing but with AV-out and a different colour scheme)
-PC Engine Core Grafx II (same thing as the Core Grafx, but with a different colour scheme)
-PC Engine Shuttle (same thing as Core Grafx, but looks way different and has no CD-ROM connector)
-PC Engine GT (same as the Turbo Express; a handheld PC Engine)
-PC Engine LT (sort of like a GT, but with a flip-top screen like the GBA SP. It can only be powered with an AC adapter. You CAN hook it up to a CD-ROM!)
-PC Engine Super Grafx (upgraded PC Engine with more RAM and other improvements. Only 7 games took advantage of this; 5 of which ONLY work on this unit).
-PC Engine CD-ROM2 add-on (came with the IFU or sold seperately. It also came with the System Card 1.0, I believe). You need a special attachment to get this to hook up to the Super Grafx or LT.
-PC Engine Super CD-ROM2 add-on (same as above, but had the Super System Card 3.0 upgrade built-in and looks completely different than the original unit. Matches the Core Grafx II colour scheme)
-PC Engine Duo (combo cartridge/CD unit with the Super System Card 3.0 upgrade built-in)
-PC Engine Duo-R (same as the Duo, but looks different and lacks a headphone jack)
-PC Engine Duo-RX (same as the Duo-R, but has a slightly different colour scheme and comes with a 6-button controller instead of the standard 2-button)

System BIOS Cards:
-System 1.0 -had 64K of RAM. Basically useless except it is required for Altered Beast CD.
-System 2.0 -updated the system BIOS
-System 2.1 -slightly updated the system BIOS again. If you have the 2.0, you probably won't notice a difference.
-Super System 3.0 -had 256KB (1.5MEG) of RAM total. GET AT LEAST THIS!!!!!
-Arcade Card Pro -added over 2MB (17.5MEG) of RAM. Only a few later releases used this. Sapphire is the most well known. All the Neo Geo fighter ports used this as well, and blow away their SNES/Genesis counterparts. The video quality with this blows away anything on the Sega CD.
-Arcade Card Duo -added 2MB (16MEG) of RAM. Can only be used on the Duo line of systems and the Super CD-ROM2 add-on, as they already had 256KB (1.5MEG) RAM built in. The Arcade Card Pro also works on these systems, so this would be a useless card if it wasn't much cheaper than the Pro.


All CD games are region-free. Cartridge games are region locked (and Arcade CD games as a result, as the Arcade Card/cartridge is required for them). There are converters (all expensive) available to play PC Engine games on a Turbografx, but not the other way around.
Last edited by Breetai on Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Breetai
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Re: NEC Turbografx-16/Turboduo/PC Engine Guide

by Breetai Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:36 am

PC Engine Duo (looks the same as the US Turboduo, except the US unit has black stylings instead of purple/greenish. It has the Super System 3.0 Card built in).
Image


PC Engine Duo-RX (same functionality as above. Came with a 6-button pad. All other TG/PCE units came with a 2-button pad)
Image


PC Engine Super CD-ROM2 add-on (same functionality as the Duo units, although you do need a PC Engine unit to operate it! The colour-matching Core Grafx II is featured here)
Image

Super Grafx w/ Super CD-ROM2 add-on (only 5 games were ever specifically made for this. All PC Engine Hu-Card games work on it; two of which have graphical enhancements when used with the Super Grafx. Does this look a bit like a vacuum cleaner?
This is one of the few set-ups that requires two AC adapters, unless you use an aftermarket solution)
Image
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Re: NEC Turbografx-16/Turboduo/PC Engine Guide

by AppleQueso Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:15 am

the Super Grafx with a Super CD-Rom attached might be the most hideous looking game system ever.

How'd they go from a design as nice as the Turbo Duo to something like THAT?
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Re: NEC Turbografx-16/Turboduo/PC Engine Guide

by Thierry Henry Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:20 am

AppleQueso wrote:the Super Grafx with a Super CD-Rom attached might be the most hideous looking game system ever.

How'd they go from a design as nice as the Turbo Duo to something like THAT?


I don't know if you can say they specifically went for something like that.
More like a case of they were wanting to give options to Super Grafx owners with regard to CD gaming, and this happened to be one of those options.

If you wanted something a little more aesthetically pleasing then you'd probably opt for the RAU-30 connecting unit to access CD gaming on the Super Grafx.
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Re: NEC Turbografx-16/Turbo Duo/PC Engine Guide

by Curlypaul Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:03 am

Nice guide, as I recently bought my first TG I had found it pretty confusing trying to make sense of the plethora of addons, especially with the different names between regions and everything.
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Re: NEC Turbografx-16/Turbo Duo/PC Engine Guide

by Breetai Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:34 pm

Glad you found it useful.
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Re: NEC Turbografx-16/Turbo Duo/PC Engine Guide

by 8bit Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:57 pm

Excellent guide Breetai! Ive always wondered about the Super Grafx... now I know!
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Re: NEC Turbografx-16/Turbo Duo/PC Engine Guide

by bladerunner Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:05 pm

Great guide as well. I am thinking of jumping into the TG16 world and have been similarly confused. A slightly unrelated question though: many of the games I want to play on the TG16 are already on the Virtual Console. Do you think the investment worth it? I don't own a Wii either and have never really been interested in the Wii platform save the VC. I am tempted to divert any potential Wii funds into getting a TG16, perhaps a Duo as I want to play the CD version of Ys Books I & II.
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Re: NEC Turbografx-16/Turbo Duo/PC Engine Guide

by ApolloBoy Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:36 am

bladerunner wrote:I am thinking of jumping into the TG16 world and have been similarly confused. A slightly unrelated question though: many of the games I want to play on the TG16 are already on the Virtual Console. Do you think the investment worth it?

There's a lot of stuff that hasn't been released on the Virtual Console so getting one is definitely worth it. Personally I would grab a PC Engine variant instead of a TG-16 as the library is much larger and cheaper in most cases.
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Breetai
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Re: NEC Turbografx-16/Turbo Duo/PC Engine Guide

by Breetai Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:56 am

bladerunner wrote:Great guide as well. I am thinking of jumping into the TG16 world and have been similarly confused. A slightly unrelated question though: many of the games I want to play on the TG16 are already on the Virtual Console. Do you think the investment worth it? I don't own a Wii either and have never really been interested in the Wii platform save the VC. I am tempted to divert any potential Wii funds into getting a TG16, perhaps a Duo as I want to play the CD version of Ys Books I & II.

Yes, I absolutely think the actual console is worth it over the VC. The VC is good if you just want to try things out, but remember; Nintendo locks all the VC games onto one single console. The only way to transfer games if your console dies is to actually send it into Nintendo and have them do it. Screw that! Get the real deal.

I recommend getting a PC Engine Duo (or a Duo-R or Duo-RX, it doesn't make much difference at this point). Some will tell you at the Duo-R or RX is more reliable than the original, but at this point... I'm going to disagree. The Super CD-ROM2 add-on was considered very reliable, but recently some have been seen were the capacitors are starting to leak on it. This was also the problem with the original Duo. I strongly suspect some Duo-R/RX units are going to start having this problem sooner than later as well. Don't worry though, as this is fixable!!!

Search around and find a PC Engine Duo of some sort that has had the capacitors (caps) replaced. You might even want to get a region-modded one so you can play the Turbografx-16 versions of the chip games (CDs are region free), although it's not really a huge deal as most of the text based games are region free and most chip games are cheaper on the PC Engine. Look to spend anywhere from $150-300 for a Japanese Duo, depending on what is done to it (caps replaced or not. Laser replaced or not. Region-modded or not. S-video or SCART added or not. Etc.).

A US Duo will generally be double the price or more of a Japanese Duo, so I advise against getting one.
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