PC Engine

The PC Engine was released by NEC, a Japanese company, in 1987. The PC Engine was a collaborative effort between Japanese software maker Hudson Soft (which maintains a chip-making division) and NEC. Hudson was looking for financial backing for a game console they had designed, and NEC was looking to get into the lucrative game market. The PC Engine was and is a very small video game console, due primarily to a very efficient three-chip architecture and its use of HuCards, credit-card sized data cartridges. It featured an enhanced MOS Technology 65C02 processor and a custom 16-bit graphics processor, as well as a custom video encoder chip, all designed by Hudson.

The PC Engine was extremely popular in Japan, beating Nintendo's Famicom in sales soon after its release, with no fewer than twelve systems released from 1987 to 1993. It was capable of up to 512 colours at once in several resolutions, and featured very robust sprite handling abilities. The Hudson-designed chroma encoder delivered a video signal more vibrant and colourful than both the Famicom and the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis and is largely regarded as the equal to Nintendo's Super Famicom, although that system was not released until 1990.

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As graphics technology improved, gamers continued to stick to the PC Engine despite its shortcomings. Erotic games were a key factor in making the PC Engine popular, and this popularity was maintained far past the lifespan of a regular video game console. New games were released for the PC Engine up until 1999.

It was the first console to have an optional CD module, allowing the standard benefits of the CD medium: more storage, cheaper media costs, and redbook audio. The efficient design, backing of many of Japan's major software producers, and the additional CD ROM capabilities gave the PC Engine a very wide variety of software, with several hundred games for each the HuCard and CD formats.

All PC Engine systems support the same controller peripherals, including pads, joysticks and multitaps. Except for the Vistar, Shuttle, X1, GT and systems with built-in CD ROM drives all PC Engine units shared the same expansion connector, which allowed for the use of devices such as the CD ROM unit, game saves and AV output.

The US TurboGrafx and Vistar units use a different controller port than the PC Engines, but adaptors are available and the protocol is the same. The TurboGrafx offers the same expansion connector pinout as the PC Engine, but has a slightly different shape so peripherals must be modified to fit.

Despite the system's initial success, it soon lost ground to the Super Famicom. NEC made one final effort to resuscitate the system with the release of the Arcade Card expansion, bringing the total amount of RAM up to a then-massive 2048K; many Arcade Card games were conversions of popular Neo-Geo titles. The additional memory even allowed the system to display pre-rendered 3D polygon graphics well beyond what the competing Super Famicom and Megadrive/Mega-CD could offer. By this time, however, it was too late -- only a relative handful of Arcade Card games were ever produced, and the expansion was never released in the U.S.

In 1994 NEC released a new console, the Japan-only PC-FX, a 32-bit system with a tower-like design; it enjoyed a small but steady stream of games until 1998, when NEC finally abandoned the video games industry.

The PC Engine GT is a portable version of the PC Engine. It had a very crisp screen and an optional TV tuner was available. It could play all of the PC Engine HuCard games, yet had low battery life.

Another variation of the hardware is the SuperGrafx. This system is very nearly the same as the original PCE, except it has a duplicate set of video chips (and an extra chip to coordinate the two) and four times as much RAM. Since the CPU was not upgraded most developers were unable to utilize the extra graphics capability, the CPU just could not keep up. Only five SuperGrafx games (and one hybrid game - Darius) were released, and the system fell into obscurity.

Other members of the PC Engine family include the Shuttle, the LT (a laptop version similar to the Game Boy Advance SP, but considerably larger), the CoreGrafx I and II, the Duo R and the Duo RX. Contrary to popular belief the CoreGrafx is not a European version of the PC Engine. It is simply a reengineered version of the original (white) PC Engine with an AV output instead of the original model's RF output. The PC Engine and its derivatives were never officially sold in Europe, although many systems and most accessories and games were available as imports. The PC Engine and its games had been extensively covered by most major European video game magazines and were surprisingly popular.

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PC Engine CD Rom 2 Console Boxed

Box: 
yes
£100.00
Manual: 
yes
£100.00

The Japanese PC Engine CD-Rom system. This is the attachment for your PC Engine console to upgrade it to play CD-Roms. Requires IFU-30A Briefcase or RAU-30 Adapters to connect to your console. The console comes boxed with instructions. The console has been tested and works fine.

PC Engine Turbo Express Boxed

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Notes: 
This console is missing its manual
Box: 
yes
£250.00
Manual: 
yes
£250.00

PC Engine Turbo Express - the US equivalent of the Japanese PC Engine GT. Plays all games that play on a normal US Turbo Express consoles - does not play Japanese PC Engine games without a converter. This item is boxed has been tested and works fine.

PC Engine Shuttle Boxed

Box: 
yes
£200.00
Manual: 
yes
£200.00

The PC Engine Shuttle. The worlds first 16bit console. Complete with joypad and power supply. A variant on the NEC PC Engine, the console featured no PC ROM support. Boxed and with manual.

PC Engine IFU-30A Briefcase Interface Unit Boxed

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Box: 
yes
£125.00
Manual: 
yes
£125.00

PC Engine Briefcase Interface Unit. The worlds first 16bit console. This is a great Hucard and CD-ROM Interface Unit, very difficult to find this boxed. Requires a PC Engine console and CD-Rom units (not supplied). Boxed and complete with manual and all parts.

PC Engine Region Modded Hucard and CD-Rom Briefcase Interface Unit Loose

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Box: 
no
£200.00
Manual: 
no
£200.00

PC Engine Hucard and CD-Rom Briefcase Interface Unit. The worlds first 16 bit console. This console has been modified so it can play Japanese and US Games - there is a switch installed to change the region. This is a great Hucard and CD-ROM Interface Unit, complete with PC Engine Console, joypad, AV leads and power supply. Unboxed, tested and working.

PC Engine Turbo Stick Loose

Box: 
no
£25.00
Manual: 
no
£25.00

PC Engine Arcade style controller. This is a tough, solid arcade style joypad, designed to sit on a flat surface, with all the buttons on top of the pad and a joystick instead of directional buttons. Absolutely fantastic for beat-em-up games, you can vent your anger on the control pad as they are very durable (trust me on this one!). This item is fully tested but comes unboxed and without instructions.

PC Engine RAU 30 Boxed

Box: 
yes
£65.00
Manual: 
yes
£65.00

NEC PC Engine RAU-30 ROM Adapter. Connects any NEC CD-Rom drive to a Supergrafx console to allow the Super Grafx to play CD-Rom games. Boxed and complete with all manuals.

R-Type Guide Book

£15.00
£15.00

Illustrated guidebook for R-Type 1 and R-Type 2 games. All text is in Japanese.

PC Kidd Guide Book

£15.00
£15.00

Illustrated guidebook for PC-Kidd game. All text is in Japanese.

Gunhed Guide Book

£15.00
£15.00

Illustrated guidebook for Gunhed game. All text is in Japanese.

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