The PC Engine, known as the TurboGrafx-16 in North America, was a bit of a mix between an 8 and 16-bit console. It used a modified 8-bit CPU, running at running at 7.6 MHz, combined with a 16-bit video colour encoder, and a 16-bit video display controller .

It was released in Japan in 1987 and in North America in 1989. The PC Engine was never officially released in Europe, so players had to imported from North America or Japan. The initial Japanese launch saw the system competing against the Famicom/NES, although the PC Engine was technically far superior. The later US release saw the TurboGrafx-16 competing against the new and more equally matched 16-bit systems; Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.

The console performed well in Japan, with strong third-party support yet struggled in the US, eclipsed by the other 16-bit machines.

The PC Engine’s powerful GPUs were capable of displaying 482 colours simultaneously, out of a palette of 512, at resolutions of 565×242 or 256×239.

Games were initially released on HuCards, which were a ROM cartridge in the form of a card, designed by Hudson Soft. Later add-ons to the system allowed for larger CD-Rom based games.

The PC Engine colour palette

5 of the Best PC Engine Games Ever

5 of the Best PC Engine games ever made! These are not listed in order of preference, all 5 games are fantastic.


A gory and splatter filled arcade classic, and a near perfect conversion. The sort of conversion that made owners of other consoles at the time green with envy.

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood

A huge visual leap forward from the 8-bit Castlevania games, brutally tough but great to play. Konami were really at the top of their game during this era.


Irem’s legendary horizontal shooter was the PC Engine’s killer app – a stunningly accurate arcade conversion in the home. Nearly arcade perfect in terms of graphics, sound and gameplay, R-Type was a wonderful timeless shooter.

Bomberman ’94

Perhaps the PC Engine’s most famous mascot, Bomberman, star of several PC Engine games. Bomberman ’94 offered wonderful multi-player bombing mayhem – one of the first party games, and just a lot of fun to play.

Devil’s Crush/Devil Crash

Devil’s Crush offered Pinball on your home TV. With one of the most memorable tables, an occult themed table of skeletons and monsters. Beautiful graphics and amazing gameplay provide one of the best 16-bit pinball games.

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