I'm disappointed to see the retro community still in hibernation around here so I thought I'd do my part to try and rekindle a little energy. Specifically for the TG-16/PCE, seeing as how just days ago it has celebrated it's 30-year release in Japan (oh how it pains me to say that!)
Of course, like so many, I wasn't really even aware of it at all until a year or so later, when the US Market began to get wind of a potential release - the PC-Engine was rebranded as the Turbografx-16, and released just shy of two years later in the West.
In my case, the first I'd ever heard of it was back in that 1988 EGM Buyer's Guide (also known as EGM #1), which still sits buried in my closet and held together with scotch tape and staples. I learned about the PCE and the Sega Genesis at the same time thanks to that magazine, and immediately was interested in the latter and not really so much the former. Still, the existence of any kind of home consoles other than what was known to the average teenaged US Gamer - those being the king-of-the-scene NES, and far down the totem pole the Sega Master System and barely-mentionable (at the time) Atari system - was immediately worth some note.
In the year that followed more information started to trickle out, magazines like EGM and Game Player's and such got more prominence as well, and suddenly the future started looking like more than merely "what else was coming out for NES." The numbers game was real, and the 8-bit TG-16 "sounded" inferior to the true 16-bit Genesis. Besides, Sega was sort of king of the arcades (or at the very least, as up there as anyone else at the time). Still, one can only hope to get their hands on one of the next-gen systems in those days (hey, still the case now for many of us). I was still anticipating Genesis.
The Summer of 1989 came. Don't recall how, but I heard about an event in a nearby town where they were going to be demoing the TurboGrafx. I had never seen any kind of public showing of a console before, but it sounded interesting so my friends and I went. It turned out to be a pretty revelatory event - they had the entire US launch lineup playable on a whole bunch of machines, and I shit you not everything looked as good as anything you'd see in the arcades of the day. I was beside myself. Blazing Lasers, Rtype, Moto Roader, Dungeon Explorer, Legendary Axe, Vigilante, and so on and so on. I left the event pretty confounded - I was dead-set on a Genesis but now my faith had been shaken!
The following Thanksgiving, I still nabbed a Genesis - no way could I resist Ghouls n Ghosts, and it did not disappoint - the entire Genesis lineup was a pretty solid match vs what was coming out for Turbo. My friend from a couple of towns over (attended that same event with me) ended up buying the Turbo, and in a few months we traded systems & collections to get to see how the other made out. It was difficult to give it back, the Turbo was amazing (but I knew the Genesis felt like it had more of a future, even in those early days). History proved me right, of course, but that was not something i was ever truly pleased about.
Fast-forward about 20-odd years, and I bought a decent TG-16 setup from a guy at work who was unloading a system with about 30ish games and a (broken, of course) CD Unit. At last I finally got my Turbografx-proper. Still gotta fix the damn CD though.
Happy birthday! I still have great memories of those launch games - R-Type, Legendary Axe, and my favorite Blazing Lasers (name and all). I still love how the unique PCE sound chip sounds, compared to the other systems of the day. I'll treasure that system always-