Lets Play: Monster Maker

We take a look at Monster Maker on the NEC Turbo Duo.

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Delivery from Buyee, Unboxing Japanese auction items

Japanese Delivery Unboxing

We buy a lot of stuff from japan using the middle-man service provided by Buyee.jp (other services do exist, this is just our favourite).

Remember, if you buy from a different country you *might* be subject to customs charges when it enters your home country.  If you’re unlucky you’ll get a pretty vindictive customs agent who checks prices on eBay to calculate costs rather than what you actually paid for the item – so be careful.

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NEC PC Engine LT

NEC PC Engine LT

We take a look at NEC’s portable, but not mobile, handheld console, the PC Engine LT.

The LT fitted a slightly strange niche in the gaming market, coming halfway between NECs CoreGrafx home console and their GT handheld.  It had a similar footprint to the diminutive CoreGrafx and had a built-in screen like the GT (although larger and far better quality).  But the LT was not mobile like the GT, there were no batteries, you needed to have a PSU plugged in.

In this sense it’s more akin to the Nintendo Wii U in spirit, more about freeing up the household TV than taking games with you.

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We take a look at Outrun Ports

Outrun is probably one of the best loved Arcade racers out there.  Designed by Yu Suzuki in 1986 it utilised the hardware created for the earlier Hang On and Space Harrier titles.

Because it was an incredibly popular Arcade machine it was ported to many consoles, we take a look at it on:

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NEC PC Engine Duo

NEC PC Engine Duo

4th Generation Competitors
Neo Geo CD Megadrive Super NES Neo Geo AES CDTV Philips CDI
Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan 21st Sep 1991 1995
North America 10th Oct 1992 1995
Europe NA NA  NA

Whilst the SuperGrafx was largely failing in the market, NEC kept pushing the PC Engine platform.  One of it’s various versions (and my personal favourite) was the PC Engine Duo.

The Duo took the PC Engine and combined it, in one sleek package, with the SuperCD addon.  It was certainly successful in terms of hardware, the unit was far more convenient than the previous add on units had been and was very reliable.

The Duo was also released in North America as the TurboDuo but never made it to Europe.

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NEC SuperGrafx

NEC SuperGrafx

4th Generation Competitors
Neo Geo CD Megadrive Super NES Neo Geo AES CDTV Philips CDI PC Engine
Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan 8th Dec 1989  1990  6.26M
North America NA NA  NA
Europe May 1990 1990  NA

When the PC Engine started losing ground to the Megadrive, NEC decided to try and maintain the same platform but extend it.  The result would just about keep up with the soon to arrive 16 bit generation and have the advantage of being backwards compatible to the extensive PC Engine library.

Unfortunately, NEC still did not trust their platform enough to push worldwide and Nintendo and Sega already had Japan sewn up.  The Megadrive had been released early the same year and had catapulted Sega to the top of the fight and the SNES was due not long into the next year and was already growing a fan base.

The SuperGrafx did not sell well in Japan and only saw a limited release in Europe.  It only received 6 games that took advantage of it’s extra power.

NEC took some time away from the console market after the failure of the SuperGrafx and, apart from some special editions, only returned with their entrant to the 32 bit Era, which also did not go well.

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5th Generation Competitors
3DO Jaguar Saturn Playstation Nintendo 64 FM Towns Marty CD32 Pippin Playdia Loopy
Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan 23rd Dec 1994  1998  400K
North America NA NA  NA
Europe NA NA  NA

When the SuperGrafx failed to make ground up on the 16 bit consoles and with the 32 bit generation on the horizon NEC realised they had to develop a new machine from scratch.

NEC looked at the Playstation and Saturn to see the areas they needed to concentrate on.  They chose a fairly powerful 32 bit chip in the RISC based V810 and they picked a very speedy double speed SCSI CD drive.

Unfortunately they missed what would turn out to be the single most important aspect of the new consoles.

The PC-FX had no 3D capabilities at all.  It was a very powerful 2D machine, but this didn’t help it against the onslaught of 3D games that came with the 32 bit generation.

Aside from the 3D aspect, the PC-FX was a powerful machine, capable of moving large 2D images around and using Jpeg animation in-line with other 2D assets.

It was also a very expandable machine, including a memory slot for backup and an in-built SCSI chain to add various SCSI devices (although none were ever announce or supported).

In the end the PC-FX ended up being a repository of Hentai titles, much like most failed consoles in Japan.  This failure also saw NEC leave the console market, which was a shame given their previous attempts.

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