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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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-FX

NEC PC-FX

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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NEC PC Engine

NEC PC Engine / Turbografx 16

4th Generation Competitors
Neo Geo CD Megadrive Super NES Neo Geo AES CDTV Philips CDI NEC SuperGrafx
Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan 30th Oct 1987 1994  3.9M
North America 29th Aug 1989 1994  500K
Europe 22nd Nov 1989 1993  1.4M

The PC Engine is an unfortunately forgotten piece of gaming history.  For a long time in Japan it was the second place console and is one of the few consoles to successfully straddle two generations, selling in the 8 bit and 16 bit eras.

NEC was a big player in Japan’s PC98 world.  Seeing the success that Nintendo had garnered in the console world they considered entering the market themselves.

Enter HudsonSoft.  HudsonSoft were a successful software company in Japan, they’d developed a hardware platform involving thin card sized cartridges nicknamed HuCards.  Realising they couldn’t develop it, they approached NEC to partner with them.

The resulting console was incredibly powerful for it’s time and managed to hold second place in the Japanese console market, holding off Sega.  They eventually released in the US and Europe, with a larger remodelled version called the TurboGrafx 16.

Unfortunately, NEC were not sure of these markets and did very little advertising.  Europe didn’t even receive a full stock of units, meaning it never had a chance to compete against Nintendo or Sega.

At the beginning of the 16 bit era, NEC realised their machine could still compete, software development was mature and the initial titles being released on the SNES and Megadrive were not especially more impressive.

But this was a losing battle.  As developers got to grips with the newer machines the PC Engine started looking less and less powerful.  Eventually NEC tried to reclaim some market by releasing a slightly improved version in the SuperGrafx, but it was too little too late.

The PC Engine also received a CD Rom addon.  This was only a single speed drive and suffered from developers cramming the discs with unskippable film sequences, but it had some very impressive titles and was certainly the most successful of the CD Rom addons.

One of the biggest flaws the PC Engine had was a reliance on a single joystick port, this meant any multiplayer required purchasing a multitap device.

The PC Engine is considered to be the best platform for shoot-em-ups and also had some of the most impressive arcade conversions of either the 8 bit or 16 bit eras.

 

 

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