TurboGrafx-16 – “Three New Games”

‘TurboGrafx-16 – “Three New Games”‘

  • Ballistix
  • Night Creatures
  • Gunboat


  • GamePro, May 1992 (#34)

    • Scanned by Phillyman, via RetroMags

In 1992, around the time that the Turbo Duo was released, TTI took over marketing of the TurboGrafx systems and software. Unfortunately, they did little to improve sales. Back in 1989 when the TurboGrafx-16 was first released in the U.S., it was thought that it would be a huge hit. The NES was looking dated and there was no other strong competition at the time.

Unfortunately for NEC, Sega released their next gen system around the same time. The TurboGrafx-16 already had a lot of things working against it. The biggest problem was poor third party support due in part to Nintendo’s monopolistic licensing policy (essentially, to have your game licensed for use on the NES then it had to be exclusive to that system). Because the NES was so popular, few companies wanted to give up publishing their game on that system. To make matters worse, NEC and later TTI didn’t make terribly good choices on many of the games they brought over from Japan. In many cases, it was just too much work to localize them (or at least they felt that was the case). The end result was that while there were some very good games for the TurboGrafx-16, there were just too few for that system to complete with the likes of the NES and the Genesis. The Genesis wasn’t as vulnerable to Nintendo’s licensing policies because Sega had so many of their own games to fall back on and established relationships with more 3rd party developers.

At any rate, this ad from the May 1992 issue of GamePro was from shortly after TTI took over marketing and there were a flurry of new releases. The three games in this ad are all pretty decent but not really spectacular. Certainly no triple A titles here.

Ballistix was developed by Psygnosis but isn’t really one of their better games. It’s a relatively simplistic action/futuristic sports game in which you have to get a ball to a goal by firing other balls at it. Not a terrible game and actually pretty fun but not much depth. Night Creatures is a side-scrolling action game very reminiscent of Altered Beast. Again, this is just another mediocre action game and it didn’t have as much name recognition as Altered Beast. Then there is Gunboat, probably the most unique of the three. It’s more of a simulation which is pretty rare for video game systems and the TurboGrafx-16 in particular. Still, while it was decent it wasn’t terribly special and certainly not a game that is going to sell more systems. Titles like these just couldn’t compete with the best games coming out on the Genesis and even the NES.

This is all very unfortunate because the TurboGrafx-16/Turbo Duo was immensely popular in Japan, far more so than the NES or the Genesis and it had a very long life there. There were hundreds of games and some truly incredible games released there, particularly if you liked shooters or RPGs. Unfortunately, the vast majority were never translated and brought to the U.S. Things may have been different for the TurboGrafx-16 if NEC and later TTI had been willing to invest a little more to bring more titles over to the U.S.