NEC PC Engine CD-ROM2 \ TurboGrafx-CD
Type Console Add-On Developer NEC
Release Date 1988-Apr-12 Region(s) Japan, North America
Initial Price $399 USD Games Released Approximately 423
     by Dark Watcher
On October 30, 1987 the first 16-Bit home videogame console was released in Japan by NEC.  The PC Engine was clearly a "next generation" system with its amazing specs and wallet sized card games called "HuCards".
The PC Engine was immensely popular in Japan, outselling the Famicom by a significant margin.  Two years after its Japanese introduction, NEC announced plans to bring the PC Engine overseas.  NEC dubbed the US release TurboGrafx-16 and prepared to dominate both Nintendo and Sega as they did in Japan.
In 1988, NEC took gaming to the next level.  They were the first to use the immense storage capability of Compact Disc.  NEC's CD-ROM add-on device was called TurboGrafx-CD or TG-CD (PC Engine CD-ROM2 in Japan).  The add-on would be immensely popular in its native country of Japan, releasing over 400 games.  The console did not fare as well in the North American market.
PC Engine CD-ROM2 briefcase
Even with its amazing potential, the TurboGrafx-CD was marketed poorly.  Not only was this item priced at a ridiculous $399, but only two games were even released for it during its first six months of existence.  Neither TG-CD game, Fighting Street nor Monster Lair, came anywhere close to taking advantage of the system's capabilities.
PC Engine CD-ROM2 console (picture credits unknown)TurboGrafx 16, Turbografx CD anad many peripherals
     Officially licensed releases
PC Engine CD-ROM2 technology was also incorporated into the three major models displayed below.  Various other officially licensed consoles also incorporate this natively which include the NEC Duo line (Duo, Duo-R, Duo-RX and the Turbo Duo) and the Pioneer LaserActive (PAC Module).

PC Engine CD-ROM2 and RAU-30 NEC PC Engine CD-ROM2 with Core Grafx
NEC PC Engine CD-ROM2 with Core Grafx

NEC PC Engine Super CD-ROM2
Super CD-ROM2 with CoreGrafx II system Super CD-ROM2 system
Super CD-ROM2 system
Super CD-ROM2 system Super CD-ROM2 system Super CD-ROM2 system

NEC TurboGrafx-CD
TurboGrafx CD Box and Contents TurboGrafx CD
TurboGrafx-CD system

This device is required to connect the NEC SuperGrafx system to the PC Engine CD-ROM2.  No adapter for the SuperGrafx is necessary with the second model, the Super CD-ROM2, since it can interface directly with the unit.
RAU-30 Unit RAU-30 Unit RAU-30 Unit
     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones were released for this system.
     by Marriott_Guy
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent.  The following is based upon my experience with the PC Engine CD-ROM2 and the TurboGrafx-CD.
Console Design 07 Both versions plugged into the back expansion port of the system.  The TG-16 console used a base to provide stability, while the PC Engine CD-ROM2 came with an optional 'briefcase' interface unit.  The front panel buttons could have been a bit larger, but overall a solid design.
Console Durability 06 This add-on is rather fragile with the CD laser unit being prone to failure.  The flip-top CD door is constructed of thin plastics and should be handled with care.
Graphics 07 With a palette of 512 colors, vibrant colorful graphics are the standard for most titles.  Later games truly show the system's graphical capabilities
Audio 09 The large storage capacity of the CD-ROM allowed games to feature quality musical scores and enhanced audio effects that was superior to other consoles of the era.
Media 10 Being the first console to utilize CD technology, NEC was definitely ahead of the curve. 
Gamer Value 07 While the North American game library is rather limited, the lack of regional protection enables gamers to experience over 400 CD titles.
Collector Value 07 Regardless of the model, these add-ons are rather pricey acquisitions.  The Super CD-ROM2 comes with Super System Card 3.0 built directly into the unit which may save you a few bucks.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
It is important to have the correct system card in order to play PC Engine CD-ROM2 or TurboGrafx-CD games.  These cards plug directly into the respective system to provide compatibility with the various NEC CD formats.  The CD type is designated by logo as well as indicated on the front cover and spine of the respective title.  The following summarizes the three types along with the required System Card.
CD-ROM2 System CardTurboGrafx CD System Card
PC Engine CD-ROM2 logo
System Card 1.0 - 2.1 (Japan)
System Card 2.0 (USA)
PC Engine Super CD-ROM2 logo
Super System Card 3.0 (Japan)
Super System Card 3.0 (USA)
PC Engine Arcade CD-ROM2 logo
Arcade Card Pro (Japan)
Arcade Card DUO (Japan)
Some noted to keep in mind
o The CD-ROM2 comes with the System Card 1.0 HuCard
o The Super CD-ROM comes with Super System Card 3.0 built directly into the unit.
o The TurboGrafx-CD comes with the System Card 2.0 HuCard
o The Arcade Card DUO is used with the DUO line of NEC consoles in lieu of the Arcade Card Pro.
o System Cards released in Japan will work with the TurboGrafx 16 with a HuCard converter.

Sample boot screens when first firing up your system with the respective System Card
PC Engine System Card 1.0 ScreenshotTurboGrafx CD System Card 2.0 ScreenshotPC Engine Super System Card 3.0 Screenshot
     Captured in-game images
Advanced VG
Advanced VG Screenshot
Cho Aniki
Cho Aniki Screenshot
Dracula X
Dracula X Screenshot
Dynastic Hero
Dynastic Hero Screenshot
Emerald Dragon
Emerald Dragon Screenshot
Fighting Street
Fighting Street Screenshot
Forgotten Worlds
Forgotten Worlds Screenshot
Galaxy Fraulein Yuna
Galaxy Fraulein Yuna Screenshot
Gate of Thunder
Gate of Thunder Screenshot
Gradius II
Gradius II Screenshot
Hellfire S
Hellfire S Screenshot
Hot Blooded High School Soccer
Hot Blooded High School Soccer Screenshot
John Madden CD Football
John Madden CD Football Screenshot
Kaze Kiri: Ninja Action
Kaze Kiri: Ninja Action Screenshot
Kick Boxing
Kick Boxing Screenshot
Lords of Thunder
Lords of Thunder Screenshot
Metamor Jupiter
Monster Lair
Monster Lair Screenshot
Red Alert
Red Alert Screenshot
Riot Zone
Riot Zone Screenshot
Startling Odyssey II
Startling Odyssey II Screenshot
Super Air Zonk
Super Air Zonk Screenshot
Valis III
Valis III Screenshot
Y's 1 & 2
Y's 1 & 2 Screenshot
     First and third party system emulators

Multi-system, command-line driven emulator for Windows, Linux or Mac that supports the PC Engine CD-ROM library
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
See PC Engine See PC Engine Oki MSM5205 ADPCM See PC Engine
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
256x224 up to 565x242 512 colors (9-bit), 482 on screen See PC Engine See PC Engine
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
CD-ROM (1x speed) 640 MB Approximately 423 CD-ROM2, Super CD-ROM2,
Arcade CD-ROM2
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
64 KB DRAM None See PC Engine See PC Engine
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
See PC Engine None None See PC Engine
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Varied (model dependant) None System Cards provided the BIOS for booting the CD as well
as provided software instructions for accessing data.  Later cards added more RAM as well.
NEC PC Engine CD-ROM2 IFU-30 Owners Manual Japan (PDF) - 37.1 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
PC Engine CD-ROM2 Promotional Video

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