TurboGrafx-16: What is in a name

Right from the outset, NEC faced an uphill battle in launching their console in the US market. Not only didn’t they know their market, they also faced the impending release of the 16-bit Sega Genesis.

Not perturbed by the looming Genesis, NEC forged ahead and performed their market research to better understand their customers. They found that the original name – PC-Engine, was causing confusion, whereby customers thought that it was a Personal Computer Engine. NEC tested several other names, settling on the one that best described the systems main benefit, its twin 16-bit graphics processors – hence, the TurboGrafx-16.

In regards to the restyled shape of the console, since it was going to be sold at a relatively high price ($200), NEC once again asked the market on their thoughts. The overwhelming response was – something so small should not cost so much. The shape of the console was sealed and NEC proceeded to alter it and make it big enough to appease the market that thought “Bigger is better”.

With hindsight, did NEC do the right thing? What name / shape would you have preferred ?



  1. The TG-16 certainly is a product of the times in which it was born. I know to this day I’m still confused by the name “PC-Engine” so I completely agree with the name change. The shape however, that is a little harder to justify. With all of that additional space on the front I never could figure out why they only put one controller. In addition, the RF only default setup was pretty lame as well. Especially when everyone else under the sun was putting composite video out on their console.

  2. turbogaming says:

    Nice article – linked back at http://sevne.com/Turbo/?p=239


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