NEC SuperGrafx
Type Console Developer NEC
Release Date 1989-Dec-08 Region(s) Japan
Initial Price $299 USD Games Released 5 (exclusive)
     by Dark Watcher
In 1989, NEC decided to yet again redesign the highly successful PC Engine console and upgrade it with more RAM.  This new design, called SuperGrafx, was sold only in Japan and was created to compete against the threat of the Nintendo Super Famicom system.  NEC stopped distributing SuperGrafx when they saw their PC Engine was still selling well.  Only 5 games were made to take advantage of the upgraded SuperGrafx and it played all PC Engine games as well as use the CD-ROM2 add-on.

     Officially licensed releases
NEC SuperGrafx (Model # PI-TG4)
NEC SuperGrafx NEC SuperGrafx NEC SuperGrafx
NEC SuperGrafx NEC SuperGrafx NEC SuperGrafx
NEC SuperGrafx NEC SuperGrafx

NEC Power Console (prototype / peripheral)
This has to be one of the coolest add-ons / peripherals ever conceived in the history of video gaming hardware.  This monster was a prototype attachment made exclusively for the SuperGrafx and was scheduled to be released in Spring of 1990.  It was not just a 'controller on steroids' device, but this beast actually enhanced the capabilities of the console itself.  One lucky guy actually has a working prototype of this rare bird - Chris Covell.

The following pictures and text exerts describing the Power Console are courtesy of Chris and his excellent webpage on the Power Console (Chris Covell's Power Console Prototype!).  Please ensure to check out his page for many more pictures, information and details on the NEC Power Console!
"First, what features does the Console have? For starters, it has the basic direction buttons of the usual PC-Engine, configured as a round, arcade-style joystick, Select and Run in the centre, and 1,2,3, and 4 action buttons (that means 2 additional buttons over usual PCE pads) with rapid-fire switches for buttons 1 and 2. There is a large steering wheel / flight yoke in the centre that has triggers on the handles. The triggers are the same as the 1 and 2 buttons. The wheel has analogue movement both left and right, and up and down, augmented with an analogue throttle on the left side of the console for full 3-D movement in flight simulators or driving games."

"Getting weirder, there is a jog dial as seen on VCR controls (top-left of the Console) and a 16-button numerical keypad (more of a calculator keypad) that is used for setting time & date on an LCD display as well as operating recording/playback of button presses, just as programmable joysticks on other systems are capable of. Did I say LCD? Yep, in the upper centre of the unit there is an LCD display that shows time (AM/PM/Date) as well as the settings for the button programming function."
"Next to that there is an LED array arranged like an airplane's radar that lights up dots to show the horizon, or approaching enemies in games like Battle Ace. Is this Hubris? Megalomania on the part of NEC? I say no: NEC knew what gamers wanted in a peripheral and were willing to pass on the cost to the buyer if it meant adding all the features anyone could ever want -- and some that few would ever want -- into the ultimate accessory."
"Before you ask, no, the sample cards  above (to the right) don't contain SGX Strider or Galaxy Force. But they do contain three pieces of software I'm sure you've never, ever seen before! They were bundled with my prototype Power Console and used (obviously) to showcase and test out the superior features of the SuperGrafx and Power Console. Two cards have black protective covers on them and the third has no cover, presumably since it was always having its chips updated (being a hardware test card and all). So, let's have a look at the games!"
The Super Kung Fu
Power Tools
Taisen Pro Mah-Jongg
For more details, pictures and information, please visit Chris Covell's Power Console Prototype! excellent webpage!
     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones were released for this system.
     by 98PaceCar
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent.

Console Design 08 The SuperGrafx is a very industrial looking console with a very unique design.  Contrary to the Core Grafx mantra of being compact, this system is a much larger console than its ancestors.  I find it one of the more distinctive and appealing consoles of all times.
Console Durability 08 Being from the NEC PC Engine line, the SuperGrafx seems near bulletproof.  It can be tough to locate AC adaptors for it in the case that one is missing or dies.
Controllers 07 Little more than a differently styled PC Engine controller, the SuperGrafx controller works very well and feels great to use.
Graphics 09 Though the actual SuperGrafx library is limited, the games that make use of the extra capabilities are stunning to look at and run smoothly.
Audio 07 Certainly no slouch in the sound department, the SuperGrafx is more than capable of competing with any console of its era.
Media 08 Standard HU cards were used here with no changes, so they are as durable as what the PC Engine offers.  I've run across very few that were truly dead.
Game Library 02 / 09 I had to give the SuperGrafx two scores for its library.  Only five native SuperGrafx games were released with two further featuring improved graphics when played on the SuperGrafx.  A rather limited library in an era of the Famicom.  However, the SuperGrafx has access to the entire PC Engine library, one of the more varied and interesting of the era.  That alone catapults it to the same level as any other console of the 80's.
Gamer Value 04 The SuperGrafx scores low on gamer value as it is typically more expensive than a normal PC Engine console.  Only adding five new games to the mix makes it hard to recommend to a gamer.
Collector Value 07 A well known and respected Japanese only console, the SuperGrafx is a wonderful piece for a collector to own.  Relatively easy to get from Japanese sources, it's a must own to any serious hardware collector.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the NEC SuperGrafx was distributed in the HuCard format.  As with standard PC Engine games, titles came in standard CD style casing.

The five (5) unique titles for this system all proudly display the SuperGrafx logo on the front and back covers of the CD inlays.  A nice touch is the system graphic with accompanying text describing the system.

Another game, Darius Alpha, was also released for this system, though it was merely an upgraded version of an existing title.

The instructions for these games are in Japanese, due to the exclusive regional release of this system.  Playing the titles themselves are rather easy to pick up after a little trial and error.

Game play with commentary courtesy of

NEC SuperGrafx Game Boxes
1941: Counter Attack boxAldynes boxBattle Ace box
Daimakaimura boxDarius Alpha boxMadouou Granzort box
     Captured in-game images
1941: Counter Attack
1941: Counter Attack Screenshot
1941: Counter Attack Screenshot
1941: Counter Attack Screenshot
Aldynes Screenshot
Aldynes Screenshot
Aldynes Screenshot
Battle Ace
Battle Ace Screenshot
Battle Ace Screenshot
Battle Ace Screenshot
Daimakaimura Screenshot
Daimakaimura Screenshot
Daimakaimura Screenshot
Darius Alpha
Darius Alpha Screenshot
Darius Alpha Screenshot
Darius Alpha Screenshot
Madouou Granzort
Madouou Granzort Screenshot
Madouou Granzort Screenshot
Madouou Granzort Screenshot
     First and third party system emulators

Multi-system, command-line driven emulator for Windows, Linux or Mac that supports the SuperGrafx library
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
Hudson Soft HuC6280A (8-bit) 3.58 MHz or 7.16 MHz (switchable) HuC6260 VCE \ HuC26270A VDC 32 KB \ 128 KB
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
256 x 224 to 512 x 242 512 colors (9-bit), 482 on screen 128 sprites Six (6) PSG audio channels
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
HuCard 20 MB 5 Unique + 1 Enhanced
(compatible with 700+)
HuCard, CD-ROM2, Super CD-ROM2, Arcade CD-ROM2
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
None None Gamepad (2 button + Run\Select) PC Engine CD-ROM2, Tennokoe 2 (game save device), RAU-30, etc.
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
One (1) None EXT-BUS Expansion Composite
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input: AC 100V, 50\60Hz
Output: DC 9V, 800 MA
I\O Port (was never utilized) Compatibility Mode Switch (SuperGrafx vs. PC Engine)
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