NEC PC Engine Duo \ TurboDuo
Type Console Developer NEC \ TTI
Release Date 1991-Sep Region(s) Japan, North America
Initial Price $399 USD Games Released 850+ (Compatible)
     by Marriott_Guy
With the success of their PC Engine and CD-ROM2 line of systems in Japan, NEC looked to combine this technology into an ultimate gaming machine.  NEC partnered with Hudson Soft, their largest third party game developer, in developing this extremely versatile console which they named the NEC Duo.

The Duo is a combination of the PC Engine and Super CD-ROM2 systems packaged in a modern, sleek, matte-black casing.  The somewhat minimalistic design contradicts the machine's capabilities.  The console integrated Super System Card technology within its motherboard and provided 192 KB of extra RAM.  This extra memory was utilized to boost system performance in addition to providing space for internally saving game data (a first for any NEC console).  The Duo was compatible with HuCards, CD-ROM2 and Super CD-ROM2 right out of the box (in addition to Audio CD and CD+G software).  This provided great value for the gamer due to the huge library of compatible NEC titles that were available in 1991 (400+).  NEC banked on this value quotient and set the price accordingly for obtaining one of these gems, debuting in September of 1991 in Japan for $399 (59,800 yen).

Despite this high price point, the Duo was well received by critics and gamers alike. This spawned two additional models, the Duo-R and Duo-RX.  Internally, they are the same machine encased in a slightly different chassis.  The headphone jack and the locking HuCard door were removed from the latter two models.  The Duo-RX also featured a six button controller opposed to the standard two button gamepad that was distributed with the Duo and Duo-R.  Overall, all models received significant support from the gaming public.
NEC PC Engine Duo console
Looking to capitalize on this success, NEC set its sights on expanding the Duo into familiar, yet less than friendly territory - the United States.  NEC had previously experienced minimal success in penetrating the US market with their release of the TurboGrafx-16 and its add-on, the TurboGrafx-CD.  Poor marketing and a lack of software support (both first and third party) were its nemesis for these failures.  NEC decided to take a different approach this time when entering the volatile and highly competitive US market.  Distribution and marketing would not be done by its internal branch in the US (NEC Home Electronics USA), would be outsourced to a little know company named TTI.
Turbo Technologies, Inc. (TTI) was a US-based company comprised of NEC and Hudson Soft employees.  They were tasked with penetrating a highly saturated market with this new Duo console, named the TurboDuo (Turbo Duo).  The system launched in October of 1992 for $299, an extremely aggressive price point considering the TurboGrafx-16/CD lack of prior retail support.  TTI packaged the TurboDuo with a variety of games that showcased its immense compatibility (TurboChip, TG-CD, SuperCD) in an attempt to enhance perceived value.  Despite these overtures, a scrape would ensue with their long time foe Sega.
Sega released the Sega CD just one month after the TurboDuo.  Though not an "all-in-one" machine like the Duo, Sega had garnered a significantly greater percentage of the US market with its highly successful Sega Genesis system.  This consumer loyalty, coupled with Sega's excellent marketing strategies, proved to be too much to overcome for TTI.  NEC (TTI) ended their support for the TurboDuo in 1995.
The Duo (TurboDuo) is overall an excellent gaming machine.  The console itself is rather fragile and is known for having issues with the CD drive and sound components.  The good news is that these are easy machines to work on and there are many aficionados that can assist with needed repairs for a reasonable price.  The plethora of games that are available for Duo systems (800+ now) make this a cherished and highly sought after console.

     Officially licensed releases
NEC PC Engine Duo
Released : 1991 Country : Japan
NEC PC Engine Duo-R
Released : 1992 Country : Japan
NEC PC Engine Duo-RX
Released : 1993 Country : Japan
NEC TurboDuo
Released : 1992 Country : United States

     Non-licensed hardware releases
This system is a clone (authorized).
     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 06 The Duo line took the standard practice of combining CD add-ons and base consoles and created an pretty standard looking 90's console. Though it fails to stand out in any particular way, it does look nice and works much better than a TG-16/PC Engine with an outboard CDRom.
Console Durability 06 Duos are very prone to capacitor issues which can take out the sound and the CD drives are known to fail somewhat frequently. Fortunately, they are easy to work on and a vast support network exists on the internet.
Controllers 07 Not wanting to rock the boat, NEC stuck with the tried and true PC Engine controllers here. As always, they work well and feel good to use.
Graphics 07 Many of the PC Engine/TG-16 games feature stunning graphics. At the time of the Duo's release, they were looking a bit aged, but still impressive.
Audio 07 CD games featured the best sound, but HU card games were very capable as well. Some memorable soundtracks here if you get into the Japanese releases that never saw release in the US.
Media 08 Standard HU cards were used here with no changes, so they are as durable as what the PC Engine offers. CD Roms allowed for a much larger amount of storage, giving the Duo the best of both worlds.
Game Library 09 While the US didn't see but a fraction of the releases that Japan got, there are a ton of great games here. If you are willing to import, the list of good games seems near endless.
Gamer Value 06 Though the Duo is a bit expensive, it is in line with the cost of getting a HU card console and the CD add-on. With a smaller footprint and simpler wiring, it is worth it to step up into a Duo if you are a serious PC Engine/TG-16 fan.
Collector Value 07 Duos seem to be a console that a lot of people respect and seek out, so no true collector should be without one.

     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
Two (2) HuC6280A (8-bit) 3.58 MHz or 7.16 MHz
(determined by software)
HuC6260 VCE \ HuC26270A VDC 256 KB \ 64 KB
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
256 x 224 to 565 x 242 512 colors (9-bit), 482 on screen N\A \ 64 Six PSG audio channels (3.58 MHz)
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
HuCard \ CD-ROM2 \ Super CD-ROM2 20 Mb (HuCard) \ 640 MB (CD) Compatible with approx. 825 Arcade CD-ROM2, Audio CD, CD+G
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
192 KB None Gamepad (2 button + Run\Select)
Duo-RX came with a 6 button model)
Duo Multi-Tap, Arcade Duo Card
PC Engine Duo Monitor
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
One (1) None Headphone jack
(removed in the Duo-R \ RX models)
Composite (DIN)
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
AC 120V 60MHz 16W
DC 10Vv 1000 MA
None Included Super System Card 3.0 built into the system.
Arcade CD-ROM2 required the Arcade Duo System Card.
NEC PC Engine Duo RX Manual Japan (PDF) - 3.59 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
NEC Duo \ TurboDuo Television Commercials

NEC Duo \ TurboDuo Advertisements
NEC Duo \ TurboDuo Advertisement NEC Classic Logo
TTI logo (Turbo Technologies Inc)
NEC Duo \ TurboDuo Advertisement
NEC Duo \ TurboDuo Advertisement NEC Duo \ TurboDuo Advertisement NEC Duo \ TurboDuo Advertisement
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