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  • [I ♥ The PC Engine] CD-ROM System

    Posted on July 17th, 2009 keving 37 comments

    CD-ROM² System

    Maker: NEC Home Electronics
    Release Date: 12/4/88
    Price: 57,800 yen

    cdrom0The greatest contribution the PC Engine made to video-game history is undoubtedly the CD-ROM media it successfully introduced. Maybe there wasn’t an install base that goes into the multi-millions like you see with later systems, but the PCE CD-ROM was successful enough for NEC — and it was also the first success story for the format, something that irrevocably changed console hardware and software design ever since.

    Musical CDs first went on sale in 1982, gradually growing in popularity toward the end of the decade and replacing LP records as the primary medium for the music industry. While originally developed as a musical format, CDs (as we all know today) can store any kind of digital information you can think of. Dozens of companies introduced concepts and systems that took advantage of CD-based storage throughout the ’80s, but in the very beginning, the disc was seen purely for “serious” use — digital encyclopedias, library databases, that sort of thing.

    It was Hudson Soft’s hardware staff that first came up with the idea to use CDs as the medium for a video-game system, an idea that was seen as more than a little crazy for its time. The push was chiefly spearheaded by Shinichi Nakamoto, an old-guard software guy who began working for Hudson in 1978 while studying in college and now serves as its executive vice president. Hiromasa Iwasaki, a game journalist and programmer who worked on Ys Book I & II, wrote in a 1996 issue of Dengeki PC Engine that Nakamoto, “a fun guy who, for better or for worse, loves going on adventures and trying new things, was the one who pushed the [CD-ROM²] project — or, really, stuffed it down everyone’s throats.” Iwasaki was one of the programmers of the system’s BIOS (i.e. the System Card 1.0), and he was involved with developing the hardware architecture from the start. (He was originally headhunted by Hudson for his experience working on the Green Book CD standard, co-developed by Sony and Philips in 1986.)

    Why was Nakamoto so interested in the CD-ROM format for games? Judging by assorted interviews he’s done over the years, the original inspiration was the ability to use real-life voice in game productions. It was Teruhisa “Ohji” Hiroi who expanded that concept to full-on visual animation, the anime cutscenes that would highlight a vast amount of PCE CD games to come. Hiroi, a freelance designer whose experience at the time was mostly in the trenches of anime development, heard about Nakamoto’s project and brought a game concept to him before the PCE was even released — a concept that eventually became Tengai Makyō: Ziria (1989), the first “killer app” CD game. “I wanted to make a game that really used CD-ROM,” Hiroi later wrote, “and after that, it was almost like NEC was making the machine for me.”

    It was, indeed, NEC’s computer division that created the CD-ROM hardware — or, to be exact, repurposed it for game console purposes. Former NEC-HE hardware designer Nobuhiro Takagaki mentioned in a 2003 interview with Dorimaga magazine that, starting in 1986, NEC was working on a next-generation computer, a CD-ROM-equipped “multimedia machine” meant to replace the PC-8801 in the consumer market. The concept isn’t unlike what Fujitsu came up with for the FM Towns in 1989, but Hudson ultimately convinced NEC to take the CD functionality of this new computer and work it into the PC Engine instead. (NEC themselves wouldn’t release a CD-ROM computer until the PC-9821 in 1992.)

    The CD-ROM² System wasn’t released until a year after the PC Engine itself, but from the size of the HuCards to the jewel case-like packaging they were sold in, it’s plain to see that the system was designed around the CD-ROM unit, not the other way around. Still, it was released as an optional accessory because NEC didn’t seriously think it’d eventually become the system’s primary media. It’s obvious why they had their doubts. After all, this was the first consumer-level device ever to use CD-ROMs after the Yellow Book standard was finalized in 1985. CD-ROM drives were eye-poppingly expensive until the early ’90s — the PCE’s system ain’t exactly cheap at nearly 60,000 yen, but consider that a PC CD-ROM drive cost over 200,000 yen in the Japanese marketplace back then, and it’s easy to see the pains NEC must’ve gone through to keep the price as low as it was.

    The revolutionary nature of this system is particularly impressive when you remember that it came out in 1988, when the Famicom was still king and even the largest of games for it were two or three megabits (and even that was thanks to fancy bankswitching techniques that Nintendo didn’t anticipate). By comparison, a PC Engine CD-ROM can hold up to 540 megabytes, 4320 megabits, per disc. As PC Engine FAN put it in one 1988 headline, “you could put all the Famicom games that exist on one CD-ROM!” — and a lot of gamers back then had trouble even imagining what could be done with that much space. (You can easy fit every single HuCard release on a single CD-ROM too, by the way, and hackers have put lots of HuCards on SCD-compatible discs in the past.)

    Developing for this pioneering system was not straightforward. Hard drives didn’t come in 540-megabyte models back then (the one I got with my first PC in 1992 was only 120MB), so — as veteran game developer Satoshi Mikami described to Dorimaga in 2003 — Hudson’s developers had to string several drives together to create a “CD-ROM² emulator” to work with. The equipment cost alone went into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for each individual dev workstation. CD-Rs didn’t exist yet, either (the standard for them wasn’t defined until 1988), so if you wanted to test a game out on a real PCE, you had to copy all the CD-ROM data to tape storage and send it off to the factory for pressing, which cost the equivalent of a cool $10,000 or so per cycle.

    Realizing all this gives you an idea of exactly how crazy it was to introduce CD-ROM to game systems as early as NEC and Hudson dared to. It’s also a window into the massive “game bubble” the Famicom had created in Japan — even in the mid-1980s, there was so much money to be made off of video games that incredible risks like these were taken on a regular basis.

    The 3-in-1 System

    cdrom2The PC Engine CD-ROM² System (officially pronounced “CD ROM-ROM System,” an attempt by NEC to make the product sound a little friendlier and less techy to Japanese consumers) was sold in late 1988 as two components — the CD-ROM² Player, and an Interface Unit that connected the player to the PCE. These were sold in separate (and, now, extremely rare) boxes at first, boxes that I’ve seen only once in Japanese used-game shops; they began to be packaged together only in mid-1989. Why? Tax reasons. Japan did not have a value-added tax applied to all consumer products until April 1989; before then, the government imposed excise taxes only on certain equipment, which included “audio devices” (音響機器). To keep the final price as low as possible, NEC made the taxable CD player bare-bones, low-function, and detachable, putting all of the pricey custom hardware that drove it into the non-taxable Interface Unit instead.

    A basic square similar in size and shape to the PCE itself, the CD-ROM² Player has all the basics you’d expect on a CD player — buttons for play, pause, repeat, and track selection, as well as a headphone jack and line-out port. Add an AC adapter, and you can use it as a completely self-contained CD player without the PC Engine getting involved at all, though its size (1.5 inches deep, nearly a pound in weight) means it less than portable. The CD tray cover is semi-transparent, allowing you to see the disc spinning inside, a design that didn’t survive into later PCE consoles. A two-digit red LED display on the bottom left shows “CD” when playing a music disc and “PC” when running a game. I read somewhere once that the player could be attached to the PC-8801MC computer and used as a CD-ROM drive without any modification, but I haven’t seen this in action.

    The Interface Unit, meanwhile, is far more than a piece of plastic lying between the CD player and PCE. It includes 64K of buffer RAM for data read from the disc and another 64K of sound RAM meant for replaying ADPCM voices. It also sports composite video and stereo output ports, obviating the need for an AV Booster. Most important, however, is the backup RAM inside meant for game data, another first for console games. Battery-backup Famicom and NES games were starting to pop up now and then by this point (The Legend of Zelda was the first one most US gamers played, no doubt), but the small size of HuCards meant that external storage was a necessity from the start, especially for RPGs. This backup RAM is guaranteed to be kept in memory as long as you have the system plugged in; it doesn’t get erased immediately after losing power, and saves usually last for a few weeks (up to a year, if you’re lucky) if you keep the console unplugged.

    cdrom1 To connect everything together, you insert the CD-ROM player into the left side of the Interface Unit, then the PC Engine on the right, using a slider on the front to hold everything in place. To remove the individual components, pull the slider back, then use an eject lever on the rear to push the CD player and PCE outward. Since CD-ROM was just another part of the “Core concept” at this point, you had to go through all of this nonsense if you wanted to play a PCE CD game until new consoles like the Duo were released. In addition to the white PCE shown in this photo, you can attach a CoreGrafx, CoreGrafx II and PC Engine LT to the Interface Unit without any trouble. The SuperGrafx wasn’t capable of this, but gamers unlucky enough to own that system could buy an official accessory, the ROM² Adapter, to play CD games. The PC Engine GT (TurboExpress) and kid-targeted Shuttle were completely incapable of playing anything besides HuCards.

    The Interface Unit has a handle on the rear that lets you pick up the entire thing and carry it around with you like a briefcase. It’s convenient for carrying purposes, I suppose…? Like the handle on the back of Nintendo’s GameCube, you kind of wonder what the point of it is. Between this, the LT and the GT, NEC seemed oddly obsessed with making the PCE as “portable” as possible in Japan.

    System Card Upgrades

    cdrom3If you wanted to play a CD-ROM game, simply connecting everything to the Interface Unit wasn’t quite enough. You also needed to throw the CD-ROM² System Card into the PCE, a HuCard included with the system itself.

    This card, which contains the software that drives the CD-ROM hardware, brings up the CD-ROM² System screen when you turn on the PCE. Press Run on this screen, and the console will spin up whatever’s inside the player, either bringing up the CD-ROM game or displaying the chic, stylish music playback screen (below) if you put a regular CD inside. Pressing Select summons the backup RAM control screen, letting you reset the RAM entirely or delete individual dadta files. These basic features remained unchanged in every version of the System Card.

    cdrom5The original 1988 CD-ROM² System contained only 64KB of buffer RAM, which — even at the time — was considered pretty paltry by developers. (As Hiroi put it, it was “like using a Styrofoam cup to empty a swimming pool.”) Hudson’s software department pressed Nakamoto for at least 128KB, but the high price of memory all through the late 1980s made it impossible. Of course, as Iwasaki said, “it all worked out in the end, because if we put in 128K, the Super CD-ROM² might’ve never been released.”

    This System Card approach seems remarkably non-straightforward by modern standards, but in its own way, it helped the PC Engine remain viable in the marketplace for much longer than anyone expected. NEC released a variety of new PCE consoles in later years, each with more backup RAM and so forth, but even if you were a first-day adopter of the CD-ROM², you could still play everything in the PCE’s library as long as you had the right system card.

    In 1988, the system was packed with version 1.0 of the card, which has a secret code that unlocks a simple memory viewer and debugger. System Card Version 2.0 was packed in with later CD-ROM packages; it added support for CD&G playback and fixed a few bugs. (Due to these code changes, the CD version of Altered Beast fails to load on anything besides version 1.0 of the system card.) Version 2.1, which was not packed in with anything but instead sold separately, added an auto disc-change feature and nothing else of note.

    In 1991, three years after the CD-ROM²’s launch, NEC released the Super CD-ROM² System, expanding the platform’s buffer RAM to 256KB (two megabits); users who already owned CD-ROM players could purchase the Super System Card Version 3.0 to upgrade. Three years after that, in 1994, NEC launched the Arcade Card, featuring an amazing 2.3MB (18 megabits) of buffer space — RAM got cheap quickly in the early ’90s. As before, you could upgrade without buying any new hardware by purchasing the Arcade Card Pro, pricey at 17,800 yen but worth it considering it let you play a near-perfect port of Fatal Fury Special (1994) on seven-year-old hardware.

    These system card upgrades also gave PCE users a unique, unintended bonus — the incorrect-version warning screen. Boot up a Super CD game with an under-3.0 system card, and a screen pops up giving you a wrong-version error. These screens started out purely functional, but as time went on, they became more and more elaborate, featuring characters from the game in humorous situations or visuals that had nothing to do with the release at all. Some games — most famously Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo — even had special mini-games you could only access by trying to load an SCD game with an old system card. If you bought into the PCE with a Duo or later system, you couldn’t enjoy these little surprises, leading an untrivial number of Duo users to seek out old system cards just so they could see the hidden stuff in their game library.

    CD-ROM² Software

    The CD-ROM² System launched in December 1988 with two titles: No.Ri.Ko and Fighting Street. One is a fan disc for an ’80s Japanese pop idol; the other is a port of Capcom’s original Street Fighter (not SFII). This is, to say the least, an odd combination, but it’s only to be expected — at this early point, developers were conducting a grand trial-and-error process to figure out what they could use CD-ROM for.

    “Idols” and the CD-ROM format continued this odd relationship for a few years, to the point where a few singers even got their start from PC Engine games (Mami Inoue in Mitsubachi Gakuen, the “UB Girls” from Ultra Box). That fad didn’t last long, though, and neither did NEC’s attempt with the ROM² Amp and a small library of discs to turn the PCE into a home karaoke machine.

    A few developers experimented with “serious” reference software, from Bikkuriman Daijikai (1988) to Magical Dinosaur Tour (1990), but the only one that found much success was the PC Engine Hyper Catalog, a list of game releases that came packed with a catalog mook. Others tried releasing “digital magazines” like Ultra Box (1990-92), a classic pre-Internet idea before its time. The “digital comic” adventure genre got its start on the PCE, and it played an important role in propagating the platform, with games like Cobra (1989, 1991) and Urusei Yatsura (1990) combining voice and animation to create an experience no other console could recreate. (NEC even released two titles in the “Duo Comic” lineup that were literally digital versions of previously-published manga, a shot in the dark that proved unsuccessful.)

    In the end, though, video games were what users wanted. Hiroi and his team at Hudson spent over a year developing Tengai Makyō (1989), an RPG that, for the time, was utterly vast in size and scale. The game was a far greater success than NEC imagined, and it played a large part in expanding the CD-ROM² System’s user base (which, according to Famicom Tsushin, numbered around 80,000 by the spring of ’89). Further hits included Ys Books I & II (1989), a computer port that far outclassed the original in music and visual quality, and Super Darius (1990), an all-but-perfect port of the classic arcade shooter. The userbase had expanded to 250,000 by early ’90 — nothing compared to modern console launches, but consider that all 250,000 of these people had outlaid over 80,000 yen on PCE hardware for the right to play this stuff, and you have to see it as a pretty decent success. (It also helped, no doubt, that this was the height of the Japanese economic bubble.)

    The platform continued to grow and expand, and by March of 1992 (the next point in time I could find a solid number for, just before Tengai Makyō 2 was released), over a million people had purchased a CD-ROM² System. The PC Engine Duo released the previous year quickly became the “default platform” for the PCE, and when it was all said and done, there were at least 1.5 million CD-ROM machines sold.

    Once the PCE and CD-ROM player were sold as a single unit with the Duo, the PC Engine became forever associated with disc media — to the point that, by 1993, angry PCE FAN readers repeatedly wrote in pleading for publishers to release more HuCard games. NEC emphasized this in the advertising, of course, in an effort to make the PCE unique in the marketplace; even now, NEC is closely associated with the CD format by Japanese consumers.

    cdrom4As the 1990s dawned and “multimedia” became a buzzword across the computer industry, the PCE began to see more and more games sell themselves based on lavish visual cutscenes and the illustrious voice actors working on the project. This led to the PCE’s stereotype as “the girl-game machine,” and that image was part of the reason why NEC was ill-prepared for the 32-bit competition that launched in 1994 and beyond. I don’t know if they thought the PCE would put up a better fight against the competition than it ultimately did, but the system’s marketplace share plummeted that year — and its successor, the PC-FX, failed to exploit any of the CD-ROM medium’s advantages the way the PCE did once upon a time. Thus, NEC and Hudson’s ten-year involvement with console hardware came to a close.

    In 2009, of course, CD-ROM itself is an outdated format, replaced by DVDs and other types of optical/solid-state storage. But the modern philospophy of game design — one that assumed the bountiful amount of graphic/audio storage space that CD-ROM made possible — was first made a practical reality by the CD-ROM² System. Looking at it from that vantage point, the core foundation that video games run on hasn’t changed all that dramatically since.


    35 responses to “[I ♥ The PC Engine] CD-ROM System” RSS icon

    • i used to detach the TGCG player and use it to listen to my PCE discs while doing my homework. it’s also not very portable because it can’t run on batteries. =)

      i kinda want a junk PCE CD-ROMROM drive unit just for decorative purposes. i adore how it looks.

    • I’ve recently played YS Book 1&2 on VC , really a great game ( amazing OST ).

      From the data I have PC Engine CD-ROM2 has sold 1.92 million while
      PC Engine has sold 3.92 million.

      It’s really a pity that NEC/Hudson didn’t follow the PCE inheritance with PC-FX.
      They didn’t even release Tengai Makyō 3 on that system what a pity.

    • BTW Do you know what was the last commercial realease on HuCard ?

    • That would be 21-emon: Mezase! Hotel-oh (21エモン めざせ!ホテル王), which came out 12/16/94, nearly 11 months after the previous HuCard.

    • Interesting, thanks Kevin.

    • Wow, you posted a bunch of neat PCE stuff whilst I was vacationing in Maine. 🙂

      The the “behind-the-scenes” stuff about Shinichi Nakamoto is the most interesting bit, since I haven’t read much about the folks who were actually involved in developing hardware/software. Good stuff.

      As for the handle on the PCE CD-ROM case… I think it’s neat that the designers anticipated folks moving stuff around. I know that this “feature” might not appeal to many folks, but it really is convenient–even when moving from room-to-room within the same house. Bringing stuff over to your friends’ homes was always a hassle, but at least this made it more manageable.

      The TG-CD case was neat (albeit gargantuan) because it allowed you stuff pads, games, cables, AC adapter, etc. in it.

      One small thing that was neat about the CD player’s GUI is that hitting “SELECT” (or something) cycled through different color schemes. Yeah, sometimes you have to appreciate the simple things in life when you can’t find a CD+G disc (which were nowhere to be found back then, or now).

    • This was actually an intresting read. You managed not to push any of my buttons. However the PC-engine failure was not failure alone by cost, but the seperation of regions.

      The original PCE is “pure sex” as another website put it. I think this is the only system I could kiss, even knowning that another mans ( or womans ) love juice is already on it.

      The Turbo Grafx looks like an Atari. While the PC-engine is built for adults, it was not the 1970’s in the USA. Especially in the USA. For the love of god of gods, the CD-rom unit wented on the back of the poor machine. WTF USA??!!!??
      It was like the person who designed the USA mold, wanted the machine to fail. Like an unwanted the Child, the Turbo grafx was left out in the cold to die.

      Also while drives was expensive back then, A regular person could afford a $38,000 Hard drive like a present day Blu-ray recorder. So
      I really fail to see why they could not used HD emulation to begin with.

      Also the PC-engine is a very combatable foe, even in todays market. The card slot, had upgradable RAM, where other devices could be installed without knowing. Imagine the possibilties people. It is like the story about the tortoise and the hair. NEC/Hudson built a game machine that is upgradable for life. The only thing stopping it, is the idea of NEW. There is nothing NEW about anything but the word NEW itself.

    • The real problem of the PC Engine CD-Rom, on sales, it was felt that the very grip of his rival antagonist, and the technological successor to Sega Cd-Rom,the Mega-CD.
      The latter has a much more powerful hardware, sophisticated, and more performante.The bios was much more beautiful and cared for in graphics, even with a soundtrack that was better all.The MEGA-CD had a more developed and sophisticated Technology, he was magnified to create 3D graphics, with many effects (scaling, Bi-Acsial, rotation, zoom, and more … thanks to a custom chips called ASIC. The audio offers as many as 8 stereo channels with PCM quality, much more memory, higher resolution graphics, and two 16bit processors, who worked at a rate of no less than 12.5 MHz, compared with about 7:00 Mhz PC Engine CD-ROM.Il MEGA-CD had even (and was The first car to have it) the FMV (Full Motion Video) Technical characteristics hardware that made a great stir.
      So on balance the PC Engine CD-Rom sold about 1.5 million units around the world, against the well about 6 / 8 million in MEGA-CD.

    • Well, yeah, but the Mega-CD came out three years later, too, so…

    • Well,yes Keving yes,that true,but apart from a speech related purely to the technical features, superior of the Mega-CD, as regards sales, the PC Engine CD-Rom has sold very little, because this was advertised very bad!
      The Sega Mega-CD in addition to having a more advanced technology and more sophisticated, was primarily a publicity much better than the PC Engine CD-Rom.
      And in order to accounts made the PC Engine CD-Rom sold about 1.5 million units worldwide in all your life,scilicet 7 years (Jap / USA) The Mega-CD only in the first year he sold about 2 million units, reaching sales at the end of life, the beauty of 6 / 8 million units worldwide (Jap / USA / EUR).
      One of the largest probemi PC Engine CD-Rom, was the fact of not being able to produce the FMV (Full Motion Video), and subsequent masterpieces Lasergames type: Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace, Cobra Command, Road Bluster, Time Gal, Nija Heat, and others ….
      In the statement, or rather the heavy rumination proclaimed by the NEC at Tokyo Game Show, in 1987/88, concerning the release of his CD ROM for interactive games (FMV) very popular in those years, without first testing if their car was able to do what they declared, (and of course so it was not) was a big ugly advertising, with its return very negative image for the NEC Hudson Soft.
      All this in fact was not possible Asthe the machine of NEC Hudson Soft, was not sufficient and appropriate technology to implement a FMV (Full Motion Video).
      In fact what is seen in the PC-Engine CD are sort of static frames of movements with “small” type mouth, arms, etc. .. or the characters or backgrounds at that moment the merits, with the continuing and repeated changes of images (frames), and with moments of “black” between one frame and another in the long run really frustrating!
      This unfortunately happens Asthe the machines NEC was not equipped with a fully-fledged system of activation, encoding and decoding of the film itself, that is (the FMV Module Hardware Technology), all in order to reduce production costs, which in the 80 ‘would be too many expensive!When they realized that the GPU and the optical support (CD ROM) was not sufficient to create a smooth and complete immagin (FMV Full Motion Video), they opted for more simple presentations (intro) start the game, with results as mentioned above.
      Because of this, the NEC decreed for its CD-ROM a miserable condition of life, hobbling a few puffs of breath or here, and a few others!
      This is unfortunately the truth about the PC Engine CD-Rom.

    • Hi!!…MMMmm for me Mega CD FOREVER!!!!!!!!!! ^_^

    • Surely the NEC could not compete with the SEGA in advertising,simply because the NEC did not have the resources to do.
      The Mega CD has won the battle with the PC Engine CD ROM on Sales,not only because the Mega CD was more powerful and could run the full motion video FMV,but also because it advertised SEGA working great.
      And on this issue there is no doubt!
      However there is to say that the NEC Hudson Soft did its best to compete in a world where Sega and Nintendo were masters.

    • […]Yes,nice shoot em’up game,and some beat em’up,Dracula X,but otherwise …….all very similar,and nothing striking!
      The real problem of the PC Engine Super CD ROM, was that he could not create the FMV,and when we felt( like someone already said )the results were disastrous!
      We say that the NEC has sunk itself,with false claims and not promises RotaCut.
      If the NEC did not make those false claims about the titles FMV, that people expect,maybe things would have been different.
      What passed at the head of NEC in those years about FMV,will always remain a very very mystery.

    • There are some internet examples demos of attempts by the PC Engine CD Rom conversion of Mega CD titles,exemple,ax 101, Novastorm,and even the masterpiece Silpheed. And more….but the result is disastrous!
      The PC Engine CD Rom was not the proper hardware to convert games of that caliber.
      Not only did not have FMV hardware, but the speed of its CPU 7.00Mhz,vs.12.5Mhz by Mega CD was not quite enough to guarantee an acceptable framerate.
      Be noted that the Mega CD had at his disposal than two CPU 16Bit processor,VS one hybrid architecture 8 / 16bit by PC Engine CD Rom.
      Summing up of the Mega CD and the PC Engine CD there is an abyss which sees favorite Mega CD,as clearly and unambiguously superior hardware!
      In my opinion, a comparison in this sense was not even done,there is too much difference,and disparity!
      Bye ….:)

    • The video decoding of the Mega CD for the FMV was done by software using codecs built Cinepack/Truvideo with hardware enablement for the receipt of the software and all hardware on the overwhelming support from the video memory proper 6Mbit.

      The PC Engine Super CDRom2 dont have:
      1)a decoding video sistem.
      2)Ram Video (memory) too low…
      3)processor speed 7.Mhz too low…
      4)transfer speed from CD ROM too loww…(150Kb/s for second)this latter point linked to the second point the ram video.

      Even the Neo Geo CD and Mega CD has a CD ROM to 150kb/s transfer data But the latter have a much higher video memory.

      516Kbi respectively for the Neo Geo CD,And well 6Mbit for the Mega CD.

    • A surprising amount of console partisanship here in the comments. I guess old fights die hard.

    • John H.says:[…]A surprising amount of console partisanship here in the comments. I guess old fights die hard.[…]


    • The FMV was not the only characteristic feature hardware additional technique, in spite of the PC Engine CDRom!

      Everybody look what he was capable of doing the Mega CD/Sega CD with its ASIC chips.


      The PC Engine CDRom unfortunately could dream this kind of performance!

    • I never understood what it was serve for the PC Engine-CDROM as well as improving sound does not improve anything!
      No many speed,no many memory,no many color,no additional CPU,no FMV for the reasons already explained and we all know,never custom chip(CPU),no 3D graphic.

      In short summing up everything that made the PC Engine Super CD-Rom could do very well on PC Engine!!!
      At this point a question comes to mind …..

      Why does the NEC created this Add-on?….
      And it was also very expensive!

      His expensive price does not justify only to improve the sound!

      NO COMMENT!!!

    • I just wanted to say that this was an amazing article. I learned quite a few things about the PCE that I didn’t know. More interesting though, were the bits of background information that you added. For example, putting the price of the system in contrast with the economic bubble. Anyhow, nice work.

      And to the Sega fans, give it a break! Who fucking cares?

    • Well .. everyone has their own opinion, and should be respected, you have your say Benjamin,and others have theirs.

      especially since all that has been said by me, and many others is all absolutely true!

      It is not a matter of fanaticism, but of objectivity in ‘sets out the facts for what they are relaente!

      Let me give you an example, I own the PC Engine CD-Rom, and I like a lot, but still I say the truth about his great defects!

      There are some great games on the PC Engine CD-Rom,but this game could do the same identical on the PC Engine.
      The CD-Rom, PC Engine sound excluded, did not add anything in terms of pure performance!

      Unlike the Mega CD instead, games that could make the Mega Drive could not possibly do, for reasons outlined by other blogers.

      This is the bitter truth, and should not be offended.

      Greetings Benjamin.:-)

    • Check out this interesting documentary in the hudson soft factory,where they work for the PC Engine Super CD Rom2 in 1989!

      Truly beautiful!

    • The history of the add-on is really very interested their output was of four brands,nec,sega,atari,nintendo.
      Were machines that came out not only to enhance their activator,but also to lengthen the life.You can draw up a list of add-on in question,which had magior sales success.

      1)Sega CD or Mega CD (SEGA)
      2)PCE CD rom2 (NEC)
      3)Jaguar CD (Atari)
      4)DD 64 (Nintendo)

      Notice how the DD64 Nintendo between the add-on in question is the only one that does not have the support CDrom.
      In conclusion we can safely say that the sega cd,and the pce cdrom2″ are without any doubt,the add on whit the title list the absolute best ever.

    • Kevin ,if you haven’t yet (can’t remember), you should do a post about Gulliver Boy and the HuVideo format 🙂

      @Bios Cd-Rom
      Yet in Japan PC Engine CD sold 1.92M against 400K Mega CD (source: Famitsu).
      PC Engine was the de-facto CD console standard in Japan until PS1 and Saturn were released in 1994.
      It’s especially notable how in the end CD releases actually outnumber HuCard releases.

      @To Moon
      Well “refined” cutscenes, spoken dialogue, CD quality music, massive storage space (compared to HuCard / cartridge) surely were impactful in 1988.
      Later revisions mostly added more RAM but that made a huge difference if you think of what a base sytem from 1987 could display in 1995 (Sapphire, Legend of Xanadu 2 etc.)

      Also production costs were probably lower with the CD format.

    • @ Celine
      No Celine PCE CDrom has sold a total of about 1.5 million units, excluding special versions.
      While the Mega CD in Jappone has sold about 3 million units.
      In total,the Mega CD has sold about,in the opinion of Wekipedia and GamePro, 6 million units, from ConsoleMania (famous european magazine) 8 Million units, and “CD-ROM Console Magazine” about 9.7 million units, excluding special versions.
      Famitsu has a source “a little suspicious!” ….

      We must also consider the huge difference in power Hardware in favor of the Mega CD, as they have already explained very well other users, the PCE CD-Rom could not do what he did the Mega CD!
      The games speak for themselves!

      I cordially greet Celine 🙂

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    • A lot of these comments are silly.

      The Mega Drive and the PC Engine can compete with each other better than people like to say; there are various pros and cons for both, such as the MD having a bigger common resolution (PC Engine resolutions are kinda hard to pull off so not many games bothered), and the PC Engine having better colors and a slightly more advanced sound system (that went *far* more underused than the MD’s *ever* did). The Mega-CD actually blurred the line even further.

      All of Sega’s consoles before the Mega Drive did far worse than the PC Engine ever had, so Sega was no “master”. Even the MD wasn’t quite the success in Japan that it was elsewhere, and nearly all of that success was because Sega advertised the MD as a new home for their successful arcade pedigree.

      You can only compare that 3,000,000 to anything, not that crazy 9,000,000 (which is already a giant “screw you” to all those people who think the Mega-CD was somehow a failure). Even if the TurboGrafx-16 *wasn’t* made by people who despised the thing, it would still be completely unfair not to partition things by region.

    • @Aragon
      I’ve read only now the years old comment by you.
      I respectfully think you don’t know what you are talking about.
      The manufacturers (Sega, NEC, Nintendo, Panasonic etc) communciated their sales to Famitsu, how is it “a little suspicious!”?

      Japan shipment data as reported by the respective manufacturers:

      PC Engine CDrom^2 (include Duo): 1.92 million
      Mega CD: 0.40 million

      PC Engine (Hu card only): 3.82 million
      Mega Drive: 3.58 million

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    • @Satori and Celine.
      I think that the speeches are zero because the data that decreed a success of a product is determined by the sales,and about which there can be no opinion! No need to be entrepreneurs!!
      If someone says the opposite to say that does not even know to be alive!
      The numerology speaks incontrovertibly,the MD sold about 40 million units and the MCD has sold about 9 million units special unit exluded. Instead the PCE and the PCEcdrom in total have sold about 10 million units but also a lot less!
      in other words only the MCD has sold as much as and perhaps even more of the total sales between PCE and PCEcdrom!…All of this is reported in numerous magazines of the time that someone in the aforementioned journals and current on all the best sites of video games.What’s still to be discussed now!???….
      The NEC has failed many years ago!!
      The SEGA is still alive!!

    • P.S.The total sales of me exposed and taken from the most fomose magazines refer to total sales worldwide not only Japan.
      internet there is even an interview of Simon Jeffery speaking sales of consoles SEGA including those in question won the rivalry with the NEC which was torn in sales worldwide.

    • @Celine
      Yes but only in Japan,but around the world the Mega CD/Sega CD wining!
      The victory in the sales must consider the whole world!

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