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NEC's SUPER GRAFX released in Japan 30 years ago today

SharpX68K

Member
Nov 10, 2017
4,972
November 30, 1989.






Originally meant to be the PC Engine 2 with perhaps an actual 16-bit CPU and due for release in Japan sometime in 1990, the machine was rushed to market in late 1989 by a panicked NEC, worried about the impending Super Famicom.

SuperGrafx had only modest upgrades, the same 8-bit CPU as the PCE/TG-16, additional video processor, 4x main memory and 2x video memory and 1 game at launch, Battle Ace, a first person shooter that was kinda like a mix of Sega's After Burner and Galaxy Force.






Only 5 games were released exclusively for the system between 1989 and 1991 before it's death, including conversions of two Capcom arcade games, Ghouls 'n Ghosts and 1941 Counter Attack.

This is my favorite obscure console.

The killer app for the SGX is definitely Ghouls 'n Ghosts.

Here's a 3-way comparison between the arcade, Mega Drive / Genesis and SuperGrafx versions.


Sega's version was 5 megabit while NEC's version was 8 megabit.
 
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Fuzzy

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
7,350
Toronto, Canada
For those unaware, you should do this mod to prevent the PCB from cracking because the support plastic under it is a bit too high.



 
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SharpX68K

SharpX68K

Member
Nov 10, 2017
4,972
Another thing, they sure did have some good looking print ads and box art for the SuperGrafx games.





 

Redeye97

Member
Apr 25, 2019
91
It's kinda sad that NEC could never follow up the success of the PC Engine. I don't know too much about the Super Grafx, but was thanks to era that I went down a rabbit hole with the PCFX.
 
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SharpX68K

SharpX68K

Member
Nov 10, 2017
4,972
I started using the internet in 1996, and of course there was no Google at that time. One of the search engines that was popular then was Infoseek.com. The very first thing I searched for was the SuperGrafx.

The next year, I got a SGX and Daimakiamura for under $300 from a local import game store in the Chicago area. Man, I wish I'd never parted with it.
 
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SharpX68K

SharpX68K

Member
Nov 10, 2017
4,972
The game in the bottom right corner is Madou King Granzort, usually just called Granzort. It's similar to Keith Courage in Alpha Zones on the TurboGrafx-16. Both games were based on anime or manga, but not directly related. it's a platform game and kinda bland.


One of a small group of games exclusive to NEC’s ill-fated SuperGrafx system, Madou King Granzort is probably best left untouched. While it has colorful graphics, like other SuperGrafx exclusives it feels very rushed, and is generally boring to play as a result.


The most notable thing about the game is its resemblance to a certain title from the Hudson’s past. Some gamers will notice that Granzort controls identically to Keith Courage in Alpha Zones on the TurboGrafx-16 and even has very similar character designs, weapons and enemies. In the US, it was even referred to as a direct sequel to Keith Courage in an issue of EGM.


here's a review.

 
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Nov 19, 2017
2,006
(sleepytypingtime) I feel ya. I had a subscription to DieHardGameFan and would read about those Japanese game systems like FM Marty, Pippin, and of course the SuperGrafx (nice to see those graveyard sides again, too thx ;).
It really feels like NEC was really just spitballing with an unlimited budget and hoping PCE would gain traction (kinda like an alpha-esque version of future Sega). NEC somehow was a NES competitor with actual success but also sabotaging themselves along the way with constant revisions and fragmentation of games n hardware (most likely why PCE was their only gaming success... FX what?). (I enjoyed seeing what Konami did with DracX if you tried to run it on a system1 card.)
So, I'm glad that even though I never owned the SG hardware, I'll be able to play a few of them on the PC Engine Mini soon (which I'm quite excited for too).
 

tiesto

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,534
Long Island, NY
I've been lucky enough to play most of the library thanks to it being at MAGfest every year. It's got a cool, unique design, but the games are just kinda... average? Even the star of the show, Daimakaimura, has been superceded by more accurate arcade ports.

I prefer the PC-FX to Supergrafx if I have to choose. Chip Chan Kick, Zenki, Langrisser FX, and Miraculum, not to mention the tons of dating sims and VNs if that's your bag.
 

Psxphile

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,494
Dunno what some of y'all are talking about, I thought the console looked horrible. Were they trying to channel H.R. Giger in its design?

Am I mistaken or was Capcom's Strider not one of the games advertised to be coming to the Super-Grafx? For some reason I have the two coupled together as a thing in my memory, probably due to old issues of GameFan I would read religiously back in the day.
 

Fularu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,047
Dunno what some of y'all are talking about, I thought the console looked horrible. Were they trying to channel H.R. Giger in its design?

Am I mistaken or was Capcom's Strider not one of the games advertised to be coming to the Super-Grafx? For some reason I have the two coupled together as a thing in my memory, probably due to old issues of GameFan I would read religiously back in the day.
Strider was a Super CD game for half a decade before moving to Arcade Card
 

NeoZeedeater

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,554
I wanted a SuperGrafx so badly back in the day after seeing screens in magazines, especially for Strider which wasn't even real SGX screens anyway. I did come across one at a random electronics store in a local mall in the early '90s but by then it looked like the system wouldn't have much of a future and $300 CAD was way more than I could justify. I did play all its games years later via emulator.
 
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SharpX68K

SharpX68K

Member
Nov 10, 2017
4,972
Dunno what some of y'all are talking about, I thought the console looked horrible. Were they trying to channel H.R. Giger in its design?

Am I mistaken or was Capcom's Strider not one of the games advertised to be coming to the Super-Grafx? For some reason I have the two coupled together as a thing in my memory, probably due to old issues of GameFan I would read religiously back in the day.
Yes, it was. It was talked about in magazines, and appeared in ads for import games











 
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SharpX68K

SharpX68K

Member
Nov 10, 2017
4,972
Really, NEC+Hudson should have done what they were reportedly going to do as of mid-1989 -- and that is, bring out a PC Engine 2 with an actual 16-bit CPU, much improved graphics including scaling & rotation functions, better improved sound and not until sometime in 1990. Either that, or get together with Namco, who also had a 16-bit console in the pipeline but hesitated to release it and ultimately did not because the new console market was becoming very crowded at the time. NEC had wanted to partner with Namco to use their 16-bit machine as the PC Engine 2, but Hudson wouldn't have it. That deal was killed, and so the SuperGrafx was rushed to the market.

This isn't a perfect analogy, but lets just say Sony had launched the PS4 and it was very successful, but the CPU was Jaguar. Sony is then expected to release PS5 with Ryzen after some years, but instead, releases Super PS4 with the same Jaguar CPU and double the graphics power. Super PS4 gets a handful of exclusive games, is full back compat with PS4, but it fails miserably.