Friday, January 16, 2015

Turbo Duo (1993)

Turbo Duo advertisement
Page 1 of the Turbo Duo ad published in Turbo Force (January 1993)

Historical Background

By 1993,  NEC was hard at work trying to convince gamers of the coolness of the Turbo Duo. This was a system that combined three of NEC's previous hardware pieces: the original TurboGrafx-16, the CD-ROM attachment and the TurboGrafx-CD Super System Card, all them released in North America between 1989 and 1993. NEC faced an almost impossible task of beating both Nintendo's Super NES and Sega's Genesis for 16-bit supremacy, all with a technologically inferior console. 

Turbo Duo tried to correct this. The new console would try to balance the odds by delivering a high-powered gaming experience (for the time) at, what seemed, an unbeatable price. For 300 dollars you received a complete gaming system that could play both chip-based games and new, improved, CD games. 

Better yet, you also got a massive amount of high quality games: Gate of Thunder, Y's I and II, Bonk's Adventure and Bonk's Revenge. Plus, a TurboChip game that could be either the majestic Ninja Spirit or the Zelda-like Dungeon Explorer. All of these were very good games indeed. Now 300 dollars was a considerable amount of money back in the day, but it was a hard as a gamer not to salivate at this fantastic deal. (By the way, a hidden version of Bomberman , possibly the best party-game ever, was also included in the package). 

For NEC, one of Japans largest electronics companies, this proved a futile effort. Their base TurboGrafx-16 was selling at bargain-basement discount price about this same time. In retrospect, maybe the market was too saturated for another console. In one hand, you had 16-bit systems from the big two, plus an enormous installed-base of original NES users who still purchased games for the 8-bit consoles. There was also SNK's high-priced Neo-Geo. And, if that wasn't enough, the decade saw the Renaissance PC-gaming and the advent of quality portable gaming (NEC would try its hand in this market with the incredible and very expensive TurboExpress).

Graphical Analysis 

To differentiate itself from the competition, the company's suits figured Turbo Duo should position itself as high-performance console, leaving Genesis and Super NES as the systems for children. NEC's offering would be a complete multimedia system, not just a toy. Their print ad emphasizes such aspiration, with sleek lines and elegant typography. A few splashes of color are added, but very sparingly. Very cool, yet a little too late in the grand scheme of the 16-bit console wars.  (Here's the original two-page spread of the advertisement in one complete image).

Page 2 of the Turbo Duo ad published in Turbo Force (January 1993)

Turbo Duo Print Ad Copy:

Get Serious.
Get Turbo Duo. 
If you're playing with toys, we'll send you a free 20 minute video of the new Turbo Duo and our software line-up (while supplies last). Just send your name, address, age sex, and tell us which game system you use now to:  
Free Give-Away
Turbo Technologies, Incorporated
6701 Center Drive West
Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA 90045 
The new Turbo Duo is definitely no toy. It's the most sophisticated multi-media video entertainment system ever developed. It has more memory and faster loading times. So the graphics and sound are like nothing you've ever seen or heard before. 
With the Turbo Duo you can play all your TurboChip, CD and Super CD games. Hook it up to your stereo and listen to your favorite music CD's or play new CD+G's. Or hook it to your personal computer and use it as CD-ROM drive (interface adapter available 1993). 
What even more cool than the new Turbo Duo can do is what you get with it. Each system come with two free CD's loaded with awesome games. You get Gate of Thunder, Y's I and II, Bonk's Adventure and Bonk's Revenge. Plus, a great TurboChip game. And we'll give you everything for almost $100 less than what that other CD game system will charge you. 
To help you become a serious player, you also get the all new TurboForce magazine filled with the latest CD information, ratings and clues. And to help expand your library, you get $5 coupons good towards any TurboChip CD game or accessory you buy. 
All together, one look at the new Turbo Duo and you'll want to give your old system to your little sister.  
Turbo Duo: complete multimedia CD entertainment system
Sega CD system:
Sega CD attachable system 299.99 + Sega Genesis required base unit $99.99 
399.99 Total Price of Sega system
Turbo Technologies, Inc.
Available through Sears Catalogue. Tor order, call Sears' 24-hour toll free number, 1-800-366-300

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment!