Showing posts with label Retro Console Print Ads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Retro Console Print Ads. Show all posts

Sunday, May 20, 2018

TurboGrafx-16 System (1990)

Original ad published in the June 1990 issue 

of VideoGames & Computer Entertainment (VG&CE).

Press to enlarge or download in higher resolution.

An ad only a hardcore gamer would love

NEC's ill-fated TurboGrafx-16 received a lot of publicity during the late 80's and the beginning of the 90s. It was a drastic sales flop for the Japanese electronics giant, but not for the lack of trying.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Turbo Express (1992)

Original featured in the July 1992 edition of GamePro magazine.

Press to view or download image in higher resolution.

A luxurious portable system with a personality disorder 

You can't blame NEC for not trying.  During the late 80s and the beginning of the 90s the Japanese electronic giant promoted aggressively its video game products. The outcome would not be favorable, yet gamers still remember the company for its particular set of consoles and handhelds. The Turbo Express, which you see here, was the absolute king of the entire 16-bit generation.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

NeoGeo Pocket Color (1999)

Original ad published in the August 1999 issue of Tips & Tricks (no. 18)

SNK's cute effort to break Nintendo's portable dominance

Famous for its gargantuan NeoGeo console, SNK sold a diminutive portable system called the NeoGeo Pocket Color at the very end of the 90s and the start of the new millennium. Today, collectors find the little console adorable and quite desirable. 

The NeoGeo Pocket Color was no match for Nintendo’s Game Boy. In fact, no other portable console sold during the entire 90s decade came even close to the big N's gizmo. Only the Game Boy Advance, released in 2001, closed a very profitable and very long chapter for brick-like machine of the house of Mario.  

All in all, the NeoGeo Pocket Color and the "normal" Pocket version sold 2 million units worldwide, a far cry from the 118 million units sold of the original Game Boy. SNK's machine was mired with distribution problems, as well as financial upheaval from Japanese HQ. It was discontinued in the US but sold in various Asian countries after the financial distress of SNK.

SNK's little portable was not a groundbreaking machine, but it did have its curiosities. For starters, the joystick was unlike your regular d-pad. The thing clicked like a professional arcade stick, making it fantastic for fighting games. The display was not bad, at 160 pixels wide by 152 pixels tall. By far its stand-out feature was its uncanny battery life: you could log 40 hours or gameplay with just two AA batteries.

If your patient enough, you can still find some very good games for NeoGeo Pocket Color. The complete list of games is Japanese-centric, of course.

The print ad itself shows the system's more playful style. It's was marketed as a toy. A $70 toy, but still, a companion to your much larger collection of console games. You also see some nice super deformed characters and a very colorful system arrangement where a whole deck of NeoGeo Pocket Color's and some cool games are well displayed. More importantly, on the lower left side you can read two very large URL pointing to both SNKs web site and one important distribution chain.

NeoGeo Pocket Color print ad copy

NeoGeo Pocket Color

Get Pocket Power”

  • 16 bit CPU
  • 146 simultaneos colors
  • Revolving joystick
  • 40 hours of continous play
  • 6 color casings

  • Samurai Showdown 2
  • Fatal Fur- First Contact
  • NeoCup 98
  • Metal Slug-First Mission
  • Crush Roller
  • Baseball Stars

Now available and


Saturday, January 17, 2015

TurboGrafx-CD Super System Card (1993)

TurboGrafx-CD Super System Card advertisement
TurboGrafx-CD Super System Card ad published in Turbo Force (January 1993)

Historical Background

As I've written the last couple of weeks, NEC's TurboGrafx-16 and CD-ROM systems were not exactly home-run hits in North America. The original system had been heavily discounted by 1992 and the Turbo Duo, while attractive on paper, was a sort of last breath in trying to attract "serious" 16-bit buyers.

NEC would complicate things even more by selling the TurboGrafx-CD Super System Card as a stand-alone product. The card gave your system more RAM for an improved CD-based video game experience. But, if you chose to, you could by the Turbo Duo and get the whole enchilada in one complete and elegant package: TurboGrafx-16, CD-ROM and Super System Card, plus a bunch of very good games. 

You could also buy the Super System Card and receive the same CD games sold with the Turbo Duo. Curiously enough, you could only order the card by phone. It was not sold in stores, at least not by the time this ad ran in the Turbo Force magazine. So, you really had to love NEC's system to even be able to see the thing. 

As I explained before, the 16-bit market was overly saturated in North America for this "otaku" strategy to make any sense at all. Sadly, TurboGrafx-16 sales never achieved the level of success of the Japanese market, where the PC Engine, even to this day, is very appreciated amongst Akihabara scourgers. Retro game stores in that neighborhood still sell a large variety of Turbo Chip (Hu Card) games.   

Graphical Analysis 

It's not pretty, but it's functional. The TurboGrafx-CD Super System Card print ad has a lot of text for a good reason: it would be wise to read the entire copy to understand NEC's perplexing marketing strategy. 

Since you're investing in a piece of hardware, this was a rational decision by the average games, not an emotionally-driven one. The emotional part of the equation was underscored by showing screenshots of the new and improved games you would be able to play if you bought into this whole NEC craziness. As you might imagine, the TurboGrafx-CD Super System Card cards sold in very small numbers.

TurboGrafx-CD Super System Card Print Ad Copy:

For the super low price of $65 you could choose the Super System Card without the extra software. 
But, for the los price of $95 you get the Super System Card + You will also receive three games in one CD: 
  • Gate of Thunder 
  • Bonk's Adventure
  • Bonk's Revenge

+ $50 Value Coupon Booklet 
This coupon booklet gives you ten $5 coupons for savings on any TurboChip or CD software for use in the TurboGrafx systems. This offer is a great way to expand your game software library. Your only problem is choosing which games to use the coupons on! 
The Choice is yours! 
The Super System Card will add to your thrills with the addition of four times the memory capacity of the older TurboGrafx-CD games. With this increased storage, you will experience incredible sounds and scaling graphics. TurboGrafx-CD system users have no worries! With the Super System Card you will have all the power of a Turbo Duo System. It completely enhances the TurboGrafx-CD system so you can play all the awesome CD games!
These Super CD Games Coming Soon! 
Dragon Slayer
Available Now
Shape Shifter
Available Now
Prince of Persia
Available Now
Shadow of the Beast
Available Now
Available Now
Forgotten Worlds
Available Now
Camp California
January '93
Lords of Thunder
February '93
Dungeon Explorer II
March '93
Riot Zone
March '93

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

Saturday, January 10, 2015

TurboGrafx 16 (1992)

TurboGrafx 16 advertisement
Original ad published in the May 1922 edition of GamePro

Historical Background & Graphical Analysis 

By 1992, electronics giant NEC's TurboGrafx 16 occupied third place in the 16-bit video game console wars. The console had debuted in North America in 1989, after Sega's Genesis and before Nintendo's Super NES, but while those systems had true 16-bit processing power, NEC's product used some smart engineering to squeeze every once of processing power from an advanced 8-bit architecture

Initial sales of the system gave some hope to compete in the US market. After all, the PC Engine had a been a huge hit in Japan. But by 1992, NEC faced dire straits in North America. Serious measures had to be taken to rekindle some interest is American buyers. So NEC, through Turbo Technologies, aggressively promoted Bonk to compete against Sonic the Hedgehog and Nintendo's Italian plumber. The Japanese figured Americans needed some kind of mascot to garner sales. Bonk's Adventure (1989) had been well received by the press, so Bonk's Revenge (1991), included with the console at a heavy discount, was promoted in the printed press as well as in TV commercials. It was a decent platformer, with all the 'tude of any mascot of the time, but it was a case of too little too late. Their ads were classy and intelligent, only rivaled by Sega's balls-out marketing strategy of the time.

Sadly, NEC discontinued TurboGrafx 16 in 1994. They sold about 2.5 million units in the US and 10 million in Japan. Not bad, but still very far from Sega's 40 million units moved worldwide and Nintendo's almost 50 million units sold internationally, according to Wikipedia.

That does not mean that this was a mediocre console. On the contrary. There's a very active retro fan-base of the system that appreciates excellent sch'mup's or a good electronic pinball game, two of TurboGrafx 16's specialties. There's also a good selection of RPG's. All in all, it's well-stocked library with at least 25 memorable classics. And I'm only talking about the original TurboGrafx 16, the Turbo CD and SuperGrafx consoles have an even more rabid following.

Original print ad copy:

For less than [dollar picture] you can get a [TurboGrafx 16 picture]. And just to get you started, we'll throw in a [Bonk's Revenge picture], which is a [five 10-dollar bill picture] value that you can have for less than [penny coin picture].

(Or tu put it simply, get TurboGrafx 16 for only $99.99 and get Bonk's Revenge for free)