PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) emulators

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PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16)
Above: The PC Engine.
Below: The SuperGrafx.
Developer NEC Home Electronics, Hudson Soft
Type Home video game console
Generation Fourth generation
Release date 1987
Discontinued 1994
Successor SuperGrafx, PC-FX

The PC Engine (PCE) was a 16-bit system released jointly by NEC and Hudson Soft in Japan on October 30, 1987 and in the US on August 29, 1989. It was retailed for $399.99 ($809.09 in 2018 money). It had a Hudson Soft HuC6280 8-bit CPU at 7.16 MHz and 1.79 MHz with 8KB of RAM and 64KB of VRAM. The CPU was teamed up with a 16-bit graphics processor and 16-bit video color encoder chip, both built by Hudson Soft. When it came time to seek other potential markets, the two companies eventually caved to a limited American release in 1989 under a completely different model and name: the TurboGrafx-16. The European versions varied throughout the countries, being the western version in Spain and United Kingdom and Japanese models in Benelux regions.

The joint venture, formed in North America as TTI, made an add-on called the PC Engine CD (PCE-CD) / TurboGrafx-CD (TG-CD) that loaded games from discs instead, much like the Sega CD but better supported. The PC Engine Duo / Turbo-Duo combined the add-on into the unit with more RAM as yet another failed attempt to relaunch the failing console in the West.

When it first launched in North America, the TurboGrafx-16 was largely seen as a failure blamed on poor marketing by the manufacturers. The PC Engine, on the other hand, was a whole different story, beating out the Famicom when it first came out long enough to compete against its rival's own successor and gave little focus for the Mega Drive who was instead posing more of a threat to Nintendo in North America.

NEC planned to enhance the system further, announcing the "PC Engine 2" that would later become the PC Engine SuperGrafx. However, it was rushed to a 1989 market in Japan lacking much of its promised features with only seven titles exclusively made for it, ending up a commercial failure to be binned and discontinued not long after. The PC Engine GT / Turbo-Express was a very rare handheld model of the original hardware, in the same vein as the Sega Nomad (a portable Sega Genesis / Mega Drive). It did include some exclusive features like the TurboLink multiplayer feature (used in a flight sim called Falcon) but wasn't widely supported.


Name Operating System(s) Latest Version PCE-CD (TG-CD) PCE2 (SG) Libretro Core Accuracy Active Recommended
Mednafen (PCE-Accurate) Multi-platform 1.25.0-UNSTABLE High
MAME Multi-platform 0.224 High
Mednafen (PCE-Fast) Multi-platform 1.25.0-UNSTABLE Mid
BizHawk Windows 2.5.1 High
Turbo Engine Windows 0.32 High
MagicEngine Windows, macOS 1.1.3 Mid
Ootake Windows 2.91 Mid
pcejin (Mednafen 0.8.x) Windows Git Mid
DarcNES Multi-platform 9b0401/9b0313 ~ Low
Neco Windows 0.11 Low
ePCEngine Windows 8/12/2017 ?
FinalBurn Alpha Windows ?
higan Windows, Linux, macOS v110 ?
Hu-Go! Windows, Linux 2.12 ? ?
Mednafen (PCE-Fast) Multi-platform 1.25.0-UNSTABLE Mid
PCE.emu Android 1.5.34 ? ?
Virtual Console Wii N/A High
Mednafen (PCE-Fast)[N 1] Multi-platform 1.25.0-UNSTABLE Mid
HuE PlayStation Portable 0.70 ? ?
  1. Only available on consoles as a libretro core (e.g. RetroArch).


Much like its other original cores, it does very well, even having two profiles: PCE-Accurate and PCE-Fast. Despite being CLI-based, a fork of an older version that has a GUI has emerged called pcejin. RetroArch uses the PCE-Fast core for its beetle fork.
It's okay for general purposes.
Has a pce driver (and a child driver called tg16). In all revisions it emulates, MAME reports it as working and the graphics as okay, but the sound is imperfect.
Unfortunately trialware that costs €15 euro. There are better options available for free.