TurboGrafx Peripherals

The Nintendo Entertainment System may have been the king of peripherals due to it’s popularity and longevity but the TurboGrafx-16 had a surprising number of peripherals as well. The most common of the peripherals was likely the Turbo Tap, which is an adapter that is plugged into the lone controller port on the console and allows up to 5-player simultaneous play. While there weren’t many games that took advantage of the 5-player option, the Turbo Tap was a necessity if you wanted to play ANY TG-16 game as 2-player co-op, which must have burned some early adopters of the system. Speaking of controllers, the TG-16 had to offer their own version of the NES Advantage and did so with a joystick peripheral called the Turbo Stick. The Turbo Stick was a larger controller with an arcade-like joystick instead of the D-pad and all of the other functions of the original Turbo Pads. The original Turbo Pads were unique in that they had turbo functions built into the controller for both buttons, which isn’t something the basic NES & Genesis controllers offered.

Another peripheral that TG-16 owners had to shell out for that the NES and the Genesis gave away for free was composite audio/video capability. The TG-16 core console only comes with an RF-switch which we now know is an inferior sound and video connection. The only way you can get composite AV is to purchase the Turbo Booster and connect the console to it from the rear expansion port. Then you use your composite cable to plug into your TV for slightly better audio visuals. If you chose the upgraded version of this peripheral called the Turbo Booster Plus, you not only get the composite capabilities but also a means to save your games without using the password system. The TurboGrafx Hu-Cards or Turbo Chips did not have battery save capabilities like NES and Genesis carts so a password system was the only option. The TurboBooster Plus allowed you to save directly to the system itself, which future consoles started doing in the 32 bit era.

The peripheral that I wish I owned more than any would have to be the Turbo CD. The TurboGrafx-16 was the first console in North America to offer a CD drive to play CD quality games on and this is a highly sought after piece of hardware. The Turbo CD would also connect to the TG-16 from the back expansion port and a CD reader card must be inserted into the card slot on the front to tell the TG-16 to communicate with the CD attachment. If you owned the Turbo CD you would not need either the Turbo Booster or Turbo Booster Plus since the Turbo CD offered both composite AV outlets plus the ability to save your progress for all games, cards and CD. There were a number of excellent titles released for the Turbo CD but the system was expensive when it first was released as new media types usually are. An already poor selling video game console offering a rather expensive add-on meant that sales were not where NEC wanted them to be.

The final two I will mention aren’t actually peripherals but stand alone consoles themselves, the Turbo Express, which was a handheld version of the TurboGrafx-16 that could play the Hu-card games only and the Turbo Duo, which was a combination TG-16 and Turbo CD. Both of these consoles are extremely rare but the Turbo Duo the most of all.

Currently in my collection:

Turbo Tap – loose

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