NEC Home Electronics


The PC Engine SuperGrafx, also known as simply the SuperGrafx, is a fourth-generation home video game console manufactured by NEC Home Electronics and released in Japan in 1989. It is the successor system to the PC Engine, released two years prior. Originally known as the PC Engine 2 during production stages, it was purported as a true 16-bit home console, featuring improved graphics and audio capabilities over its predecessor.

The console was rushed to market, released several months before its initial release date of 1990, only having modest updates to the hardware. With only six retail games released that took advantage of the console's hardware updates, the SuperGrafx was a commercial failure, selling only 75,000 units total in both regions. None of the hardware advancements it possessed were carried over to NEC's later consoles, such as the TurboDuo.

Compared to the PC Engine, the SuperGrafx has four times the amount of working RAM for the main CPU and a second video chip with its own video RAM. Also included is a priority controller chip, which allows the output of both video chips to be combined in various ways. The SuperGrafx has support for two independently scrolling background layers, like the Sega Mega Drive, as opposed to the PC Engine's single layer.

It is a very common misconception that the extra video hardware capabilities were taxing on the system's CPU, and is often cited as the main reason few games were developed for the system. In reality, despite having the same CPU as the PC Engine, the SuperGrafx is more than capable of keeping up with the new graphics enhancements, as the majority of the workload is handled by the VDPs.

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