With this issue, the third and final installment of DuoWorld, dedicated TG-16/DUO magazines in North America died a quiet death. From this point onward, TG-16 fans would have to rely on the sparse Turbo-related news that would occasionally appear in multi-platform gaming magazines. Even worse, it turned out that the death knell for TG-16 magazines heralded the demise of TTi as well: in a few short months, TTi closed its doors for good. Although TZD (Turbo Zone Direct and tzd.com) would be formed in May of 1994 to distribute the existing stock of hardware and software, no new games would be published. The DUO was DEAD. Happy new year, indeed. In memory of TTi, let us bow our heads for a moment of silence…
CENTERFOLD: Beyond Shadowgate Poster #1 (2600x1770 .jpg) ▼ is a striking centerfold of Monsieur G.R., who, clearly, had his sights on TTi. Was this centerfold art the source for the digitized in-game image? Absolutley. Read on and compare the images for yourself…
GATEFOLD: Beyond Shadowgate Poster #2 (2600x1770 .jpg) ▼ required some restoration to fix the void left by a mailing label. The pink "Be" and "S" from the centerfold (Poster #1) were recycled to restore the cover to its original design.
PORTRAIT: Beyond Shadowgate Poster #3 (1300x1770 .jpg) ▼ is a portrait of Prince Erik, our droopy-eyed hero who brandishes a droopy-sword.
THE END IS NIGH: There are no less than three posters in this issue of DuoWorld (spread over five pages, if you include the front and back covers). In other words, nearly a third of this issue is artwork. The two larger posters are quite nice (depicting Beyond Shadowgate in an interesting and exciting manner), whilst the smaller, one-page "portrait" of Prince Erik—the lumbering protagonist of Beyond Shadowgate—is just plain goofy.
Despite all of the "filler" material, this was a very slick-looking issue with some worthwhile content: the review of Beyond Shadowgate (SCD) and Syd Mead's Terraforming (SCD) are the most substantive pieces. Perhaps the most interesting item in the entire issue, though, is the brief look at Kaneko's Bonk's Adventure ARCADE VERSION. Even today, this game remains one of the lesser-known entries in the Bonk (PC Genjin) universe.
BONK IS BACK, BUT FOR HOW LONG? By late 1993, Kaneko, like TTi, was experiencing financial problems. As a result, Bonk's Adventure ARCADE VERSION may have received limited distribution in North America. As fate would have it, Kaneko closed its U.S. branch in July of 1994, mere months after TTi's closure. 1994 was a busy year for Monsieur G.R. Few things in the TurboCosmos could escape his icy grip.
As a magazine, DuoWorld was clearly struggling: this was the second consecutive issue offering a mere 16 pages (it had debuted at a healthier 32 pages); there was only one page of advertising (a promotion for TTi's new T² Team Club) and there was no mention of any upcoming software releases from TTi! In hindsight, it was easy to see that the end was nigh…
Table of Contents for DuoWorld #03▲
- 01 Cover: Beyond Shadowgate (1993, CD•ROM2). Artist: Uncredited.
- A stunning illustration inspired by ICOM's Beyond Shadowgate—and the illustration extends onto the back cover as well (to form a mini-poster, of sorts)! Now, was this pre-production concept art developed by ICOM (as found on the cover of TurboPlay #14), or was this a unique work of art commissioned by DuoWorld expressly for this issue?
- 02 Cool Stuff: Mini-poster of Prince Erik.
- Prince Erik, of course, is the protagonist in Beyond Shadowgate. Behold Prince Erik's asymmetrical face, droopy sword and fancy belt.
- 03 Table of Contents for issue #3.
- Jack Lacan remains editor-in-chief, design director and he pens both reviews that appear in this issue. He does everything, apparently (a precedent that was established in the previous issue).
- 04 Soundboard: Letters from our loyal readers.
- Is Capcom's Street Fighter II' (HuCARD) coming out in North America? How about Konami's Dracula X (SCD)?
- 05 Advertisement: Join the T² Team Club!
- "Join the T² Team Club! Members can choose from lots of great prizes, including the DUO, TurboExpress, a 13-inch color television, SNK's Neo Geo home entertainment system and even a Pioneer LaserActive multimedia unit."
- 06 DuoNews: Bonk's Adventure ARCADE VERSION (Kaneko); Green Jelly + TG-16; $129.95 Intelligent Link. 06 07
- While touring, Green Jelly enjoys playing Bonk's Adventure on TurboExpress. New arcade version of Bonk's Adventure by Kaneko released. Intelligent Link ($129.95) is an adapter that will convert your Duo into a CD-ROM drive for personal computers.
- 08 Cool Stuff: Beyond Shadowgate's "Grim Reaper" Centerfold Poster. 08 09
- NOTE: Compare the Centerfold Poster vs. in-game art.
- 10 Tips & Tricks: Codes, cheats, etc. 10 11
- Ahhh, a collection codes that are recycled from past issues (this is the true filler, I suppose, as opposed to Prince Erik's portrait): Cosmic Fantasy 2, Exile, Gate of Thunder, Lords of Thunder, Shadow of the Beast, Soldier Blade, Valis II, Valis III and Ys Book I & II.
- 12 Duo Review: Beyond Shadowgate (1993, SCD). 12 13
- "If you were a fan of Shadowgate for the PC or the NES, and you got all excited that TTi was coming out with Beyond Shadowgate for the Duo, then you might be a little disappointed with this review. Beyond Shadowgate is nothing like the original Shadowgate game. It has a whole new storyline, new graphics, new perspective, new everything. Thank goodness, because it's a way better game."
- 14 Duo Review: Syd Mead's TerraForming (1993, SCD). 14 15
- "I hope that having cinematic graphic designers participate in the game-making process becomes a trend in the industry. With results like TerraForming, gaming will be taken to a new level."
- 16 Back Cover: Poster.
- The front and back covers combine to create a single scene from…yup, you guessed it: Beyond Shadowgate.
A MAGAZINE IN EXTREMIS… ▲
…but the editors of DuoWorld projected an optimistic outlook, anticipating that the magazine would stick around for at least one more issue. We can see this sentiment expressed in the "Tips & Tricks" section, as well as in their response to a reader's letter about the latest installment of Castlevania (Dracula X) to hit the PC-Engine in Japan:
"That's it for this month, kids. Next month you'll see codes and tricks for Dungeon Explorer II and Exile: Wicked Phenomenon!"
"Konami is releasing Dracula X in Japan, but it is unknown whether it will be released in the States. It sure looks like a hot game. We'll probably find out if Dracula X will be released at the winter CES in Las Vegas. Look for that info in the next issue of DuoWorld."
HELP US: What is the source of the Dracula X artwork used in this issue of DuoWorld? Was it from a PC-Engine magazine?
It seems safe to assume that some content (e.g. the mundane "Tips & Tricks" section) for the upcoming issue of DuoWorld was already planned. This would have been routine, even if the magazine's staff suspected the cancellation of DuoWorld was looming in the future. Also, when answering reader's questions, the editors had no choice but to adopt a confident tone, hopeful that the next issue would report on TTi's announcements at the Winter CES '94 in Las Vegas. Even if they suspected otherwise.
DID TTi APPEAR @WCES '94? I don't know if TTi actually made an appearance at the Winter CES in January of 1994. Indeed, Summer CES '93 might very well have been TTi's last public engagement. In hindsight, knowing that TTi was on the verge of closing its doors, DuoWorld's demise no longer seems shocking, but rather, inevitable.
And naturally, it was at this awkward moment in TTi's history (late 1993) that they introduced a new promotion: The T² Team Club. It was a program that heralded a vibrant future for both TTi and TG-16 fans…
T² TEAM CLUB…▲
I have always been curious about TTi's T² Team Club, in which you redeemed TurboPoints (and don't forget those receipts as well!) from DUO software (Super CD titles only) in exchange for items from a special merchandise catalog. Let's examine the instruction manual for Beyond Shadowgate to learn more about TurboPoints…
A: Advertisement for John Madden DUO CD Football, a Super CD title and thus another 4-pointer?
B: TurboPoints coupon. Redeeming the tiny coupon required you to cut the corner of your instruction manual.
C: Enlarged to show texture. Only four points! Was Zonk on all of the coupons?
D: In case you were wondering, the pack-in poster for Beyond Shadowgate is not a rehash of the coverart pictured here (or any of the art from this issue of DuoWorld).
T² MERCHANDISE CATALOG: What kind of stuff was planned for the T² Team Club Merchandise Catalog, you ask? Well, in addition to the usual fare (TurboExpress, TurboDUO, TTi merchandise), the advertisement below mentions exceedingly expensive hardware such as Pioneer's LaserActive (a unique laserdisc multimedia/game system) and even SNK's coveted Neo Geo!
CASH MONEY: How many barrels of cash + TurboPoints would have been required for acquiring LaserActive or Neo Geo, I wonder? Including expensive items like LaserActive and Neo Geo in the catalog was a calculated effort to add excitement and intrigue to the T² Team Club. Tantalize the Turbo faithful with unobtainable items.
JOIN THE T² TEAM CLUB!
"TTi has just kicked off a new program of merchandise awards for purchasers of the company's Super CD home video game titles."
"When you're a T² Team member,you can save your receipts and points from Super CD purchases and redeem them as Turbo Points, which count toward items in the Merchandise Catalog."
"Members can choose from lots of great prizes, including the Duo, TurboExpress, a 13-inch color television, SNK's Neo Geo home entertainment system and even a Pioneer LaserActive multimedia unit. There's also TTi clothing, software and electronics available."
"T² Team Club members will automatically receive,with their first order for merchandise, ten Kick-start points just for enrolling. T² Team Club members who haven't yet received their catalogues and membership cards (and newcomers who want to sign up) are encouraged to call TTi to sign up."
"Enrollment is free, so what are you waiting for? Join the T² club right now!"
MEMBERSHIP CARD: Upon joining the program, you received a T² Team Club membership card with your name on it! When I was a kid, membership cards seemed so kool—they had the power to legitimize anything they were associated with. How quaint.
POST MORTEM: T² TEAM CLUB…▲
After doing some additional research and talking to some fellow long-time Turbo fans, it seems quite likely that TTi's T² Team Club met an untimely, premature death. Many folks have suggested that the T² Team Club never really got off the ground, stalled by TTi's financial problems and eventual demise.
ABORTED: Membership cards and catalogs for T² Team Club were never distributed. It might be fun to recreate the card now, though, more than two decades after-the-fact.
And so, a few remaining questions linger: Were T² Team Club catalogs ever printed? If so, were they mailed? Did folks ever receive their coveted membership cards?
Please contact us if you have any information on the T² Team Club, because I have purchased several games over the years in which the "Turbo Points" had been cut from the instruction manuals. Please tell me this wasn't done in vain! To be continued, hopefully.
TZD: Turbo Zone Direct (tzd.com)…▲
As noted earlier, after TTi closed its doors, a new mail-order company—Turbo Zone Direct—was created on June, 1 1994 to continue distributing hardware and software. TZD also offered repair services to folks who experienced technical problems with their hardware. In October of 1997, for example, you could replace the main board of TG-CD, TurboExpress or TurboDuo for $35 (it cost only $15 to do the same for TG-16). TZD had a contract with NEC to provide these repairs, a service program that, ultimately, was available for seven years (expiring on May 1, 2001).
In the early years, TZD operated as a traditional mail-order company, relying heavily upon print ads (in magazines) and direct mailings to promote sales. TZD would send, via snail mail, printed flyers and price lists to folks on their mailing list (obtained, initially, from TTi's mailing list). Even though TZD had an early presence on the web (tzd.com), visitors to the website were encouraged to join the mailing list to receive a print catalog (by October of 1997, TZD was charging $2 per catalog). Therefore, traditonal methods (direct mailings) drove many sales for the first three to four years of TZD's existence. I remember, for example, receiving flyers as late as 1997-1998, or thereabouts. The printing and postage costs for these oversized flyers were considerable, and I doubt these expenses would have been justified unless they were met with some moderate success…
NO LOVE FOR CANADA: Sadly, TZD did not send catalogs to our brothers in the Great North. A disclaimer on tzd.com bluntly stated "We do not send catalogs outside of the USA. If you live outside of the USA, and put in a request for a catalog, you will not get one." Instead, Canadians were directed to call "Dan Jesty", who, presumably, helped TZD distribute catalogs in Canada.
1-800-DUO-THIS: On June 1, 1994, TZD opened for business. This particular advertisement, which appeared in the October 1994 issue of GamePro, reassured TurboDuo owners that "Every TTi Release" + Japanese imports were still available for purchase, even though TTi no longer existed. The three games featured in this ad—Super Air Zonk (SCD), Might and Magic III (SCD) & Godzilla (SCD)—represented some of TTi's final releases.
TONS OF KILLER TURBO GAMES INSIDE: As the cover clearly indicates, this was "the catalogue" for TZD in 1994-1995. By October of 1997, TZD was charging $2 per catalog (postage included). This suggests that TZD relied upon print media and direct mailings for its first few years, before transitioning to a primarily online business.
VISIT US ONLINE: At some point in the late 1990's–early 2000's, TZD stopped mailing printed flyers to promote sales, relying instead on email, TurboList postings and its online store (tzd.com).
TZD CHANGES: On August 25, 2003, TZD sent out a notice informing customers that prices would be increasing shortly. Folks had a week to make purchases at the "old price" before the changes took effect. The email also announced a new feature at tzd.com's store—Collector's Corner—where limited quantities of random items would be available for sale (as in, "We thought we sold out of these titles years ago, but we found a few more.").
LIFE GOES ON: And thus, TZD continued its humble business. It was the best source for "new old stock" (NOS) software, hardware and peripherals for TG-16 fans.
POST MORTEM: Turbo Zone Direct (TZD)…▲
IN BRIEF: We have been tracking, in broad strokes, the history of Turbo Zone Direct, from its founding in 1994 to the challenges it inevitably faced: dwindling/disappearing inventory of popular items, loss of repair services (TZD's contract with NEC expired in 2001), increasing warehouse costs (to house, ironically, many common/less desirable items that sat on the shelves for a long time), increasing competition from eBay, etc. Somehow, despite all of these challenges, TZD had survived. TZD was not simply a company selling old stock, but a testament to a small, but loyal, Turbo community. We, the Turbo faithful, knew TZD could not last forever (considering, especially, the premium prices charged for many items). And so it was, in 2008, that another chapter closed in the annals of Turbodom…
…After nearly 14 years of running TZD, Steve Garwood liquidated the company in January of 2008. Existing inventory and company assets (including customer lists, domain name, etc.) were transferred to online retailer RedFrogUSA (now defunct, after a brief existence). The sudden liquidation of TZD was not a complete surprise to the Turbo community, which had learned of TZD's dire status a few months prior, in November of 2007, when the following email was sent to their customer mailing list:
FROM: Turbo Zone Direct (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DATE: Thursday, 1 Nov 2007 14:50:02 -0400
SUBJECT: TZD Must Move! Lost Our Lease Sale!
Hello Esteban LeGrafx,
Turbo Zone Direct must clear out inventory! Our loss is your gain!
Well it had to happen, TZD must clear out thousands of inventory items before we must move in 30 days. This is your opportunity to save a bundle and lighten the load we must move. Here's an offer you can't beat, one we've never made before. We're offering 50% off our ENTIRE inventory for the month of November. Here are the details: You must include MOVING SALE in the comments section of your order. You must purchase at least $30.00 worth of merchandise at the net cost (after the 50% is deducted.) We will adjust the order total here. Your credit card is not charged until the order is picked to assure you the correct amount.
As usual nothing is held back, there are no limits to the number of items you may purchase or the number of orders you may place. This offer will end November 31, 2007. We expect to close out a number of titles during this sale; we will make every effort to update the web site. This is a golden opportunity for you to stock up on your favorite Turbo merchandise at a super price. Don't miss out! Turbo merchandise not sold by TZD is getting harder and harder to find. As you know everything we sell is new, factory-sealed merchandise.
We do not know yet where we will be in 30 days so act now!
TZD is also looking for a wholesaler that might be able to take on or take over the legacy we started in 1994. If any of you know of a company or organization that can handle bulk resale of these classic video games, parts and accessories, please use our email contact at www.tzd.com
Feel free to write if you have any questions, you know we value your input and support.
NOTE: There was an image in the header of this email (http://www.tzd.com/tzdnews.jpg), but, sadly, I was unable to retrieve it.
REQUIEM: Perhaps it was fitting that TZD suffered a cold night's death. After all, nearly every major institution in the TurboCosmos (NEC, TurboPlay, TurboForce, TTi, DuoWorld, TZD, Hudson Soft…) met a similar fate.
The seasons can be unforgiving, particularly for the Turbo community. It can get chilly, even in Van Nuys.
GAME ART vs. CENTERFOLD POSTER…▲
As noted earlier, Beyond Shadowgate Poster #1 (2600x1770 .jpg) ▼ is a cropped version of the gorgeous, in-game artwork of Monsieur G.R.
SQUISHED: Comparing the two images, I prefer the aspect ratio of the printed centerfold poster. The in-game image has been compressed along the vertical axis, squishing poor Monsieur G.R. into a less flattering profile.
CHICKEN OR EGG: Was the centerfold art the source for the digitized in-game image? Or do I have it backwards? Personally, I think the centerfold art was certainly the source material digitized for the game. Why? This was not the first time ICOM Simulations had done something like this.
On a prior occasion, ICOM Simulations had provided artwork to a magazine to promote Shapeshifter (see the cover of TurboPlay #14 from August/September 1992). In that issue of TurboPlay, the editors noted: "ICOM Simulations was kind enough to provide us with one of the beautiful pieces of art that were digitized into Shapeshifter (SCD), one of the new TG-16 games we review this month." A little more than a year later, it seems likely that ICOM Simulations would use the same strategy to promote their newest release, Beyond Shadowgate (SCD).
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