TurboForce Magazine #03 (January 1993)   DOWNLOAD ENTIRE ISSUE (.pdf) ▼ 

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MASAMUNE SHIROW & PC-ENGINE

Only recently did I discover that Masamune Shirow was responsible for the gorgeous character designs and artwork featured in Winds of Thunder (known in North America by the more fearsome title, Lords of Thunder). Masamune is a renowned manga artist who has authored many well-known series (i.e. Appleseed, Dominion: Tank Police, Ghost in the Shell) that have since been made into films and television serials. Naturally, I asked myself, "Has Masamune been involved with any other PC-Engine projects?"

The answer is "Yes!", but you may be somewhat surprised by the details. It turns out that Masamune did the cover art and mecha designs for Naxat's Eternal City Toshi Tenso Keikaku (1991, HuCard), a very nice action-platformer for the PC-Engine that is not as widely appreciated as perhaps it should be. Despite the popularity of Appleseed (and to a lesser extent, Dominion: Tank Police) in North America at the time, TTi chose not to promote Masamune's involvement with Lords of Thunder, a game that they were heavily promoting as a "must-have, killer title" for the TurboDuo. Admittedly, TTi's decision is hardly surprising, considering that Shirow was hardly a household name, but it wouln't have hurt TTi to mention it.

Continued below…

Table of Contents for TurboForce #03

01   Cover: Lords of Thunder (1992, SuperCD). Artist: Masamune Shirow.
Masamune Shirow created the fabulous artwork for Lords of Thunder ("Winds of Thunder" in Japan) that graces the cover of this issue.
 
02   Advertisement: It's like getting 50 bucks to have fun.
Trade-in your old console and upgrade to a TurboDuo: "See, it goes like this…you trade in your old 16-bit unit and get the brand new TurboDuo for only $249.99. That's a $50 savings!"
 
03   Table of Contents for issue #3.
"…"
 
04   News: TTi gets "scuzzy" at COMDEX '92 (an annual computer trade show)!
"The first batch of Super CD games have been released, along with the System Card 3.0 upgrade for TG-CD owners. T² Team Club is a frequent buyer program."
 
05   News: Super CD-ROM Takes Off. T² Team Club created!
"The first batch of Super CD games have been released, along with the System Card 3.0 upgrade for TG-CD owners. T² Team Club is a frequent buyer program."
 
06   5-Player Preview: Bomberman '93, Battle Lode Runner, World Sports Competition.
"It's five-player mania! TTi announces three new 5-player TurboChips (HuCards)."
 
07   Preview: SimEarth: The Living Planet (SuperCD).
07   Preview: Camp California (SuperCD).
08   Preview: Lords of Thunder (SuperCD) 08  09
10   Preview: Dungeon Explorer II (SuperCD) 10  11
12   Preview: Exile (CD) 12  13
 
14   Spotlight: Dragon Slayer: Legend of Heroes (SuperCD) 14  15  16  17  18  19
"Another great RPG from Falcom for Turbo fans to enjoy!"
 
20   Anime: The Bubblegum Crisis 20  21
22   Cinema: Dr. Butcher, M.D. (VHS).
23   Music: The Black Crows (VHS).
24   Technologies: LaserDiscs' Future Becoming Brighter.
25   Technologies: Virtual Reality…A View from the Other Side.
26   Fanzines: Two big reasons to read video game fanzines 26  27
 
28   Coming Attractions in 1993.
JANUARY: Buster Brothers.
FEBRUARY: Darkwing Duck, Legend of Hero Tonma, Lords of Thunder, World Sports Competition.
MARCH: Bomberman '93, Riot Zone.
APRIL: Bonk III: Bonk's Big Adventure, Magical Chase, Super Battle Lode Runner, Sim Earth.
FUTURE RELEASES: Beyond Shadowgate, Blood Gear, Camp California, CD-Zonk, Cosmic Fantasy 3, Cotton, Dangerous Journey, Dungeon Explorer II, Dungeon Master, Dynastic Hero, Exile II, John Madden Football, Might and Magic 3, Military Madness 2, Power Golf 2.
 
29   Advertisement: Get serious. Get TurboDuo 29  30  31
"Are you still playing with toys? Get serious. Get TurboDuo. If you're done playing with toys, we'll send you a free 20-minute video of the new TurboDuo and our software line-up."
 
32   Advertisement: Super System Card 3.0 UPGRADE for TG-CD.
"TurboGrafx-CD owners: $65 for upgrade by itself, $95 for upgrade + Gate of Thunder 3-in-1 SCD + $50 coupon book."
 

PUSH IT

Lords of Thunder was probably the most heavily promoted game in TTi's entire library (refer to the next issue of TurboForce for info on the free promotional videos and t-shirts TTi was giving away). Speaking of promotions, TTi was pushing hard to sell their new console and used a variety of tactics in hopes of achieving this:

Example 1: Trade-in your old system (see page 2).

"It's like getting 50 bucks to have fun. See, it goes like this…you trade in your old 16-bit unit and get the brand new TurboDuo for only $249.99. That's a $50 savings!"

"Trade in your 8-bit system for a $30 discount and pay only $269.99 for a TurboDuo."

"Send this order coupon and game unit to TurboZone…Securely wrap game unit along with power supply and controller. Include instruction manual if available."  VIEW SOURCE

Man! TTi was serious was serious about this trade-in—they even went so far as to request your old instruction manual! At least they didn't ask for more than one controller—or your RF adapter! Seriously though, this trade-in offer was not advertised in any other issue of any other magazine (correct me if I'm mistaken!) and thus stands out as one of the more unique, if short-lived, promotions TTi held for the TurboDuo.

I wonder how many folks took advantage of this offer and traded in their old Sega Master System, NES, TG-16 or Genesis consoles? And even more curiously, what did TTi do with all of these older consoles (sell them, I suppose)?

TTi marketed the TurboDuo in direct competition with the Sega CD, which, at the time, was the only other home console to offer a CD-ROM peripheral. TTi's emphasis on price-point and value was pretty straightforward:

Example 2: TurboDuo offers more for less money than Sega CD (see page 31).

"What's even more cool than what the new TurboDuo can do is what you get with it. Each system comes with two free CD's loaded with awesome games. You get Gate of Thunder, Y's I & 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 the other  CD game system will charge you."

"TurboDuo: $299.99  VS.  Sega CD ($299.99) + Sega Genesis ($99.99) = $399.99"

"…All together, one look at the new TurboDuo and you'll want to give your old system to your little sister."  VIEW SOURCE

Naturally, Sega was offering various pack-in game packages for the Sega CD as well, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a console / peripheral that offered as many top-notch pack-in games as TTi included with the TurboDuo. That's a pretty bold claim, for sure, but after reviewing the history of pack-in games (a topic for another article), I have to say that the quantity and quality of TurboDuo's pack-in software really stands out…

HELP US: Stay tuned for the follow-up article (a cross-platform retrospective on pack-in software)…we're still researching the matter (including handhelds), so feel free to contact us with any relevant info. Basically, we're curious about everything, so even the games bundled with computer platforms will be included (Commodore bundled games with the Amiga in the U.K., for example). Thanks.

Nice photos of a prototype for the Intelligent Link are featured in this issue. This is certainly one of the most interesting oddities in the North American Turbo universe, so it will be the topic of a future article. Till then, though, be sure to check out the article. COMDEX, until recently, was a huge international computer / technology show held annually for 20-25 years. In 2004, however, the show was cancelled and things have been in limbo since then. Since the Intelligent Link effectively turned a TurboDuo into an external CD-ROM drive (able to read High Sierra and ISO 9660 formatted CD-ROM discs) for PC, Mac and Amiga computers, it fell under COMDEX's purview, but it certainly was an odd-ball that stood out from the typical computer hardware. In fact, I think the TurboDuo was the only North American console that had the ability to perform double-duty like this.

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 COVER:  January 1993 TurboForce

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