NEC PC Engine CD-ROM2 Interface Unit – The Suitcase Bomb

A very capable gaming machine that comes in a handsome go anywhere carry case? No, surely it can’t be true I hear you say. Well it is, but just make sure you don’t want to fit controllers, cables, or games in the same case. 🙂

The NEC PC Engine Interface Unit CD-ROM2.


The PC Engine’s Interface unit is NEC’s answer to the revolutionary new media making it’s way into the market – CDs. Although being released before Sega’s MegaCD, there are parallels in the way that the unit needs the original base console to function. One thing that this unit has that the MegaCD doesn’t is the fact that it can be used with a single adapter – Sega probably should have looked at that… The unit can work as a stand alone audio CD player, however if you’d like to play games then you need the console, and the corresponding system card – more on this later.


  • Release – 1988
  • Format – CD, although it needs system HuCards to run
  • Output – AV
  • Drive speed – Single
  • Price then – 57,800yen (thanks Frank)
  • Price now – $40 to $250


As mentioned above the CD-ROM2 unit needs system card mounted in the PC Engine console to run CD based games. There were many games released for the system that actually required different system cards to run them. Buy a Super-CDROM2 game and you’d need the corresponding system card to actually play it. It was only later that all in one systems were released.



One great advantage in buying the CD-ROM2 interface unit (other than being the envy of all of your friends who don’t have the cool carry case) was the fact that your previously limited PC Engine console could now output on regular AV instead of having to rely on RF. Of course being able to play CD based games was an extra bonus too. 😀



There is one important thing to look out for when buying. Due to the poor quality plastic used for one of the cogs inside the CD unit itself, you don’t see many around that are indeed still fully functional. This particular part becomes very brittle, and pretty much falls to bits over time. Not easy to repair them either as you need to have the exact same sized cog.

All up, if you are planning to play CD based games on a regular basis I would not recommend getting one of these CDROM2 Interface units to do it. You’d be better off going for one of the Duo systems, or one of the other CD-based add-ons for the PC Engine. Still, the cool carry case still turns heads when I walk down the street with it – of course the faces on those turned heads seem to be laughing, but I know they’re laughing as a reaction to jealousy. 😀

Namco NeGcon controller for Playstation

Ever been driving a car and said to yourself “why the hell can’t this steering wheel be a controller split down the middle so I can twist it for steering? And why the hell can’t the accelerator and brake pedals be huge cumbersome analogue buttons?”. No, you haven’t asked those questions? Probably why the Namco NeGcon controller never took off.


The NeGcon controller from Namco is one of the weirder controllers to come out for the Playstation. The build quality of it is great, and although I sling crap on it, I can imagine getting used to it to the point where it becomes a functional controller – not sure how long that’d take though. This controller will only work for the Playstation by the way, so don’t expect it to work with GT on the Playstation2.


Would I use one for a serious racing experience? Nope, not on your life. Would I use one over a regular analogue controller for the Playstation? Nope, I probably wouldn’t do that either. So what do I use it for? Adding plastic to the hoard is pretty much it. ?

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PC Engine CoreGrafx CoreGrafx 2 – The Threesome

I didn’t know anything about these machines when I was living back home, and honestly even after moving to Japan I still had no idea what they were. It was only when talking with some of the crazy hoarders over at AussieArcade (I’m looking at you here Frank) did I find out that these almost pocket sized little gaming machines kick serious arse! Ever since then they have been a serious obsession of mine.

So what are they? Basically the PCE, CG, and CGII are 16bit consoles with an 8bit processors. Yep, you read that right. This little beast was a collaboration between HudsonSoft and NEC and it featured a MOS Technology 65SC02 8bit processor, a 16bit GPU (hence the advertised 16bit) and also a colour encoder chip.

The three models I am talking about here play HuCards only (HuCards being the small credit card sized game cartridges).


The PC Engine:
The first console released by NEC in 1987 had a very successful run in Japan. This unit supported RF output only, but an add-on came later to allow AV output.

  • Release – 1987
  • Price then – 19,000yen approx
  • Price now – from $10 to $120
  • Output – RF
  • Format – Hucards


The CoreGrafx:
The next NEC console to fit this form factor was the CoreGrafx being released in 1989. The main difference between the CoreGrafx and the original PC Engine (other than the new colour and blue logo) was the inclusion of AV output as standard.

  • Release – 1989
  • Price then – 19,000yen approx
  • Price now – from $50 to $120
  • Output – AV
  • Format – Hucards


The CoreGrafxII:
The third and final NEC console that fits with the design of the original PC Engine was the CoreGrafxII. Just how it differs internally I have no idea…. If you guys have any details on that please feel free to post. This particular iteration was released in 1991.

  • Release – 1991
  • Price then – 19,000yen approx
  • Price now – from $50 to $120
  • Output – AV
  • Format – Hucards


The controllers are quite comfortable to use, and having the optional turbo switches for the later models is a nice touch. I have had many of these pass through my hands, and I have never had any that don’t work.


I for one absolutely love these little machines for the gaming fun they provide. There are so many games that fall into the quirky ‘only in Japan’ category (some of which I will give reviews on in the future) and owning one, or two, or three is a no-brainer for any gamer. 🙂

Nintendo Color TV Game 15 – CTG15s and CTG15v

The Nintendo Color TV Game 15 was one of the earliest consoles in Nintendo’s line-up. It was released at a time when almost every system on the market was a variation of Pong, but Nintendo pushed things far further by including Tennis, Hockey, Table Tennis, and Volleyball – who I am Kidding, it’s Pong just in different colours for the most part. 😀

Some details:

  • Released in 1978
  • Came in two models – CTG15S (left) and CTG15V (right)
  • Game modes – 8
  • 2 Player
  • Price then – 15000yen
  • Price now – $75 – $200


A common misconception (at least based on the two I own) is that the two models (CTG15s and CTG15v) are exactly the same except for the colour, but let me assure you, this is a misconception.

There is one major difference with the two models that doesn’t seem to get mentioned on the web. As you can see in the picture bellow the CTG15V (right) has larger knobs than the CTG15S (left), but size isn’t the only difference. The CTG15S (the one with the smaller knobs) is inferior – not due to knob size for all you guys feeling bad right now – but because it uses an endless rotary knob (no end or start points) versus the CTG15v which uses knobs that have clear start and clear end points. You may be saying “it shouldn’t make any difference, I can still rotate them in the same way”, but the main issue is that the knobs on the CTG15s do not actually respond to the speed of rotation, whereas the CTG15v (the darker coloured one) do – this is a make or break for this type of game.

Although there is a difference with the knobs on the two I own, this may not reflect that all CTG15S have that same difference. If you own a 15S and it has the same larger knobs as the 15V that I have please let me know.


The CTG15S is actually more sort after than the CTG15V purely due to rarity, but based on my two, if I were buying one to play then I would definitely try and get the CTG15V.

Another interesting point is that Nintendo wasn’t keen on plastering their name all over the machine either. The only places that have the Nintendo brand are on the RF and power adapter.



There are many game modes as indicated on the right hand side of the picture bellow. Basically in Japanese it reads that the game modes are Tennis A/B, Hockey A/B, Volleyball A/B, and PingPong A/B. The other switches do things like change bat size, and also change to singles and doubles mode. The two buttons there are a serve button and a reset button.


In use the Nintendo Color TV Game 15 is a really fun little pong clone. I have had great fun playing this with friends over a beer or two, and I can thoroughly recommend picking one up. 🙂



Super Mario Land – Board Game?

Not often I get the time to dig until blood oozes from my fingernails in this particular junk shop, but seeing as time was on my side I decided to wear my hands down to nubs digging through the abundance of useless crap that junk shops seem to accumulate. And what did I find? Well, this:

Can’t say I have ever seen this before, nor have can I find anything on the web about it, but using my powerful observational skills, it seems to be a board game based on the Gameboy game ‘Super Mario Land’. I could think of better video games to base a board game on – who am I to question Nintendo and/or Bandai though.

This board game was released in 1989 by Bandai, which I believe is the exact same year for the release of ‘Super Mario Land’ for the Gameboy – correct me if I’m wrong there.

Nintendo baord game 1989

Always good to find something Mario released pre-90s.

The only thing left to do now is actually play the thing – don’t think that will be happening any time soon though – way too many other things that actually make sound and induce seizures to worry about playing a board game! 😀

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