The TurboGrafx-16 was where it all started for NEC consoles on United States shores. This handy dandy gaming machine was over-sized for the American market. After all, everyone knows that Americans like their consoles big. If you don't believe me, take a look at the ridiculously large X-Box. The Turbo was nearly twice the size of its Japanese counterpart. Surely this was a modern marvel of engineering.
Anyway, for those of you that enjoyed NEC console gaming as a kid, chances are that it was with a TurboGrafx-16. For that reason alone, it's hard for me to find anything bad to say about this lovable piece of hardware. It goes without saying that my childhood Turbo had hours upon hours of gaming time put into it. With that said, there is one glaring disadvantage to this incarnation of the NEC 16-bit platform. No built-in option for an AV connection means that you're pretty much stuck with RF, unless you can snag the optional TurboBooster.
This hardware launched at a price of $150, which actually undersold Sega's Genesis by $50. Besides that, the launch titles were of a higher quality than Sega's (IMHO). Neither of these factors were enough to overcome some abysmally poor marketing on NEC's part, though. As a result, Sega and Nintendo would soon surpass NEC's American console sales. Despite this, the TurboGrafx-16 is a great piece of gaming history to own. If you'd like to experience some of what NEC console gaming is all about, this is a great place to start. The units can still be had for a relatively inexpensive price on eBay. Not to mention that American HuCards are fairly easy to run across as well.