Generation 32-bit / 64-bit era
First available December 23, 1994 (Japan)
The PC-FX is NEC's 32-bit successor to its PC Engine (TurboGrafx 16) released in Japan on 23 December 1994. The PC-FX only used CDs as opposed to the PCE's use of HuCards (it did have a CD peripheral, though). What's unusual about the PC-FX is its computer-like design. It stands upright like a tower computer while most other consoles of that time lay flat. The controller resembled the Sega Mega Drive's in shape, only with more buttons. Another interesting feature was its three expansion ports, as expansion ports are relatively underused in consoles and therefore their inclusion increased the price without offering a great deal to the end user.
The PC-FX was designed based on a new 32-bit development kit by NEC called "Iron Man". Iron Man was designed in 1992, while the PC Engine was still quite popular in Japan. It was around the time of the first running demonstration units in mid 1992 that NEC started discussing an imminent release of an Iron Man based system with its many third party developers. Many PC Engine developers seemed upset and disinterested since the PC Engine market was still growing, and as a result NEC halted work on the Iron Man and continued making modifications to the PC Engine. By 1993 the 32-bit 3DO platform was released with lots of the developer interest and Sega and Sony let it be known that the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation would be ready for the Japanese marketplace in late 1994, and Bandai was also readying the release of their 32-bit Playdia system. Now in a rush to keep the large development base that made the PC Engine so successful, NEC had to make a decision. Rather than spending the time to develop a new, more powerful platform capable of standing up to their competitors, they marched out the now dated 32-bit Iron Man architecture to be used in the PC-FX. The result was that NEC wound up with a severely underpowered system that failed to impress either developers or consumers, and ultimately led to its untimely demise.
As the PC-FX struggled, NEC became far more liberal than most companies with regard to the titles that it allowed to be released for the platform in an attempt to get whatever development support they could. As a result, the PC-FX has gained quite a reputation for its abundance of hentai and dating simulation titles.
32-Bit NEC V810 RISC running at 21.5MHz, 15.5MIPS, 5-Way Superscalar
2MB main RAM, 1.25MB VRAM, 1 MB OS ROM, 256KB CD Buffer, and 32KB back-up RAM.
16-Bit Stereo with 2 ADPCM channels and 6 sample channels at 44.1kHz.
Main RAM Expansion Slot x 1, Backup RAM Card Slot x 1, CPU Expansion Slot x 1