Few releases on the App Store have made me squeal in greater delight than Hudson's TurboGrafx-16 GameBox [Free], for several reasons. First off, while most were busy arguing whether or not Sega does what Nintendon't, I was busy having the time of my life playing classics such as Blazing Lazers, Keith Courage in Alpha Zones, and Bonk's Adventure. Secondly, this might be one of the best implementations of a console emulator we've seen so far on the App Store.

Downloading the actual emulator itself is completely free, which gets you access to World Sports Competition as well as a daily rotating free demo game which you can play for three minutes. (Today's is Salamander.) From there, you can view the catalog of currently available games, which it sounds like Husdon has plans to constantly expand. These games are $2.99 each, and once you unlock them via in-app purchase you can play them to your heart's content.

Much like the original TurboGrafx-16 system, the emulator has a D-pad and two buttons, along with a turbo mode for each button that can be toggled on and off. The games I've tried control about as well as you would expect a console game designed for a controller to play with virtual controls. They're entirely workable, but don't expect the same precision as a physical controller.

The controls situation is alleviated somewhat by a great save state system that allows you to save and resume games at any time. If a jump is coming up that's particularly tricky, just save your game state, attempt it, and instantly load where you were again if you fail. Sure, it's a little cheesy, but it has substantially lessened the frustration I usually experience when I die in these types of classic ports due to the lack of precision from virtual controls.

Right now the game selection in the emulator isn't the best, and aside from the previously mentioned World Sports Competiton and Salamander, it also comes packed with Gradius, R-Type, Bonk's Adventure, Bomberman '94, New Adventure Island, Vigilante, Ninja Spirit, Military Madness, Victor Run, Soldier Blade, Jaseiken Necromander, Dungeon Explorer, World Class Baseball, and China Warrior.

TurboGrafx-16 GameBox is a marvelous emulator packed with nostalgia for anyone around during the TurboGrafx-16 glory days. It's substantially cheaper than picking up a TurboExpress and the real game cards... which is easier said than done due to the systems being afflicted by the capacitor plague, making functional units very hard to come by. There are a ton of games I'd like to see included with future updates, but this is a great start. Now only if Sega would release something like this instead of packaging all their games individually...

TouchArcade Rating

  • life_is_pleach

    I would buy it. Definitely. But where is the ipad Version? Or the Universal App?

  • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

    Nice! Although I hope there's some cheats/helpers in there to make some of the games like R-Type easier on a touch screen....

    I wonder if we'll get Street Fighter II on it? I always loved the TG16 version of that game. Plus Outrun was an extremely fun conversion.

    • Megasuperb

      Why do you need Street Fighter II when it's already available on the Capcom Arcade?

      • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

        Because Capcom Arcade is awful! 🙂 The slowdown is really bad, plus the difficulty level even on iPhone mode is too high for me. The PC Engine version of SFII' was quite easy so it's always been my favourite.

  • anahmeanbiznessmuthafuka

    Vigalante? That is old school.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/badison Badison

    Sweet! I haven't played Bonk's Revenge and Ninja Spirit since the days of TurboDuo.

    Going to app store now...

  • MrHands

    This reminds me, what happened to the Sega Genesis emulator? Wasn't it supposed to be released early this year?

    • Anonymous

      They canned it around the time that folders were announced. Since the apps are so small, I guess they figured they would get more visibility in the store as separate listings.

      • thewiirocks

        The funny part is that releasing an emulator with IAP nets you front-page stories that everyone pays attention to. Releasing piece-meal gets you a bunch of ho-hum reactions with no one really paying attention to what it is you've released.

        In other words, Sega failed kinda hard on this one.

  • The Truth

    Sega should take a long, hard look at this.

  • Brian Schreck

    Does the ad on the title screen go away once I've made a purchase? Looks nice, but I'm not paying for ads.

  • Das

    I'd never heard it called Bonk's revenge, was always BC Kid on the Amiga

  • Stormchild

    Finally…the opportunity to re-experience the glory of picking the wrong console. 😉

    Genesis and SNES both owned the crap out of the PC Engine/TG16.

    • thewiirocks

      True. But the TG16 did have Blazing Lazers. I mean.... Blazing FRICKIN' LAZORZ! (Sharks optional.) What's not to love?

      • Benjamin

        A lot.
        One mediocre but cult game does not make up for the rest of this consoles terrible game library.

      • spiffyone

        Blazing Lazers was the best shmup of that gen. Bar none. It was only equaled by other shmups on that platform, like Lords of Thunder. That console was THE console to own for hardcore shmup fans. Best home version of R-Type at the time, btw.

        And games like Bonk, Neutopia, Somer Assault (there I said it, underrated game) and the two video pinball games (Devil's Crush and Alien Crush) made the system worthy of ownership in addition to that stellar shmup library.

      • http://zerocorpse.tumblr.com/ ZeroCorpse

        Agreed. Later in life, with the Turbo-CD and SuperCards, the games got even more complex. I got bored with Mario when I found J.B. Harold Murder Club, and Link was nothing next to Y's I & II on Turbo-CD, complete with full orchestral score (while link was beeping and booping on the NES/SNES).

        Cadash, Dungeon Explorer I & II, Legendary Axe I & II, Galaga `90 (which just BLEW AWAY every other home version of Galaga at the time), Military Madness, Parasol Stars, D&D Order of the Griffon (a PC-style D&D game!), Art of Fighting, LOOM, Prince of Persia, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Wizardry V, and so many others were very good games.

        And the best part was that those HuCard games were playable on the TurboExpress for portable gaming without getting a whole new library of games. While the original Gameboy was giving us green, blocky platform games and Tetris, the TurboExpress could play in full color, with the same games in the same resolution as the home console.

        Anybody who disses the TurboGrafx/PC Engine has poor taste in games, and if you skipped the console, you missed a lot of games that were better than 80% of the shovelware on the NES and Master System (the direct competitors when the TG16 launched).

        And for the record, the TG-16/PCE was doing very well when it launched in 1987 and competed against the NES and Sega Master System. The Genesis didn't come around until 1990, and the SNES didn't hit shelves in North America until late 1991. For four years the TG-16 held its own against the Big Two, and sometimes even beat them.

        SNES did eventually win that generation, but a lot of us would ignore our SNES in favor of our TurboDuo, even late in the game... They were great consoles.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_N3ZZDGYS2FW2DOFMPXV3SGSGY4 k88dad

    It's funny. I could never enjoy playing these games on the TurboExpress, back in the day. Now that I'm older, with poorer eyesight, I routinely play games on the even smaller screen of the iDevice.

    Ninja Spirit is a lot of fun and the Bonk series remains my favorite platformer. Using your giant skull as a weapon is priceless. The TG-16 shooters were top-notch, but I can't imagine playing then on virtual controls. If they want to spur sales, they should break out some of the Japanese-language PCE titles. Those were some of the best games.

  • Jim Glidewell

    Parasol Stars, Parasol Stars, Parasol Stars!!!

    An unbelievably fun game - we still drag out our TG16 (complete with duct tape to work around the broken video-out port) to play it. Catch bubbles on your umbrella, shoot them to collect goodies and shoot baddies.

    This game has apparently been ported/adapted to the Wii, but has never been released to the US Wii store.

    As has been mentioned, an iPad version of this app would be very welcome...

  • Benjamin

    No, they cost way too much.

    Funny how the old fallen console manufacturers charge too much. Sega, Hudson. Yes you guys were semi-important back then, no you are not any more.

    I will not be buying until the games are 59p each. And even then they better remove that advert on the app. I'm not paying for adverts.

  • Bivey

    Freaking bought Necromancer for $2.99. Assumed they'd translate the Japanese for the RPG. Assumed wrong. Bonk? Great game. Japanese imports with no translation? Not so much.

  • Cool

    Updated 21 Feb, 2011. Five games were added!
    Bonk's Revenge coming!!

  • Issac

    Hey everyone 🙂 I get an error message when I try to purchase in app. - And anyone tell me why this might be? Thanks!

    • Andrei

      Because it is no longer in the App Store

  • Shaibi Smacker


    Make backlinks in SEO forum....

  • http://www.tennoe.no/ Bjørn Tennøe

    Has this title been pulled? I can't find it on the App Store at the moment.

    • Andrei

      Mee too.
      What a crappy thing, a good emulator is gone

  • Andrei

    Perchè lo hanno tolto?