Welcome to Living in the Past, a weekly column about what's new in old games. Now get off our lawn.
Last year, Hudson snuck a selection of Turbografx-16 games onto the PlayStation Store, playable on both PS3 and PSP. It's a very small selection in North America at just ten games (this is the first caveat of many I'll mention), but it includes some of the best on the platform, like Bonk's Adventure, Alien Crush, Neutopia, and not China Warrior.
I feel it's my duty to periodically remind people of the availability of Turbografx-16 games, so now that there's another platform that can play them, namely the PlayStation Vita, I'm taking advantage of the opportunity. These downloads work on both home systems (PS3) and portable systems (PSP and Vita), allowing you to experience the cutting-edge cross-compatibility that these games enjoyed over 20 years ago between the Turbografx-16 and the TurboExpress handheld.
I guess I should bring up all the other caveats before we get too excited.
The meager selection is the biggest issue preventing TG16 on PSN from being as amazing as it could be, and I don't see that situation getting any better, given the death of Hudson Soft. Konami could work on putting more TG16 games up, but I don't think it'll ever be a priority.
The other big concern is one I brought up before with regards to PSOne Classics: actually getting the games on the Vita. None of the Turbografx Classics are available directly through the Vita store, nor can they be accessed through your downloads list on a Vita. Instead, you have to download them to your PS3, and then transfer them to Vita through the Content Management Tool before you've installed the PS3 versions. Infuriating!
Discovery is also an issue, as the games are just mixed in with everything else on PSN, rather than being given their own section. And PSN's finicky search won't bring anything up if you search for "Bonk" versus "Bonk's," to use one particularly annoying example.
But after you get through all that process, you have a TurboGrafx-16 game living on your Vita. That can be a magical thing, especially if you've never experienced the charm of Bonk's Adventure, a game in which you deliver flying headbutts to sentient dinosaur bosses to break their mind control, spin in the air to catch fruit, and become an invincible Frankenstein's Monster-esque creature by eating meat; or if you've never used a pinball to free crawling aliens from a giant brain in Alien Crush.
If you want to explore a bigger collection of TG16 games, there's always the Wii Virtual Console. That lacks a portable component, but makes up for it with an incredible selection, including the CD-ROM based Dracula X. Or you can create a Japanese PSN account and browse that selection. Unless your Vita happens to be tied to a Japanese account, though, you won't be able to transfer them to the handheld.
Even though it's technically kind of annoying to get some of this stuff on your platform of choice, it's still easier than ever to try great games like Alien Crush. Considering the TG16's status as the first casualty of the early 90's console wars, I'm guessing many of you never got the opportunity.