Chris Covell's

Power Console

Prototype Tell-all Page!

April Fools!

And a happy April Fool's Day to you, too! For those with a sense of humour and adventure, April Fool's is a day to celebrate human creativity and ingenuity. For those that lack such a sense, it means being a latecomer to an orgy. Nobody wants to be fooled or disappointed, but on this day ya gotta be ready for it. I always look forward to this day, especially in this age of the internet, to see what things creative people will unleash on the world. It's like the buildup to the Rio Carnival, just with fewer semi-naked girls.

Anyway, everything here was fake or altered. Although some collectors do have a Power Console and perhaps other unreleased games that go along with it, I do not. This page is a satire of many things including rare item hoarders. Here's a document of the fun I had making fake pictures! :-D

First off, I needed a good photograph of the Power Console. High-quality versions on the internet are almost nonexistent, so I had to find the largest magazine scan that I could. The one from this December 1989 insert of PC-Engine magazine was nice and clear, but grainy like all magazine scans tend to be. Ah, well, I did the best that I could. The photo was edited, "massaged", resized, and contrast-adjusted to match the lighting in my room. Argh, I could have made the shadows better, though...

The original Gekkan PC-Engine insert page. 59,800 yen just for the Power Console!!! That's $739.19 in today's dollars!!!
Matching the angle of the photo as best as I can...

Judging by the size of that bloody huge Power Console now on my table, I'd say it was just a bit smaller than the table itself in width. So I blew up a medium-sized pear box into a large one.

Box at original size
Box at almost twice the size!

This EPROM card is real. It's just that I don't have 3 of them to lay side-by-side.

I have only a single PCE EPROM cartridge, the one for my Tsushin Booster. Anyway, here it is with its plastic cover off.
Set my camera on a tripod, set the time-lapse function on, snap a photo, move EPROM, snap another photo, move EPROM, (remove cover for variety), snap final photo. Composite quite easily. Erase blue wire. Done.

The SUPER Kung-Fu made quite an impact! I loved Japanese games that had titles that started with "The Super...", like, er, The Super Shinobi. They sound so awesome and yet so ridiculous.

Since I can't draw people worth a damn, I scoured the internet for Kung-Fuey pictures, like this one:
The rest I pixeled by myself in Deluxe Paint on the Amiga. Still really useful after all these years!

Ingame action shots are tough for me to draw, so I thought nothing would sum up the symbolic waste of the SGX's resources better than a super beefy sprite (that would use only the PCE's sprite plane, naturally) kicking a rock off the screen...

Another action shot of Bruce Lee.
Yeah, this looks more like Pit-Fighter than Kung-Fu, but the point is to have a ludicrously large sprite to show SuperGrafx powah!
(The rock is an edited sprite from JJ & Jeff ;-D)
A larger-sized mountain backdrop made with 16 colours in DPaint. Really rudimentary painting skill, but it still looks just as accomplished as the original Kung-Fu...

Okay, by this point, I may still have people believing that the Power Console, with its hammy Kung-Fu game is all true, so how about introducing a bit of a twist? Since the SGX had two video chips, wouldn't it have been awfully cool if NEC had put two and two together and made it possible for each chip to output a separate video signal? And wouldn't it have been typically Hudson to waste their inaugural demonstration of dual-screen power on something as mundane as a Mah-Jongg game? Yes, it would have.
Thus Taisen Pro Mah-Jongg was born.

I whipped up this original creation in about 20 minutes in DPaint again. It turned out surprisingly authentic despite the rush.
(Text at the bottom and TV icons were from games like Bomberman and Power League.)
Since I know next to nothing about Mah-Jongg, I took the game screen from some Chat Noir mah-jongg game on the Super Famicom...
And "Hudsonized" it.

The last thing to do was a ridiculous "Test" tool for the Console in the same line as Artist Tool and the Tsushin Tool. Thus, the ridiculous-sounding "Power Tool" was born. :-D

This was supposed to wrap up the article and epitomize the absolute arrogance of NEC's plans to sell a ton of plastic (and only a small amount of real silicon...) to poor "Hardcore" saps and kids in Japan. Quite obviously NEC twisted the arms of Hudson's engineers to make a quick upgrade to the PCE ASAP, when one was not really warranted in late 1989 (late 1990, yes.) and then more arm-twisting occurred in Hudson's software division to make some kind of games for it post-haste. The result was the lacklustre software that came out for the SGX like GranZort, Darius Plus *, and yes, even Battle Ace. Nobody said a word, but it was clear from the lack of imagination and showmanship in these titles that Hudson's staff had little confidence in the SGX. It was doomed from the start, and yet in interviews, NEC's top brass acted like they'd shat diamonds.

So, even though some internet denizens might have been tricked by my page, the reason for its existence was really as a big *fuck you* to NEC for their management style, their desire for money, their hardware policy for the PCE, SuperGrafx, and TurboGrafx-16 that made gamers grumble and fed money right into Sega's and Nintendo's pockets.

So, hey, NEC: Fuck You already, eh?

The cute Tsushin Tool screen (a bit lacking in colours, though...)
And now we have the Power Tool! (Cue sound of electric motor whirring up.)

This was just a way for me to have a bit of fun with the mountains of useless buttons and features on the Power Console. Okay, a flight yoke's cool, but a jog dial? An LCD and LED display??!?

The 2600 has Atari Fatties; the NES has Nintendo Fatties, and the PCE has its own share of fatties too. This is just a tip 'o the hat to our own resident fatties. Poisson d'Avril, mes gars!
(Again, I had fun drawing all these pics in DPaint...)


send comments to Chris Covell!