Konami’s Turbografx-16 mini throwback microconsole, as well as its European and Japanese siblings, the Core Grafx mini and PC Engine mini, have been delayed indefinitely due to manufacturing issues caused by the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, aka COVID-19. The microconsole, which I could have sworn came out sometime last year, was actually supposed to come out on March 19, just under two weeks from now.
“Regarding the TurboGrax-16 mini console and its peripheral accessories, the manufacturing and shipping facilities in China have encountered an unavoidable suspension due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak,” reads a statement on the console’s official website. “As a result, the delivery of all TurboGrafx-16 mini products, which was originally scheduled for March 19th, 2020, will be delayed until further notice. We deeply apologize to our customers for the significant inconvenience, and we humbly ask for your understanding and patience while we keep our close attention on the situation. We are investing all our efforts to deliver the TurboGrafx-16 mini as soon as possible, and will provide further details on the deliver [sic] timing once confirmed.”
Similar statements were posted on the official sites for the Core Grafx mini and PC Engine mini, so this delay affects all versions of the console worldwide, rather than just our local hero. I’m sure that all the folk who paid $100 up-front to pre-order one of these when it was announced last July are pretty bummed out, but the tens of thousands of displaced factory workers — whose lives are full of toil and exploitation, even under the best of circumstances — probably have it worse.
Global COVID-19 infection rates approached 100,000 today, as the death toll in the United States rose to 17 following the loss of two patients in Florida, according to ABC News. These two individuals are the first deaths announced for the East coast, which houses additional confirmed cases in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, across the country, 21 passengers and/or staff aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is currently quarantined off the coast of San Francisco, were confirmed to have COVID-19. A total of 46 symptomatic people aboard were tested using kits flown to the ship by helicopter. The Grand Princess, which has been held at bay for two days, was returning from a trip to Hawaii, following an earlier trip to Mexico in February. After some passengers from the Mexico trip tested positive for COVID-19 upon their return, the decision was made to keep the Grand Princess from reaching its intended port in San Francisco, pending the tests that have now taken place.
Vice President Mike Pence, who looks at all times like he plans to create a registry for tracking the United State’s growing mutant population, said that the Grand Princess will be moved to a “non-commercial port” at some point “this weekend,” according to San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX5.
When the Turbografx-16 mini does eventually come out, it’ll contain 50 games from the console’s storied and oft overlooked history, including 24 from its Western catalogue and 26 from Japan’s PC Engine, regardless of which version you actually buy. Pre-orders for the console have gone down since today’s announcement, but you can still reserve your own official third-party controllers and multi-taps, assuming those aren’t delayed as well. Maybe HORI has its own private factories in a bunker on the moon.
Correction: This post originally referred to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan coronavirus,” which was a bad call on my part. World Health Organization guidelines specifically forbid the use of location names when classifying a disease, in order to prevent the spread of dangerous misinformation or inferences about specific locations and the people that live there. I regret having contributed to the growing stigma that Chinese- and other Asian-Americans are already facing, and have ensured that future coverage of the virus on Fanbyte will not contain this phrase. I’m also making these changes proactively and voluntarily, because we can always do better.