Turbografx-16 Mini’s 50 Games Revealed, Along with Release Date and Amazon Exclusivity

You almost had it, Konami!

Alright folks, I’ve got good news and bad news, all pertaining to the most impossible of small video game miracles, the Turbografx-16 Mini. The good news is that we now know the ultra-important basics of Konami’s microconsole: Where to get it, when it’s available, how much it costs (roughly), and what games are on it. The bad news is tucked away inside those details, as is so often the case with life, so let’s look at how this whole deal is gonna shake out.

The Turbografx-16 Mini, along with its European and Japanese variants, launches on March 19, 2020 as an Amazon exclusive product. Pre-orders open this coming Monday, July 15, 2019, but are only available to Amazon Prime subscribers, as part of this year’s Prime Day event. Konami hasn’t said if Prime Day’s pre-order window is going to be the only pre-order window. No price was announced for the Turbografx-16 Mini, but Japan’s PC Engine Mini will cost 10,500 yen, so expect to drop around $100 for the North American version.

We’ll get to why this Amazon stuff is a problem here in a minute, but first let’s talk about the games that come on this thing, because that news is actually pretty damn good. All three versions of the Turbo/PC/Core Mini will feature the same list of 50 games, which includes 24 Turbografx-16 releases in English, and 26 PC Engine releases in the original Japanese. The list, presented in full below, includes a handful of the games that I said should definitely be on there, including the vitally important Bomberman ’94. Here’s what you’ll get for $100:

  • Air Zonk [ENG]
  • Akumajo Dracula X Chi No Rondo [JPN]
  • Aldynes [JPN]
  • Alien Crush [ENG]
  • Appare! Gateball [JPN]
  • Blazing Lazers [ENG]
  • Bomberman Panic Bomber [JPN]
  • Bomberman ’93 [ENG]
  • Bomberman ’94 [JPN]
  • Bonk’s Revenge [ENG]
  • Cadash [ENG]
  • Chew-Man-Fu [ENG]
  • Cho Aniki [JPN]
  • Daimakaimura [JPN]
  • Dungeon Explorer [ENG]
  • Dungeon Explorer [JPN]
  • Fantasy Zone [JPN]
  • Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire [JPN]
  • Gradius [JPN]
  • Gradius II – Gofer No Yabo [JPN]
  • J.J. & Jeff [ENG]
  • Jaseiken Necromancer [JPN]
  • Lords Of Thunder [ENG]
  • Military Madness [ENG]
  • Moto Roader [ENG]
  • Nectaris [JPN]
  • Neutopia [ENG]
  • Neutopia [JPN]
  • Neutopia II [ENG]
  • Neutopia II [JPN]
  • New Adventure Island [ENG]
  • Ninja Ryukenden [JPN]
  • Ninja Spirit [ENG]
  • PC-Genjin [JPN]
  • Parasol Stars [ENG]
  • Power Golf [ENG]
  • Psychosis [ENG]
  • R-Type [ENG]
  • Salamander [JPN]
  • Snatcher [JPN]
  • Soldier Blade [ENG]
  • Space Harrier [ENG]
  • Star Parodier [JPN]
  • Super Darius [JPN]
  • Super Momotaro Dentetsu II [JPN]
  • Super Star Soldier [JPN]
  • The Kung Fu (aka China Warrior) [JPN]
  • Victory Run [ENG]
  • Ys Book I & II [ENG]
  • Ys I & II [JPN]

This list ain’t half bad, all things considered! Bomberman ’94 is the best one of those ever made, and if you’re a fan of classic shmups, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than this selection. Alien Crush instead of Devil’s Crush is kind of a bummer, but Alien Crush is still a perfectly rad game, and I understand why 2019’s Konami might not want to ship a game with a bunch of pentagrams in it to western markets.

As you surely noticed, however, the list also contains quite a few duplicates. Both Neutopia games appear in both English and Japanese, as do Ys I & II and Dungeon Explorer.   Military Madness and Nectaris are the same game under different titles, which brings the actual number of games down from 50 to 45. You may also be wondering why Snatcher, Hideo Kojima’s cult-classic cyberpunk crime thriller, is not one of the games offered in both English and Japanese. This is because the only official English translation of Snatcher was released on Sega CD, not the PC Engine Super CD-ROM 2. Maybe that Sega Genesis Mini will come through in our time of need?

Alright, so, as a product in a vacuum, Konami has done a good job with the Turbografx-16 Mini. It’s obvious that some concessions had to be made here and there, but I would love to spend $100 on this and think that I would feel satisfied doing so. Konami’s microconsole doesn’t exist in a vacuum, though. It exists exclusively on Amazon, and that eats.

While demand for the Turbografx-16 Mini is likely less than it was for the NES or SNES Classics, landing a pre-order for these microconsoles is always a hell of the distributor’s making. Adding a ticket price to even get in the door — be it Amazon’s $120 annual Prime subscription, or a single month of Prime for $13 — will not decrease the number of people seeking pre-orders, and will instead only serve to bolster Amazon’s Prime Day profits and subscription numbers. Amazon knows this, obviously, which is why it presumably struck this deal with Konami, who couldn’t help but take the opportunity to Konami the situation as hard as possible.

I don’t like Amazon for Filthy Communist reasons (I’m the filthy communist, not them), but I’d be willing to swallow my pride and pre-order this damn thing if it weren’t happening during a very large and important labor strike. I can’t buy this now, it’s got human rights violations all over it! I’m gonna have to wait until March of next year and just hope that Konami made enough of these things for me to only have to partially compromise my morals.