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Konami’s TurboGrafx16 console is back, and it’s a treasure trove of retro gaming

Way back in the mists of time, young me had set his heart on owning the NEC PC Engine, a game console first released in 1987. Unfortunately, at that time it was only available in Japan. The only way to get one was to import one using a third-party service, which you could typically find ads for in the back of computer magazines, because the internet wasn’t a thing back then. I remember the console taking weeks to arrive, and also having to find a Japan-to-U.K. plug adaptor to make it work, which was no easy task at that time.

Known as the TurboGrafx16 in the U.S. and the Core Grafx in Europe, it was one of the more obscure games consoles of the time; but worth every effort to get one. Now, on a stormy day in mid-January 2020, I sat in Konami Europe’s London headquarters getting reacquainted with a good old friend. I was playing the soon-to-be-released “mini” version, set to capitalize on the resurgence in interest in retro games and introduce a lot of people to a library of exciting, varied games they may never have played before.

And I was in heaven. This is the TurboGrafx16/PC Engine Mini, and it’s a little box of joy.

Nostalgia, in a good way

I was part of the first group to be able to directly capture footage of gameplay on the PC Engine Core Grafx Mini. While the little grey box on the table in front of me was familiar, it won’t be to players in Japan or the U.S., so let’s clear up any confusion over the name right now. Since this is a global release, the company has gone all-out to ensure it hits the nostalgia spot with everyone. In the U.S. it will be called the TurboGrafx16 Mini and look identical to the original, just on a slightly smaller scale. In Japan, it will be called the PC Engine Mini and come in white, while the grey PC Engine Core Grafx version will be available in the U.K., France, and Italy.

The main console is about 10% smaller overall than the original, but the controllers remain exactly the same size and fit into USB ports on the main box, attached to 3-meter (10 foot) cables. This time there are two ports, rather than a single one, and there is obviously no need to insert game cartridges — or HuCards, as they were known — on this 2020 model. The controllers are small and thin when compared to a PlayStation DualShock, and less ergonomic than Nintendo’s SNES controllers that came after it. Think original NES controllers, and you’re about right.

You’ll find a D-pad on the right, along with two buttons on the left, below two switches for altering modes, while a Run and Select button sit in the middle. It’s compact yet comfortable to hold, but did feel quite cramped after extended playtime, especially during games that require a lot of frantic movement. The D-pad also takes some getting used to for another reason, as it has a four-way movement rather than an eight-way. Practice makes perfect, just like all retro games.

The PC Engine Mini/Core Grafx Mini looks cute and fun, while the TurboGrafx16 Mini looks like the original: A bit of an ugly duckling, but we’re aware the unusual design it has its fans. However, it’s extremely heartening to see such attention to detail, something that continues when you turn the console on.

Playing games

There are 57 games pre-installed on the PC Engine Core Grafx and TurboGrafx16, and it’s an eclectic line-up of titles. There are arcade standbys like R-Type, Space Harrier, Bomberman, Galaga, and Darius, plus a wide range of RPG games including both Neutopia and Neutopia 2. Additionally, there is a selection of PC Engine exclusive titles including Ninja Spirit, Victory Run, and Blazing Lazers. There’s even the rarely seen SuperGrafx version of Super Ghouls and Ghosts, plus many of the games include content originally released on CD-ROM, a sought-after hardware extra when the console was at its most popular, plus 32 PC Engine games come in the original Japanese language too.

It’s a lovingly prepared and presented list, and the animations and graphics throughout the menu are wonderful, right down to the cute PC Engine characters strutting about in the background, and the card and CD ROM loading screens. You can even choose the type of display mode you like. This setting lets you play with a 4:3 aspect ratio screen with optional CRT television filters, a stretched full-screen mode, or even a frame that resembles the handheld PC Engine GT console’s screen. The menus are clear and easy to navigate, and it’s not necessary to dig into them and waste time if you just want to play.

Bomberman ’94, R-Type, Neutopia, Victory Run, Splatterhouse, Blazing Lazers, Parasol Stars, and Ninja Spirit were among the most memorable games I played that morning. While some feel old — Victory Run, an Out Run-style driving game is quaint at best, for example — many others feel rather fresh, and not something you’d only play for a few minutes. There’s proper longevity in Neutopia, and multiplayer fun to be had with the Bomberman series. Parasol Stars, a member of the Bubble Bobble family, looks, sounds, and feels like a modern game you may play on a smartphone even.

Although the console is still a few months away from launch and still being tweaked — hence no close-up photos of the console itself — the software was mostly glitch-free, apart from a small instance of a disappearing spaceship in Blazing Lazers. The PC Engine Core Grafx happily switched between games and display styles for several hours without a problem.

What’s pleasant about the return of the PC Engine is that it won’t be instantly familiar to everyone. Most keen gamers will have played games on an early MegaDrive or PlayStation, but the PC Engine/TurboGrafx16 wasn’t as common. This means a treasure trove of highly playable, sometimes unique games unavailable on any other console awaits anyone who buys the new version, and following my all-too-brief playtime with it, it’s obvious there’s a lot of enjoyment still inside them.

When can you get one, and should you?

The $100 TurboGrafx16 Mini, 100 British pound PC Engine Core Grafx Mini, and the 10,500 Japanese yen PC Engine Mini will all be released on March 19. It’s an exclusive with Amazon, and you’ll only find it through the online retailer. Each console comes with one controller, but you can buy more for $25/22 British pounds each. If you want to play 5-player games like Bomberman you’ll need the $30/25 pound Turbo Tap multi-USB hub too. All can be pre-ordered now.

It’s a little bit more expensive than the PlayStation Classic and Nintendo’s SNES Classic Edition; but it does come with a lot more games, the majority of which we’ll bet you’ve never played, making it a good value. The variety of games — platformers, shoot-em-ups, RPGs, fighting games, and more — mean you should keep coming back to it too, ensuring it’s not a one-time trip down memory lane. Whether you owned a PC Engine or TurboGrafx16 before or not, the new Mini versions have masses of appeal. We’ll wait to play the final version before passing judgment, but things are looking very, very good indeed for the return of one of the best late 80’s consoles that you may never have tried out at all.


LDPlayer – Android Emulator for Windows PC and Laptop

Optimizing an Android game for PC is quite hard. There are tons of Android emulators present on the internet that allow players to play different Android games on their PC. But most of the emulators are not worth experiencing. Some of the Android emulators destroy the gaming experience, which you will never want.Now, you might think about the solution to it. You might question how you can play an Android game on your PC or a laptop without damaging the gaming experience. Well, the simple solution to this concern is LDPlayer. A few of you people might not be familiar with the LDPlayer so let me familiarize you with this amazing thing.What is LDPlayer?LDPlayer is a free Android emulator using which you can play any of your favorite Android games. Whether you are a PC or a laptop user, the LDPlayer will permit you to get the best gaming experience without any issue. Not only gaming, but you can also use any Android app on your operating system with the help of the LDPlayer emulator. Although it runs Android apps, it is specially designed for gamers.Apart from it, this software provides excellent keyboard mapping controls. From older games to all the latest ones, this software will run all on your system. Unlike the other emulators, it does not minimize the pace of the Android app. Besides this, the LDPlayer offers a custom control, which means that you can connect keyboard and mouse as per your choosing. Connecting a mouse and a keyboard will give you better control of the game you are playing.System Requirements for LDPlayerAnother great thing about the LDPlayer is that you don’t need to own a high-end system to operate it. Even if your computer or laptop does not hold higher RAM, processing power, or hard disk space, you can still use it with no worry.Below we have mentioned the maximum and minimum system requirements that you will need to run the LDPlayer on your system quickly.Minimum System RequirementsYou will need to have a RAM of 2GB with the minimum free storage space of 36GB as a minimum requirement. You can operate the software on Windows XP, Windows 7/8/8.1, as well as on Windows 10. Apart from this, you will be required to enable the hardware virtualization technology in the BIOS to run the software. Also, make sure to have a graphics driver with OpenGL 2.0 and DirectX 11 so that it works properly.Recommended SpecificationsIn case you want to run the LDPlayer without facing any issue, then you should focus on the recommended specifications. The recommended specs for this software are moderate. You will require a RAM of 8GB or higher to run this software on your PC or laptop. Apart from RAM, the LDPlayer demands 100GB of free disk space for better performance.However, you can still run the software even if you have less space. You will need an Intel i5 7500 or a better CPU for the LDPlayer. The NVIDIA GeForce, GTX 750 Ti card, is also in the recommended specifications of this software. Even if your system does not match the recommended specs, you don’t need to bother because you can still run this LDPlayer emulator on your order if you have the minimum suggested requirements. But with the recommended specifications, you can get the best performance of this software, so try to use it on the suggested specs.What You Will Get with LDPlayer?Below are some of the things that you will get with this emulator.Android Experience: This emulator will provide you with a full Android experience. It also presents support to the Android 5.1 and 7.1, which makes it worth trying.Quality Gaming: It offers Android gamers the option to play their preferred games on a PC or a laptop using a mouse and a keyboard. There are no restrictions, so you can play any game you want.Custom Settings: You can do the required setting as per your wish. The emulator allows users to perform settings of an application and a game as per their needs.Multiple Instances: The various instances will be a completely new experience for most of the people. The multiple instances mean that you can play more than one game at a time with this emulator without destroying the gaming experience.No Fee: You don’t need to pay any fees to install this emulator. Most of the emulators demand high charges to run them. However, that is not the case with the LDPlayer. Without worrying about heavy fees or many advertisements, you can use this software, and you will surely enjoy it.Active Updates: In contrast to other emulators, the LDPlayer delivers active updates. Mostly you will get the updates on a monthly basis via this software. You can use the update to enjoy the latest features of the emulator.Reasons to Choose LDPlayerThere are a lot of reasons due to which you might want to select the LDPlayer. However, here we will make you familiar with some of the most important reasons due to which you might desire to try out this software.Better ExperienceA better experience is the prime reason to prefer LDPlayer. Whether you are doing gaming or other Android tasks, this software will take your experience to the next level.It will give you a lot better feel on your PC and laptop as compared to the Android device. You will enjoy every second of using the LDPlayer.No LagRunning a few software on an emulator usually results in lagging. However, with the LDPlayer, you will not go through any such concern. Whether you are using a normal app or playing some high-end games on this emulator, the lag problem will not occur.This is why most people, especially gamers, prefer using this software. The only thing you will need is a better system. If your system has the recommended or the minimum suggested specifications, you don’t have to worry about any problem as it will not occur.Quality SupportMost of the emulators do not support all applications, but that is not the case with this emulator. You can easily run almost all the apps using the LDPlayer with no problem.The quality support of this software makes its second to none. Because of better support, this software is recommended to both gamers and regular users.Multiple ApplicationsThe ability to run various apps simultaneously is another reason to try out the LDPlayer. In most of the emulators, the user can run only a single app at a time. That is not the case with the LDPlayer.In the LDPlayer, you can operate several apps at a time. You can play multiple games simultaneously, which makes this software unique. This software gives the opportunity to run as many games or other apps as you want without causing any problem.User-FriendlyMost of the emulators are hard to use for a beginner because of the complicated interface. If you are using an emulator for the first time, then things may become more hard-to-understand for you. However, with the LDPlayer, there is no such problem because of the user-friendly interface.You can become a professional of this software within a day because it does not have anything complicated in it. Also, the user doesn’t need any technical knowledge while using it, which makes the process effortless.High GraphicsLow graphics is another issue that gamers usually have while playing their favorite game through the emulator. Most of the emulators destroy the graphics of the game, which results in a poor gaming experience.  Also, such emulators reduce the FPS and make the player experience a game full of lag. While with the LDPlayer, that is not the case. This software knows the role of graphics and FPS on a system due to which it has a prime focus on it.The software ensures that it does not harm the visual quality of the game. It focuses on delivering the same high-quality graphics as needed by the player.ConclusionIn case you want to experience your favorite Android game on a PC or a laptop, then you should try the LDPlayer. It will allow you to enjoy the application on a big screen. You can also connect the mouse and a keyboard with this emulator. LDPlayer is quite popular because of its better performance. Also it is the best emulator for PUBG Mobile. The constant updating of the software makes it the best in the market.No matter whether you like playing high-FPS or high graphics games, you can play it using the LDPlayer software. It will make Android gaming a lot better for you. In addition, you can get the experience of playing multiple games at a time through it. Though gaming is the prime focus of this emulator, other Android users can also use it as it runs almost all types of applications. So try the LDPlayer, and you will surely love using it.EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.

Social Distancing Bundle: A lifetime of Rosetta Stone, VPN, and more

In today’s climate we find ourselves working from home and often staying away from others. We’re changing habits in both personal and professional settings as we grapple with the “new normal.”Some of us have more free time simply because we’re not going out as often. What do you do with your evenings, weekends, or spare moments? Why not use it to learn new languages or become versed in various topics?The Social Distancing Lifetime Subscription Bundle, available in the AndroidGuys Deals Store for $199, is the well-rounded kit that you never knew you needed.Included in the bundle are lifetime subscriptions to Rosetta Stone, 12min books, and KeepSolid VPN. It’s everything you need to master up to 24 languages, immerse yourself in new fields, and stay safe in the process.12min Premium Micro Book Library: Lifetime SubscriptionNot enough hours in the day to get through your reading list? You’ll only need 12 minutes to finish your next book with 12min! This innovative platform gives you access to hundreds of micro books in text and narrative form for you to absorb in just 12 minutes each. Every month, you’ll get 30 new titles so you can keep learning new things well into the future.Rosetta Stone Unlimited Access: Lifetime Subscription (24 Languages)If your dream is to master a foreign language, there’s no better teacher than Rosetta Stone. With its intuitive, immersive training method, Rosetta Stone will have you reading, writing, and speaking new languages like a natural in no time. You’ll start by matching words with images just like when you learned your native language as a child. Then you’ll move onto interactive lessons where speech recognition technology works to evaluate and improve your accent with instant feedback.KeepSolid VPN Unlimited: Lifetime SubscriptionWhether you’re using a private internet connection or public Wi-Fi, your online privacy and security is far from guaranteed. With top-rated solution VPN Unlimited, you can regain control over your digital life with full security and anonymity online. There are no speed or bandwidth limits, so you’ll still enjoy full browsing speeds, without the dangers of leaving your data exposed or the geographic restrictions set on certain websites abroad.Buy the Bundle!Valued at more than $800 for the whole bundle, you can purchase it from the AG Deals Store for just $199. They’re all three yours for as long as you live.Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

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