The PC-FX was a 32-bit video game console developed by NEC. Released weeks after the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn on December 23rd, 1994, as well as having an appearance like a PC tower, it was the successor to the PC Engine line. It was also NEC's last-ever console.
Why It Flopped
- The PC-FX does not have a polygon graphics processor, meaning that it could not create 3D polygon graphics the way that the PlayStation and Saturn could. NEC's short-sighted reasoning for this, was that polygon processors for the time were low-powered, resulting in figures having a blocky appearance, and that it would be better for games to use pre-rendered polygon graphics instead.
- That being said, however, the PC-FX was based on the specifications of a developmental system architecture, the HuC62 (codenamed "Tetsujin", meaning "Iron Man"), which was able to produce 3D polygon graphics. The ability to produce polygon graphics was abandoned for the PC-FX in favor of the system's FMV capabilities.
- Over its retail lifespan, the PC-FX had sold around 100,000 units. This is due to the high price of the system (an introductory price of 49,800円 JPY, which is a full 10,000円 JPY more than Sony's PlayStation), along with a number of other factors.
- NEC had Hudson Soft only produce games for the PC-FX that are based on popular anime franchises and using pre-rendered animated footage. Despite the fact that this policy played to the PC-FX's capabilities in FMV, it barred Hudson Soft from bringing successful series such as Bonk and Bomberman to the system.
- While on the topic of Bomberman, there was an unsubstantiated rumor in which Hi-Ten Bomberman, a high-definition, ten-player version of the classic that was played at the Super Caravan events in 1993 and later at the NHK Studio Park as an interactive exhibit, was going to be released on the PC-FX. However, the PC-FX was not made to run games at HD resolutions, even though it was based on the Tetsujin board, which in turn was based on the special hardware used to run Hi-Ten Bomberman.
- The PC-FX was also sold as an internal PC card, in the forms of the PC-FXGA (for PC-9800 and DOS/V) and PC-FX98IF (for PC-9800 only), which came with two CDs to help the user program games for the PC-FX. Unfortunately, compatibility issues prevented games that were developed with the software from actually running on the console.
- The target audience of the PC-FX was five years older than that of the PC Engine, in the vain hopes of it bringing PC Engine fans over to the PC-FX.
- The PC-FX has a minuscule amount of backup RAM, 32 kB in size.
- The system is known for having a high percentage of adult-oriented games.
- The FX-BMP backup memory module, while useful for adding to the system's backup RAM capacity, actually runs on batteries, two AA-size batteries to be exact.
- The PlayStation's memory cards didn't run on batteries, and neither did the Sega Saturn's Back-Up RAM Cartridge or the Nintendo 64's Controller Pak.
- That being said, however, the Sega Dreamcast VMU (Visual Memory Unit) used CR2032 button batteries, albeit for its handheld console functionality. Sony's Japan-exclusive PocketStation, similar in function to the VMU, also uses CR2032 batteries for its handheld console aspect.
- In a somewhat lazy move in terms of controller design, the system's controller, the FX-Pad, was adapted from the control pad of the PC Engine Duo-RX.
- The FX-Pad doesn't have shoulder buttons.
- The PC-FX, despite its inability to create 3D polygon graphics, is capable of decompressing 30 JPEG pictures per second while playing digitally recorded audio (essentially a form of Motion JPEG), giving it superior FMV quality over the other 5th generation consoles. It even had the PlayStation beat!
- With its three expansion ports, the PC-FX is expandable for additional upgrades and peripherals.
- The FX-BMP, with its 128 kB capacity, is ideal for the RPGs and simulators released on the system.
- The PC-FX is capable of playing audio CDs, CD+Gs, and Kodak Photo CDs, the latter of which for viewing the user's home photos.
- The PC-FX can be used as an external CD-ROM drive for PC-9800 series computers using the PC-FX SCSI Adapter.