Translations from Game Lab Vol. 196 -- December 2011 Issue

Article Scan
Click thumbnail to enlarge

Photo caption:
LT means Laptop

Mana-Sama's Nostalgic game inferno

Mana's Hardware Collection
PC Engine LT

Company: NEC Home Electronics
Release date: December 13, 1991
Retail Price: 99,800 yen

~Part 9~

Personification of a Core Gamer's fascination with "Core Ideas"

The destruction of common knowledge of games by a 4 inch liquid crystal [screen]

As I announced in the last issue, this time I will be introducing the console that was the successor of the PC Engine GT. At this point in time NEC was assembling crystallization techniques, so how about we introduce the PC Engine LT. The LT is also one of my favorite consoles. I was a fan of the GT from the start, so when an even better console was introduced I raised my voice in delight saying "I can't wait!"

First I think its worth mentioning that it was no simple useless form, its greatest feature was the liquid crystal screen, and you could fold it up so nothing could damage it. Since it was preconceived idea that the LT was a console that could be carried around, the liquid crystal created the reality of a scratch-resistant surface.

Although there was no place to put in batteries and it was preassembled with an AC adapter, so its not possible to say it was a true mobile gaming console. However, it was practical for when you reached a destination. The compact case had a height 135mm x width 140mm x thickness 61mm, so its no exaggeration to say it was mobile.

Furthermore, the LT was equipped with a 4 inch liquid crystal screen. In the previous issue I talked about the issue of GT's screen being a small 2.6 inches, the Hu Card's fine detailed graphics that made it difficult to see, and how you couldn't couldn't read the letters to type in your password. But, the LT was a magnificent resolution to that fault! It was 2 times the size of the GT, so the Moderate screen size made the PC Engine the best console to play games on. Also, fundamentally the controller was built in on the body [of the console] and it was operated from there, but it came equipped with a port to plug in a control pad, so it was a wonderful method to make it possible to play games with various types of controllers.

This is just a digression, but the LT published on the left is reflecting an image on the screen from "Splatter House". The main character, Rick, looks like a spitting image of Jason…….but you can chop up monsters one by one on your own free will with things like a club or a knife. Horror was my favorite, so when this game was originally an arcade version I would would often play it at the game center. The PC Engine version feels a lot like the return of the arcade version, so its one of my most favorite games.

In addition, the LT was equipped with an astonishing function. It had a built-in TV tuner. Since you didn't need to add any options to it, it was extremely convenient. The GT had a TV tuner as well, but it stuck out the side, but the LT fixed that problem by making it internal.

Then, what I thought was the best of all was that you could combine it with the CD-ROM² ! That is, when you didn't have it hooked up to the TV you could play CD-ROM² games without making any changes. With this ground breaking idea, I sighed in admiration saying "NEC cleverly thought this through!"

It was an augmentable important multi-purpose mobile machine. Surely at that time, NEC was creating the foundation of the future, it was the embodiment of "Core Ideas"!

Since at that time mobile consoles also had an eye out for an unimaginable breakthrough of CD media early on, NEC attempted to establish a multiplatform game machine. At the same time PC Makers and the Nintendo Game shop had an extremely different concept. At the same time the PC Makers of the Nintendo Game shop had an extremely different concept. Incidentally however, 12 years after the release of the LT, Nintendo came out with the console Game Boy Advance SP, but its form looked exactly like [the PC Engine LT], so I thought "Are they trying to reference the LT?" NEC might have always been an era ahead of others.

The way of Unconventional Prices……

The augmentability was a serious fascination of the PC Engine LT console. However, this console also had faults. They said the price was because "Its possible to do everything with it". The base price was, wha, wha, what, 99,800 yen! "Who's going to throw away 100,000 yen to buy a Game console!" I wanted to cry out. At that time Japan was in its bubble period, so NEC probably decided "Certainly Gamers are also spending money all the time"……. I was just a starting out amateur band man, so I wasn't able to buy it right away because I really didn't have any money to spend freely. Also, nobody around me really had money either.

When the Playstation 3 was on the brink of being announced, A cheaper 20GB model was manufactured for the retail price 62,790 yen. I remember large booing of "Its too expensive" from gamers (previously they had cut the sales price down to 49,980 a month and a half before the release). When I think about it, although it was the bubble period, you could still say the LT was still too expensive.

Eventually, although there was a price deflation, the LT also spread as incompetent. Similar to the GT, it also became a sad machine. However, it was wonderful how they ambitiously brought things to the world one by one.

You cannot deny NEC's advanced consoles came out too early for their time. But now its normal for game consoles to have multimedia functions, so couldn't you say they were one of the faces that became a guide for these kinds of things?

Translations by: Sarah @