In Japan, the TurboGrafx-16 was known as the "PC Engine". What did the "PC" stand for? Presumably it was not Personal Computer?

  • 1
    Why presumably not "personal computer"? It's personal and it's a computer.
    – user2640
    Jul 14, 2012 at 11:36

3 Answers 3


PC literally just means personal computer - a computer owned by a person rather than an organization like a corporation, university, or computing club. The term is roughly synonymous with microcomputer with an additional implication of a price point measured in thousands (or less) rather than tens of thousands of dollars. Contrasting terms are mainframe computer or minicomputer, describing systems physically too large for most individuals to own.

The contraction of IBM PC to just PC took place in the early 90s as the IBM PC (and more importantly, IBM-compatible PCs) came to dominate the personal computer market.

That market shift was not inevitable in 1987 when the PC Engine was released, and the domination didn't happen in Japan until even later (where you saw IBM PCs but also a lot of NEC PCs).


Based on these pictures, the PC Engine was meant to sit in the center of a case or housing for a personal computer.

  • I do not see the connection to a IBM PC compatible computer. Those images portray prototypes. The PC Engine is a console with a fast 8-bit 6502 processor variant and 16-bit graphics graphics chips. If one stumbles over a picture of a PCE and PC, the PC is usually a development machine for game developers.
    – mvw
    Feb 29, 2016 at 6:35
  • "None of this hardware was released, although as you can see the CD ROM and Monitor devices at least made prototype stage." This pictures are displaying the intended consumer use of the PCE, not the dev experience. Also, they do not connect to an IBM PC, but rather are the center of their own PC.
    – Amy B
    Feb 29, 2016 at 12:17

Because often Japan likes the look and sound of Western names for things rather than the name actually meaning anything. Also probably to give it connotations of power and expandibility. And because it's a less stupid name than TurboGrafx.

  • 1
    This is … wild guessing? Or do you have any reference that this concrete product was named for it’s spoken sound, and not in fact PC being an acronym?
    – Kissaki
    Jul 14, 2012 at 20:11
  • It's no more of a wild guess than either of the other two answers.
    – Alan B
    Jul 16, 2012 at 8:09
  • May be true, but doesn’t make it better. And may change, with adequate answers.
    – Kissaki
    Jul 18, 2012 at 19:12
  • Which part of my answer do you think I'm guessing about? I'd argue it's all common knowledge for anyone above a certain age, but I'm pretty sure I can source everything in it...
    – user2640
    Jul 18, 2012 at 21:00

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