Turbo-Grafx CD add on was a scam
The Turbo-Grafx was brought to North America in 1989 and it was NEC's attempt to engage what was quickly becoming a very lucrative console war on the continent. Personally I really liked the TG-16 and some of my favorite games were specific to that console as they didn't tend to get involved in licensing the way that Genesis and Nintendo were. The games were the size of credit cards and it was kind of an eye opener to us about how perhaps cartridges didn't need to be as big as they were.
I did find it a bit odd that when other consoles were in the process of expanding to more buttons, Genesis had 3 and later 5 and the SNES had 6. One thing that the TG-16 did have that the other standard controllers did not have was a slider on above the two buttons (indicated as 1 and 2, backwards, for some reason) was a switch that would auto press the button quickly in 3 stages if activated. This made shooters a lot less damaging to both your thumbs and the controller.
Now later on the CD attachment was released and since CD's were pretty much a brand new thing this was extremely exciting for those out there that could afford it - I was not one of those people but one of my rich neighbors was. There were never very many titles released for the CD but Y's book I and II was one of them and this game was just fantastic.
The game looked pretty basic and gameplay was extremely basic and actually a bit strange in that you would simply ram into your enemies in order to kill them. To this day i have no idea how it was determined who was going to damage who in this exchange.
The graphics were not good but what made these games so incredible was that the CD was not limited in the scope of what type of sounds it could play and also portions of the game would have quite good voice acting during certain sequences. This made the game extremely entertaining because I can still hear some of the songs in my head and they were absolutely fantastic.
The above interaction with "Dark Fact" has some of the best boss music I have ever heard in any game and that includes much more modern stuff and even games made today.
But one day we found out that our CD attachment is a bit of a scam when I stood up too quickly, accidentally pull on the controller hard and dislodged the cd attachment from the TG-16. Yet the game, which my friend was playing at the time kept going. He had full control over the game and the game did not freeze. The only thing that changed was that there was no music. All other sound effects were still intact and the game carried on as normal.
It was then that we realized that there actually isn't anything on the CD's other than audio tracks. It didn't actually add anything to the game graphically. Now perhaps these seems evident today but at the time we were teenagers and didn't really understand how CD tech actually worked. The game was contained entirely on the credit-card sized cartridge and the CD attachment served no purpose but to supplement the audio capabilities of games.
The CD attachment was basically a $300 Diskman that was unnecessarily large. We felt duped (well, he did; it was his money) but Ys was such a great game with a lot of replay value so I suppose we kind of forgave them. I don't think that money was much of an issue for my friend because he once purchased a Neo Geo that was over $1000 and the games were $200 each. So I'm sure it didn't affect his finances too much.
NEC didn't attempt to compete with Sega and Nintendo beyond this one product in USA and while it was a moderate success, it was easily eclipsed by the juggernauts that existed at the time. I very rarely encountered anyone that had one, and that was a shame because personally I felt like some of the best games of the late 80's / early 90's were on this system.
The CD add on though, was an overpriced scam that sold really poorly in America and I suppose that is a good thing since it was marketed under false pretenses anyway. Only 45 CD games were released in the United States and all of them sold poorly.
NEC completely abandoned the video-game industry in 1998