We know or may have heard about the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga, those computers which brought the 16 bits home (or someone else’s ;-D). But you probably haven’t heard about the X68000, a japanese computer fromt he same generation as the ST and the Amiga, of which about 120,000 units were only sold in Japan, because Sharp only sold it there.
Let’s get to know the “machine”. It was a computer created and sold by the japanese company Sharp y it was released to the market aroung 1985 (quite a while indeed). For its time it was quite an impressive machine with an even more impressive software catalog.
It had its own OS (operating system), developed by Hudson Soft (a great software company during the 80s and 90s) in four flavors: HumanOS (similar to MSDOS), another one similar to Atari TOS (Human68k, other version was similar to the Unix X-Window (KO-Windows) y the fourth one was like the Amiga Workbench. Everything off course in perfect japanese… ;-D
Regarding software, well, the catalog was quite extensive with hundreds of games and applications. The games where not quite unknown. Games and Arcades like Ghouls and Ghosts, Final Fight, Bubble Bobble, Bomberman, Cotton, Street Fighter II, Salamander, Twinbee, etc were masterly taken to this computer.
These are the overall basic specs for the X68000. During the years Sharp did some revisions like replacing the SASI controller for a SCSI controller or moving form 5.25″ to 3.5″ floppies.
some of the X68000 Tech Specs:
CPU: MC68000 at 10 Mhz produced by Hitachi with license from Motorola
RAM: 1-2 Megabytes
Graphic modes: 768×512, 512×512, 256×256 all with 65.535 colors
VRAM: 512 Kb
Sprites ram: 32 Kb (16×16 pixels)
Sound: Yamaha with FM (synthesis)
For storage, (initially) there were two 5.25″ 1.2MB floppy drives. The file system was compatible with MS-DOS. It cam with option of connecting an internal SASI or (later) SCSI hard disk. A unit with an SCSI is more desirable since SASI sisn’t gain traction on the market.
An unknown computer, with impressive specs and great arcade conversions. It is never too late to get to know it, thanks to the magic of emulation.