Sunday, 31 January 2016

Retro Japan Computer Special - Sharp X68000 (Aka. X68) + Games

Back in 1987 the Sharp X68000 was an extremely powerful and stylish 16-bit computer. So powerful that Capcom used it as the arcade development machine for their CPS1 games. It has two vertical case sections styled around the look of New York city's World Trade Center. It's most famous outside of Japan for it's arcade ports but I'm mostly interested in it's exclusive titles and other games which are maybe not as well known as those from the arcades. For me this machine is the excellent eastern equivalent to the also excellent Commodore Amiga. It is my favourite Japanese Computer.

SPECIFICATION - Sharp X68000 (1987)

CPU: M68000 10MHz
Memory: 1M RAM
Resolution: 256 x 240 to 768 x 512 (16 to 65K colors)
Sound: Yamaha 2151 2 channels, OKI MSM6258V 4bit mono

Here are thirty great games, in alphabetical order, that you can play on the Sharp X68000. If you have a PC you can also play these games using the X68 emulator found here.

Akumajo Dracula (Konami 1993)

Another version of the original Castlevania with some new levels and secrets. Some excellent remixed music and a rare healing item in the herb subweapon which is not found in any of the other versions. It has great graphics and the usual fun but highly difficult gameplay.

Aquales (Exact 1991)

An action platformer where you control a Mech which can be equipped with a whole host of weapons such as rockets, chainguns and flamethrowers. Your Mech also comes with a grappling hook which can be used to reach higher platforms. Each stage is fairly large and littered with treasure chests that contain various power ups useful for defeating the boss at the end of the stage.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Retro Japan Computer Special - NEC PC9801 (Aka. PC-98) + Games

Launched in October 1982, NEC's PC-9801 was a true 16-bit computer with dedicated text VRAM for displaying kanji. A special font ROM was also created to store the thousands of kanji commonly used in Japanese writing. It could render Japanese text faster than any other personal computer on the market, making it perfect for business use. It became an overwhelmingly popular business machine.

In the beginning its games library mainly consisted of PC-8801 ports. However, due to several major upgrades over the years, including a jump to 32-bit, the PC-9801 game library would grow to thousands of commercial titles, along with a vast number of doujin (home brew) games too.

It had a lower spec than the Fujitsu FM Towns and Sharp X68000 personal computers which arrived later on the scene, but due to it's huge following and steady flow of games it remained the favored platform for PC game developers in Japan until the IBM PC clones became more popular in the 90's


CPU: 8086, 80286, 80386, 80486, Celeron, and NEC V30
Memory: 256K ROM, 1-8M RAM, 192K VRAM
Resolution: 640 x 480, 320 x 200
Sound: 8bit on board + speech synthesizer

Here are thirty great games, in alphabetical order, that you can play on the NEC PC-98. If you wish to find out more details about these games I have provided the original Japanese kanji for most of them which you can copy and paste in any search engine to get even more results. You can also play these games on a PC using the PC-98 emulator found here

46 Okunen Monogatari: The Shinka Ron (Almanics 1990)
46億年物語 THE進化論-

An unusual RPG that puts the player in control of an evolving creature. The playable character is a fish at the beginning of the game; after completing the "fish stage", it becomes a reptile, and so on, until the highest stages of evolution are reached.

Alshark (Right Stuff 1991)

A sci-fi RPG where the player controls a party of up to five characters, exploring several solar systems, each with their own planets and space stations. Their space ship, Atlia, can be equipped with various weapons, engines and frames. There are random space battles against enemy ships which will earn scrap that can be converted into money. The battles can be automatic or manually controlled by the player in an arcade shooter style.