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Sharp X68000 Appreciation Thread

Oct 27, 2017
2,175
#1
Manufactured from 1987 to 1993, Sharp’s X68000 computer line was a gaming powerhouse virtually unknown to most of the world prior to the rise of the internet. And before emulation there were many barriers to entry for gamers:


  • It was only released in Japan, and required some Japanese knowledge to operate.
  • Unlike with Japanese consoles, I don’t recall magazines in the West even mentioning the system back then.
  • It was hugely expensive for most people as it launched for around $3000 USD. Factoring in inflation it would be more than double that today.
  • Legit copies of the games became collector’s items fairly early. Plus, many are on floppy disks which are more fragile than cartridges.
Still, it’s hard not to be impressed with how powerful was for its time. Given the similarities with Capcom’s CPS boards, it was more capable of accurate arcade ports than other home systems. The closest system in the West in terms of power was the Amiga but that had hardly any Japanese development. Arcade ports on Amiga and Atari ST tended to be heavily altered from the source material anyway.

I think among game systems released outside of Japan, the closest similarity to the X68000 in terms of content was the Genesis/Mega Drive with the TurboGrafx not far behind.

  • For a computer stuck in Japan, the X680000 still managed to have a solid library of ports of Western games such as Klax, Prince of Persia, Marble Madness, Dungeon Master, Lemmings, Future Wars, SimCity games, Xenon 2, Ultima games, etc…
I can’t properly judge the adventure and RPG genres on the X68000 as I don’t have much Japanese knowledge but even purely from an action standpoint, it has a lot to offer:

This video covers a bunch of arcade ports:



  • For Capcom arcade fans there was Strider, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Final Fight, Street Fighter II series, etc…


  • For Sega arcade fans there was Space Harrier, After Burner II, Fantasy Zone, Thunder Blade, Super Hang On, Alien Syndrome, Columns, etc…


  • For Konami arcade fans there was Gradius series, Twinbee, Quarth, Ajax, Parodius, etc…

  • For Namco arcade fans there was Super Xevious, Return of Ishtar, Bosconian, Dragon Spirit, Pacman franchise, Libble Rabble, etc…

  • For Taito arcade fans there was Bubble Bobble, Arkanoid: revenge of Doh, Cloud Master, Camletry, Fairyland Story, New Zealand Story. Syvalion, etc…
Some cool (not-arcade-port) games:

Scorpius
Your ship has a ‘tail’ you can hit enemies with like a scorpion’s stinger.


Akumajou Dracula
Re-released with some additions as Castlevania Chronicles on Playstation, and later as a PSOne Classic on PS3 and PSP.


Star Cruiser
This version isn’t very playable without Japanese knowledge but thankfully there’s now a translated rom of the Mega Drive version. It’s not as nice looking but the game design holds up surprisingly well for an FPS/Adventure of that era.


Mad Stalker: Full Metal Force
Early '90s mech melee goodness.


Genocide 2: Master of the Dark Communion


Naious


Cho Ren Sha 68K
Also on PC.


Etoile Princesse


Star Wars: Attack on the Death Star
An original game by M.N.M. Software although very much inspired by the old Atari coin-op.


Buster


Sol-Feace
Better known as a Sega CD pack in title.


Zugya
A free roaming shooter that’s very early '80s in feel. Bosconian fans should check it out. It’s also on PC.


Geograph Seal
First-person action from Exact. This is the direct predecessor of Jumping Flash on Playstation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qca_bXtxIe4

Overtake
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZukHF5dLbTw


Linkages:
https://refuge.tokyo/x68k/x68000.html1
https://nfggames.com/
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sharp+x68000
 
Last edited:

Hudo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,542
#3
The Sharp X68000 XVI and XVI compact are the most beautiful PCs ever IMHO.

And the x68000 were home to many arcade perfect ports of games.
 
Oct 27, 2017
125
#4
I've always wanted one of these. Amazing arcade ports and it's such a cool looking machine for an old computer. I just can't spare the money or the space right now
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,315
#5
When I think of the X68000, I think of the black one.

Just think about it.






This thing came out in fucking 1987, but it looks modern as hell disregarding the fact the screen is CRT. It's a timeless design, IMO. Jesus, I almost want to buy an X68000 shell just to put regular PC parts in there.

Anyway, when I think of the X68000, I think of Star Trader's X68k version, a port by another company (the original was a Falcom title).


I also think of another Falcom port by a third party to the X68000, the exceedingly weird port of Ys I for X68K that looks ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like any of the other versions of Ys 1, EVER.







Yes, for some reason, X68K Ys 1 went with an extremely weird, hyper realistic art style for character portraits instead of the traditional anime style that every single Ys normally uses.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,587
USA
#7
Discovering Thunder Force II on the X68000 several years ago was a revelation. Love the Genesis version, but this one blew my mind. It was introduced to me on the other forum... could have been the OP here for all I know! LOL
 
Dec 18, 2017
1,374
#11
The only game I've really played is Cho Ren Sha. And that is because it got a Windows port. I really like it, though, it's one of the best STGs I've played.

I really like cute games and STGs alike. What should I try? How should I go about it?

I really wish someone would port a lot of these games and put them on Steam.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,396
#14
I grew up with MSX and PC88/98 computers in the house, but I always wanted an X68000. They were just way too expensive. It wasn't until just before we moved to the US in 1996 that I managed to find an XVI Compact in a second hand shop for about 70,000 yen, which was an absolute steal. It was labeled defective, does not turn on. But my uncle managed to get it working, and I've had it ever since.

One of the things I think very few people will mention is Lagoon. Yes, the same Lagoon that came out for SNES. The X68000 version has more content and a slightly different story progression, as well as a more Ys-like combat system which IMO makes it way more fun to play. The music is also way better!



It's also got an exclusive Glodia game, a top-down shooter called Die Bahnwelt which I'm pretty fond of (then again, I'm pretty fond of almost all of Glodia's games...)

 
Oct 25, 2017
3,396
#17
Speaking of music, the X68000 is well known for having many games that have official support for external MIDI devices like Roland's SC-55 and MT-32, but the sound chips inside were really incredible, as well. Imagine the Genesis YM2612 chip, but with two additional FM channels, and a separate chip for 22KHz ADPCM playback (the source of a lot of those incredible drums you hear in X68k songs), and some extra niceities like a second detune per operator, noise generation, and more LFO options.

So you get a difference like this:

Genesis



X68000 (says Arcade, but the X68000 and the Super Hang-On arcade board actually use the same sound chip)

 

Deleted member 11018

User requested account closure
Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,419
#18
They were stylish, well built, and quite robust.
5 1/4inches floppies are still alive and well if well kept in housings and in the dry, you ll lose clusters far less easily on these compared to 3 1/2 ones...

I had some geeat gaming time on x68000, and wish i had a dual sc88 pro to experience some of the games the way they were meant to be played.
 
Dec 18, 2017
1,374
#19
Cho Ren Sha 68K
Also on PC.
I highly recommend this game. It is one of the best STGs I have ever played. Great soundtrack, great pixel art, good enemy placement, good balanced of challenge and intuitiveness. The Windows version of the game is freeware and has a free download on Japanese sites. But I would happily pay for the game if someone put it on Steam. Someone deserves to be paid for how good this game is.
 
#21
I used to see images of X86000 games in EGM, GamePro and Gamefan. The computer was usually featured in video game comparison articles or part of the import section. It seemed like a mythical piece of hardware to me - I never saw one, never knew anyone that had one, and didn't even know what the computer looked like. All I had to go on were those sweet, sweet arcade perfect images.
 
OP
OP
NeoZeedeater
Oct 27, 2017
2,175
#22
I used to see images of X86000 games in EGM, GamePro and Gamefan. The computer was usually featured in video game comparison articles or part of the import section. It seemed like a mythical piece of hardware to me - I never saw one, never knew anyone that had one, and didn't even know what the computer looked like. All I had to go on were those sweet, sweet arcade perfect images.
Interesting. I'm surprised I don't remember that or didn't encounter it. I read Gamepro sporadically since they weren't that great compared to other mags but I stopped around 1991. EGM I followed from the beginning until EGM2 was introduced in 1994. I hated that they started putting import info in a spin off mag devoted to tricks. I did buy some other spin offs like Mega Play and Super Gaming. I had most issues of Gamefan.
 
#23
Interesting. I'm surprised I don't remember that or didn't encounter it. I read Gamepro sporadically since they weren't that great compared to other mags but I stopped around 1991. EGM I followed from the beginning until EGM2 was introduced in 1994. I hated that they started putting import info in a spin off mag devoted to tricks. I did buy some other spin offs like Mega Play and Super Gaming. I had most issues of Gamefan.
I seem to remember most of these articles that featured the X86000 were right around the rise of the 16-bit consoles in the late 80s/early 90s. I had just bought the Sega Genesis, and after playing a few arcade conversions, realized that this brand new piece of hardware couldn't even do arcade-perfect ports of games from 1986 (Outrun and Afterburner). I was actually pretty disappointed with the Genesis at that time. Luckily, exclusive games made specifically for the console, like Revenge of Shinobi, brought me back, and made me love the Genesis again.

Having this new, powerful piece of 16-bit hardware that couldn't do years-old arcade perfect ports, and seeing the X86000 do perfect ports of brand new arcade games made that computer seem all the more amazing.

I had a subscription to EGM and Gamefan for years. Mega Play and Super Gaming sort of felt redundant in those days. I don't think I ever bought an issue.
 

HyGogg

Banned
Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,495
#24
This was one of the only Japanese PCs with hardware that felt designed for gaming. The difference is more pronounced when compared to other popular Japanese computer standards, which tended to be especially deficient when it came to things like moving sprites and scrolling screens.

Even today, PC gaming is largely seen as a place for indie games, visual novels, and porn. Had there been more computers like X68000 that might not be the case.
 

HyGogg

Banned
Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,495
#25
Also, this hardware had the best version of Granada. Amazing MT-32 soundtrack, more colors, and new intro (though the framerate is only 30).
 

Tain

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,440
#26
Cho Ren Sha 68k is a GOAT doujin STG, and the X68000 Castlevania game is one of the best in the franchise. I also liked Geograph Seal.

Still have a lot to try on this thing.
 

NyxKiria

Self-Requested Permanent Ban
Member
Dec 15, 2017
613
#27
I want a X68000 so badly.. too bad its expensive af to import one and have it kitted out

I love Japanese computers.. this makes me drool

 

Ruck

Member
Oct 25, 2017
199
#29
I grew up with MSX and PC88/98 computers in the house, but I always wanted an X68000. They were just way too expensive. It wasn't until just before we moved to the US in 1996 that I managed to find an XVI Compact in a second hand shop for about 70,000 yen, which was an absolute steal. It was labeled defective, does not turn on. But my uncle managed to get it working, and I've had it ever since.

One of the things I think very few people will mention is Lagoon. Yes, the same Lagoon that came out for SNES. The X68000 version has more content and a slightly different story progression, as well as a more Ys-like combat system which IMO makes it way more fun to play. The music is also way better!



It's also got an exclusive Glodia game, a top-down shooter called Die Bahnwelt which I'm pretty fond of (then again, I'm pretty fond of almost all of Glodia's games...)

The shop wanted $700 for a "broken" computer? Holy crap.
 
OP
OP
NeoZeedeater
Oct 27, 2017
2,175
#32
I love your threads,NeoZeedeater!

Just a question, what kind of input/controller did the X68000 used?
Thanks! I wanted to start the new year with some discussion of underrated old school stuff.

It uses the same type of port as Atari/Commodore/Sega etc. but there are still compatibility issues. I believe an MSX controller will work fine on it.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,178
Vice City
#34
god, that video in the OP is great - gonna be on that one for a bit

When I think of the X68000, I think of the black one.

Just think about it.




...jesus, i thought porn would at least be tagged on here

for real though, that's gorgeous. that Ys stuff does indeed look funky though!

Speaking of music, the X68000 is well known for having many games that have official support for external MIDI devices like Roland's SC-55 and MT-32, but the sound chips inside were really incredible, as well. Imagine the Genesis YM2612 chip, but with two additional FM channels, and a separate chip for 22KHz ADPCM playback (the source of a lot of those incredible drums you hear in X68k songs), and some extra niceities like a second detune per operator, noise generation, and more LFO options.

So you get a difference like this:

Genesis



X68000 (says Arcade, but the X68000 and the Super Hang-On arcade board actually use the same sound chip)

i mean...sounding like that in the late 80's? goddamn, that would've blown my mind!
 
OP
OP
NeoZeedeater
Oct 27, 2017
2,175
#35
I never get sick of Super Hang On music. It's too bad the Amiga version doesn't sound as nice. It could have also been awesome given the hardware.
 
Oct 25, 2017
847
Birmingham, UK
#36
It's a shame this system never made it to the West, but I suppose it wouldn't have stood much of a chance in the '80s home computer market, in Europe at least, given its price.

If it weren't for the 5 inch disks I'd collect games to play through emulation, as I do with PC-98 games. Those drives are a bit of a faff to install on modern PCs though.
 
Oct 30, 2017
23
#38
The X68000 is such an impressive and fascinating computer. So powerful for 87 with lovely colourful graphics and impressive fm synthesis sound, like a full on computer and an arcade quality gaming machine in the same sexy sleek box.. obviously pretty expensive too..

Some of those arcade ports are just really impressive.

Was there much of a homebrew scene on the platform like on the western 16-bit machines?
 
Nov 10, 2017
3,515
#39
The After Burner port was decent, but not as impressive as Thunder Blade IMO.


And yet, it's much smoother than the more detailed 32-bit FM Towns version (which was actually buggy garbage)..
 
Oct 25, 2017
207
#40
I don’t think the Amiga was anywhere near the X68000. The Amiga had much older graphics hardware from around 1985. Typical Amiga games did not look as as good SNES games. And were no where near X68000 or Neogeo games.
 
Oct 25, 2017
847
Birmingham, UK
#41
I don’t think the Amiga was anywhere near the X68000. The Amiga had much older graphics hardware from around 1985. Typical Amiga games did not look as as good SNES games. And were no where near X68000 or Neogeo games.
True. To be fair to the Amiga, the A500 was launched at around the same time as the X68000, but it was a quarter of the price. However, it's also pretty true that while the A1000 was a something of a game changer in 85, Commodore were pretty bad at updating it to stay with the times. When they finally upgraded the graphics subsystem to the AGA chipset in '92, it wasn't terribly impressive. I'd also argue that the 8-bit, four channel Paula soundchip was also dated by that point.
 
Oct 31, 2017
415
UK
#42
I've always wanted to pick up one of these systems since the 80s, but for whatever reason, I back out. The Sharps X68000 industrial case design has always been with me; pizza-box cases were popular during the 80s (see Amiga 1000), and the Sharps case is like two cases duck-tapped together for more powah!
 
Nov 10, 2017
3,515
#44
Even a lot of Amiga A1200 & CD32 software pales compared to the output on the X68000.

Ghouls 'N Ghosts - damn near arcade perfect.


R-Type (60fps)


R-Type isn't arcade perfect, and could've been a higher quality port, but still managed to piss all over the Amiga version
(which isn't fair since most of the Amiga arcade releases were Atari ST ports).
 
Nov 8, 2017
113
#45
Huh just found this thread today, kinda competing with the other Japanese PC thread here https://www.resetera.com/threads/re...s-ot-power-to-make-your-dream-come-true.7708/

Anyways I have an X68000 XVI that I just got working last weekend after working on it over the last couple months. I had to replace the power supply and also replaced all the caps throughout the machine.
It has 12MB of RAM and a SCSI2SD installed, along with a MIDI interface board to use with the Roland MIDI modules I have, I just posted a couple of pics in the other thread but I'll repost them here.
Ignore the messy setup, its temporary until I make a spot for it in the living room with its own desk.


 

Shy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,899
#46
Huh just found this thread today, kinda competing with the other Japanese PC thread here https://www.resetera.com/threads/re...s-ot-power-to-make-your-dream-come-true.7708/

Anyways I have an X68000 XVI that I just got working last weekend after working on it over the last couple months. I had to replace the power supply and also replaced all the caps throughout the machine.
It has 12MB of RAM and a SCSI2SD installed, along with a MIDI interface board to use with the Roland MIDI modules I have, I just posted a couple of pics in the other thread but I'll repost them here.
Ignore the messy setup, its temporary until I make a spot for it in the living room with its own desk.



So. So jelly.

Also congrats on getting everything up and running.
 
Nov 10, 2017
3,515
#48
I used to see images of X86000 games in EGM, GamePro and Gamefan. The computer was usually featured in video game comparison articles or part of the import section. It seemed like a mythical piece of hardware to me - I never saw one, never knew anyone that had one, and didn't even know what the computer looked like. All I had to go on were those sweet, sweet arcade perfect images.
Interesting. I'm surprised I don't remember that or didn't encounter it. I read Gamepro sporadically since they weren't that great compared to other mags but I stopped around 1991. EGM I followed from the beginning until EGM2 was introduced in 1994. I hated that they started putting import info in a spin off mag devoted to tricks. I did buy some other spin offs like Mega Play and Super Gaming. I had most issues of Gamefan.
I don't remember any articles that specifically mentioned the X68000 in EGM, but I do think that with several games, R-Type and Strider, EGM showed X68000 screenshots of these games but were said to be for other systems. R-Type for the FM-Towns computer and Strider for the NEC SuperGrafx, neither of which existed on those systems, but did on the X68000.

 
Nov 10, 2017
3,515
#50
I remember those. I wanted that "SuperGrafx Strider" so badly.
Same here. The rumors surrounding "SuperGrafx Strider" were almost legendary.

Now back to stuff we know about, I think Thunder Force II looks absolutely sick.


It makes you wonder what TF III, TF AC and especially TF IV could've looked like had they'd been made for the hardware.

Nemesis '90 KAI is pretty rad, especially the last two levels.