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Sharp X68000 - Japan Only Multimedia Powerhouse

Published 11 May 2018

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Imagine that it is the mid-nineties and Sharp brings out a Motorola M68000 based twin tower computer with sounds and graphics equal to modern arcade machines. Twin floppy drives, video input and composition and 3D stereoscopic display capability. This is a Japanese only 16-bit computer made for the domestic market. This is an absolute Commodore Amiga smasher. Could this be the ultimate retro computing machine that you have never heard of?

Imagine that it is the mid-nineties and Sharp brings out a Motorola M68000 based twin tower computer with sounds and graphics equal to modern arcade machines. The M68000 was the ultimate in 16-bit retro-computing at the time with a total focus on creating a multimedia experience. Twin floppy drives, video input and composition & 3D stereoscopic display capability. This is an absolute Commodore Amiga smasher.

Introduction

The X68000 is a home computer created by Sharp Corporation, first released in 1987. Sold only in Japan.

The first model features a 10 MHz Motorola 68000 CPU (hence the name), 1 MB of RAM, and no hard drive; the last model was released in 1993 with a 25 MHz Motorola 68030 CPU, 4 MB of RAM, and optional 80 MB SCSI hard drive. RAM in these systems is expandable to 12 MB, though most games and applications do not require more than two.

The Wikipedia page has some great photos of the motherboard and close ups of the custom Sharp chips. This quantity and density of the chip sets show in the photos give you a clear indication of just how serious this machine actually is.

RetroGamer - The 16 bit Japanese Hidden Gem

RetroGamer has a good write up of this stunning machine. We have borrowed two Japanese adverts from their blog to show you what I mean.

EEVblog - Sharp X68000 Teardown

What's inside the 1987 vintage Sharp X68000 personal computer / gaming system from Japan? Sold exclusively in Japan from 1987 to 1993 this 10MHz 68000 based boasted graphics capability superior to the Amiga and Atari ST. The powerful graphics enabled pixel-perfect ports of clasic games arcade games, and the machine was highly sought after by gamers. Running a custom operating system called Human68K, it even has 3D goggle support. Talk about being decades ahead of its time. This retro-gaming machine dripped multimedia capability.

Sharp X68000 Software Collection

Sharp X68000 software collection Sharp X68000
Software Collection
(external download)

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