Sharp X68000 XVI Compact

The X68000 computers produced by Sharp were the successor of the also popular X1 family.

Under the hood the X68000s run a 16 bit Motorola MC 68000 just like its main competitors at that time did (Atari ST and Amiga 500). However, X68000s had more hardware resources than both: more colors, hardware sprites, hardware scrolling, genlocking, SCSI interface support, etc.

The OS for these computers is called Human 68K and it is pretty simlar to MSDOS. Additionally, you can run a graphic user interface called SX-Window (not needed for the large majority of games and Apps). Since the system was only released in Japan, Human 68K outputs messages in japanese (even though commands are in English).

Many games for this system are nearly perfect arcade conversions: Ghost & Goblins, Final Fight and many others.

My X68000 is the XVI Compact version, which means that it can run in two speeds (10MHz or 16MHz) and it has 3.5 floppies instead of the more common 5.25 drives. Mouse, keyboards and joysticks have proprietary pinouts so you need original parts or manual customization (see info here).

As you can see from the pictures, I got an original keyobard (not in such great condition – some plastic discoloration) and mouse. I also got an awesome Micomsoft XE-1ST2 joystick which is also compatible with MSX, Genesis and Amiga.

X68000 systems are pretty rare, especially here in the US. Your best bet to find one is eBay (where you will pay pretty dollar for it) or some Japanese website that allows you to bid on Yahoo Japan auctions (I use Shopping Mall Japan and so far they have been great).

Another great challenge I had in getting my X68000 to work was the video. You either have to build your own VGA cable adapter or try to find a original monitor. Since you will most probably need to import these machines from Japan the best option is to go with a VGA cable (see pinout info here).

I will eventually post info on how to create game disks for the system since finding original games for it (especially in 3.5 disks) is difficult. Overall, this is an awesome system and one of my favorites.

Technical Specs:

NAME   X68000 XVI Compact
MANUFACTURER   Sharp
TYPE   Home Computer
ORIGIN   Japan
YEAR   1992
KEYBOARD   Full-stroke keyboard
CPU   Motorola MC68000
SPEED   10/16 MHz
RAM   2 MB (up to 12 MB)
VRAM   512 KB (text) + 512 KB (graphic)
SRAM 16 KiB Static RAM
ROM   1 MB
TEXT MODES   Unknown
GRAPHIC MODES   256 x 240 / 256 x 256 / 512 x 240 / 512 x 256 / 512 x 512 / 640 x 480 / 768 x 512 / 1024 x 1024 / 128 sprites (16 x 16 dots)
COLORS   65535 (16 colors in 1024 x 1024 to 65K in 512 x 512)
SOUND   FM Sound (Yamaha 2151 : 2 channels / 8 voices stereo) + PCM (OKI MSM6258V : 4bit mono)
I/O PORTS   Joystick, Audio IN / OUT, TV Control, NTSC Video Image I/O, Expansion, External FDD, SCSI, RS232
BUILT IN MEDIA   2 x 3.25” disk-drive
OS   Human 68K 2.03 + SX Windows 2.0
POWER SUPPLY   Built-in PSU
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s