Sharp X1

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A full Sharp X1 system in red.

The Sharp X1, spoken in Japanese as (エックスワン, [Ekkusuwan]) is a series of 8-bit personal computers manufactured and sold by Sharp in Japan from 1982-1988. The initial model used a Zilog Z80 CPU clocked at 4 MHz, had 64 KB of RAM, used a General Instrument AY-3-8910 for sound, and used Hu-BASIC. It was based on the Sharp MZ and was eventually replaced by the X68000. During the X1 model's lifetime several updates were made including the X1 Turbo, which added higher resolution graphics, the X1 Turbo Z with more colors, and the X1 Twin, which was essentially a PC Engine under the hood.

The system had several interesting features including:

  • A completely customizable text display, which made game development in text mode much more impressive.
  • BASIC didn't load into memory automatically, which left much more RAM for programs.
  • All VRAM was available to the programmer without bank-switching.
  • The hardware came in a variety of case colors, including red.
The X1's color palette.

Like the PC-8800, the original X1 model used a 3-bit color palette, which was unusual in Western computers.

Despite the X1 being a competent gaming computer, it didn't put much of a dent in dominance of NEC with their PC-8800 and PC-9800.

Personal

I didn't learn about the Sharp X1 until I started seeing it on Moby Games in the early 2000s. After that, I found emulators and ROMs for the system and played around with it for a little bit. There are a handful of interesting titles like those ported from the NES, but I never found anything that stood out too much.

Status

I've never owned a Sharp X1 or even used one in real life.

Games

See all Sharp X1 Games.

There aren't any games for the X1 that are important to me, but the system did see a lot of console games ported to it, and there are a handful that are noteworthy like the ported Nintendo games, and those which are a bit unique like Donkey Kong 3: Dai Gyakushu. Mario Bros. Special, and Super Mario Bros. Special.

Media

Links

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