As amazing as it seems, it’s been 6 years now since Nintendo revitalized the retro plug & play mini industry with the NES Classic Edition (released November 2016).
In the time since many, many brands have followed suit – everyone from arch-rival Sega to Konami (flying the NEC flag) to SNK with the Neo Geo and even a pair of Commodore computers turned HDMI-equipped mini.
It’s become a bit of a guessing game around here to try and figure out what retro hardware will be the next to receive the modern treatment (we keep hoping for CD-i and 3DO) but it looks like the next big one to arrive will be another 80s era personal computer – this time 1987’s Sharp X68000.
The Japan-only computer originally boasted a Motorola 68000 CPU running at 10 MHz, 1 MB of RAM, custom sprite hardware and an 8-channel sound chip (later iterations of the line would increase these specs). While that may sound pretty limiting by today’s standards, the original 68000 was known for some of the most accurate home arcade ports of the era.
In fact, so in line with the arcade hardware of the era, the Sharp X68K actually served as Capcom’s CPS system development machine at the time.
Like with most computers of the era, the actual number of game titles released is fuzzy (there was no need to seek the official seal of approval to develop and release computer games, unlike the contemporary console counterparts), there are still several hundred officially recognized games. Some of the machine’s big hitters include Gradius, Strider, Final Fight, Alien Syndrome, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, and Castlevania Akumajo Dracula (ported to the PlayStation as Castlevania Chronicles).
While the final games list to be included on the mini is yet to be announced, it looks like Zuiki Inc. would be responsible for the manufacture and release of the new unit (they may not sound familiar to you but they actually produce most of the mini consoles on the market today for the commonly known brands).
While the pics released on Zuiki’s Twitter feed (shown here) seem to show a very completed hardware design, it’s not clear whether or not the US will ever receive an official release (after all, the original upon which it’s based never left Japan).
We’re hopeful, however, that Amazon of Japan will make ordering the hardware as easy as it has been to import systems like Sega’s Astro City Arcade Mini to the US.
Expect updates here as more information is released.