Back in 1987, Sharp took the world of gaming in Japan by storm with its advanced (for the time) X68000, now this gem is coming back thanks to a crowdfunding campaign.
The Sharp X68000 was equipped with graphics hardware very similar to that included in arcade machines and advanced sound hardware, which made it into a gaming monster that received relevant arcade ports and plenty of popular video games.
It was even used as the development machine for Capcom's CP System arcade board and launched bundled with the legendary side-scroller Gradius. Games like the early Ys titles, After Burner, Castlevania, Bomberman, the Daisenryaku series, the Dragon Knight series, the Rance series, the Sangokushi series, Space Harrier, Street Fighter II, a metric ton of historical JRPGs, visual novels, and Anime-inspired games, and even plenty of titles from western companies like Microprose all thrived on this iconic twin-towered machine.
A few weeks ago, the Yokohama-based company Zuiki launched a campaign on the Japanese crowdfunding site Kibidango, aiming to raise 33 million yen (just north of $250,000) to build and release a mini version of the X68000 including keyboard and mouse called "X68000 Z". Just a few minutes ago, the campaign total has achieved ten times that amount, with over 6,000 supporters pledging 330 million yen, which translates to over $2.5 million. The campaign ends on January 28, so there's still time for it to grow further.
The first batch of early access kits scheduled to ship in March has been completely sold out, and on January 21 a second batch scheduled to ship in June has been made available.
The product, priced 49,500 yen (approximately $380) including taxes and shipping comes with the main unit, a mouse, a keyboard, an HDMI cable, a USB cable, a dedicated SD Card, and two additional SD cards including a copy of Gradius and one of Famibe No Yosshin's legendary doujin vertical scroller Cho Ren Sha 68K.
Unlike many mini-consoles, this doesn't come with a locked list of pre-loaded games, but it includes an emulator that can run the games that the user loads via the SD card. The keyboard and mouse have been updated for modern use, but the latter comes with the iconic gimmick that lets you convert it into a trackball.
Incidentally, the name Zuiki may not ring any bells for many, but the company has actually been involved in the hardware and software development (mostly in the production of the SoCs) of many mini consoles including the Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Genesis Mini (and its follow-up Sega Genesis Mini 2), the PC Engine Mini, the Game Gear Micro, and more.
At the moment, we don't know whether the X68000 Z will ever make it to the west or not. I certainly hope so