X68000 Z Mini
Image: ZUIKI Inc.

Update #2 (Fri 23 Dec, 2022 16:30 GMT): During a livestream today, ZUIKI announced two of the games that will be bundled with the X68000 Z Mini 'Early Access Kit' when it finally starts shipping to Japanese backers next March. These include Konami's Gradius (1987) and Famibe no Yosshin's Cho Ren Sha 68K (1995).

More announcements are expected to come in the future, with ZUIKI also revealing a partnership with the Japanese developer ZOOM, who are responsible for X68000 games like Phalanx and Lagoon.

Super Rapid Fire 68K
Cho Ren Sha 68K — Image: ZUIKI Inc.
Gradius — Image: ZUIKI Inc.

Update #1 (Thu 1 Dec, 2022 11:00 GMT): As spotted by Gosokkyu, ZUIKI announced earlier today on Twitter that the X68000 Z Mini Early Access Kit will be available for preorder this month on the Japanese crowdfunding site Kibidango. Preorders will go live at 19:00 JST on December 3rd. It will cost 49,500 yen and will ship sequentially from March 31, 2023.

According to ZUIKI's website, the specs will include:

  • Chip: ZUIKI Z7213 SOC
  • Memory: DDR3 512MB
  • Storage: NAND 512MB
  • Power: USB Type-C 5V 3A (15W)
  • Other features: USB-A x4, HDMI, USB-C, SD slot, power button, volume knob, headphone jack

It will come packaged with the main body, mouse, keyboard, HDMI cable, USB Type-C to Type-C cable, and dedicated SD card. Users will be able to load their own games onto it via SD card and the console will also come bundled with a bunch of classic titles (which have yet to be announced).

It's important to highlight that is different from the Hacker's Edition, which we've talked about before, and will reflect changes based on feedback from those tests. The reason it is still dubbed an "Early Access" item is that it will feature a beta version of the X68000 emulator.

A more complete Black Model version is scheduled to launch later next year and we have our fingers crossed that it will be more widely accessible than these initial test versions.

Original article (Thu 17th Nov, 2022 15:30 GMT): Earlier this year, we brought you the news that the arcade and system-on-chip (SoC) manufacturer ZUIKI had announced the X68000 Z mini, a miniature recreation of Sharp's Japanese home computer from the 80s.

The mini console was meant to go on pre-order on October 8th of this year, alongside a spec reveal, but the manufacturer made the announcement only the day before that it had delayed this in order to further refine the product and get additional feedback.

Recently, however, on Twitter, ZUIKI announced something called the Hacker's Edition, which will be made available to a select group of applicants in order to test an early version of the product and put it through its paces. Recruitment is still ongoing, with those chosen being announced on December 18th. Desirable qualities include having experience of embedded app development for Linux and the ability to communicate feedback to the team and participate in its promotion.

Alongside the Hacker's Edition, ZUIKI also revealed something of a vague roadmap on its website, giving a tentative release date for 2023, which will mark 36 years since its initial release. Several phases of the product's development were also outlined too, with the Hacker's Edition representing "Phase 0", an Early Access version marking "Phase 1" and a Black Model being part of "Phase 2." We'll try and keep you updated once we find out more about a potential release schedule or features.

Would you want your very own X68000 Z Mini? Let us know in the comments!