X68000 Z Early Access Kit
Image: ZUIKI Inc.

Last month, we mentioned in an article that units of ZUIKI's X68000 Z 'Early Access Kit' — a miniaturized version of Sharp's X68000 — had started shipping out to backers on Kibidango.

As we noted back then, it currently isn't the easiest thing to import outside of Japan, with the crowdfunding site not allowing international deliveries. As a result, the only real way to get your hands on one outside of the country (at least for the moment) is to know someone living in Japan who could back it on your behalf or to purchase one secondhand for some frankly ridiculous prices.

That obviously won't be possible for a lot of people, but fortunately, it appears that one savvy YouTuber named Sega Lord X has managed to get their hands on one, at the very least giving us Western players a much more in-depth look at the highly sought-after machine.

In the video, Sega Lord X starts off by going over some of the features of the X68000 Z itself, such as its headphone jack (with volume control), four USB ports, dual SD ports (with individual eject buttons), and an internal speaker that plays the sound of a floppy being read. They then put the machine through its paces, covering the two pack-in titles Gradius and Cho Ren 68K, as well as eight other X68000 games running on the device's in-built emulator as XDF files. These include:

  • After Burner II
  • Akumajō Dracula (a 1993 remake of the original Castlevania)
  • Street Fighter II Champion Edition
  • Dragon Spirit
  • Dynamite Duke
  • Galaga '88
  • Atomic Runner Chelvnov
  • And Thunder Force II

Inevitably, as you might expect, the pack-in titles ran much smoother than the other games tested and contain more features like save states and dedicated descriptions. Meanwhile, the emulated titles ran, for the most part, okay, with only a few compatibility issues encountered here and there. Out of the eight emulated titles, Sega Lord X considered only one game, Thunder Force II, unplayable, but hopes that future software updates will fix the issues they encountered with disappearing sprites and other graphical glitches.

Elsewhere, they also criticized the interface of the current emulator and noted that while most PC USB controllers seemed to work with the device it was still only possible to play the games with a simple two-button setup. It will be interesting to see if these problems are addressed in the future.

It's worth mentioning that ZUIKI is planning to release a second batch of Early Access Kits to Kibidango backers in June. On its website, it's also teasing a 'Black Model' of the device, which will be the retail product (and hopefully easier to import).

You can watch Sega Lord X's full video above. They also have a Patreon, so if you want to directly support their work, we recommend heading over there after you finish watching.

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[source youtu.be]