Namco System 1

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Namco System 1 PCB (Pac-Mania)

The Namco System 1 (originally known as the Namco System 87, according to the Namco Museum series), is a 8-bit arcade system board which was first used by Namco in April 1987 and was a major enhancement to the previous Namco System 86 arcade system board; nonetheless, it was less powerful than the 8-bit Namco Thunder Ceptor board.

Yokai Dochuki was the first game to use this board; the game's name translated to English as "Supernatural Creature Traveller's Journal". Two months later, Namco released Dragon Spirit, which was one of the most difficult vertical scrolling shooters ever seen for its time period - and this was followed by the Japan-exclusive Blazer in July, which games to used an isometric perspective, Quester in September, which was also Japan-exclusive and represented the company response to Taito Corporation's Arkanoid, Pac-Mania in November, and Galaga '88 in December, which was the fourth title in the Galaxian series. Towards the end of the year, it was joined by the more powerful Motorola 68000-based Namco System 2 system board; the following March, Namco released World Stadium, which was the first in a long line of Japan-exclusive baseball games. This was followed by Chōzetsurinjin Beraboh Man in May, which was later re-released as Bravoman upon the TurboGrafx-16, Märchen Maze in July, which was loosely based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Bakutotsu Kijūtei in August, which was a sequel to Baraduke, World Court in October, Splatterhouse in November, which was their first game to get a parental advisory disclaimer and Face Off in December - and, when it came to 1989, they released Rompers in February, Blast Off in March, which was their sequel to Bosconian, World Stadium '89 in July, and Dangerous Seed in December. In 1990, they released World Stadium '90 in July, Pistol Daimyo no Bōken in October, which is the spin-off from Beraboh Man and Souko Ban Deluxe in November; they also develop an unreleased prototype, Puzzle Club. Finally, in 1991, they released Tank Force - which was the sequel to (and is eleven years younger than) Tank Battalion.

Namco System 1 specifications[edit]



  • Video resolution: 288 × 224 (horizontal) or 224 × 288 (vertical)
  • Variable-sized display window
  • 24-bit RGB system palette
  • 3 scrolling 512 × 512 tilemap layers (64 × 64 characters)
  • 1 scrolling 512 × 256 tilemap layer (64 × 32 characters)
  • 2 fixed 288 × 224 tilemap layers (36 × 28 characters)
  • 127 variable-sized sprites (up to 32 × 32) displayed at once
  • 8 sets of 256-color palettes (chosen from the 24-bit RGB master palette) for the playfields
  • 8 sets of 256-color palettes for "playfield shadow and highlight effects"
  • 127 sets of 16-color palettes for the sprites (one palette per sprite)

Making a maximum total of 6128 simultaneously displayed colors from the 16-million color master palette, or a more realistic maximum of 4966 in typical use (15 plus transparent for each sprite, 256 for a background playfield, and 255 plus transparent for each of 5x playfields and 6x shadow/highlight overlays) - still a very impressive result when the home computer state of the art for moving images without programming tricks was 64 colors (32 main + 32 "shadows") from 4096 (12-bit RGB) on the Commodore-Amiga, and the hardware's entire display field was fewer than 65,000 pixels.


  • Yamaha YM2151 FM sound chip @ 3.57958 MHz
  • Custom 8-channel wavetable stereo PSG @ 96 kHz
  • 2-channel DAC

List of Namco System 1 arcade games[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Pac-Mania: Operator's Manual (PDF). Milpitas, California: Atari Games Corporation. 1987. pp. 52–70. Retrieved 2014-07-01.