PC-8800 series

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Boot screen with one-liner

The PC-8800 series (Japanese: PC-8800シリーズ, Hepburn: Pī Shī Hassen Happyaku Shirīzu), commonly shortened to PC-88, are a brand of Zilog Z80-based 8-bit home computers released by Nippon Electric Company (NEC) in 1981 and primarily sold in Japan

The PC-8800 series sold extremely well and became one of the three major Japanese home computers of the 1980s, along with the Fujitsu FM-7 and Sharp X1. It was later eclipsed by NEC's 16-bit PC-9800 series, although it still maintained strong sales up until the early 90s.

NEC's American subsidiary, NEC Home Electronics (USA), marketed variations of the PC-8800 in the United States.[1][2]

Hardware[edit]

Graphics[edit]

Throughout the lifetime of the PC-8800, there were four different graphics modes. They are as follows:

  • N mode: PC-8000 series compatible graphic mode
  • V1 mode: 640 × 200 8 colors, 640 × 400 2 colors
  • V2 mode: 640 × 200 8 out of 512 colors, 640 × 400 2 out of 512 colors
  • V3 mode: 640 × 200: 65536 colors, 640 × 400: 256 out of 65536 colors, 320 × 200: 65536 colors, 320 ×  400: 64 out of 65536 colors

It's important to note that no entry in the PC-8800 series was capable of displaying all four modes.

Sound[edit]

Early entries in the PC-8800 series used a simple internal speaker a-la the IBM PC only capable of generating simple beeps and clicks. Later models added FM-synthesis chips, allowing for much more robust audio.

Software[edit]

Companies that produced exclusive software for the NEC PC-8801 included Enix, Square, Sega, Nihon Falcom, Bandai, HAL Laboratory, ASCII, Pony Canyon, Technology and Entertainment Software, Wolf Team, Dempa, Champion Soft, Starcraft, Micro Cabin, PSK, and Bothtec. Certain games produced for the PC-8801 had a shared release with the MSX, such as those produced by Game Arts, ELF Corporation, and Konami. Many popular series first appeared on the NEC PC-8801, including Snatcher, Thexder, Dragon Slayer, RPG Maker, and Ys.

Nintendo licensed Hudson Soft to port some of Nintendo's Family Computer games for the system, including Excitebike, Balloon Fight, Tennis, Golf, and Ice Climber, as well as new editions of Mario Bros. called Mario Bros. Special and Punch Ball Mario Bros., a semi-sequel to Donkey Kong 3 called Donkey Kong 3: Dai Gyakushū, and a unique Super Mario Bros. game for the computer, Super Mario Bros. Special.

The computer also had its own BASIC dialect, N88-BASIC.

Model list[edit]

Released year Model name Model CPU RAM VRAM N mode V1 mode V2 mode V3 mode Sound Atari D-sub 9-pin I/O port FDD CD-ROM Operating system Comment
1981 PC-8801 NEC µPD780 4 MHz 64 KB 48 KB y y n n Internal beeper like in the IBM PC n n n NEC PowerMOS, NEC N-88 BASIC
1983 PC-8801mkII model 10 NEC µPD780 4 MHz 64 KB 48 KB y y n n Beeper and YM2149F (optional, through beeper)[verification needed] n none n NEC PowerMOS or Amstrad Monitor System
model 20 1× 5.25" 2D
model 30 2× 5.25" 2D
1985 PC-8801mkII SR model 10 NEC µPD780 4 MHz 64 KB 48 KB y y y n FM (YM2203) Mono y none n NEC PowerMOS or Amstrad Monitor System The V2 mode that is necessary to play most PC-88 games is introduced.
model 20 1× 5.25" 2D
model 30 2× 5.25" 2D
PC-8801mkII TR NEC µPD780 4 MHz 64 KB 48 KB y y y n FM (YM2203) Mono y 2× 5.25" 2D n Amstrad Monitor System PC-8801 mkII SR with 300 bit/s modem
PC-8801mkII FR model 10 NEC µPD780 4 MHz 64 KB 48 KB n y y n FM (YM2203) Mono y none n Amstrad Monitor System Cost reduced version of PC-8801mkIISR
model 20 1× 5.25" 2D
model 30 2× 5.25" 2D
PC-8801mkII MR NEC µPD780 4 MHz 192 KB 48 KB n y y n FM (YM2203) Mono y 2× 5.25" 2HD n Amstrad Monitor System FDD 2D->2HD
1986 PC-8801 FH model 10 NEC µPD70008 8 MHz 64 KB 48 KB n y y n FM (YM2203) Mono y none n NEC MOS 88FR CPU upgrade
model 20 1× 5.25" 2D
model 30 2× 5.25" 2D
PC-8801 MH NEC µPD70008 8 MHz 192 KB 48 KB n y y n FM (YM2203) Mono y 2× 5.25" 2HD n NEC PowerMOS 88MR CPU upgrade
1987 PC-88 VA NEC V50 (µPD9002) 8 MHz 512 KB 256 KB n y y y FM (YM2203) Mono y 2× 5.25" 2HD n NEC PowerMOS CPU upgrade (8-bit to 16-bit)
PC-8801 FA NEC µPD70008 8 MHz 64 KB 48 KB n y y n FM (YM2608) Stereo + ADPCM Mono y 2× 5.25" 2D n NEC PowerMOS sound card upgrade (88FH + sound board2(Yamaha YM2608))
PC-8801 MA NEC µPD70008 8 MHz 192 KB 48 KB n y y n FM (YM2608) Stereo + ADPCM Mono y 2× 5.25" 2HD n NEC PowerMOS sound card upgrade (88MH + sound board2(Yamaha YM2608))
1988 PC-88 VA2 NEC V50 (µPD9002) 8 MHz 512 KB 256 KB n y y y FM (YM2608) Stereo + ADPCM Mono y 2× 5.25" 2HD n NEC PowerMOS
PC-88 VA3 NEC V50 (µPD9002) 8 MHz 512 KB 256 KB n y y y FM (YM2608) Stereo + ADPCM Mono y 2× 5.25" 2HD / 1× 3.5" 2TD n NEC PowerMOS add 2TD FDD
PC-8801 FE NEC µPD70008 8 MHz 64 KB 48 KB n y y n FM (YM2203) Mono y 2× 5.25" 2D n NEC PowerMOS TV(NTSC) output (composit video), del external I/O
PC-8801 MA2 NEC µPD70008 8 MHz 192 KB 48 KB n y y n FM (YM2608) Stereo + ADPCM Mono y 2× 5.25" 2HD n NEC PowerMOS 88MA model change
1989 PC-8801 FE2 NEC µPD70008 8 MHz 64 KB 48 KB n y y n FM (YM2203) Mono y 2× 5.25" 2D n NEC PowerMOS 88FE model change
PC-8801 MC model 1 NEC µPD70008 8 MHz 192 KB 48 KB n y y n FM (YM2608) Stereo + ADPCM Mono y 2× 5.25" 2HD (option) NEC PowerMOS
model 2 2× 5.25" 2HD y


References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Products". InfoWorld. Infoworld Media Group Inc.: 52 May 1984. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  2. ^ Ahl, David H. (November 1983). "NEC PC-8800 personal computer system (evaluation)". Creative Computing. Vol. 9 no. 11. p. 28. Retrieved June 20, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
NEC PC-8001
NEC PC-6001
NEC PC-6601
NEC Personal Computers Succeeded by
NEC PC-9801