Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Some of the hardest things to find are Sharp X1 D disks. If you’re not familiar, the X1 D uses 3″ disks, as opposed to 3.5″ disks. Physically quite different and totally incompatible. Even as blanks they’re rare and usually expensive. I found these on Mercari, and even after talking the guy down 25%, I still wouldn’t say I got a great deal on these or anything, but there were many (a lot of 19) and I hope to get most of my money back by selling my duplicates and some blanks.

The breakdown was 8 blanks or copies and 11 original game disks. The first relief was that there didn’t appear to be any scratches or mold on them. That’s a good start. The second step was actually testing them.

It was a bit of a daunting task, but I tested all disks in one night, including taking photographs of all games and other processing, finishing at about 4am! The originals all work, including the main system disk, which was a giant relief. A couple of the copies didn’t work initially, but upon testing a few times and deciding it was best to format them, they are all working fine now.

As for the blanks, I formatted each one and wrote the simplest of programs to test saving, loading, and deleting from each disk. No problems.

The system disk is probably the most valuable and I already have a copy, so its successful operation is key to getting a good chunk of my money back. I wrote a simple program and ran the system demo, and used the above utility (called “Utility”) to duplicate the system disk, in an effort to test it as best I could. The sleeve was from my own copy, this one didn’t come with one.

Next up in order of interest was Xevious. Not that interesting because I already have it. It was the first game I got for my X1 D. But this copy also works. It’s a solid port of a decently fun game, making good use of the X1’s graphics.

And then in no particular order, I tested the remaining nine games. Two of the games are in a series called “Meruhen” (Japanese take on the German “Märchen”, or fairy tales), which I believe eventually spawned a fairly popular game, called Meruhen Maze. It’s easy and not inaccurate to say it’s for kids, but it’s really rather well done, with crisp, colorful graphics and unique gameplay.

Here is Meruhen Part I, which involves a sheep herder trying to corral her sheep into her gate, and a series of animal siblings where you play a slightly nervous sibling trying to get your share of food.

And here’s Part II, this one includes three games. The first one you play a pig who is trying to grow plants that turn into butterflies. Other animals are trying to take the flowers, so you have to douse them in water so they run away. The second game you try to throw bananas at monkeys carrying numbers, so that the numbers you hit add up to a multiple of 10. And finally, you play a rabbit running through a forest to find someone that the pig wants to talk to, first by finding something that the requested animal wants to eat, then finding the target animal. It’s all very cute.

Tired of fairy tales? Good news is we’re now onto the more typical games, but I gotta say this guy has good taste, there are a lot of gems in here that I’ve never heard of before. Here’s one translated as “The Bank”, but the Japanese reads “bank robbery”, and it’s really quite a satisfyingly violent game. You have to shoot the bad guys three or four times, or else their mutilated bodies reform and you have to shoot them again. Later, different kinds of enemies come out, like a robber-driven car or an exploding-barrel tosser. This game seems to have gotten an English release, as well, called Machinegun Joe vs. The Mafia.

One game I was curious about was Donkey Kong 3: The Great Counterattack. Donkey Kong 3 was a game from back in the day that just didn’t make a huge impression on me. But this version does. The arcade classic takes place in a greenhouse, but this version takes place in a variety of outdoor scenes. Although the X1 is far more graphically capable, it looks like these images were made using a CGA palette, with the fuller palette only being used on the surrounding text and the characters.

Another one in the lot was Enma Daio (Judge of the Afterlife). You play a character opening up graves and… passing judgement? Or grabbing things to throw at your enemies, who, much like your own character, are quite cute. I had a pretty tough time trying to figure this game out, though. The title screen (which isn’t much of a title screen) leads me to think there’s more to this game, but I haven’t gotten out of the graveyard.

There were a pair of disks called Game Pack II and Game Pack III, each containing two games. I guess these are similar to the Mastertronic 2 on 1 releases in days of old.

Game Pack II has Gang Man, where you play a gangster driving a car and shooting out the window at other gangsters who are shooting back at you out of the windows of their cars. It’s pretty difficult, even from level one, the other gangsters often get me within a couple of seconds, but it’s noteworthy for its big car graphics that maneuver fairly smoothly around the screen, and the short bonus clock ratchets up the intensity. The other game is Power Fail, where you try to repair a power grid that the “bad old man” comes along and breaks. You can use two tools, a set of pliers to repair the grid, or a hammer to bop the bad old man on the head so he can’t move for a while.

And Game Pack III comes with a theme – animal games. The first one is Kaeru Shooter, or Frog Shooter, and the other is Za Spider, or The Spider. Kaeru Shooter has a 3D perspective but the graphics and gameplay are pretty simple. You see something, you shoot it. The Spider looked like it was going to be a Tempest style game at first, but it turned out to be more similar in gameplay to Centipede.

Flight Simulator I thought for sure was going to be an immediate “sell it” game for me, because I find flight simulators to be dreadfully boring. But this was pretty light on the “simulation”, and pretty heavy on the “things to shoot”, but it managed to strike a different enough balance that it didn’t feel like a standard space shooter. It’s pretty fun, so I’ll keep it for now. Similar to Jelda, reviewed elsewhere on this site. Pretty cool aesthetics, and one of few games to come with a real cover and instructions.

And finally, there was Maharito the Magician. It a witch-on-a-broom twist to a horizontal shooter game. A little unexpectedly, in my opinion, instead of zapping someone with a magic beam or a fireball, you hurl hammers at your enemies.

By 4am I was getting a bit tired, but it was a good experience and I found a lot of treasures in this lot. Looking forward to playing some more!

By Sean

12 thoughts on “Sharp X1 D 3″ Disk Lot”
  1. Very nice! 3″ disks were also used in the amstrad cpc, the +3 model of spectrum and the amstrad pcw. Apparently Alan Sugar had a killer deal with Hitachi that actually lost money manufacturing drives.
    In Europe 3″ are more common than Japan, but getting more expensive by the month. I am lucky enough to have kept them all those years.

    1. You know what’s funny? It seems the European disks are actually differently sized from the Japanese disks. I got a pack of 3″ disks from the UK about a year and a half ago, a kind donation sent by a Facebook fellow group member for just the cost of shipping. It’s only the difference of a millimeter or two, so the effect is that they go into the drive smoothly, they format, read, and write without issue, and they’re the devil to get back out!

      1. There were variation between the brands, those in the article are like maxwell ones, smooth casing, red sliders for write protect and slightly thinner. I think these were made by Panasonic.

        RPA and Amsoft ones had a casing with a embossed grid, white sliders and were thicker, but the drives had disks enter in a spring mounted sled like many 3,5″ ones, this would compensate for (slight) differences in thickness and gave a very loud thump inserting the floppy.

        Perhaps your drives are of a different construction or have some problem with the sled.

        1. Thanks for the info! It might be due to manufacturer, but it seems to be geographically divided, as well. I think the X1 D may be the only machine that used 3″ disks in Japan, but all Sharp and 3rd party disks go in and out more smoothly than the 5-pack I got from the UK. If I had to guess, perhaps it was just early enough in the computing industry that standards were drawn up, both follow the standards, but ended up with slightly different implementations, and Japan tested against their own products and Europe tested against theirs, and they happen to still be similar enough to be compatible?

    1. Thanks for the comment! Which do you mean by “other games?” If I have something, I’m up to sharing it, but at the moment I only have means and knowledge to put .wav recordings of cassette tapes on the Internet.

      1. Your missing games like Kaminari Bouya, Bubble Kund 1999, Zero Fighter, Mr. Butterfly, Super Doors, Fire Ball, Sea Bomber, Color Ball, Slalom, Field Wars, Justice Knight, Indian No Bouken, Karei no Kaitou, Killer Station, Fire Rescue, Runaway Limited Express SOS, Gamma III, Biotech, HELP!, Star Dust, Square Garden, SOS! Donbar, Dimensional War, Frog to Frog, Crazy Spy, Exraiss, Mystery Mountain, Hiyoko Fighter, Submarine Shooter, Sky Diver, I’m on a Busy Rainy Day, Binary Land, Dish Carrier, A Cat

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