00 pc88 computer
A PC-88 computer.


Home computer

Release date:




Operating system:



Zilog Z80


112-814 KB

The PC-8801 is a Zilog Z80-based home computer released by Nippon Electric Company (NEC) in 1981 in Japan, where it became very popular. It and its variants are informally called the PC-88.

NEC's American subsidiary, NEC Home Electronics (USA), marketed variations of the PC-8801 in the United States.


For its time, the PC-8801SR (V2-mode) had a high display resolution, but could only display 8 out of 512 colors simultaneously. The 640 × 400 mode was monochrome only. Its sound-producing capabilities were also more advanced than other machines of the time.

  • 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 [[1]]
  • PC-8801/PC8801mkII
  • PC-8801mkIISR/TR/FR/MR
    • CPU: NEC PD780C-1 (Z80A-compatible)
    • Resolutions: (SR/TR) ( N mode / V1 mode / V2 mode ) or (FR/MR) ( V1 mode / V2 mode )
    • Memory: 40+8+24 = 72 KB ROM, 64+48+4 = 116 KB RAM (MR = 244 KB)
    • Sound: beep + YM2203 ( 3 FM channels, 3 SSG ) Mono
  • PC-8801FH/MH/FE/FE2
    • CPU: µPD70008 (Z80H-compatible)
    • Resolutions: ( V1 mode / V2 mode )
    • Memory: 40+8+24 = 72 KB ROM, 64+48+4 = 116 KB RAM (MH = 244 KB)
    • Sound: beep + YM2203 ( 3 FM channels, 3 SSG ) Mono
  • PC-8801FA/MA/MA2/MC
  • PC-88VA/VA2/VA3


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 console, including Excitebike, Balloon Fight, Tennis, Donkey Kong 3, Golf, and Ice Climber, as well as new editions of Mario Bros. called Mario Bros. Special and Punch Ball Mario Bros. and a unique Super Mario Bros. game for the computer, Super Mario Bros. Special.

The first two games in the Valis series were adapted for this computer, although those versions are considered quite inferior compared to the others.


  • The PC-88 remained on the market for some time after the launch of its successor, the PC-98. Some of the Valis games were thus adapted to both computers, which had mostly the same characteristics between them.

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