Sprites, Glyphs, and the 1980s

The pictures included here just give a character table for the LaTeX fonts of MZ-721 glyphs that I talked about in this post.

The Sharp MZ-700 series of microcomputers was released in the early 1980s, and met with some success, thought not a lot. Certainly in Australia at least these machines were far less common that Commodore 64 or Amstrad.  The most comprehensive information on the web can be found here, though there is a surprisingly large amount of stuff out there.

The Sharp had very poor graphics resolution, even for those days.  In graphics mode the screen was divided into an array of 80 x 50 ‘pixels’, each one being so big that even on a TV it was clearly composed of many basic dots.  This was far behind the graphics resolution of almost everything else on the market, so the Sharp was not much good for games, and games were a major driver of uptake back then, certainly amongst the cheaper micros.

As if to compensate, it had a rather varied selection of predefined glyphs, graphics ‘sprites’ as they were called, which could be combined in various ways to produce a reasonably wide range of images.  They are rather like crude florets.  Here are some examples, put together using the LaTeX font referred to above.  They could be used to produce simple games, or borders, etc:

Clunky images using the Sharp MZ-721 graphics sprites.

Clunky images using the Sharp MZ-721 graphics sprites.

Here is the full font table:

Sharp MZ-700 font table 1.

Sharp MZ-700 font table 1.

Sharp MZ-700 font table 2.

Sharp MZ-700 font table 2.

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About Darren

I'm a scientist by training, based in Australia.

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