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This video about old Japanese PCs is delightfully 80s and extremely British

Back when PCs were referred to as "home micros," British Thames Television had a regular show called Database all about the computer industry and incredible emerging technologies. Like, say, sending an email or shopping online, which couldn't be more mundane today. But I really love this short segment where Database host Tony Bastable travels to Japan circa 1984 to check out the country's booming PC scene.

It's full of imagery of 80s Japanese shopping malls and electronics stands, and a close-up look at an Apple II knock-off or "pirate computer." There's also a bemused westerner air to the whole video that's pretty funny. At one point Bastable comments that no one's asked him where he's from and suggests he could be a Russian spy, and later mentions that not a single computer he's seen came from Europe. It's true: Japan's PC industry always did its own thing, as we've written about before with the history of the MSX.

I hope someday Thames TV uploads the next week's program—at the end of this clip, Bastable says he'll be talking about some specific Japanese home PCs. This episode's already a great, though short, time capsule of 80s Tokyo.

Wes Fenlon
When he's not 50 hours into a JRPG or an opaque ASCII roguelike, Wes is probably playing the hottest games of three years ago. He oversees features, seeking out personal stories from PC gaming's niche communities. 50% pizza by volume.