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Al-Warkaa: the Iraqi home computer series that took on the MSX 'enemy'

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Chipflip took a look at the early home computer scene of Iraq, where the domestic Al-Warkaa series took on the Japanese MSX popular in other Arabic countries.

arabic (hg101)
arabic (hg101)

Arguments still rage in the West over the respective merits of the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, but in the Middle East an entirely different format war was taking place. Chipflip took a look at the early home computer scene of Iraq, where the domestic Al-Warkaa series took on the Japanese MSX popular in other Arabic countries but referred to as "the enemy" by developer Salwan Asaad. Al-Warkaa computers were based on NEC models that had been modified to support Arabic, and suffered in comparison to the higher-specced rivals with full-motion graphics. Still, a dedicated community sprung up around the computers, and people would meet at arcades to discuss and trade floppy disks — it doesn't sound too different from the scenes many of us grew up with.