System is a series of OS/VM hybrids that was designed by Alice Soft to cope with porting their games across different computer platforms. This was especially important in the early days of Alice Soft's history, when there were multiple prevalent families of computers (PC-98, x68k, FM-Towns etc) competing on the Japanese PC market.
With the eventual dominance of IBM PCs and Microsoft Windows, the role of System becomes relegated to just a programming platform that serves as a nice abstraction for the game designers. Starting with System 3.5, only versions for the Windows environment have been officially released. However, due to the original design of the System series and a publicly-released API set, it is possible to port major versions of System to other platforms (such as Linux). By merely porting System, all Alice Soft games compatible with that version of System are automatically ported as well.
Prevalent versions of System are:
- System 3.0 - for PC-88, PC-98, MSX, x68k, FM-Towns, and Windows 3.1
- System 3.x - System 3.5~ System 3.9 are all developed exclusively for Windows 95 and onwards. They are back-wards compatible within the 3.x family. Fan-made ports exist for X Windows systems (Unix/Linux), see below.
- System 4.x - developed exclusively for Windows 98/Me/2000/XP. No ports to other OS are known at this time.