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ADAM and the MSX


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#1 Inky OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 8:40 AM

Seeing as how the Colecovision, Sega SG-1000, Sega Master System were all similar to the MSX computer hardware, why didn't Coelco  just bring the MSX to the states instead of creating the ADAM?

 


Edited by Inky, Tue Aug 1, 2017 8:43 AM.


#2 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 8:43 AM

Seeing as how the Colecovision, Sega SG-1000, Sega Master System were all similar to the MSX computer hardware, why didn't Coelco  just bring the MSX to the states?

 

 

The real question is why NO ONE in the US decided to sell/license MSX computers (well ok, no one major anyway).  It's really odd.



#3 nanochess OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 8:48 AM

It was underpowered for the time, close enough to the crash and too expensive.

The IBM PC already was going strong in USA and starting replacing the 8-bit computers, so it was a no brainer going for a 128k PC with two disk drive units instead of a 64k machine with casette and almost no serious software.

#4 davidcalgary29 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 9:01 AM

They were available from Panasonic Canada for about five minutes. My Dad tried to tempt me with one, but I was in 800 heaven at the time. There was some initial interest in COMPUTE!, but it died quickly when it was clear that software would be a problem. Plus, a total lack of advertising didn't help. And they were announced in North America during The Crash, which was a problem itself. And who was playing Japanese games or buying Japanese computers in 1983? CV may have made a strategic choice by disaccossiating itself from unfamiliar (to North Americans) architecture which might have been seen as a novelty.

Finally, wouldn't Coleco have earned more by producing proprietary architecture if the CV was a huge hit than they would have by having to share a hardware market with a bunch of potential competitors? It would have immediately undermined its own market for the machine and its peripherals. 'Hey, guys...we can sell an Adam package for $599...but it'll be competing with a random MSX which will play the same games, but not come with a printer, for $249. Which one will customers want?'. Yeah, I can see that idea sinking like a stone at Coleco HQ. The MSX concept was ten years ahead of its time in North America, only brought to fruition with the explosion of the delightful Wintel platform.

I don't recall MSX titles being introduced in North America prior to Sierra's importation ( and ports) of Thexder and Silpheed.

#5 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 10:04 AM

If I were Coleco I would have made the adam msx compatible. It would have been trivial: even msx2 would have been an option.
The timing of the two products are very close, so in theory it would have been possible

Edited by artrag, Tue Aug 1, 2017 10:07 AM.


#6 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 10:05 AM

The real question is why NO ONE in the US decided to sell/license MSX computers (well ok, no one major anyway).  It's really odd.


I remember an Article in Electronic Games magazine saying MSX was the next big thing. But in reality, at the time, the next big thing was 16-bit computers like Mac, ST and Amiga. MSX would have been a step backwards.

#7 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 12:23 PM

MSX wasn't quite a standard in Japan when Coleco was developing their stuff. Coleco already had a different cartridge port and sound processor. Making it compatible with sound and having microsoft basic built-in would have added cost. Coleco was positioning Adam as an application productivity machine with a complete word processor out of the box as opposed to a hobbyist/programmer machine with built-in basic. Coleco wanted to go to the next level with large games on high speed tape while MSX started with low capacity cartridges. Piracy would have been a concern, Coleco didn't even allow users to format tapes. American computer companies didnt seem to believe in standards. It would have been nice if Commodore and Atari made a 16/32-bit standard but everyone believed in their one and only standard. Actually there was one company, Gary Kildall's Digital Research that believed in a cooperative standard but he got pushed out by IBM and Microsoft.

Edited by mr_me, Tue Aug 1, 2017 1:01 PM.


#8 retroillucid OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 1:45 PM

My thoughts on this is Coleco should've release the SuperGame Module
They could have replaced the buggy wafer tape drive for the DDP

They had a solid lineup of games for the SGM and at time, the games were AMAZING!

For a rather small toy company, they should've never step into computer buisness
They already had hard time with the toys competition and videogames buisness side

#9 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 1:52 PM

The Adam was in development before the MSX standard was ratified. I wrote a brief article on MSX that goes into a little bit about the history for PC Gamer not too long ago: http://www.pcgamer.c...ns-underdog-pc/

 

As for why MSX never made it into the US outside of Yamaha's music computers, I go into some of that in the article. By the time the MSX makers got their acts together, it was already clear that the low end of the market was left to the C-64, which by then had an unbeatable combination of price/performance/software.

 

I like to think of the MSX platform demonstrating how a successful Adam might have evolved, much like the SMS and then Genesis demonstrating how a ColecoVision might have evolved had the company properly survived through the Crash.



#10 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 1:55 PM

My thoughts on this is Coleco should've release the SuperGame Module
They could have replaced the buggy wafer tape drive for the DDP

They had a solid lineup of games for the SGM and at time, the games were AMAZING!

For a rather small toy company, they should've never step into computer buisness
They already had hard time with the toys competition and videogames buisness side

 

Hindsight is everything. As we know, though, nearly all videogame console makers entertained ideas of computers or computer add-ons from the late 70s to mid 80s. No one really knew how the market would shake out. Obviously, as history has shown, consoles and computers can live happily side-by-side with little need for crossover/hybridization. 



#11 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 4:10 PM

I know that Mattel wanted to make a computer from the beginning. Warner wanted to follow the 2600 with a computer not another video game system, and they did. Even the Astrocade was designed as a progammable computer. Not sure what Coleco's plan was in 1982 but by 1983 like others they thought there was no future in video games and marketing a computer was necessary to survive.

#12 retroillucid OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 4:41 PM

I know that Mattel wanted to make a computer from the beginning. 

 

Would you believe?..... Coleco as well wanted to make a computer from the begining

It even looks close enough to a MSX

 

Even the first prototype of the ADAM Computer is using Wafer Drive

The biggest problem to this is Coleco had to converted all the pre-existing Wafer games to DDP format

 

Not mentioning they had to ''shut down'' the Colecovision R&D , all those people were sent to ADAM R&D instead

They simply had not enough ressources at that point

 

In the mid 80s, Coleco start buying other toys companies, TOMY, Selchow and Righter, etc.. 

All bad moves when your company is not making enough profits

 

In the end, the failure was not the ADAM Computer, but rather bad moves from their newest President
The Greenberg brothers had already quit the boat by the mid 80s


Edited by retroillucid, Tue Aug 1, 2017 4:44 PM.


#13 Inky OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 7:26 AM

The Adam was in development before the MSX standard was ratified. I wrote a brief article on MSX that goes into a little bit about the history for PC Gamer not too long ago: http://www.pcgamer.c...ns-underdog-pc/

Great article.



#14 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 8:07 PM

Yep, Coleco had plans to develop an expansion module computer system even before the ColecoVision was released in August of 1982. It's even listed as such on the Purple Proto Box.

 

I almost wish Coleco would have stuck with the original concept artwork of the computer expansion, forgone the tape drive altogether and just offered a 5 1/4" F.D.D. solution and separate printers (Daisy Wheel or Centronics Parallel) Then they could have offered a Stand-Alone version with the ColecoVision built-in.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • ColecoVision (USA) - Purple Prototype Box (Front).jpg
  • ADAM Computer - Original Concept Artwork.jpg


#15 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 9:43 PM

So Expansion Module #3 started out as a computer expansion, then changed to the Super Game Module, and then back to a computer expansion.

#16 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 7:31 AM

Yes.

There always was the plan to expand the CV into a full-fledged computer system that came about shortly after Eric Bromley was given the green light by the Greenbergs re. the ColecoVision.

The Super Game Module probably came about to offer an expansion product to those people who would not be interested in a computer system... it would be compatible with the same tape based games as the computer.

#17 Inky OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 7:21 AM

Yep, Coleco had plans to develop an expansion module computer system even before the ColecoVision was released in August of 1982. It's even listed as such on the Purple Proto Box.

 

I almost wish Coleco would have stuck with the original concept artwork of the computer expansion, forgone the tape drive altogether and just offered a 5 1/4" F.D.D. solution and separate printers (Daisy Wheel or Centronics Parallel) Then they could have offered a Stand-Alone version with the ColecoVision built-in.

 

That looks bad ass.



#18 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 11:10 AM

Never the less a double standard machine, msx/colecovision would be quite simple

#19 R.Cade OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 11:51 AM

Because Jack Tramiel stopped the Japanese from taking over the home computer business in America. He identified it, and beat them.



#20 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 4:43 PM

Because Jack Tramiel stopped the Japanese from taking over the home computer business in America. He identified it, and beat them.


Fantastic! Finally some competition for Chuck Norris!

;)

#21 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:59 PM

Because Jack Tramiel stopped the Japanese from taking over the home computer business in America. He identified it, and beat them.

 

He beat them by destroying the profit margin for all non-Apple 8-bit computers in North America. He had for years warned the Japanese wanted to take over and that they'd try to do so after they established a common standard.

 

But Tramiel didn't have a decent follow-up plan at Commodore for what to do after the C64. It's funny, if you read some of the press speculation after his acquisition of the remnants of Atari Inc's Consumer Division, some were speculating that his new "Atari Corp" would built MSX computers. Of course, the 16/32-bit Atari ST and Commodore Amiga pretty much killed any potential interest in MSX in both North America and Europe.



#22 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:02 AM

MSX wasn't quite a standard in Japan when Coleco was developing their stuff. Coleco already had a different cartridge port and sound processor. Making it compatible with sound and having microsoft basic built-in would have added cost. Coleco was positioning Adam as an application productivity machine with a complete word processor out of the box as opposed to a hobbyist/programmer machine with built-in basic. Coleco wanted to go to the next level with large games on high speed tape while MSX started with low capacity cartridges. Piracy would have been a concern, Coleco didn't even allow users to format tapes. American computer companies didnt seem to believe in standards. It would have been nice if Commodore and Atari made a 16/32-bit standard but everyone believed in their one and only standard. Actually there was one company, Gary Kildall's Digital Research that believed in a cooperative standard but he got pushed out by IBM and Microsoft.

 

Commodore and Atari Corp both could've harmonized the ST and the Amiga into a single platform in 1987-88 when they settled all of their lawsuits but obviously, they didn't rise to the occasion.



#23 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:08 AM

The Adam was in development before the MSX standard was ratified. I wrote a brief article on MSX that goes into a little bit about the history for PC Gamer not too long ago: http://www.pcgamer.c...ns-underdog-pc/

 

As for why MSX never made it into the US outside of Yamaha's music computers, I go into some of that in the article. By the time the MSX makers got their acts together, it was already clear that the low end of the market was left to the C-64, which by then had an unbeatable combination of price/performance/software.

 

I like to think of the MSX platform demonstrating how a successful Adam might have evolved, much like the SMS and then Genesis demonstrating how a ColecoVision might have evolved had the company properly survived through the Crash.

 

 

Yamaha's own music computers were the reason why the Atari ST was stuck with the YM2149 instead of the 2151; Yamaha wouldn't sell the 2151 to Atari Corp because they wanted their own computers to have their best sound chip at the time. Of course, they did sell the 2151 to the separate Atari Games Corp at the same time for their inclusion in their arcade games...

 

Curious...why did you mention CP/M didn't have common hardware standards? The S-100 bus was the de-facto standard, along with the 8080/Z80 CPUs. Digital Research certainly didn't go out of their way to support other CPUs [8086/8 or the 68000] without being prodded into them.



#24 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:57 AM

Curious...why did you mention CP/M didn't have common hardware standards? The S-100 bus was the de-facto standard, along with the 8080/Z80 CPUs. Digital Research certainly didn't go out of their way to support other CPUs [8086/8 or the 68000] without being prodded into them.

 

Unfortunately, that was edited down by my editor from something with a bit more detail. The original point I was trying to make was essentially that CP/M systems became increasingly incompatible over time, with different disk standards (after 8" fell out of favor), some with graphics and some without, etc. Certainly basic software compatibility remained, even with 40 column CP/M implementations, like the ones found on Adam and C-64.



#25 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:05 AM

 

Commodore and Atari Corp both could've harmonized the ST and the Amiga into a single platform in 1987-88 when they settled all of their lawsuits but obviously, they didn't rise to the occasion.

 

I still don't think it would have made enough of a difference. It seems like the DOS/Wintel standard was inevitable. Arguably the one thing Atari and Commodore could have done was make IBM PC compatibility somehow standard within their systems and eventually transition to being the "best" PC makers once their platforms inevitably became no longer viable (let's just say with the release of Windows 95, for arguments sake). [certainly Tandy followed this path, with their somewhat unique PC compatibles eventually becoming full-on generic clones; it didn't end well for them either] Obviously both Atari and Commodore both made stand-alone PC compatibles, but they never really went all in with a total commitment. The argument against that of course is that it would have been hard to distinguish themselves in a crowded market and the margins would have been razor thin. Really, almost all scenarios end up with Atari and Commodore in pretty much the same places that they ended up, at best delaying the inevitable by a few years.






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