Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
doctor_x

MSX?? Why?

Recommended Posts

MSX computers - at least some of them - are kick ass looking which has made me research them a bit... Seems like all they are really good for are Games.. I did read that someone ran a BBS on one so I suppose they can do more than that - but why so much money for a machine that is basically just a Nintendo?

 

Am I missing something?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Technically it is a ColecoVision (or ADAM), if we want to nitpick.

 

Those were big in Japan and South Korea, fairly well represented in Europe and Brazil, never got anywhere in the USA. I agree that the prices are hitched up quite a bit higher than comparable systems, but I think the majority of this is because it never was sold in the US so all collector demands are pulling from the same remaining supplies in Japan and Europe.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed! I suppose Coleco had their reasons to build an own computer system around the ColecoVision, instead of joining an international standard. As it turned out, they would've almost been the single supplier of MSX systems in America, or perhaps that had been enough of a driving force to have others import some of the bigger brands.

 

For that matter, if Mattel did not have so much trust in Radofin (the Aquarius) and instead shopped wide for a home computer, they may just as well come across Sord in Japan and imported their M5 and eventually joined the MSX bandwagon as well. Another side effect is that the Sord M5 pretty much is hardware equivalent to ColecoVision, which could've given Mattel an interesting position if they happened to make some cartridge adapter that just "happened" to let owners of Mattel's new home computer play games from one of their biggest competitors. I mean, there was a reason why Mattel sold the Atari 2600 adapter for Intellivision, right? Also there was a reason why Spectravideo sold a ColecoVision adapter for their SVI-3x8 computers.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They were Z80 based so they could also run CP/M, not that I know if it ever was a popular option. 

They never made it here in Canada. I only saw one SpectraVideo SV328 once in a computer store window beside an Apple II compatible, and read about them in French computer magazines, but never even touch one.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. They also sold the Bit 90 computer, which is a ColecoVision with keyboard or something like that. But obscure brands from Far East that barely made it onto a single foreign market mostly are interesting footnotes even for a wide range collector like me. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to own one but on a bigger scale neither Bit Corporation, Hanimex nor even my beloved Video Technology held the market position to change the (home) computer history in the same way that Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Canon, Yamaha etc MSX brands could've done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The MSX in Japan is most comparable to the VIC20 or perhaps the C64 in the US.  It was a "cheap" computer that was also capable of playing great games.  Although it was more expensive than a game console, it was only 2-2.5 times the price of a Famicom yet offered much more outside of games.  Although most households likely bought it, like the C64, for use as a game machine, you also had the option of learning computing skills including BASIC or using it for home budget/office stuff.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/15/2020 at 2:06 PM, The Usotsuki said:

I mentioned the Dina because didn't Sears sell a rebadged version of it?

They didn't, Telegames USA did though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

In the late 80s and very early 90s, most kids in my class had either a ZX Spectrum or an Amstrad CPC (I live in Spain).

 

Nobody had a C64 (even if tens of thousands were sold in my country, apparently), and one kid had something called an MSX.

 

I never got to play it, but years later I learned about it. Apparently, those kids were basically playing ZX Spectrum ports, as the best games were Japanese and these used to come in cartridge and were too expensive.

Edited by IntelliMission

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the games ported from ZX Spectrum to MSX are infamous. Some don't even support joystick.

 

Of course the same arguments used above regarding Coleco and Mattel, could be applied to Amstrad though their CPC only share CPU and PSG with the MSX and Alan Sugar probably wanted the format to be unique instead of part of some foreign standard. I always consdiered the CPC to be some oddball format but apparently it got rather big on the continent and in the UK, just not that much up here which mainly was a Commodore zone with sprinkles of Sinclair, Atari etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CPC is an underrated computer platform imo.  Definitely had potential to be a lot more instead of getting a lot of dirty ZX Spectrum ports.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/15/2020 at 10:59 AM, Badaboom said:

They were Z80 based so they could also run CP/M, not that I know if it ever was a popular option. 

They never made it here in Canada. I only saw one SpectraVideo SV328 once in a computer store window beside an Apple II compatible, and read about them in French computer magazines, but never even touch one.

 

Not quite true; my Dad tried to convince me that MSX was the next big thing when we were shopping around for computers in '83. I distinctly recall looking at price lists from Panasonic Canada. Hm. It might actually have been in '84, but I already had my 800 at that point...then again, my Dad kept telling me that Atari "was going broke" at the time, so he might have thought that this was a back-up plan. In any case, we did not go for the Panasonic computer.

 

We were living in the Toronto area at the time. It's true that I never saw MSX for sale in stores, and it disappeared from any conversation about personal computers after the end of '84.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, davidcalgary29 said:

Not quite true; my Dad tried to convince me that MSX was the next big thing when we were shopping around for computers in '83. I distinctly recall looking at price lists from Panasonic Canada. Hm. It might actually have been in '84, but I already had my 800 at that point...then again, my Dad kept telling me that Atari "was going broke" at the time, so he might have thought that this was a back-up plan. In any case, we did not go for the Panasonic computer.

 

We were living in the Toronto area at the time. It's true that I never saw MSX for sale in stores, and it disappeared from any conversation about personal computers after the end of '84.

I was in Montreal back then, and beside european mags talking about them it never made it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Some of my classmates were interested in music production in about 1983/84. I seem to recall that a local (Halifax, Nova Scotia) store that sold musical instruments and other gear for professional musicians also stocked some of the Sony MSX computers with MIDI support. I definitely remember seeing the advertisements, but I don't think that I ever saw the actual hardware. They were far out of my friends' price range. 

 

There were lots of full-page magazine advertisements for SpectraVideo systems, but I never saw any hardware at retail. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah. Sony's HitBit models came with a built-in diary (!) program that could save your notes to tape recorder or a custom battery backed up RAM expansion. There were generic RAM expansions that would work on all MSX models, but the diary program did not support it, which I learned as my big brother used to own one of those for a short while.

 

Generally the gimmick with MSX was that although the standard specs were identical, each manufacturer could design the look of the computer, sometimes positioning of keys, some of the outputs (e.g. monitor video might not be the same across all of them) plus that the manufacturer had the option to add something extra beyond the specs. Yamaha included a DX synthesizer and MIDI support with their CX-5M. Pioneer had their models prepared fo a LaserDisc. Sony had that diary. Many others may not have included anything extra at all, but sold on build quality and/or price.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gotta admit some of those MSX machines, particularly some Sony models, are dead sexy imo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 7/15/2020 at 2:04 AM, carlsson said:

Technically it is a ColecoVision (or ADAM), if we want to nitpick.

A colecovision with an intellivision sound chip.

On 7/15/2020 at 12:23 PM, carlsson said:

Indeed! I suppose Coleco had their reasons to build an own computer system around the ColecoVision, instead of joining an international standard. As it turned out, they would've almost been the single supplier of MSX systems in America, or perhaps that had been enough of a driving force to have others import some of the bigger brands.

Colecovision predates the MSX, Adam is an expanded colecovision.  And some companies wanted to control the software published for their system or at least try.

 

Had coleco sold an msx system and were successful, they wouldn't have been the only supplier for long.  American computer companies seemed to aim at monopolising the market.  Tramiel with his lowest possible cost computers really prevented MSX from coming to north america and ruined the market for other manufacturers.  His mission was to stop the Japanese from coming and even pre-emptively launched the vic-20 in Japan.

Edited by mr_me
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, if we put together a timeline:

 

Oct 1982: ColecoVision launches in the USA

Nov 1982: Sord M5 launches in Japan

Jan 1983: Spectravideo SVI-318 announced at Winter CES

Jun 1983: MSX standard announced

Jun 1983: Coleco ADAM announced (released in Oct 1983)

Jun 1983: Mattel Aquarius launched (possibly announced earlier)

Jun 1983: Commodore pushing the big button on the price war

 

There are more points to add to this timeline, like e.g. exactly when the VTech CreatiVision was announced/launched in Hong Kong and eventually Australia etc.

 

The lock-in principle might have worked in theory in 1979 when TI tried it, but by the end of 1982, early 1983 it must've been seen as a risky business model. If Coleco had made a MSX computer, possibly with an extra SN76489 sound chip to perfectly replicate the ColecoVision sounds that the AY-3-891x chip isn't able to (probably only the LFSR bass), they could've maintained backwards compatibility and at the same time publish games that could be played on both their own computer and any eventual competitor's system imported from Japan. Yes, the opposite would've been true too so it was a chance to take.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just got into the msx computers in 2020 very capable machines.,, i really love the casio mx 10 and my panasonic msx a1. The games are really fun and 8 look foward to doing some sprite graphics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The MX-10 though requires the FA-32 data recorder interface if you want to load something from tape. At least with 16K RAM it should run most cartridges unlike the predecessor Casio PV-7 with minimal 8K RAM. Actually it is odd that the MSX standard allowed machines with so little RAM in 1983, pretty much every sane home computer back then had at least 16K, many far more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...