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doctor_x

MSX?? Why?

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Yes, I played Triton last week and am planning to go through more MSXdev entries soon.

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Yep to understand MSX, you have to realize that MSX is both a line of standards and also a series of evolving machines... not sure how to express that, but, for most people, "MSX" mean "MSX 1, 2, 2+ and Turbo-R" machines.

And let's be fair most people into MSX have at least a MSX2 machine, which is on some levels more powerful than a Famicom (basic one).

MSX are also famous for being extremely flexible; they are easily turned into Frankein-monsteriffic machines - the reason is that MSX designers knew that their original machine was "lacking" and left the inner ROM "open" to being upgraded by expansion carts - making integration of updates easier and more streamlined than with other systems.

 

It's also worth nothing it was one of the only 80's computer that got consequent VRAM (128Ko of VRAM on MSX2, expandable to 192Ko)

It's also (In Europe) the only 8 bits computer that had 3"1/2 floppies as a de facto standard (on MSX2) allowing for large games and saves.

 

MSX being a standard, there are several machines with various styles, options, etc... but at core are compatible with software, making MSX very versatile machines.

MSX is also famous for being the "Konami machine" with loads of games that would later get on Famicom/Nes debuting on MSX (Mostly, MSX2). Cart games were common and allowed for expanded sound capabilities; for several games on floppies, external "sound cards" did the same : plug your sound cartridge, play your floppy game.

 

It's what make the MSX line different from the likes of Atari 8 bits, C64 or Spectrum : versability and extreme compatibility.

 

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Posted (edited)

As for the original post, MSX were used in professionnal setups, mostly MS2 and TurboR in Japan.

In Europe there were mostly game machines.

In the US and elsewhere, Yamaha sold them as MIDI machines (the only source of "American" MSX2, tho given they are Yamaha sound tools they are more expensive than importing a MSX2 from Europe (MSX2 from Philips are still largely under the 100€ mark if you find someone in the Netherland to get it for you) or Japan.

Yamaha also exported several MSX and MSX2 as educative computers, most notably in the Middle East and even more famously in USSR (KYBT and KYBT2).

 

So yes, the MSX are powerful gaming machine but also saw serious use; though as with other computers, especially 8 bits (except maybe for the C64) those uses are largely forgotten.

 

Yamaha CX5M

Yamaha_CX5M_Music_Computer_set,_MIM_Brus

7192357b.png

 

The most famous example :

mir2.jpg

Sony MSX2.. on MIR.

Yes, the Soviet Space Station.

Interior_of_Mir_Core_Module.jpg?itok=W7M

 

According to a forum "In France during the late 80's, begining of 90 The "Sncf" (national train company) was equiped with Msx2 Sony (certainly HB-F900F). Some other Sony Msx2 were found in some "Edf" offices ( French national electric company) , one was seen in a nuclear power plant (office !).
Some "Gendarmerie" (Police departments) were equiped with philips Msx2 computers."

 

Yamaha AX350 with Arabic support.

yamaha_ax350_msx2.jpg

 

Yamaha YIS503 III, KYBT2, used in Soviet schools (with a master computer being a more evolved Yamaha YIS 805)

Yis503iiiri.jpg

 

MSX2 were also used in video editing to overlay text over images, or different video feeds.

 

As for the legacy, MSX appeared on the market in 1983. The last MSX Turbo-R was made in 1993. While it's a lifespan very comparable with other famous 8 bits, it's the only one that received considerable support and upgrades with full backward compatibility (save for Turbo-R machines dropping tape support - but not MSX1 compatibility) which kept MSX fan interested. A MSX3 should have been released in 1993, but Panasonic was, by then, the only company remaining interested, and they dropped the MSX3 in favor of the 3DO. Oh well.

Edited by CatPix
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This video give a good idea of what the MSX was in term of gaming:

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the replies guys.. the guy who mentioned them behind a “standard” makes sense to me now that I consider all of them have most things exactly the same - and only a few additions on a few models.. I know there is one that was called a “communicator” or something.. built in modem and i believe phone handset too....

 

i also lust after the sony X68000 and used to think it was an MSX as well - but nope its not.

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Sharp X68000 actually. Sony was part of the MSX generation for a few years, up to MSX2.

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On 7/14/2020 at 8:00 PM, doctor_x said:

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?

All MSX machines had more RAM than the NES. The lowest RAM MSX was 8kb, and there are only 1 or 2 models that had that much RAM, 16kb was the typical starting point, which quickly grew to 32 or 64kb.

 

The MSX also had a keyboard, a version of Microsoft Basic, a tape interface, and typically some type of expansion port or second cartridge slot. Basically, you could do a lot more with a MSX machine than you could a NES. The pricing of the MSX was consistent with typical computer prices, such as the SV-318, Sega SC-1000, etc.

 

On 8/12/2020 at 3:45 PM, doctor_x said:

Thanks for the replies guys.. the guy who mentioned them behind a “standard” makes sense to me now that I consider all of them have most things exactly the same - and only a few additions on a few models.. I know there is one that was called a “communicator” or something.. built in modem and i believe phone handset too....

 

i also lust after the sony X68000 and used to think it was an MSX as well - but nope its not.

From what I understand, a MSX machine had to meet the minimum spec, but companies were free to add their own customizations as long as they didn't break compatibility.

 

There are MSX 1 machines ranging from the small Casio MX-10 to MSX machines that would not look out of place in a home theater setup.

Edited by cdoty
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By the way, here are the results from the MSXdev '20 competition. The jury only consisted of two people, but they've given thorough comments to their scores.

 

1. The Menace from Triton - 22.5 points

2. RELEVO's Snowboarding - 22.0 points

3. Stupid Martians - 20.0 points

and so on

 

https://www.msxdev.org/2020/09/11/msxdev20-final-results-are-here/

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