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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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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




The most famous example :


Sony MSX2.. on MIR.

Yes, the Soviet Space Station.



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



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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