MSX's historical position

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By Arom77

Resident (63)

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15-04-2005, 02:45

And considering videogame history there's no doubt MSX had a major influence, a lot of japanese famous games started on MSX (and Famicom... Wink )

In France when I had my MSX in 1986 none of my friends in school knew about MSX, even the existence of MSX was ignored. They all had Amstrad CPC (CPC was a huge success in France, even C64 was blown away).

By Samor

Prophet (2122)

Samor's picture

15-04-2005, 08:21

if I'm not mistaken one thing that was quite unique on MSX were the "dual slot" tricks like in Konami's (and the fact it had 2 slots). Actually, the DS is using that very same old trick right now; Sega's Project Rub has unlockables when you enter Sonic Advance (1,2,3) or some of their other games into the GBA (=secondary) slot.

By snout

Ascended (15184)

snout's picture

15-04-2005, 09:30

..and lets not forget about Metal Gear. The limitations of the MSX2 resulted in one of the best-selling, most famous gaming series ever Wink

By Samor

Prophet (2122)

Samor's picture

15-04-2005, 19:45

well, it sure had its impact on the prices....

by now, I've been able to (re-)acquire quite a bunch of MSX carts, but the original two Metal Gears (and especially the second one) are traded for such high prices that I can consider them "beyond reach" Wink
I have all the MGS'es though Smile

By dhau

Paragon (1570)

dhau's picture

15-04-2005, 21:52

Add to that things like the VDP and the intention to give single chips multiple capabilities/tasks and I can't help but think there was a vision behind MSX that was later embraced by other platforms as well

Mmmm... And what about custom video/audio/mapper chips from A8 computers? Atari 800 was mass-produced starting with 1978... That makes it at least 5 years before MSX introduction.

By dhau

Paragon (1570)

dhau's picture

15-04-2005, 22:25

I have to disagree with my MSX friends, the Russians used MSX in there schools and colleges.Only 6000 computers and only in and around Moscow. I'm sorry but that's almost nothing.

These 6000 computers were manufactured by Yamaha in Japan. The Russians didn't even bother to copy the MSX. No MSX computer or even a clone was build or sold in Russia, never.

Influence? I think not, not in Russia that is.

Well, I had access to Yamaha KUVT classess in both Surgut (Siberia) and Chisinau (Moldova, near Romania). So it was fairly popular. And due to limited alternatives and their often inferior quality (AGAT-7, AGAT-9, CM-5, BK-0010 etc.), literally all folks who are now in their late 20-s / early 30-s had some exposure to those computers. But not many remember the details. After all MSXes appeared right before the onslaught of cheap clone XTs and 286-s in 1990/91. So the only window for large Yamaha use was 1988-1990.

And there was an attempt to clone MSX1 - a computer, called SURA, was a semi-working MSX1 clone. It had no PSG and a very crude approximation of V9929 made from discrete basic ICs. It was good enought to run MSX BASIC 1.0, but wasn't any good for games. It was produced by one of numerous start-ups ( "kooperativ" ) of soviet "perestroika" era (1987-1990), and as such is nothing you want to be associated with Wink

By Maggoo

Paragon (1214)

Maggoo's picture

16-04-2005, 11:04

IMO, MSX hasn't left a big footprint in home computing history (at least in western countries) because, beside for the idea of compatibility and standard, it never really innovated in anything. When it came to the marked, it was not more powerfull than anything existing already, it was merely a pimped up Colecovision or a standardized SVI328... Back in the eighties, all that mattered was CPU speed, resolution, number of colors, sound channels.

According to me it's also a big succession of Marketing failures... Deciding not to sell in the US, the biggest home computer market at the time, also where the biggest videogame editors were present was a mistake. The pricing of MSX was also a big mistake, early MSX models were truly overcharged, price of a disk drive was also ridiculously high compared to the price of an Amstrad CPC.

Also, MSX vendor didn't realize the importance of good software support, and dedicated press. For the first 2 years of existance of MSX in Belgium/France, good games were really hard to find, and there was perhaps one MSX dedicated magazine, published once every blue moon... When the first really good games came (end 85-86), all the other platform already had a huge user base, tons of games and magazines. Many of the MSX vendors were already leaving the boat (this isn't giving a very good image), and much more powerfull computers were coming to the Market (Atari ST/Amiga/PC AT). Again, this is when MSX2 was marketed, without any game or proper applications or capacities outstanding compared to new systems, and not cheaper either...
Truly, it makes you wonder if the people in charge of MSX in Europe had any clue about how to market a home computer...

By cax

Prophet (3736)

cax's picture

16-04-2005, 11:21

Only 6000 computers and only in and around Moscow. I'm sorry but that's almost nothing.

Pardon my french ?

Tens of schools on Sakhalin island had Yamaha MSX2 classes.
About 10 of MSX classes - only in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk where I lived.

Schools and universities in Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine now),
Nalchik, Novosibirsk, Blagoveshensk, Yakutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Abakan (cities all around ex-USSR) - those I saw myself or talked about with my friend from there while participating various computer olympiads and "schools of young programmers".

You say "Moscow only" ? You are so wrong. The whole generation all around USSR was exposed to MSX, and because they used computers in schools and universities, there were many users for every single machine.

MSX is a legendary computer, and if we were able to buy it then, we were doing so.

By Grauw

Ascended (10321)

Grauw's picture

27-04-2005, 23:45

The msx could've been bigger if the system was a bit more powereful. A faster cpu, a major faster VDP with DMA and fm-pac built-in orso, would make a major difference..
Even with the specs it had it was already one of the more expensive computers... So I don’t know whether that was feasible.

Also, specs alone don’t make a system. Look at the PS2, less powerful than the XBox but the games available for it appeal to a larger audience.

By Tanni

Hero (556)

Tanni's picture

06-05-2005, 18:28

IMO, MSX hasn't left a big footprint in home computing history (at least in western countries) because, beside for the idea of compatibility and standard, it never really innovated in anything. When it came to the marked, it was not more powerfull than anything existing already, it was merely a pimped up Colecovision or a standardized SVI328... Back in the eighties, all that mattered was CPU speed, resolution, number of colors, sound channels.

Back in the eighties, the whole market on homecomputers just started. Maybe, that all that mattered was speed, resolution, colours and sound, but, for us now, we should ask, why it was like that in
that time.

Compare it with a car. Maybe it is possible to build a car performing 300 km/h, but you only can
drive it in a salt lake in Utah. Maybe, in the early days of automobiles, speed really mattered. But
today, everybody knows, that car speed reasonable above the european speed limits doesn't make sense to realize. Maybe, for computers, this is not true. But do you really want to by a new
computer every six month or so just to have the maximum speed available?

So, if a new technologie is introduced, there will be rapid changes at the beginning. But if this technologie has been existing for a while, other considerations e. g. user friendlyness also must be considered. And, the longer these techonolgy will stay, the more important are these other
consideration.

And, if you like to bring a product as complex as a computer to the market, you must decide for
an underlying technology. In case of MSX, this was the Z80 processor. This technology must be so
cheep, that the product can be purchased by the people in the target market. Lounching MSX with
68000 processor in 1983 or 1984 would have been to expensive for being successful.

I think, it is a gread innovation to realize a system which can be adapted to the different natioal
markets and their needs with respect to the keyboard, the character generator etc. I don't know
any other system in this days with this feature. So, you should not just think in techology if you
talk about innovations.

According to me it's also a big succession of Marketing failures... Deciding not to sell in the US, the biggest home computer market at the time, also where the biggest videogame editors were present was a mistake. The pricing of MSX was also a big mistake, early MSX models were truly overcharged, price of a disk drive was also ridiculously high compared to the price of an Amstrad CPC.

Also, MSX vendor didn't realize the importance of good software support, and dedicated press. For the first 2 years of existance of MSX in Belgium/France, good games were really hard to find, and there was perhaps one MSX dedicated magazine, published once every blue moon... When the first really good games came (end 85-86), all the other platform already had a huge user base, tons of games and magazines. Many of the MSX vendors were already leaving the boat (this isn't giving a very good image), and much more powerfull computers were coming to the Market (Atari ST/Amiga/PC AT). Again, this is when MSX2 was marketed, without any game or proper applications or capacities outstanding compared to new systems, and not cheaper either...
Truly, it makes you wonder if the people in charge of MSX in Europe had any clue about how to market a home computer...

Yes, indeed, they made a lot of mistakes as they started MSX.

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