MSX's historical position

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By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

06-05-2005, 22:22

Well.... about computer history books which don´t mention msx at all... maybe those books were writed in countries where msx flopped badly.... i have heard that msx was rare in germany, is that true??

And if someone write comp history book in USA, then no-one with some msx-knowledge should not wonder that thing at all.... c64 and speccy overwhelmed european markets already when msx was taking it´s first steps in JAPAN and arrived to europe TWO YEARS LATER!! So is it so big mystery why msx is not mentioned in books..? 1

let´s say this another way...

in japan there were was no big markets for c64s and spectrums as in europe.... so one could think that if someone writes comp history book in japan, that someone of course had lived life WITHOUT seeing any european and american computers and would write only about MSX.... okay,, maybe not, but still...

By Jazzy

Champion (471)

Jazzy's picture

06-05-2005, 22:37

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 Winkand: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.I stand corrected. Thank you, both!

I was told that only 6000 computers where used but I guess it must be a lot more. Maybe I can ask Yamaha Corp. in Japan for some numbers. I had some correspondation with them about the Russian computers.

I will change my website too. Smile

By AuroraMSX

Paragon (1902)

AuroraMSX's picture

07-05-2005, 13:43

Back in the eighties, the whole market on homecomputers just started.
You're talking very early eighties, then Smile 80-81. The homecomputer revoultion already started by the end of the 70's...

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.
I think that what mattered most, was the kind of computer your friends had - compatibility, so to speak. If all of your friends had a C=64, you'd buy a C=64, too. Simply because you would not be able to get your hands on software for your Acorn Electron if you didn't know at least one other person with an Acorn Electron.

The MSX standard was addressing this exact problem, but the standard was drewn up of outdated (yaes, cheap) parts. Helas.

By Tanni

Hero (556)

Tanni's picture

09-05-2005, 17:20

Back in the eighties, the whole market on homecomputers just started.
You're talking very early eighties, then Smile 80-81. The homecomputer revoultion already started by the end of the 70's...

The ''exact'' time of the start of the ''homecomputer revolution'' depends on your definition of
homecomputer, isn't it? Yes, there were computer kits in the late 70's. There were TI 99/4A and
VC=20 in 1978 or 1979, but, as far as I remember, VC=20 cost about several thousand DM
in these days. The first real cheep homecomputer was the ZX81, which cost about 249,- DM
as it was introduced into the market in the very early eighties! That is, for me, the start of the
homecomputer market. If you say, that something just started at a certain period of time, than you
want to be not exact. In a thousand years, you can say that homecomputing started in the late 19 hundereds or in the early 21 century depending of what you have in mind concerning homecomputers. Who knows what will be associated with the term ''homecomputer'' in thousand
years?

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.
I think that what mattered most, was the kind of computer your friends had - compatibility, so to speak. If all of your friends had a C=64, you'd buy a C=64, too. Simply because you would not be able to get your hands on software for your Acorn Electron if you didn't know at least one other person with an Acorn Electron.

And if somewone wanted to show that his computer is faster or better in any way, he bought an Atari ST or an Amiga, which were not compatible to C=64 and ZX! Yes, of course, the systems the
others had influenced you what kind of computer you bought, also the availability in the stores.

The MSX standard was addressing this exact problem, but the standard was drewn up of outdated (yaes, cheap) parts. Helas.

If there's technological progress, every part is outdated after a certain period of time. If you want to
lounch a standard like MSX, which was intendet a world standard, you need some more time to prepare the system than for C64 or ZX.

I don't know if these two systems had considerable software support at the beginning by the original companies, but a very active private hard- and software developer sceene. If you aim a product for
people normally not capable of doing hard- and software developement, and I think MSX was
aimed to this kind of market, you must do this developement by the companies themselves. So, I
think, its a little bit unfair to say that MSX was built up form outdated parts.

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

20-05-2005, 15:11

I bought MSX even that my so-called-"friend" had c=63 Wink with hundreds of imaginative and good copied games on so many cassettes. Why?? Because MSX had better BASIC. And I liked to start programming! but that was in 87 not in beginning of the 80s. Thought MSX came in 85 to europe.

There is one more thing too, that commodore 64 and zx spectrum both had predecessors, Vic and Pet and ZX80 and ZX81. Those all were popular computers (thought i cannot say how popular pet was, thought it was good machine in it´s time) and they were published so early already. Of course MSX had both Spectravideos as predecessors. But commodore and Sinclair had a very good start already! and then came c=64 and spectrum, much earlier than msx.

and talking about cheap parts, ' cheap' was Clive´s trademark! So, MSX was of course not only one which was built on "old" technology. But sinclair was earlier. And MSX WAS NOT CHEAP when it first arrived!!! Prices went down later, but first it was expensive computer!

By Tanni

Hero (556)

Tanni's picture

20-05-2005, 16:24

I bought MSX even that my so-called-"friend" had c=63 Wink with hundreds of imaginative and good copied games on so many cassettes. Why?? Because MSX had better BASIC. And I liked to start programming! but that was in 87 not in beginning of the 80s. Thought MSX came in 85 to europe.

It's just most likely, that you buy the same computers your friends have. I've choosen for a MSX
because of the Z80 and the german keyboard.


There is one more thing too, that commodore 64 and zx spectrum both had predecessors, Vic and Pet and ZX80 and ZX81. Those all were popular computers (thought i cannot say how popular pet was, thought it was good machine in it´s time) and they were published so early already. Of course MSX had both Spectravideos as predecessors.

I don't consider PET 2001 as a homecomputer. At that time, there wasn't a mass market for that kind of device. It must have been used in offices or companies, I think.

Yes, MSX was very expensive, especially the disk drive.

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

21-05-2005, 09:36

Yes, I agree, it´s more easy and comfortable to choose something, that others have, just like clothes.

And yep, PET 2001 was a bit early machine, but I mentioned it, as there were people who were interested to get computer technology to their homes. Thought number of that kind people was of course "low", as mainstream didn´t understood computers, what they are and do, yet didn´t know they could do something with them.

By [D-Tail]

Ascended (8255)

[D-Tail]'s picture

21-05-2005, 11:18

At least I know now the answer to my question. Thank you Mr. Nishi! Big smile

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