Interview Martin de Jong from Aackosoft and MT

Interview Martin de Jong from Aackosoft and MT

by ro on 16-02-2023, 08:23
Topic: Media
Languages:

Mid eighties was a fine time for MSX revelations, lots of new companies jumped on board to deliver fresh 8-bit magic. Dutch hardware designer Martin de Jong was one of those pioneers for the system. Having developed both hardware and software for Dutch companies Micro Technology and Aackosoft, this gentle man has some good stories to tell. Bas Kornalijnslijper got him to talk in a recorded video-interview.

Perhaps you remember the days dialing into a BBS, for you youngsters, that's a bulletin board system , using an MSX with a modem hooked onto a telephone line. Good chance that this modem was a MT-telecom device. That device from Micro Technology (MT) was designed by Dutch MSX veteran Martin de Jong. In fact, most MT devices where from his hand. MRC user RepairBas, or Bas Kornalijnslijper, looked him up and took place on his couch for a chat.

Right there, he got Martin to talk about his MSX days and recorded the interview for Bas his YouTube channel. The interview is in the Dutch language, since both parties are Duchies. Perhaps a proper subtitle track will be added, otherwise use the auto-generated caption. Martin takes Bas through a trip down memory lane telling about his first build computer, his involvement in Dutch MSX publishers Aackosoft and Micro Technology (MT).

Martin tells stories about his first developed computer call the Aster computer, and other hardware projects. When he got involved with the MSX computer standard, he remember joining Aackosoft to do low-level assembly programming. He mentioned one of his code pieces would involve a PSG sample player, which later provided for the well known "OH SHIT!" speech sample in a Pac-Man clone game. The list of games from Aackosoft, and sub parties, is endless and Martin was involved in many of them.

When he later joined MT, short for Micro Technology, he mainly designed MSX hardware cartridges. Amongst the earlier mentioned modem MT-telecom and MT-telcom II, the company had MT-debug, MT-base and other well known hardware on their credit list as well. In more recent history, Martin designed smartphone and spacecraft hardware.

Bas Kornalijnslijper his YouTube channel is a growing gallery of MSX awesomeness. Besides this new interview video, you can find instructions to save old hardware from failure, upgrade existing MSX machines, old videos from the MSX prime years, fairs, and other MSX related videos. A great source of information.

Relevant link: Interview with Martin de Jong

Comments (37)

By The Apeman

Master (242)

The Apeman's picture

16-02-2023, 09:28

"The P2000 was just a video recorder with a Z80. Also not even Dutch" LOL!

By tfh

Prophet (3315)

tfh's picture

16-02-2023, 11:01

The Apeman wrote:

"The P2000 was just a video recorder with a Z80. Also not even Dutch" LOL!

I think he said "Video Generator"
And although Philips is Dutch, the P2000 was (partially) developed in Austria if I remember correctly?

By The Apeman

Master (242)

The Apeman's picture

16-02-2023, 12:39

Yes, it was developed in Austria. But I still like the statement for the off-hand way he dismissed what for many Dutch kids was the first computer they touched because it was in all the schools.

By warmize

Expert (71)

warmize's picture

16-02-2023, 13:23

For those of us that don't speak dutch, we can enable subtitles and automatic translation in the options of the video player.
Thansk for the interview!

By Latok

msx guru (3927)

Latok's picture

16-02-2023, 13:27

I enjoyed it a lot! Martin really talked us through his MSX life and felt comfortable doing so. Thanks to Bas his interview capabilities and knowledge. To both of them: thank you very much!

By ddehaan

Resident (60)

ddehaan's picture

16-02-2023, 17:22

Great interview. Would love to see some more! Perhaps for example more people of Aackosoft are prepaired to do an interview like this!

By Manuel

Ascended (19300)

Manuel's picture

16-02-2023, 22:30

Heh, I thought Ronald van der Putten did that Oh Shit sound...

By Latok

msx guru (3927)

Latok's picture

16-02-2023, 22:51

Manuel wrote:

Heh, I thought Ronald van der Putten did that Oh Shit sound...

I guess its his voice then, Martin wrote the speech routine.

By wimpie3

Champion (435)

wimpie3's picture

17-02-2023, 08:28

As an (ex)owner of many MT products, it was amazing to hear his stories.

By ray2day

Paladin (731)

ray2day's picture

17-02-2023, 12:21

Really cool interview! Cool Thx Bas ..and Martin ofcourse!

By Wlcracks

Hero (536)

Wlcracks's picture

17-02-2023, 16:18

Interesting video.
Nothing romantic being a programmer in those days. No over payed salary, no SUV leasebak with 200 hp, no unlimited tankpas, no newest iphone, no new laptop every 2 years.
Sleeping on the floor and hoping you could keep your job. Respect.

By edoz

Prophet (2473)

edoz's picture

19-02-2023, 16:24

Nice interview, thanks for sharing.

By Avkooi

Expert (100)

Avkooi's picture

20-02-2023, 23:28

Great to hear these nostalgic stories of our beloved system from a passionate developper first hand! Who is next?

By SKiLLa

Expert (115)

SKiLLa's picture

21-02-2023, 13:21

Yeah, game development with large companies still is like that today ... it pays a bit better I guess, but you still pay dearly with your time & stress-levels as a developer. And as bonus you get fired before launch-date in many cases ...

And I used to have MT-Debug on a cartridge; it was great for it's time. And I still love my proper debuggers to this day Smile

By rvanderputten

Supporter (12)

rvanderputten's picture

26-02-2023, 20:28

Ahum.. Martin Who??

Typically, I don't like to brag, but while working at Aackosoft, I developed the all the algorithms for recording and playing back digital sounds. Moreover, my voice was predominantly used for this purpose. I urge you to verify my credentials. Our team created three products, namely Mastervoice 1.0 and 2.0 (Disk version) that allowed novice programmers to incorporate sound playback into their applications. Additionally, I also created an internal version specifically designed for integrating with our games.

I do not know this Martin, but his claim is a BIG LIE!

-Ronald
Wikipedia

By rvanderputten

Supporter (12)

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26-02-2023, 21:22

100% correct!

By rvanderputten

Supporter (12)

rvanderputten's picture

26-02-2023, 21:23

Latok wrote:
Manuel wrote:

Heh, I thought Ronald van der Putten did that Oh Shit sound...

I guess its his voice then, Martin wrote the speech routine.

Incorrect, it was all me.

By rvanderputten

Supporter (12)

rvanderputten's picture

26-02-2023, 21:33

Hello MSX.ORG

If you correct your article, I would be willing to conduct an interview with you. During the interview, I can share details about my career at Aackosoft, including how I was hired, my initial role as a Master-creator, the individuals who taught me Z80, the in-depth details of Wordstore, the floppy disk protection mechanism, games i was involved with, and the occasional three-day work week.

-Ronald

By Thom

Paladin (703)

Thom's picture

27-02-2023, 10:18

Thanks for the correction, Ronald. I have no idea what is going on here. Perhaps it is innocent and his memory is not quite correct after 40 years? But what I do know for sure is that I'm not the only one hoping that the interview will happen.

By ro

Scribe (4914)

ro's picture

27-02-2023, 10:26

Hai Ronald, welcome to MRC and thank you for you input. Like Thom said, it's been a while for most people and human memory is a funny thing when getting older Smile

I'll contact you further via other channels.

By Manuel

Ascended (19300)

Manuel's picture

27-02-2023, 14:01

Questions I would have at least now:
- who were involved in developing the MSX software made by van Aacken's companies?
- who is Steve Course? English programmer or alias?
- what is the history of the several companies? Dates? Reasons of all these names/labels? So, Aackosoft, Aackosoft Edusystems, Eaglesoft, Methodic Solutions, Eurosoft, Premium (III) Software Distribution, ...
- any unreleased software?
- what is the logic in the product numbering and is there a full list somewhere?
- do you still have contact with the MSX colleagues of that time?
- how did you develop the software? Which MSX machines, tools, etc. were used?
- who are the people on the Methodic Solutions loading screen?
- what is your own life/career story?
- how do you look back at your MSX time?

By ro

Scribe (4914)

ro's picture

27-02-2023, 15:21

- would you visit MSX fair Nijmegen 2023?

Smile

By rvanderputten

Supporter (12)

rvanderputten's picture

28-02-2023, 03:36

ro wrote:

- would you visit MSX fair Nijmegen 2023?

Smile

Would love to... Smile If work allows me to visit... I will try.

By rvanderputten

Supporter (12)

rvanderputten's picture

28-02-2023, 03:40

I got answers... perhaps not all, but answers I have.

By rvanderputten

Supporter (12)

rvanderputten's picture

28-02-2023, 03:43

Thom wrote:

Thanks for the correction, Ronald. I have no idea what is going on here. Perhaps it is innocent and his memory is not quite correct after 40 years? But what I do know for sure is that I'm not the only one hoping that the interview will happen.

Maybe, it just bothers me a lot when somebody blatantly takes credit for something I worked hard for.

By rvanderputten

Supporter (12)

rvanderputten's picture

28-02-2023, 03:43

ro wrote:

Hai Ronald, welcome to MRC and thank you for you input. Like Thom said, it's been a while for most people and human memory is a funny thing when getting older Smile

I'll contact you further via other channels.

Yes, please do.

By mcolom

Champion (310)

mcolom's picture

28-02-2023, 19:34

rvanderputten wrote:

Hello MSX.ORG

If you correct your article, I would be willing to conduct an interview with you. During the interview, I can share details about my career at Aackosoft, including how I was hired, my initial role as a Master-creator, the individuals who taught me Z80, the in-depth details of Wordstore, the floppy disk protection mechanism, games i was involved with, and the occasional three-day work week.
-Ronald

Hi Ronald! Great to see you around at MRC Smile
I'm a great fan of your speech on Aackosoft games hehe
Apart from that, it'd be absolutely interesting to hear directly from you about how games and other software was developed. I hope you'll be interviewed and we can know about the insights.

By mohai

Paladin (1001)

mohai's picture

08-03-2023, 18:00

Manuel wrote:

Questions I would have at least now:
- who were involved in developing the MSX software made by van Aacken's companies?
- who is Steve Course? English programmer or alias?
- what is the history of the several companies? Dates? Reasons of all these names/labels? So, Aackosoft, Aackosoft Edusystems, Eaglesoft, Methodic Solutions, Eurosoft, Premium (III) Software Distribution, ...
- any unreleased software?
- what is the logic in the product numbering and is there a full list somewhere?
- do you still have contact with the MSX colleagues of that time?
- how did you develop the software? Which MSX machines, tools, etc. were used?
- who are the people on the Methodic Solutions loading screen?
- what is your own life/career story?
- how do you look back at your MSX time?

I would add one more question: Who is Dave?

I remember that If you press CTR+SHIFT+GRAPH+CODE in some games, you can hear a voice saying: "Hi Dave !"

By Wlcracks

Hero (536)

Wlcracks's picture

08-03-2023, 18:25

My q:

Why were those idiotic long tape loaders needed? Sometimes 15 minutes or longer and still load errors.
If you had a 32k rom to tape on 2400 baud this was in no time loaded. Aackosoft had this really long and unstable tape loaders.

By rvanderputten

Supporter (12)

rvanderputten's picture

12-03-2023, 01:20

Dave is still a good friend of mine Smile

By rvanderputten

Supporter (12)

rvanderputten's picture

12-03-2023, 01:24

Wlcracks wrote:

My q:

Why were those idiotic long tape loaders needed? Sometimes 15 minutes or longer and still load errors.
If you had a 32k rom to tape on 2400 baud this was in no time loaded. Aackosoft had this really long and unstable tape loaders.

Use the Tape Alignment kit.. I wrote that tool... [not Martin]. (I totally forgot about that tool.. good memories. Thanks for reminding me Smile )

By Wlcracks

Hero (536)

Wlcracks's picture

12-03-2023, 09:49

rvanderputten wrote:

good memories. Thanks for reminding me Smile )

Maybe you and Dave like to come to Nijmegen at 23 March 2023 to pick up some more good memories? (free for visitors)
LINK
or
LINK2

I saw the Nijmegen announcement is off the spotlight at msx.org :-(

By Thom

Paladin (703)

Thom's picture

12-03-2023, 13:03

rvanderputten wrote:
ro wrote:

- would you visit MSX fair Nijmegen 2023?

Smile

Would love to... Smile If work allows me to visit... I will try.

If you can come to Nijmegen: it would be nice if you did a live performance where you shout "oh shit" loudly into a microphone. But I'm probably asking too much. Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (10092)

wolf_'s picture

12-03-2023, 13:08

The guy is about 38 years older I figure... I'm not sure his vocal cords are still as "ohshitty" as in '85... ;-)

By araubi

Champion (433)

araubi's picture

12-03-2023, 17:49

rvanderputten wrote:

Dave is still a good friend of mine Smile

Dave Aron, I had the chance to talk to him about his time making MSX games. A very nice person.

One question, Ronald, I guess it's Rene Neuteboom who appears in the credits. Did he do the voice in any game or was it always your voice?

By Angelo Sanna

Resident (35)

Angelo Sanna's picture

21-03-2023, 19:50

rvanderputten wrote:

Hello MSX.ORG

If you correct your article, I would be willing to conduct an interview with you. During the interview, I can share details about my career at Aackosoft, including how I was hired, my initial role as a Master-creator, the individuals who taught me Z80, the in-depth details of Wordstore, the floppy disk protection mechanism, games i was involved with, and the occasional three-day work week.

-Ronald

Would see that indeed, because I have played most of your games back then (from the famous 30 MSX Hits on cassettes, etc. There was Master Voice too, nice piece of software!) but I guess that is not going to happen? I have watch the interview with Martin from MT, looks to me he is struggling with his memory & thinking because you see that he have some trouble and is slow sometime. But maybe you where both at the same time working on that without knowing it from each other? Could be.

By Manuel

Ascended (19300)

Manuel's picture

22-03-2023, 07:55

araubi wrote:
rvanderputten wrote:

Dave is still a good friend of mine Smile

Dave Aron, I had the chance to talk to him about his time making MSX games. A very nice person.

Any more info about that? Is there an interview online somewhere?