Difference between revisions of "MSX"

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MSX logo.

The MSX is a computer architecture standard devised by Microsoft and ASCII Corporation for the Eastern market and licensed in 1983-06-16. The goal was to create a standard hardware model for the home market at a time when nearly every company had incompatible hardware. The MSX standard was fairly popular, and over 20 companies created licensed hardware, and hundreds more wrote software for MSX machines, but it never supplanted the hugely popular PC-8800.

The initial release of the MSX saw a lot of popularity, with several major companies building computers and seeing combined sales around 9 million. Unfortunately, each subsequent release (the MSX2, MSX2+, and MSX TurboR) saw fewer adopters and fewer sales, and the MSX was discontinued in 1993. The MSX saw some success in Europe, Brazil, and various other countries, and a couple companies tried to market MSX computers in the USA, but they couldn't put a dent in the already hugely competitive market dominated by the Commodore 64 and Apple II.


Being an American, I never even heard of MSX computer architecture until I started seeing it show up on MobyGames while I was researching games. After that, I started looking into the system and found it fascinating, and played around with MSX emulators. However, since I was primarily using it for games, and the MSX wasn't designed for games, I didn't find anything all that interesting. Those games that didn't rely on good graphics, like RPGs, were mostly written in Japanese, so I couldn't play them anyway, and most of the popular MSX games were also released as more impressive titles on the NES.


I do not own any MSX hardware, nor have I ever used any in real life.


The MSX standard was built on the hugely popular Zilog Z80A 8-bit processor. The initial model supported 8-128 KB of RAM, used a Texas Instruments TMS9918 video chip, and General Instrument AY-3-8910 audio chip. Both the video and audio chips were replaced by Yamaha variants in all subsequent models. Every model supported ROM cartridges, data cassettes, and floppy diskette drives.


The MSX actually saw the birth of several franchises which would grow to popularity including, Antarctic Adventure, Bomberman, Eggerland, Metal Gear, Parodius, and Puyo Puyo. It also saw a lot of attention from popular franchises.


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