The MSX is a 8-bit-home-computer-system since 1982. MSX is an official standard, which was developed by japanese or korean companies like Sony or Sanyo in cooperation with Microsoft. Manufacturers like Phillips and Sony released early MSX machines (MSX-1 and MSX-2) on the western market while later machines (MSX-2+ and MSX turbo R) only got released in Japan.
The operation system is a Microsoft BASIC. The official statement about what MSX stands for is “MicroSoft eXtended BASIC”, in short MSX-BASIC while the inner MSX community likes to call it “Machines with Software eXchangeability” or “Matsushita Sony X-machine” due their aversion against Microsoft.
In any case, in many countries – Japan, Brazil, South-Korea and Netherlands – the MSX controlled the market and took the same place as the C-64.
^ The MSX Hit Bit HB-75P from Sony (1984)
The MSX-1 for example, consists in parts of standard-hardware components of its time:
- a Zilog Z80A CPU with 3,58 Mhz, 32 Kb ROM and 8, up to 64 kB RAM.
- a Texas Instruments TMS9918 GPU with 6 kB video RAM (screen resolution of 256-192 pixels) and
- a General Instrument AY-38910 (PSG) soundchip, supporting 3 channels.
The MSX-standard allowed the different manufacturers to insert or exchange own modules (soft and/or hardware) into their MSX homecomputer machines. The CX5-M from Yamaha for example got an additional sound system: a DX-7-like FM-Synthesizer, with a MIDI interface and the possibility to plug in an external keyboard.
A pre-installed DOS-system named MSX-DOS is file-compatible with MS-DOS and supports MS-DOS-like commands. That way Microsoft was able to advertise the MSX for Home Computer and MS-DOS for Personal Computer on the western market. The integrated BASIC-Dialect with its wide range of commands (even for sound, graphics and sprites) is superior to other computer systems like the C64.
The most successful game-development company for the MSX is Konami. Konami created many first versions of today famous franchises like Metal Gear or Gradius and other very superior games.
MSX also featured simple text writing or card archive software and even supported printers for the home-office market.
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