MSX to Celebrate its 30th Anniversary on June 27, 2013

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MSX, which was Introduced by Microsoft and ASCII, is a Z80-Based Group of Home Computers that Strived to Establish a Common Standard in Home Computing

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Because of its open standard and relative compatibility with PCs a lot of hardware extensions such as ethernet cards, SCSI and IDE interfaces, SD/MMC card readers and even sound and videochips have been created by the MSX community

Thirty years ago, Microsoft and ASCII announced the MSX computer standard; it was the first attempt to introduce some type of standard into the world of home and microcomputers. On June 27, 2013, MSX will celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Backed by the Microsoft company—which provided the BIOS/BASIC—as well as a large group of consumer electronic brands like Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Casio, Yamaha, Daewoo, Sanyo and many others, the 8-bit platform provided inter-band software exchangeability. As a result of this innovative feature, MSX is said to stand for not just “MicroSoft Extended,” but also “Machines with Software eXchangeability.”

MSX Resource Center, a website that is devoted to the 8-bit MSX computer system, will also be celebrating the 30th anniversary of MSX on June 27. The site, which features a large archive of MSX news, an active MSX forum and an extensive section of free MSX software, is the most active platform and online hangout where MSX-minded people can gather.

Over the years, MSX has become popular in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Russia, Korea, Arabic countries, and especially Japan. For example, major Japanese software companies like Konami, Falcom, Compile, MicroCabin, Hudson and Bothtec supported MSX into the early 1990s. Thanks to its popularity in Japan, there is now a huge software library for MSX that is available.

In all, four generations of MSX computers have been on the market: MSX1, MSX2, MSX2+ and the turboR. In addition to being backwards-compatible with each other, each computer came with its own improved set of features. In 2004, a batch of 5,000 MSX compatible FPGA based “One Chip MSX” was produced by the Japanese company D4 Enterprise. Currently, a Korean follow-up is going on the market under the name Zemmix Neo.

During the past three decades, several notable computer experts and games have utilized MSX. For example, Hideo Kojima’s first project at Konami was an MSX game called “Penguin Adventure.” Kojima found that the limitations of MSX forced him to be creative, so instead of huge groups of enemies fighting on-screen, he employed a more tactical approach. From this method, Kojima created Metal Gear, which is part of the Tactical Espionage genre.

Metal Gear 1 was first released on MSX as an exclusive game, and its follow-up called Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake was an MSX exclusive. Both are available in the Metal Gear HD retrogaming collection for the PS3. Aside from the multi-platform game Snatcher, which was also by Hideo Kojima, an alternate version called SD-Snatcher was also released exclusively for MSX.

MSX has also had many more “first” releases over time, including Bomberman from Hudson, and alternative versions, like Castlevania as Vampire Killer. In addition, the Gradius/Nemesis games on MSX were more extensive than the versions released on other platforms.

Since the 1990s, a large group of active scene members have been helping to keep MSX alive. Because of its open standard and relative compatibility with PCs—for instance, the FAT12 file system—a lot of hardware extensions such as ethernet cards, SCSI and IDE interfaces, SD/MMC card readers and even sound and videochips have been created by the MSX community.

Anybody who would like to learn more about MSX is welcome to visit the MSX Resource Center at any time; there, they can meet other fans of MSX in a friendly online environment and share their ideas and thoughts about anything and everything related to MSX.

About MSX Resource Center:

MSX Resource Center is the one-stop-website where active MSX users and developers meet, share and discuss their new releases and help each other with development of new hard- and software. For more information, please visit

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Sander Zuidema
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