Machines with Software eXchangeability - Microsoft Game Console (MSX2)

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Machines with Software eXchangeability (MSX2)

MSX (Machines with Software eXchangeability) was the name of the standard for consumer computers in the 1980s. It was an attempt to create uniform standards for hardware developers, initiated by the Japanese branch of Microsoft and Kazuhiko Nishi, who headed it at that time. The well-known Japanese company ASCII Corporation, founded by Nishi together with Kazuya Watanabe specifically for this purpose, also participated in the development of the standard. Computers of the MSX standard gained great popularity in Japan and several other countries, however, despite the support of Microsoft, they hardly gained popularity in the USA and Europe. More than 7.5 million MSX-compatible computers have been sold worldwide, 5 million of them in Japan.

Nisi proposed the MSX standard as an attempt to create a unified industry standard for consumer computers. Inspired by the success of VHS standardization, many electronics manufacturers, including Goldstar, Philips, and Spectravideo, have developed and marketed MSX computers. Any device or software bearing the MSX logo has been interoperable with third-party MSX products. Specifically, the standard described the format and functionality of expansion cartridges, which allowed any expansion device or game cartridge to work on any MSX computer.

The Nishi standard consisted mainly of a few already available nodes. These are the Zilog Z80 processor operating at 3.58 MHz, the TMS9918 video controller from Texas Instruments with 16 KB of video memory, and the AY-3-8910 sound generator chip from General Instrument (GI). These components, together with Microsoft's MSX BASIC interpreter, made MSX a competitive standard, but also made the cost of the corresponding computers quite high. The MSX standard strongly resembled Spectravideo's existing SV-328 home computer, but this computer did not fully comply with the MSX standard. Spectravideo subsequently released the SV-728, which was already a standard MSX computer.

Prior to the advent and subsequent great success of Nintendo's Famicom, MSX computers were the primary home platform for Japan's most prominent video game companies such as Konami and Hudson Soft. Game series like Metal Gear, Bomberman and Valis began with games first released on MSX computers.


  • Processor: & nbsp; Zilog Z80A, clocked at 3.58 MHz
  • ROM: 48KB
    BIOS & nbsp; + Extended BIOS (32KB)
    MSX BASIC & nbsp; V2.0 (16 KB)
    DiskROM (16 KB) (optional)
    MSX-Audio & nbsp; BIOS (32 KB) (optional)
  • RAM: Typically 128KB (64KB on Japanese models; Sony HB-F700P was 256KB)
    The memory manager maintains 4 MB of address space for each of the 4 slots (RAM, ROM and & nbsp; etc.)
  • Video controller: & nbsp; Yamaha V9938 & nbsp; (also known as MSX-Video)
    Video RAM: 128 KB (sometimes 64 KB or 192 KB)
    Text Modes: 80 & nbsp; & times; & nbsp; 24, 40 x 24 and 32 x 24 characters
    Graphics modes: 512 x 212 (16 colors from the 512 palette) and 256 x 212 (256 colors)
    Sprites: 32, 16 colors, up to 8 sprites per image line
    Hardware acceleration for copy, fill, line drawing and & nbsp; t. & Nbsp; n.
    The ability to double the vertical resolution by alternating lines
    Vertical scroll case
  • Sound generator IC: & nbsp; Yamaha YM2149 & nbsp; (PSG)
    3 channels + noise
  • Real time clock chip RP5C01

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