-AM- Old Computers Part 2: Microsoft (of Japan)

Since I started out with Commodore Business Machines which inarguably are gaming consoles as much as they are computers, I’ll continue in that line. In that respect I offer for your consideration: the MSX line. The MSX was the brainchild of Microsoft’s Japanese brach in an effort to create an industry standard set of specifications. Microsoft did not manufacture the computers but merely designed and developed them, allowing many 3rd party companies, notably Sony, to produce them. The line debuted in 1983 and eventually became fairly successful in Japan, Brazil and continental Europe. The US and UK were still in love with the Commodore 64 and other models and MSX never took off there.

There were 3 primary models of the MSX over the years: MSX, MSX2 and MSX Turbo R. The first 2 were well-known for their game libraries and, like Commodore 64, had cartridge slots that booted up games immediately on startup just like an NES. Many games that are typically associated with NES, such as Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy and Castlevania were released near-simultaneously on MSX2. The system is also famous for being home to the first 2 Metal Gear games.

The MSX line faded with the beginning of the 1990s and was deceased by the mid-90s, no big loss for Microsoft, whose operating system was dominating PCs.

MSX: 1983 MSX2: 1986 MSXturboR: 1990


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