MSX Games & Consoles

The MSX is a little bit of a collectors item in retro gaming. Firstly, it’s was allegedly Microsoft’s first foray into the computer market – with it (unusually for Microsoft) want to create a unified computer architecture. It used floppy and cassette tapes as a means of storage, and was aimed to make it the first “fixable” computer. What that means was that many Japanese manufacturers made the MSX, and you could play any MSX game on any of them, and even take parts from – say – a Sony MSX, and put them into a Panasonic MSX, and it would work. And it by and large did. With this cheapness and ease to find parts, it became one of the first computers to be popular in less developed countries, and was the gaming system of choice in former communist regimes.

The other cool thing that whet’s the appetite of MSX gamers is the fact that a lot of popular franchises were born on it. Companies like Konami, Hudsonsoft & Square developed – for a time, exclusively for the MSX. Popular franchises such as Bomberman, Parodius & Metal Gear were born on the MSX, and even games like Castlevania, Final Fantasy & Contra had installments on the MSX. Some of these were original games, not seen before or since, so they’re well worth hunting down.

Despite being a Microsoft-led initiative, the console was rarely seen in Europe and the United States – largely due to it’s lack of power. However, in Japan this computer sold like hot cakes, and worldwide it sold 5 million. Nowadays it’s undergoing a bit of a revival, firstly because MSX games are out on the Japanese Virtual Console for the Wii, secondly because there’s the “1chipMSX”, a new console/emulator, released worldwide.