MSXPLAYer is the name of the official MSX emulator from MSX Association. The first version of this emulator was released in December 2002, other releases followed later. MSXPLAYer is a commercial emulator that, until today, only is available on the Japanese market, bundled with magazines or hardware. The version we tested is the most recent release of MSXPLAYer: the one accompanied with the MSX Game Reader. This version, capable of emulating the turboR, allowed us to test both ROMs and DSK images.  

 

The interface of MSXPLAYer is very simplistic, but therefore very understandable. Even though the interface is entirely in Japanese it takes very little time to figure out how the emulator works. There are very little settings that can be changed by the end-user as about everything in this emulator is pre-configured and/or automatically changes according to the software it is running. Apart from that, the emulator lacks features like image enhancement, the possibility to take screenshots or savestates. MSXPLAYer only supports running real disks. If you want to use disk images you can use third party Virtual Floppy Drive software to trick the emulator. Although most MSX emulators have a lot more features than MSXPLAYer, the first impression does look quite decent.  

 

Accuracy

 

Most people only know the very first beta version of MSXPLAYer that leaked through the MRC. This version was extremely CPU-intensive and only ran 2 different MSX1 games. Poorly. A lot has happened since then. Only 3 tests gave severe problems: FAC demo 5 did not boot at all, Sphere only showed the Infinite logo and Maggoo's Vertical Sync demo showed the same problems as a turboR. The latter wasn't a surprise, as MSXPLAYer for GameReader emulates either an MSX1 or a turboR, based on the type of ROM inserted. Unknown Reality also gave MSXPLAYer a hard time, revealing some glitches and finally hanging it when the 3D scroller should start. All other tests ran completely fine or with some very minor glitches. Even more surprising were the turboR tests, in which all software was emulated exactly as it should, apart from the Swiss demo in which some glitches can be seen at the exploding MSX logo part. The multilayer scroller lacks the nice round TV-borders it should have and the rotating text at the beginning at the demo goes completely wrong. But, once again, all other turboR software in this test ran without a single glitch.  

 

Music

 

Although MSXPLAYer doesn't emulate the MSX-Audio nor the Moonsound, they have taken great care at emulating the PSG, MSX-Music and SCC as good as possible. Especially the SCC sounds very close to the original. As the emulation of the SCC only works when an SCC cartridge is inserted in the Game Reader, I even wondered if the Game Reader was actually using the real SCC at some point, but the way the Game Reader was built simply does not allow that. Like most other MSX emulators, the MSX-Music lacks the depth and warmth to sound like the real thing, but the sound quality of MSXPLAYer is more than acceptable.  

 

Conclusion

 

MSXPLAYer is a commercial emulator intended to run commercially released games straight from cartridge or disk. Based on the test preformed I think it's safe to say MSXPLAYer is capable of running almost all commercially released MSX software without noticeable problems. When running software developed by the MSX Community, glitches and lockups can appear though, just like in any other MSX emulator. When it comes to accuracy, MSXPLAYer can measure itself with popular emulators known for their high accuracy like openMSX, NLMSX and BlueMSX. The major downsides of the emulator are the little amount of features, the tricks one has to pull to get DSK images to run from harddisk and the fact it isn't officially available outside of Japan. Taken everything in account, MSXPLAYer far exceeded our expectations.  

 

Information chart

MSX2 CPU Benchmark:         1028
MSX2 VDP Benchmark:         986
turboR CPU Benchmark:       1184
turboR VDP Benchmark:       1062
MSX1/2 accuracy score:      72.50%
turboR accuracy score:      96.00%
Music quality score:        30.00%
Usability & Features score: 47.06%
CPU load MSX2 idle:         ~ 20.00%
CPU load turboR idle:       ~ 40.00%
MRC EmuRank:                61.63%
Emulator interface:         GUI
Save-states:                no
Screenshots:                no
Joystick support:           yes
Mouse support:              yes
Printer support:            no
Real disk support:          yes (only)
Multi-disk support:         no
Change disk:                yes
Dir as disk:                no
MSX1 palette:               yes
Image enhancements:         no
Fullscreen:                 yes

MSXPLAYer website: http://www.msxa.org/

 

To see how MSXPLAYer compares to other emulators, check out the MRC EmuRank chart.

Comments (4)

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1079)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

31-07-2013, 12:17

Where can this be found?

By mars2000you

Prophet (3822)

mars2000you's picture

31-07-2013, 20:41

Only available if you buy the Game Reader and works only when a MSX rom is inserted and detected (what's not the case for some recent roms whose a specific pin has been disabled).

With some tricks (inserting a non-autorun rom and using a virtual drive), you can access to the MSX-BASIC screen and try to run dsk files, but all is made to 'cripple' this version of MSXPLAYer. Besides, if you run Vista/7, it's very difficult or impossible to use the Game Reader, as the drivers, made for XP, have not been officially updated. For 32-bit systems, you can find solutions if you have much patience (and Google luck), but for 64-bit systems, it's 'mission impossible'.

Another disavantage : the MSX-PLAYer runs automatically MSX1 rom games in MSX1 mode and MSX2 roms games in turboR mode. No any other choice ! Frustating if you prefer the bright MSX2 colors to play MSX1 games.

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (4181)

JohnHassink's picture

01-08-2013, 00:38

mars2000you wrote:

Frustating if you prefer the bright MSX2 colors to play MSX1 games.

You must be the first person I meet who prefers so. Smile
Who is the hot girl in your avatar?

By mars2000you

Prophet (3822)

mars2000you's picture

01-08-2013, 01:15

An Italian girl (from Sardinia Island) in a Norwegian band Wink

Mariangela Demurtas in Tristania, her rocky-bluesy voice has replaced the operatic voice of Vibeke Stene in 2007

My MSX profile