Anno 2008, common emulators like openMSX and BlueMSX are seriously powerful and complete. They aim to emulate the MSX and its extensions as detailed as they can, and thus using these emulators can give you the impression of fully using your real MSX. Often this implicates that emulators remain faithful to the feature set of the MSX: what the MSX can't do, the emulators won't do. This is what sets hap's MSX1 emulator meisei apart from other emulators. The latest version of meisei is clearly a version that offers lots of experimentation and toying around with graphics and sound, you may well become addicted to meisei just for this reason alone!
Some of the most entertaining new features in meisei 1.2:
It's now possible to inspect the tileset of a screen, it can be highly educating (and fun!) to see the tileset of -for instance- Nemesis 2, and see whatever there is to see in VRAM. This inspector works in real time, meaning that you can see tiles change when they do, for instance during the line-per-line build up of the Konami logo. It is also possible to inspect sprites, again in real time. The most entertaining addition however is that it's possible to change tiles (using a Polka-like tile editor) and sprites in VRAM during an emulation session! You don't like what Lee looks like in Konami's Kung-Fu? Edit the relevant sprites and give him a big scar on his face! You don't like the graphics from Kings Valley? Change the tiles and do a better job yourself! Save your work and load it back any time you want. Of course, when a game dynamically overwrites tiles and/or sprites, your tweaks are gone, but in many cases you can safely change tiles and sprites.
The palette editor is slightly improved and comes with a few practical palettes.
A new and radical gimmick of meisei is the PSG Toy. It is now possible to replace the PSG square waveform with a custom waveform, clearly something your real MSX won't ever be able to do. You can draw (and save) a waveform with the mouse, but for convenience a large number of waveforms is provided, including relevant SCC waves and MSX-MUSIC waves. You can thus play for instance Maze of Gallious with SCC tones or Zanac with FM tones. These new PSG waves also work in combination with normal SCC games like F1-Spirit, meaning that -sound wise- you could finally really have the "8-channel SCC music" that was rumored in the late 80's when people didn't realize the role of the PSG in such games.
Another fun element of the PSG Toy is the PSG visualizer, which shows PSG notes on a virtual piano keyboard.
Also new is a PSG logger, allowing you to log whatever the PSG is doing to raw, MIDI or YM files.
Even if you don't plan to toy around with these creative features, meisei is still an MSX1 emulator worth checking out: it's simple and to the point, very suitable for gamers. To make sure you can play games right away, Montana John and the Templar's Treasure is included in the meisei package, just as Universe: Unknown already was in earlier meisei releases. The list of updates is far longer than what's been highlighted above, for a complete list please consult the documentation. Experimenting and toying around with funny ideas doesn't end with this version of course, meisei may well develop itself as the radical outsider of MSX emulators in the years to come.
Relevant link: meisei 1.2 (Windows only)