Comparing MSX-1 to other 8-bit computers

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By Poltergeist

Champion (272)

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19-12-2008, 15:31

So, we just can say: How does MSX-1 compare to other home computers of that same era (1979-1985)?

By Arkhan

Champion (259)

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22-12-2008, 00:08

Well, since I jumped the Commodore 64 ship and swam frantically for the MSX Island, I might as well compare and contrast those two. I wont comment on the Spectrum, or Atari's. I didn't really get into them enough to make a fair comparison.

The C64 has the best chip music of any 8 bit computer I have ever heard. That is what happens when you put a real synth chip in the thing. Thats not to say I don't like MSX music, its just, a PSG cant hold up next to a SID. BUT, once you throw the FM-PAC or Moonsound in... daaaaamn. The MSX rivals the AMIGA in terms of audio quality. I say the Audio portion of the comparison is a tie between C64 and MSX. dont forget the SCC! Real warm and smooth for a PSG. Very nice.

Having said that: Most of the games that are exclusive to the C64, are balls. While the MSX might have block character scrolling as opposed to pixel based like the C64, the MSX games still play/look better. Many C64 games suffer from it's dopey color palette. Commodore 64 platformers (Creatures, Mayhem in Monsterland, Giana Sisters), control like a demo. They're real slippery. The most enjoyable games for the C64 (Apshai series, Ultima, Wizardry, Might and Magic, some of the arcade shooters) are available elsewhere (PC, Coleco, other consoles), and turn out better, and don't involve disk swaps either. Curse of the Azurebonds is too many disks and slow ass loading on the C64 because it's got a 5.25" drive. A very unreliable one.

Goonies MSX vs. Goonies C64 is a nobrainer. MSX's plays smoother, is more enjoyable, less cumbersome, and overall a better platformer. Oh and it doesn't have to load for 9 years off a tape.

Many games on the MSX are simply impossible on a C64. Look at Gryzor, R-Type, and Nemesis for the C64, and you will clearly see that it is just a bad idea. Sidearms also. oh man, and vigilante. I can't even see a game like Fray turning out on a C64

Aleste would never work on a C64. In order to get the decent gameplay, youd sacrifice nearly all visuals. >_<

The closest a C64 comes to having Metal Gear is Castle Wolfenstein, and..... yeah. No.

If the C64 didn't have the SID chip in it, I honestly don't think it would be the demo machine of choice. Lol, it'd be just a fart in the wind!

So bottom line here, comparing MSX and C64, I say the MSX trumps the c64 in everything except for it's lack of synthesizer chip. I enjoy the games alot more, and the system itself handles more professionally (doing stuff on a c64 is pretty clunky). I see the MSX as a PC Engine with a keyboard really....! And that is good stuff in my book.

Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By Sdw

Resident (50)

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22-12-2008, 14:47

If the C64 didn't have the SID chip in it, I honestly don't think it would be the demo machine of choice. Lol, it'd be just a fart in the wind!

That is totally wrong in my opinion. Sure, the SID is nice, but what has given the C64 the undisputed number one position in the 8-bit demoscene world is the VIC-II chip, which is an amazing piece of hardware. The stuff you can squeeze out of it is insane!

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

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22-12-2008, 17:54

few comments:

Commodore 64 platformers (Creatures, Mayhem in Monsterland, Giana Sisters), control like a demo. They're real slippery.
I have always liked Giana Sisters, both on Commodore 64 and Amiga. Smile Hopefully can see this game on MSX-1 too! Smile (with smooth screen 1 scrollSmile)

Many games on the MSX are simply impossible on a C64. Look at Gryzor, R-Type, and Nemesis for the C64, and you will clearly see that it is just a bad idea. Sidearms also. oh man, and vigilante.

What do you mean with "impossible on a C64", Arkhan? Surely MSX-1 R-Type looks exactly like Atari ST or Amiga R-Type LOL! but do you mean C64 R-type is bad game or just has blockier graphics than MSX-1 R-Type? Commodore Nemesis was crap. Wink (thought music was niceSmile)

The closest a C64 comes to having Metal Gear is Castle Wolfenstein, and..... yeah. No.

I am sorry to say this, but there IS Metal Gear on Commodore 64...... never played thought, found it year or some ago from the web....

By PingPong

Prophet (3331)

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22-12-2008, 20:06

The C64 Hw was superior in both gfx and sound. Mainly the clear advantages of c64 were:
softscrolling (hw scrolling)
flexibility of sprites, greater size, ability to get multicolored even with limits (half size, two colors in common among 8 sprites), ability to zoom independently on sprite and / or x-y directions.
about sound abilities, for me a real synthetizer is somelike a msx-music or msx audio fm class sound chip. the others (including the sid) are only 'noise' generators. Even if the SID look techically superior from psg, none of the features of sid really makes the difference compared to PSG, imho.

the c64's 6510 cpu was, at the time slower than msx cpu in most operations, and because of the tight coupling with the VIC-II chip it was hardly overclock-able without comprimizing the entire system.

just my two cents

By PingPong

Prophet (3331)

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22-12-2008, 20:08

And what about the Sinclair QL? It has a 68008 CPU and was launched in 1984. Really retro thing.

Of course, it is time for a what-if. What if MSX2 were produced using its VDP but with a 680XX CPU? It would have beaten Atari ST for sure, and such a beast could almost compete with Amiga.

only with faster vram and direct cpu access. otherwise, no!
Plus the amiga had the most superior hw ever seen on a 16 bit machine.

By Arkhan

Champion (259)

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22-12-2008, 21:15

If the C64 didn't have the SID chip in it, I honestly don't think it would be the demo machine of choice. Lol, it'd be just a fart in the wind!

That is totally wrong in my opinion. Sure, the SID is nice, but what has given the C64 the undisputed number one position in the 8-bit demoscene world is the VIC-II chip, which is an amazing piece of hardware. The stuff you can squeeze out of it is insane!

i wouldnt say its entirely wrong....The VIC-II is nice, but I mean in all seriousness, the first thing everyone says when they hear C64 is "damn that music kicks ass!"

The VIC-II does have really awesome swirly stuff that goes on in demos though. I enjoyed demos, and graphical adventures more than "arcade" games on the C64 just because the single screen visuals, or neat raster fx turn out real nice. There are a bunch of cosine demos that I really like firing up and staring at for a good 10-20 minutes. I wish I could load them into Winamp as a visualization. Hehe

for me a real synthetizer is somelike a msx-music or msx audio fm class sound chip.

Well, the SID is practically identical in sound to alot of Analog subtractive synths. The Roland SH-101 I have sounds really close to the stuff of a SID, minus it being monophonic. You set the wave form values, and ADSR, filters, pulsewidth and all that..... FM synthesis isn't the only type of synthesis. ^_^

And about the R-Type and stuff. They are just bad games on the Commodore 64. Vigilante, Sidearms, R-type, Gryzor, Street fighter, are all just really really not good on the C64. However, other games turned out pretty good. Gyruss on the C64 was awesome, and stuff like Boulderdash, and Loderunner. Lions of the Universe was pretty good until you beat it and get this really corny ending about Jesus.... but those other games, the control is real wacky, and they play pretty poorly.

I think my favorite game on the C64 is probably Parallax. That, is a good C64 game. It should go on the MSX!

By Manuel

Ascended (15529)

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22-12-2008, 23:22

Ever tried Boulderdash on MSX? I can't say there's anything wrong with it Smile (I love that game!)

By Arkhan

Champion (259)

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23-12-2008, 00:05

Yeah, Boulderdash is a sweet game, pretty much anywhere you stick it I bet.

I just tried Metal Gear for C64.

it hurt.

Something else I thought of with the comparing C64 to MSX is the storage/peripherals. The MSX never went for the 5.25" drives. That might have been another reason why it is a bit better to me. Carts and 3.5's, and then tapes of course.

Those 1541 drives for the C64 are a pain in the ass.

I also can't say about MSX since I haven't owned one yet, but the C64 itself is a finicky bastard. the exposed slots in back if something happens to touch it wrong, will often break stuff. the joystick ports do the same. I fried one accidentally touching it while turning the computer off......

and the power bricks , if they fail, take the C64 down with it usually.

Dunno if MSX has these problems or not.

OH and the Early C64s had CARDBOARD in them. spraypainted silvery to shield the RF signal. Yay ! Trapping heat is good!

and, they have a crummy keyboard. Goofy layout, uncomfortable....STUPID arrow keys. I mean, STUPID. two keys for 4 directions? .... errr >_< its like the Apple computers row-of-death for cursors.

I suppose thats why they were redesigned with the C64C, and then the C128

all of that being said, Gorf is another good game I forgot to mention! Minus the voices its a pretty sweet arcade port.

By Manuel

Ascended (15529)

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23-12-2008, 09:57

There have been 5.25" drives for MSX, but in Europe they were hardly used. They were cheaper than the 3.5" ones though. I think that in Brazil the 5.25" drives were a lot more popular than in Europe. (And I don't know why, but maybe that price diff has something to do with it, or... not.)

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