MSX World 2005

by MSX Resource Center on 21-05-2005, 01:05

At 10.00 I arrived at Akihabara Convention Hall. Although the location was only open to staff, standholders and lecturers at the time, it was already very crowded on the fair floor. Most of the stands were already fully prepared and people were already chatting to each other in excitement. Just before the fair opened, Yokoi held a short speech to thank the standholders for coming over and to wish them a pleasant day with good sales. With Bernard Lamers, who had just arrived and who was to translate my lecture in the afternoon, I went back to an area where some couches were placed and while I was explaining what the lecture was going to be about, the doors of MSX World 2005 opened. Only then I realized how big the event was going to be. 3 girls in costume play (cosplay) costumes greeted the many, many, many visitors that came in. One of them was Javier Lavandeira, whom you probably all know as the webmaster of www.ag0ny.com. As he lives in Tokyo for several years now, he certainly would not want to miss out on an MSX event of this size. I don't know the final figures, but I heard that more than 1,000 people visited the fair during the entire day and a large part of those already arrived early in the morning. After the opening, it seemed like the day was on fast forward. Everywhere I looked was MSX action. Nishi held a speech on the upcoming One Chip MSX and his plans for the next steps of the MSX Revival on which you can read all over here. Speeches of Altera, ASCII and ASCII Solutions revealed the possibilities of FPGA, the successes of MSX Magazine, the announcement of the One Chip MSX and a quick peek at what the casings of the One Chip MSX might look like. During the lecture of ASCII, Mr. Nishi interrupted the lecturer (Mr. Sato) after he had announced at least 5,000 One Chip MSX computers had to be sold by pre-order before production could start. Not with a little sense of humor, Nishi stated that if ASCII couldn't manage to sell this amount of One Chip MSX computers, he would have some pocket change left to close the gap ;).

Before I knew it, the time had come to climb the stage myself, as the lecture on the JAVA MSX1 emulator for mobile phones by Daizoh Nakashima of Info Square had just ended. The reactions to my lecture on the activities of Bazix (Representing MSX Association outside Japan, localizing MSX software from Japanese to English and from various western languages to Japanese, and the announcement of MSXPLAYer for Symbian Series 60) led to many positive responses, including a pat on the back from Mr. Nishi himself. Then the time had come for Chang K. Lee of Reakosys to lecture on the MSX Emulator for a wide range of mobile phones they were developing. Of course, you can find many pictures taken of these lectures right here.

After these serious lectures the time had come for some lighter stuff on the main stage. Together with Mr. Bourbon Kobayashi (more information on him later!), Mr. Eiichi Sato of ASCII handed out the prizes to the winners of the MSX Magazine 3 short BASIC programming contest. The prize winners were an addictive and tricky game called Panel Jump, an inventive game where kanji's stating 'red', 'green' or 'blue' should be matched. This should not be too difficult, if it weren't for the red, green and blue backgrounds to those kanji. The main prize went to TPM.CO Soft Works who had created a game called Wild Soccer, which is an amazingly fast, hilarious 2-player soccer game. As if that wasn't enough, Mr. Yokoi, Bourbon Kobayashi and the programmer of TPM.CO Soft Works formed a panel who took a look at European style games such as Traffic, Keystone Kapers and Butamaru Pants. The way these games were played and commented often lead to quite some laughter from the audience.

But, there was a lot more going on during the entire day than lectures alone. ASCII had a huge stand filled with MSX merchandize, MSX Game Readers and MSX Magazines. Beepboy had brought his latest record, I say hello, and some audio equipment. Mr. Aoki's infamous 6 meters of MSX software was on display, Fukachin Atelier had the latest edition of MSX friends offline on sale, Gaiax shared a huge booth with D4 Enterprise (who together are responsible for Project EGG), Minagi showed their MSX Viewer, Syntax demonstrated fMSX/S60 and MSXPLAYer for Series 60, whilst offering a lot of nice (and new) Syntax MSX games on sale, MSX Association demonstrated (of course) the One Chip MSX, MSXPLAYer for various types of mobile phones (including the MSXPLAYer for Series 60), had a special 5.25" edition of the GameReader on display, and showed a part of their MSX collection, including the extremely rare FM-X to FM-7 inteface I mentioned earlier. With this interface, it's possible to boost the speed, memory, sound (stereo!) and sprite capabilities of the FM-X MSX, by cleverly (ab)using the Fujitsu FM-7. ESE Artists Factory showed early and more recent prototypes of the One Chip MSX and their other hardware developments, such as the MegaSCSI. Kuniji Ikeda had several western MSX goodies on sale, Tako System offered a special MSX World 2005 DVD with some nice video clips, but had their older productions on sale as well. Mechanical Brain had a small corner, advertising his archive collection. Driving Spirits had the FMPSG records on sale, Primitive Sound were selling 'Everybody longs for the weekend' (and its soundtrack), the Pleasure Hearts soundtrack, the MSX Joystick to USB adapter and demonstrated the MSX-AUDIO game that currently is in development. Rabbit Soft Worker's sold their shooter Gunnership 2on2, Rich Labs offered their books containing info on how to set up a UZIX server on sale, Gigamix Online promoted their website and the heee-button and Sata Nikki demonstraded his MSX emulators for Nintendo GBA. Last, but certainly not least, there was the stand of Nagashima Yu, also known as Bourbon Kobayashi. This Japanese author had recently received an important prize, allowing him to write a column in one of the largest newspapers of Japan. Instead of writing an elaborate, philosophical piece on Japanese history or culture, he chose to write a story on how cool the MSX computer, and the Gradius series in special, actually are. He was at the MSX fair, selling his latest book: "Je game moi non plus", which is a big wink to Serge Gainsbourg's cult hit "Je t'aime moi non plus". Quite an interesting character, this man.

I think I have even forgotten to mention a stand or two, which only proves how crowded, busy and active this day was. After six hours of non-stop MSX sensation, MSX World 2005 -the biggest MSX event in years for sure- had come to an end. We took a group photo of the die hard MSXers that stayed until the end, cleaned the tables and had a chat about the day. Then, all of a sudden Takamichi showed up in a Harajuku-style punk outfit. After undoing himself from most of his clothes he climbed the stage, shouted a few enthouiastic yells and then mimiced the letters M, S and X with his body, whilst shouting those letters out loud. As quick as he had appeared, he was gone again. Little by little, everyone took the JR line to Ryogoku, where the infamous Tokyo MSX fair afterparty location, Beer Station, was located. With lots of food, and probably even more alcohol, at was late at night before we even knew it. After a small drink with Bernard, Ikeda and Manu at Shinjuku the time had gome to go back to Jimbocho and get some well-deserved rest.