How many MSXes do you have and why?

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By ducasp

Champion (422)

ducasp의 아바타

11-05-2021, 18:33

ducasp wrote:

Actually I have a SM-X, and, if my mom/sis didn't sell it, I should have a Gradient Expert 1.1 as well (but I highly doubt it still is there). As I have no much room where I live, I'm reserving the "real MSX" space because I really wish to have a Turbo-R, but, it is not feasible at this moment. The average cost in our currency is about R$4000 to R$5000, which in USD (1137) or EUR (1055) should be pretty much "reasonable" as it is quite unique and not much machines are for sale, but, also, think that in terms of what this money can do in my country is about the same thing an American will do with $2500, which is surely too much money to put into a hobby for my current paycheck. Tongue

Forgot about the why... Expert (a MSX 1 machine without floppy interfaces) was a gift from my father when I was a kid. I really did not ask for it as far as I remember and my father told me that one of his friends that worked at the computer department of a company told him that computers were the future and told him that he should buy one for me, since I spent most of my time at home anyway (had allergy that was not correctly diagnosed until I was a teenager, so if I went out too much I got tired quickly and bronchitis that put me on the bed for a few days). I think that even Expert choice was made by my father friend. I really loved it so much, but, used primarily as a game machine, but learnt BASIC, a little bit of Assembly and the basics of VDP and PSG (really just the basics). Friends also would borrow me a modem (so I used a teletext like service named Video Texto), a Floppy Drive and a Mega Ram (a Konami Mapper with 256KB ram so we could play cartridge games larger than 32KB loaded onto it).

At that time, piracy was "not an issue" in Brazil because... The market was closed for foreign technology companies. The local companies would have agreements (like in case of MSX, where both EPCOM and Gradiente could legally build MSX systems) or not (like the many Apple and IBM PC clones) for the hardware, and in case of software, my guess is that they did not have any kind of agreement. So even the cartridges sold by Gradiente, I don't think they were paying anything to Konami, HAL, etc... Unless locally developed, it was "common sense" that buying games and applications on a software house that made copies of those was absolutely ok. They had large brochures distributed openly, advertisements on newspapers and magazines. That is sad, because even after the dictatorship era ended and market was re-open for international companies, the sense that copying a game is ok still lives on even nowadays (to a lesser extent for sure, where in the 80's that was 100% persons thinking like this, on Mega Drive/SNES era about 80%, which went on until the XBOX 360 / PS3 generation, where that number lowered until what we get now, I think that it is fair to say that even though game piracy has a huge market here, I would say that more than 50% of the market is of legal games).

Curiously, as a teen I got a XT and then a 286 as a gift from my then brother in law, which I mostly used for games again, when in the College my father bought me a 486 which I used for college tasks and obviously to play games lol, and the first computer I bought with my own money was a Pentium 233MMX machine. Before that, I wished I could upgrade my Expert to 2 or 2+ specs (as no one ever manufactured a MSX2 or MSX2+ in Brazil, so you had to upgrade it or import it), have a FM Pac, buy a floppy drive or a Mega Ram that would be mine and not borrowed, but that never happened as it was really expensive and my father had most of his money taken by the government in what they called "compulsory loan to the government" where they took all money people had in Banks except for a ceiling value that was a joke. So my father was selling second car and a lot of other stuff so we could maintain a good quality of life, as he was not able to make good money for years after that (he was a salesman, and sold raw materials to manufacturers, no one was buying from manufacturers and so they were not buying as well). When he was able to spend money on luxury items again, MSX fad was long gone and we talked only about 486's and dreaming about Pentium (that was too expensive Tongue).

So that long, seemingly unrelated to MSX personal history explains why I have a SM-X nowadays (bought it on prototype form from Victor Trucco as a birthday gift for myself, late 2018)... My main source of incoming then was the work I did for a company, that even though I was hired as Electronics Engineer, was programming work. It was a job that really paid me well and that made possible for me to travel to different countries and learn different cultures, and all that was only possible due to MSX... Really... When I was a co-op for that company in my final college year, most of the work was to re-assemble stuff, fix broken circuits and help on a few electronic projects design. The company was needing to have a different supplier for one of the components they used on their PC's but that component was delivered without any software to test or work with it... The developers the company had all had their hands full, so I talked to one of them and he showed me the test programs they did in Visual Basic to interface with those devices using the serial port... Well, my BASIC programming days paid off highly, I was able to quickly pick-up those programs and adapt to the new device using the command documentation, my boss saw what I did and that we could test and approve the device 2 months before we thought and that was surely one of the things that helped me get hired after co-op program (internship) ended... Also, he liked it so much that he started to give me more and more development tasks, were I've learnt C and C++ on my own. All thanks to my time with that little 8 bit machine, MSX, and its MSX BASIC. In the end I've figured out that I enjoyed programming much more than hardware engineering (which I do like as well). So, SM-X was bought as a celebration to all I was able to achieve thanks to what I've learned as I kid and never forgot, to make true that childhood dream that never happened because my father couldn't buy a MSX2 upgrade kit, a Floppy Disk Interface and Drive, a Mega RAM, etc

In the end, getting back to MSX that way was really nice, because then I've looked at MSX with different eyes, of course I've used it to play some games I couldn't play before, but this time, my programming skills were way, way better and thought it was finally time to learn more about ASM, VDP, using mappers, etc... This is where I've took to myself the task of having SM-X using the ESP8266 Wi-Fi interface working with it, so with Victor's help I could design the interface that connect the ESP to the SM-X (which is a cartridge interface in VHDL, Victor helped me learning VHDL and with examples of some stuff I could re-use), and later to take the task to have it working with the network standard (TCP-IP UNAPI) existent for MSX... That got me in contact with many wonderful people from MSX Scene, Konamiman, Sonic Aka T., Fubukimaru, Xavirompe, Piter Punk, KdL, Fr3nd... Cool

Still have lots of projects to do for MSX but not enough time, unfortunately, those projects will surely be done, but on a slower pace... But having the Wi-Fi for SM-X working with UNAPI (and now with a built-in BIOS and in the near future, with an adapter from KdL, on any OCM), a fast and responsive color Telnet client, a friendly MSX Hub client and being able to help to improve many existing MSX network related tools (like hget, msxhub, msxirc) really make that kid from late 80's/early 90's really happy, as mastering MSX programming was a childhood desire that perhaps never materialized because, damn Konami, Hal, ASCII, Compile, you always kept my kid focus really weak.... LOL!

By hamlet

Scribe (3565)

hamlet의 아바타

11-05-2021, 20:21

A nice story ducasp. I really enjoed reading. Interessting to see how different life was on other continents.

By sdsnatcher73

Paragon (1846)

sdsnatcher73의 아바타

12-05-2021, 06:41

Thanks for sharing ducasp and glad you (and I and many others) have found their way back to MSX! And of course thanks for your contributions to SM-X / UNAPI!

By thera34

Supporter (7)

thera34의 아바타

18-05-2021, 11:07

Today I joined MSX world as my Sony HitBit F1XD mk2 arrived safe and sound. I love its design and for sure it will give me lots of hours of fun.
Until today I only played around with FPGA implementations (MiST/MiSTer), now will embark on a new discovery journey with original H/W.
I missed the 8 and 16 bit computers, couldn't afford back then, so it's a great learning journey as well. And of course, gaming will be a major part of it Smile

By AxelStone

Prophet (2952)

AxelStone의 아바타

18-05-2021, 13:30

thera34 wrote:

Today I joined MSX world as my Sony HitBit F1XD mk2 arrived safe and sound. I love its design and for sure it will give me lots of hours of fun.
Until today I only played around with FPGA implementations (MiST/MiSTer), now will embark on a new discovery journey with original H/W.
I missed the 8 and 16 bit computers, couldn't afford back then, so it's a great learning journey as well. And of course, gaming will be a major part of it Smile

If you already used an FPGA like Mist in a CRT screen, the real experience is almost the same, so don't expect big changes Smile . I suppose that you are interested in touching the original hardware Smile

By thera34

Supporter (7)

thera34의 아바타

18-05-2021, 13:47

@AxelStone, unfortunately, I don't have a CRT, I used LCD ones with HDMI (for MiSTer) or VGA (for MiST). That's why I wait now for OSSC to plug my MSX to a HDMI LCD.
But yes, I wanted to have full experience with original H/W. And in my opinion, these Sony HBs are pure awesomeness, at least aesthetically (I still have a lot of learning ahead about its capabilities, etc)
Most probably I will get a CRT as well at some point, since there are a lot to play with it, including FPGA cores Big smile

By Grauw

Ascended (9808)

Grauw의 아바타

18-05-2021, 14:04

The Sony HB-F1XD is a beauty! I’m a bit jealous Smile.

By thera34

Supporter (7)

thera34의 아바타

18-05-2021, 16:24

Thank you @Grauw Smile also for the UT-130E advice, it works perfect Cool

By Alaadeen

Expert (70)

Alaadeen의 아바타

18-05-2021, 16:56

I have plenty got about 6 or 7 for my personal use and sold dozens of MSX computers always lookinf for more computers in my area to add to the collection or to make a penny Smile
my first computer I puted my hands on was sakhr ax370 and it was the reason to looke for it after I lost it somehow when I was a kid .

By Grauw

Ascended (9808)

Grauw의 아바타

18-05-2021, 17:15

thera34 wrote:

Thank you @Grauw Smile also for the UT-130E advice, it works perfect Cool

Ah, good to hear, I think it’s a great step-down converter!

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