poll:MSX weakness

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By syn

Paragon (1920)

syn의 아바타

13-07-2019, 10:55

Timmy wrote:

[*] Unrealisticly high expectation syndrome, when people do release a game, it has to be the best ever look and feel, and anything that is lesser than that are moaned over and over, instead of just on focusing on the gameplay or the fun like players of other platforms do.

this

By gdx

Prophet (3041)

gdx의 아바타

13-07-2019, 11:24

MSX1:
Its VDP was at the end of its life when it arrived on MSX. It should have been a bit improved like for the Sega Master system.

MSX2:
It should have had a VDP similar to V9958 and a faster CPU.

MSX turbo R 3:
It should have had a v9990 and a PCM that can be used in parallel with any other task (ex: MSX-Audio). R800 has nice. The important thing was the result not 16 bits or 32 bits. The console Atari Jaguar is 64 bits but it was not successful.

The MSX also suffered from mistrust of the Japanese at the time.

By PingPong

Prophet (3449)

PingPong의 아바타

13-07-2019, 17:45

ok, one can agree or not on your analysis but at least is analysis on MSX and not a pshyco-analysis on the people affected but some imaginary syndrome. ;-)

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5385)

NYYRIKKI의 아바타

13-07-2019, 21:22

We can always ask what if... What if there would have been MSX tR instead of MSX2?... What if there would have been MSX3 instead of MSX2+?... What if there would have been better VDP, better sound, less complex slot handling logic, DMA and better availability for documentation?

Even if all of these imaginary goals would have been archived, I don't think it would have made much difference in the end. MSX did not die because it was bad. MSX died because it was end of an 8bit era... No 8bit computer survived much longer than MSX did and that was caused by fast dropping manufacturing costs that made 8bit computers obsolete. It didn't even take long before 16bit computers were sucked down to same hole. Earlier better marketing, technical improvements or faster price cuts could have made MSX to have bigger share of home computer market, but it would have still died pretty much same way, pretty much same time.

So, what if MSX would have become 16 or 32bit platform? I don't think this as realistic option at all. To my eyes there was two standards that managed to pull off such a change and even that can be argued, did they?... Apple did that just barely and only because they were not that much selling computers or technology, but rather idea and user experience. PC did it because it was not a standard at all, but rather a platform for all companies to experiment. We might think that there was some kind of PC standard, but that is because we have forgot all the mishaps, extensions and improvements that newer gained de facto standard position. Today we may call the device on our desk a PC, but that PC can't run 80's PC software any better than MSX software... It still requires emulator to do that, so practically only that survived in the end was the name.

If MSX would have been extended to 16 or 32bit platform it would have become a mess with huge 8bit burden to carry or then something that would have not made sense to call MSX anymore. Since MSX was 8bit from start to end MSX did not really have anything that would have supported change to new era... No multitasking OS to be ported, no popular tools, bus architecture or anything... and in no way there would have been time to create such computer or culture around MSX. ie. popular 16bit Amiga was released just 2 years after first MSX. How MSX could have changed it self enough to compete? It was just not possible... and even Amiga died pretty soon after MSX.

By gdx

Prophet (3041)

gdx의 아바타

14-07-2019, 02:42

I do not agree. MSX could have evolved by making concessions.

It is clear that the MSX would have toggle to 16 bit or 32 directly but what I mean is that the MSX had already late right from the MSX1. And the delays have accumulated. The R800 is under exploited on Turbo R. I think my imaginary MSX3 with a fully exploited R800 would have been enough. Then, the MSX4 should have been 32 bits if it existed. That's only my vision of things that I think realizable at this time, of course.

By Edevaldo

Master (133)

Edevaldo의 아바타

14-07-2019, 07:30

Well, the MSX probably outlived most 8-bit systems. It is certainly successful at that. Not being successful in markets like Eua and Britain and still outselling most of other system. Quite impressive. But what made it successful also defined how long it would live.

What I think lead to the demise of the platform is that is was, from the beginning, targeted to be a consumer market driven low cost product built with off-the-shelf parts. Already obsolete at launch. And, once launched, it evolved too slowly to keep up with boom at the computer industry. It was relatively good at gaming for a period, but consoles got better really quick and became cheaper. With no other applications to keep the system alive it died out.

Much better machines had the same fate. Ataris, Amigas, Archimedes. Even the Macs almost died in 1997 even after switching cpus to PowerPcs. And not long after that became mostly regular PCs. Not to say all workstations that went the same way as PCs grew in capability.

In the end I think the turbo-R development was a big mistake. It feels to me that is was to costly to develop, making it too expensive to change the direction the platform was going. Too little too late, and not really addressing the weaknesses of the system. It is easy to tell now, but what I think would have been a better direction to go, would be to move to a different processor architecture. If you are including a Z80 for compatibility anyway, I think they should have went to something like a 386sx. The only chip needed to make the system (besides the needed video upgrade) was a S1990 type of chip. The upgrade to the MSX2/2+ would have happened faster. And the resources could have been spent in the VDP front.

The x86s share a lot in common with the Z80. All 8080 instructions exist as x86 real mode instructions still today. They are not binary compatible, but binary translations was a real possibility in that case. And this would free the platform to become true 32-bit and continue evolving. The first 64k of physical memory space could be reserved for MSX compatibility, preserving the slot mechanism and memory mapping. The Z80 would still be there to make sure it was fully compatible.

Even with that, long term, the MSX would probably become simple PCs. Unless a decent OS evolved to give the platform a more distinct personality.

MSX had lower but comparable performance to the PCs when launched. By 1990 high end PCs were 200 times faster than the Z80 in the MSX and could access several megabytes of memory without paging. More serious computers were much ahead of that. If you are not trying to compete with that you are just surviving. The edge in desktop publishing kept the Mac going for a while. Amigas were decent video platforms. Animation for Silicon Graphics, CAD/EDA for workstations. MSX lacked the hardware to give it the killer application to keep it going.

What was really exceptional about the MSX is that it was the first computer I had.

The question could be asked the other way around. Why is the PC so successful? If you think about it, very few companies (if any) that made PCs before 1985 still make PCs today. It is all gone. IBM published all details of hardware and bios when they launched it. They thought they could avoid copycats by copyrighting the BIOS. But soon after appeared companies that wrote alternative bioses and from that point on the platform was essentially open. The PC was a great machine for the time. Timers, DMA, floating point, up to 640k of memory, hard drives, 80 columns display, some graphics. Sound was lacking, pc speaker. In the end, Intel got to profit from that and evolved the platform. This openness made the platform very resilient and allowed competition, like Compaq coming up with the first 386 PCs. Before IBM.

So what was the MSX "weakness"? It was never, from birth, intended to be a strong computing platform. It was an opportunistic product to address the reality of the Japanese market in the early 80s. And it was way more successful than the initial goal. The "owners" didn't have the will, resources and desire to go beyond that. They just wanted to see how far they could go.

By PingPong

Prophet (3449)

PingPong의 아바타

14-07-2019, 08:00

I think, that at some point the evolution 8->16->32 could have killed the msx anyway.
However, i'm focusing on tech mistakes on msx as a 8 or at least 16 bit system.
i think a CPU upgrade could have been adopted early before the R800.
However, at some point, the lack of a decent successor of Z80 could have forced to adopt another CPU.
like Sega did, with the introduction of 68K 'in tandem' with z80 for compatibility.

Sega also moved faster to an enhanced VDP after SG-1000. Even SMS VDP was not so exceptional the improvements were substantial and on the game front the difference is clearly seen when comparing to TMS vdp.

But sega is a game machine, msx a computer system.

By Ivan

Ascended (9115)

Ivan의 아바타

14-07-2019, 10:36

NYYRIKKI wrote:

We can always ask what if... What if there would have been MSX tR instead of MSX2?... What if there would have been MSX3 instead of MSX2+?... What if there would have been better VDP, better sound, less complex slot handling logic, DMA and better availability for documentation?

Even if all of these imaginary goals would have been archived, I don't think it would have made much difference in the end. MSX did not die because it was bad. MSX died because it was end of an 8bit era... No 8bit computer survived much longer than MSX did and that was caused by fast dropping manufacturing costs that made 8bit computers obsolete. It didn't even take long before 16bit computers were sucked down to same hole. Earlier better marketing, technical improvements or faster price cuts could have made MSX to have bigger share of home computer market, but it would have still died pretty much same way, pretty much same time.

So, what if MSX would have become 16 or 32bit platform? I don't think this as realistic option at all. To my eyes there was two standards that managed to pull off such a change and even that can be argued, did they?... Apple did that just barely and only because they were not that much selling computers or technology, but rather idea and user experience. PC did it because it was not a standard at all, but rather a platform for all companies to experiment. We might think that there was some kind of PC standard, but that is because we have forgot all the mishaps, extensions and improvements that newer gained de facto standard position. Today we may call the device on our desk a PC, but that PC can't run 80's PC software any better than MSX software... It still requires emulator to do that, so practically only that survived in the end was the name.

If MSX would have been extended to 16 or 32bit platform it would have become a mess with huge 8bit burden to carry or then something that would have not made sense to call MSX anymore. Since MSX was 8bit from start to end MSX did not really have anything that would have supported change to new era... No multitasking OS to be ported, no popular tools, bus architecture or anything... and in no way there would have been time to create such computer or culture around MSX. ie. popular 16bit Amiga was released just 2 years after first MSX. How MSX could have changed it self enough to compete? It was just not possible... and even Amiga died pretty soon after MSX.

I fully agree with you. Not a chance for neither MSX nor any other 8bit computer to survive after 1992. That year I saw specialized software shops removing from shelves all software for 8bit computers (MSX, Spectrum, Amstrad and C64) while there were still some late releases for those systems. Atari ST and Amiga did not last much longer (add 2-3 years).

By tfh

Paragon (1814)

tfh의 아바타

14-07-2019, 13:06

I don't really see the value in trying to define the weakness of the MSX system, 30 years later. Every system had their pros and cons. I've owned various MSX's and Amigas. Sure, the MSX was lacking hugely on the hardwarefront as it was a system based on older already existing hardware. On the other hand, when I switched on my MSX it went to basic and I was able to start programming with it straight away. When I was 12 or 13 years old, I programmed a very simple game (Shooting Stars) which got published in the MSX-Info Magazine. Something which would never ever have happened with my Amiga.
The Amiga on the other hand gave me games & demos which weren't possible on MSX, but that machine/systen also had it's limitations.
I don't think it's very usefull to "define" the MSX weaknesses. I rather think about the fun the system gave me, what I've learned from it and enjoying the fact that there is still an active community developping stuff for it.

By Sandy Brand

Master (156)

Sandy Brand의 아바타

14-07-2019, 14:23

Well, it is still an interesting philosophical debate.

In all fairness, Amiga should have probably 'won' over PC because it was so far ahead of what PCs could offer at the time: better sound, better graphics, it already had an OS with a graphical user interface and a form of multitasking. And then, we somehow went back to PCs which were perhaps faster, but had worse graphics + sound and just an MS-DOS command line interface.

For Amiga is it known that Commodore themselves were largely to blame for their own demise.

But the interesting thing with MSX is that it is much closer to what made PCs so popular in the end: instead of a closed Vendor-owned eco system, its vision was to make it possible for both vendors and consumers to more easily mix and match their hardware needs.

Was it just the case of being 'too early' in the 8-bit times?

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