View Full Version : What were your experiences of these machines?
28 June 2002, 12:14
When I was a kid growing up here in the UK, there were several machines that were common or well known about on these shores:
Commodore Vic-20, 64, 128, Amiga, 8-bit console
Atari ST's, consoles, 8-bit efforts, Jaguar, Lynx
Acorn Electron, Archimedes
Nintendo NES, SNES, N64
Sega Megadrive, Saturn, Master System, Game Gear
So what are these other machines like the MSX, Dragon 32, Colelcovision, the sooped up PC-Engine (Turbo Graphix or something), Neo-Geo Pocket etc. that existed in this era?
Don't know much about these systems and never even seen some of them.
What were their specs?
How did they compare to their rivals?
Educate me owners of these machines! :)
I have not experienced lots of these back then, but a lot of them I experienced recently, and I am experiencing right now :)
However, I dont think the NeoGeo Pocket was around when you were a kid, this is a 1998 console! My favorite handheld console, I'm afraid. Slick, small, consumes little battery, has terrific, exclusive games (lots of pseudo-ports from neogeo games, but unique enough to make them great, unlike the GBA's SNES shovelware you see everyday), and it lasted for about one and a half or two years before they pulled it off all markets except the japanese one, so it has that nice niche hook :D Specs-wise, it's a 16 bit handheld, running a Z80 for sound and a TCLS900 as main processor. If you look at screenshots, you cannot notice a differencewith a GB Color, but let me tell you, it bombs it back to the stoneage
OK, enough Neopoke hyping!
When I was a kid I experienced a few machines not by owning them, but by using someone elses, in most cases, my cousin's. That's how I discovered the Atari 2600, and later, the Commodore. They had a 128D. Awesome machine (first ed plastic case german model). I learned my first steps on computing and BASIC programming with that one, and I used to spend 2/3 hours straight playing Kung-Fu master, Falcon patrol, Skaterock and others :D. Anyway, I never got to experience Speccies and MSXs, but I do now
The MSX is, IMO, after the C64, the strongest 8-bit machine. In some bits similar to the Speccy in terms of specs, it was actually superior. They had the same main processor (Z80) and the same PSG (in the case of speccies with PSG, like the +2 and +3), but the MSX's video chip was far superior IMO. Anyway, in Europe they liked to release Spectrum shovelware, that did not take a single bit of advantge of the MSX's capabilities, but in Japan they were coding kickass games for the monster. I think Konami started with this machine, and even if they didn't, it was their fave machine. They made lots of great titles for it. The MSX lately got expanded, new standards appeared: MSX2, MSX2+, and lately the MSX Turbo R. The MSX2s are, IMO, the most powerful 8bit computers in existance. Wicked shit they can accomplish! These machines were very popular in Spain and Brazil, and of course in Japan, where lots of people still use Turbo R machines. The Turbo R has a Z80 compatible processor AND an R800 RISC thingie. I want one!
I can talk a bit about the PC Engine (a.k.a. TurboGrafx in europe and the US) as well. My absolute favourite console of the era. Confused (and sold) as a 16 bit machine, it actually has an 8bit processor running inside. The thing is, the video processor is 16 bit, or something. Anyway, this 8 bit machine delivered 16 bit quality gaming that pooped all over the Megadrive, and even more over the NES, its fierce rival in Japan. It got the first ever CDROM addon for any machine. It's got great quality, fun, exclusive games (the Soldier series shooters comes to mind, and so do Bomberman and the PC Genjin games). And its portable version, the PC-Engine GT (a.k.a. Turbo Express), is one of the finest handhelds ever made. Up there in my list with the Neopoke and the GBA. It used the same cards as the home system, so if you had a PCE at home, you didn't need to buy new games for your handheld!
What else.. The Coleco... I played this at a friend's... it looked more like a C64 in quality, I think it was nice. And it had a bunch of nice conversions, like Up n Down, a favourite of mine!
There were so many systems at that era, that we never had a chance to experiment, most notably the japanese systems. Those jappers made some GREAT computers, and we never got them. A good example is the brilliant Sharp X680x0 series of machines. I call it "The japanese Amiga". It actually kicks the arse of the Amiga seriously! It shares some similar characteristics (68000 series CPUs inside, but clocked higher), but with a more powerful video display processor, and the inclusion of an FM synthesis chip along with the ADPCM capabilities. It has pixel-perfect arcade conversions like Super Street Fighter 2X, Final Fight, Pac Mania (THE conversion), and others. IMO, the best 16 bit computer there is (sorry Amiga, I love you more, but I've got to be honest :D)
The japanese home computer market of the 80s and 90s is the area that interests me the most about collecting computers, but unluckily I don't have enough cash to import most of those machines.
Ah, the message got too long already. Retroman will surely want to input some data about other machines, like the Neo-Geo (best 16 bit console ever), since he owns one.
I recommend you trying emulators for the systems that interest you. This is the most positive point about emulation IMO, and what got me started onto collecting. There is this obscure system you never heard of, or this system you always wanted to use but never had a chance. More than probably, an emulator for it exists. You download it and try it out, you don't get disappointed and, as a matter of fact, you might find a new computer to add to your 'faves' list! A french mate of mine that I met on IRC always talked me wonders about the Amstrad CPC, and I had no clue about this thing. I even thought it was crap. I tried an emulator he recommended me, the games he recommended me, and I got teribly hooked. 2 months later I bought a CPC6128 :D
I'll end up quoting the german electrogods Kraftwerk: "It's more fun to compute!" *peeeow* etc. :D
28 June 2002, 21:27
Thanks Akira, I really enjoyed that read!! And yes, I was 22 when the Neo-Geo Pocket came out, although I've never seen one. :(
After reading up on the MSX I've learnt it's more of a computer standard issued by Microsoft and some other firm. They were trying to set an Industry standard like VHS so even back then monopoly practices were beginning to emerge! :( They were of course successful in the end with the PC standard.
This MSX standard was adhered to by many different manufacturers including Sony. The sound chip was from a spectrum, the Video chip from the Colelcovision and the Processor being the famous Z-80 like you've mentioned. Sort of a slapped together machine really!
Mentioning that powerful 16-bit Jap machine reminds me of another relatively unknown but powerful machine...........I'm off to start another thread because it would be a waste slapping it here.
Shite, I posted the wrong message in the wrong window! :P
I don't know about the MSX's VDP being that of the Colecovision, it might be, and the PSG it used was very popular back then (it was also used as I said in the Spectrums, in the Amstrad CPCs and in the Atari ST!). But the newer VDP versions (starting with the MSX2 and up) have nothing to do with Colecovision. They can deliiver up to 128 colors or more onscreen, if I'm not wrong, and other features. You just have to look at a game like Columns for the MSX. it rocks!
Also there is a cartridge with an FM synhesis module, the FMPAC, that increases the sound capabilities of the machine. And some Konami cartridges have an extra sound chip inside, the SCC. SCC-powered games sound awesome! (I have Gradius 2)
Check out http://www.aamsx.org for nice info about the MSX :)
29 June 2002, 01:18
Originally posted by Akira
Check out http://www.aamsx.org for nice info about the MSX :)
Or just have a look right here : MSX-Thread (http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?threadid=1473) :D
29 June 2002, 02:15
Akira is right, I played some games of the Sharp 68k, and the games are SO close to the arcade games. Almost perfect conversions. Take a look at afterburner, it's simply fantastic. I really liked to play Castlevania (don't know which one) also.
There are emulators around, check 'em out.
29 June 2002, 06:03
Hmm, I do own 3 MSXs , and I had them when they were 'cool' , in the 80s they were by far the most popular machine here.
It's my fav machine ever (If I had to choose between have an MSX or an Amiga , I would choose the MSX anytime, sorry amiga fans :) . Konami did not start out on it, but it made it's name on it. Metal Gear, for example, is an original from MSX. And Konami's Soccer on MSX bears some similarities with the International Super Star Soccer series :)
I am not sure the VDP of the MSX 1 is the same of the Colecovision, but I do know they share a lot of things hardware aside. That's why some Colecovision games were directly ported to MSX. Still, the MSX 1 is a superior machine, it has more RAM memory, and it has better games. IMO, the MSX 1 is already a better machine than the C64, but that's arguable (The MSX 1 has some trouble to do smooth scroll.. that's something I envy on the C64 :) , but the C64 has some pixelled gfx, compared to the MSX)
The MSX 2 and MSX 2+ are THE 8 bit machines. They have a incredible powerfull VPD, capable of displaying 32 colors on screen in a suitable speed. The MSX 2 + can display up to 19782 colours, but only static (Think about Ham mode on Amiga :) ). The MSX 2+ also has a bulti-in FM generator and it has an enormous collection of game.
Companies that supported MSX include Konami, Taito, Namco, Compile, Irem.. some european companies also supported it, but like Akira said, unfortunately they just did shitty Speccy ports, like Dinamic, Tengen, Topo Soft, Opera Soft, Grandslam...
The MSX is still fairly popular in some countries, mainly Brazil , Spain, Netherlands and Japan. Hardware and software is still produced for it (The new Ciel 3+ computer looks incredible, with a z380 processor, USB and IDE connectors, and lots of other nice stuff)
There's also an MSX Thread here on EAB, you can read about it to learn more about the MSX
http://www.fixato.nl/msx-xpress/mep-v2/ it's THE BEST page for emulation, you can find any roms you want here. If you want, I can recommend you some good games.
www.msxgamesbox.com it's also another good place for begginers.
12 July 2002, 02:04
Theres a shop near me that sells reconditioned Atari Lynx (fully boxed etc) for £20. Seems like a good deal to me, think i might buy one :)
Watch out for that "reconditioned" bit... 20 UKP is too much for a not new Lynx, methinks.
I bought an Atari Lynx II with 12 games, carry case, battery holder and sunlight shield, for about 150 dollars. All brand new shrinkwrapped. And today you can get the very same pack for 90 dollars (or perhaps they kept the price in pesos so it costs a measle 20 dollars!)
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