Hi, new user

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Resident (33)

Аватар пользователя OX

07-04-2016, 00:43

Hello MSX users, I am a brand new and complete MSX virgin that has just invested in a Sony Hit Bit MSX2 HB-F9P, I have little prior knowledge of this system and have about a million questions and don't really know where to start but here goes.
All I have at the moment is the 220v computer with a European 2 pin plug that I need to cut off and attach a UK plug, so I guess first I will need a RGB scart video/audio cable before I do anything.
I have also seen that there are upgrades that can be done to make the machine MSX2+ compatible but not sure what is needed for this particular machine.
I'd like to invest in some SD card based loading solution and have seen the megaflashrom SD SCC+ 512k, it is a bit pricey and wonder if there are cheaper alternatives.
I'd also like to know what are the best MSX software titles and what people would regard as essential software for the system.
Please inform me if there are other things I need to consider in building my system, any help is gratefully welcome.

Thanks for your time.

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By valkyre

Hero (647)

Аватар пользователя valkyre

07-04-2016, 12:21

Greetings ox, investing in the megaflashrom would be a sound investment and in the long term a cheap option for you. You may be pleased to know that here in the uk there are some interesting msx things happening which will be made public soon!

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (116)

Аватар пользователя anonymous

07-04-2016, 13:53

Hello OX! How cool to see a new MSX fan. Welcome to the MSX Resource Center! Smile

OX wrote:

I'd also like to know what are the best MSX software titles and what people would regard as essential software for the system.

Ooof... that really depends on what kind of things you like and what you're looking for.
Even if we're talking just games here, that should narrow it down a bit, since the MSX game library is really huge, containing a lot of great titles.

By foobarry81

Master (148)

Аватар пользователя foobarry81

07-04-2016, 13:43

Hi and welcome.

as for software titles, regardless of what type of games you enjoy, you may want to start with the obvious: the quite extensive Konami MSX library (over 70 titles total).

Youtuber strafefox has made a nice video showcasing some of the highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDz1IvuWyJw

By fernandomanuel.garciagarcia

Master (195)

Аватар пользователя fernandomanuel.garciagarcia

07-04-2016, 13:53

Hello OX and welcome to the MSX World!
I am another UK based MSX user and it's great to know more people are coming aboard.
Could you tell us how did you figure out to get your MSX and why? What other systems do you like too?

As many people already mentioned, Konami's library is a good start and you've got plenty of resources
here for example
shops (software & some hardware)
like this or this one

Enjoy OX

By gasparrini

Champion (330)

Аватар пользователя gasparrini

07-04-2016, 14:16

Hello Ox,

Welcome to MSX World,
I am a italian user, and I wanted to say that I am developing a new site
totally responsive web to 100% and more it is also
multilingual, so they are not in Italian and English,
but also in Spanish and French.

I am several days that I'm working on it, to put it
multilingual, and it takes me a long time.
The life of a computer programmer is hard and complicated.

In fact to make this website even in the Spanish language
and French, because in the past have helped me so much in
assembly programming for MSX, so to be
solidarity, and to have them disturbed, as a gesture of friendship the
My new website will be multilingual.

But there is also saying, that there were many people
Dutch people who have helped me, both the music and springs
assembly for MSX, thus always to be supportive and give
a gesture of friendship for the Netherlands nation, I think
I'll soon be in Dutch.

Best Regards

By tvalenca

Paladin (747)

Аватар пользователя tvalenca

07-04-2016, 18:31

Hello ox, greetings from Brazil!

I never had a Sony MSX to put my dirty paws on, (a silly joke in portuguese we do) but this HB-F9P looks like to be a very interesting machine. With 128k of RAM you'll be able to run any Japanese game, and DOS2 with any DOS2 embedded mass storage device, but you may not be able to run everything, like late european soft/demo/games, specially on top of DOS2 (which is required to have folder-organized disks since DOS1 doesn't support directories)

Let's talk about MSX2+ upgrade first: if you have good skills with an soldering iron you can try, but this isn't a must, because there aren't that many MSX2+ exclusive software to justify such deep modifications on such good and working condition machine like yours.

If I had to purchase anything to work with your computer, it would be the MegaFlashROM SCC with 512k RAM. This most likely is the ultimate mass storage device for MSX, and also capable of running MegaROM games with SCC sound (in case you don't feel like buying each game cartridges on ebay - some of them will be very pricey nowadays) and finally it has a 512k RAM expansion to let you run every "late european soft/demo/games" I mentioned before. It's pricey, but if you buy alternative solutions you would buy a lot of stuff instead and I can't garantee you will spend less money (in fact, you would spend a little bit more)

Now talking about alternatives:
1) First thing you need to buy is a mass storage device. Back in the day this would mean you have to buy a Floppy Disk Drive interface + Drive + a bunch of 3.5" diskettes (these were the most commom disk fomat for MSX computers). But since diskettes are now rare and prone to fault you'd better strike out that option.

Common options here are a Sunrise-compatible IDE(ATA) interface where you can plug IDE hard drives (now rare and prone to faults also) Compact Flash cards (through the appropriate IDE-CF adapter) or SD/MMC cards (also through the appropriate IDE-SD adapter). Apart from the original Sunrise models (which are no longer on production), you have several clones, Like the (brazilian ones) Carchano's IDE and CF-IDE models and Tecnobytes' IDE and IDE-Mapper models. Among them, only the IDE-Mapper have that 512k RAM expansion I mentioned earlier, but either of them will work on your computer. And since they're priced in BRL (brazilian currency) they will be cheaper to you.

Less comon options would be the BEER-IDE, Gouda/Novaxis SCSI, Mega-SCSI, NoWind, and the MMC/SD interfaces. I'm not sure if any of them could be easily found thou.

2) Now that you have file storage, now you need something to run your games from; Since most MSX games were released in Cartridge media, they don't rely on computer's main RAM to storage themselves to run. Games smaller than 32k can easily run from main RAM, but the others would run from a mapped ROM device instead. These ROM mappers are incompatible with the main RAM mapper you computer have, so either the games has to be patched or you have a special RAM mapper device compatible with game's original ROM Mapper. Most known devices are the Brazilian MegaRAM, Japanese ESE-SCC, and Manuel Pazos' MegaFlashROM (the model without SD card support). The MegaRAM and the earlier models of MegaFlashROM models didn't support SCC sound, which means no enhanced sound on some Konami games. The ESE-SCC and later models of MegaFlashROM supports SCC.

3) So far, you've spent the two expansion slots of your MSX. If you need anything else, you would need an Slot expander. A Slot expander takes one slot and expands it in a way you can connect up to 4 devices.

Some devices you would want to use:
- A MSX-Music compatible device (either the original FM-PAC, or any FM sound expansion based on Yamaha OPLL chip, by heart I can remember of brazilian Tecnobytes FM Sound Stereo): This is the most popular sound enhancement device for MSX that didn't came embedded on a game cartridge. Many MSX2 games has support to it, so it's a must-have.
- A MSX-Audio compatible device (either Philips Music Module, Toshiba HX-MU900 or Panasonic FS-CA1): This was supposed to be the official MSX sound enhancement cartridge, but since it came too expensive it didn't became popular. Some games (specially Compile ones) are compatible to theses cartridges.
- A Sunrise Moonsound compatible cartridge (either the original Moonsound, the Tecnobytes Shockwave, Dal-So-Ri, WozBlaster or FM-Blaster, all of them based on Yamaha OPL4 soundchip). This is "very new", no "original releases were compatible to it, but a number of games made after the 90's have Moonsound support.
- If you choosed a IDE interface without that RAM expansion, there is a cartridge with this RAM expansion called Musical Memory Mapper. This "Musical" part of the cartridge is the Texas Instruments PSG used on SG-1000 and Colecovision consoles and is similar but different from the General Instruments PSG inside the MSX. With this chip and a special loader program, you can play SG-1000 and ColecoVision games on MSX.
- A Sunrise GFX9000 compatible cartrige (either the original GFX9000 or the Tecnobytes PowerGraph, based on Yamaha V9990). This cartridge contains the VDP that was supposed to be the VDP of the Turbo-R computers. They're not common even if Sunrise released it a long time ago, but I'm putting on this list because there were a new "fuss" about them last month, so I'm expecting them to be a little more popular among MSX users from now on.

And some others I won't properly describe: RS232 interfaces, MIDI interfaces, and cartridges that I can't remember right now.

Hope it helped.


Resident (33)

Аватар пользователя OX

08-04-2016, 02:25

Thanks for the answers and links people, great stuff!

I am interested in other 8/16/32 bit systems of back in the day but felt that I was missing out on MSX due to it not having great popularity in the UK but knew it was big in Japan, Asia, South America and other European countries and hence has a large software back catalogue. I think it didn't take to well to the UK due to being late to the UK market and machines like Sinclair and Commodore already having a foothold, I also think the MSX marketing drive in the UK could have been more aggressive, there were initially plenty of MSX machines launched in the UK but by time MSX2 came around it was virtually nowhere to be seen in our stores and expensive.
I've always had an admiration for the design and build quality of the MSX machines and this is probably due to the fact that they were built by mostly quality manufacturing companies.

Another question - I take it that there is no single cart solution that does megaflashrom, SCC, SD, 512k and FM sound expansion? Do the Konami titles exclusively use the SCC or could they alternatively use FM sound and vice-versa for other titles that use FM sound? Or would I need to purchase both a MegaFlashrom SCC+ SD 512k and a seperate FM-sound expansion cart to cover all compatibility angles? (presuming these would work in conjunction with each other)

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (116)

Аватар пользователя anonymous

08-04-2016, 02:53

OX wrote:

Another question - I take it that there is no single cart solution that does megaflashrom, SCC, SD, 512k and FM sound expansion?

Not that I know about, but I could be wrong. I don't think so, though.

OX wrote:

Do the Konami titles exclusively use the SCC or could they alternatively use FM sound and vice-versa for other titles that use FM sound?

SCC and FM are totally different things and not interchangeable. So I'm afraid not.
Earlier Konami titles don't use/contain the SCC at all, although they re-issued some of those on their "Game Collections" with an upgraded SCC soundtrack.
And there is one specific Konami game that uses FM; "F-1 Spirit 3D Special". But that one needs MSX2+ or higher, anyway.

OX wrote:

Or would I need to purchase both a MegaFlashrom SCC+ SD 512k and a seperate FM-sound expansion cart to cover all compatibility angles? (presuming these would work in conjunction with each other)

Yes, or get a model that has FM built in. But that seems a bit steep, seeing as you already bought a machine.
As far as I know, there's no problem having both a MegaFlashROM SCC+ and FM cartridge plugged in at the same time.


Resident (33)

Аватар пользователя OX

08-04-2016, 02:53

Thanks John, looks like this is going to get expensive then lol.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (116)

Аватар пользователя anonymous

08-04-2016, 03:10

Well OX, that depends on how you look at it. Smile

Most (Japanese) games that support FM will still play music when there's no FM found. You'll get the PSG versions, then. Ofcourse, it sounds not as good, but at least you have a soundtrack.
With Konami games, it's a different story; they were originally distributed with the SCC built into the game cartridge itself, so there are no "PSG-only" versions of the music included. Meaning, that if you play a cracked version of such a game without having SCC available, you'll mostly only hear the drums and some basslines or echos here and there. Wink

So, if you plan on generally playing cracked games anyway, I suggest you get the FlashROM first, and after that you can always look for an FM cart later.

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