The author waffles about MSX – part 1

Debunking MSX2: The “C64 killer” computer banned from the English speaking world – part 1

Your correspondent honestly can’t be bothered to deal with most of the author’s two thousand word post because it’s just a new variation on the same old bilge. It would be interesting to see the evidence for the claim that the MSX2 was “banned from the English speaking world” because the post itself doesn’t back that claim up.

I’ve decided to expand the scope of this blog now to look beyond my personal period of Commodore 64 hell of 1984-1985 to what happened after that and what might have been. This is all still to do with programming, as well as creating graphics and sound, though.

In other words, “what might have been” means we’re heading off into the realms of fantasy again.

[TMR] had the cheek to claim that it wasn’t possible to write any commercial software in BASIC, in spite of the “Cassette 50” compilation he mentioned, the many BASIC type in listings that were published while I owned a C64

In order for a program to be commercial it has to be accepted and published by a publisher and that was all but impossible to do for BASIC games in 1984 to the point where a novice like the author was stood no chance whatsoever. Cassette 50 isn’t even an exception since it had already been on sale for a year by that point and was built on programs that Cascade had previously purchased outright for a tenner. Trying to call BASIC type in listings “commercial” software is pushing the envelope far enough that the stamp has fallen off.

and ignoring my previous revelation that there was an excellent course published in an MSX magazine which taught me how to convert between different dialects of BASIC, including converting screen coordinates.

Mentioning that a course in a magazine was required to understand the conversion process between different dialects of BASIC merely reinforces what your correspondent said and he didn’t feel the need since it was already a strong argument. Simply ask yourself dear reader what happens if you have a BBC BASIC program and an Amstrad CPC but no documentation or magazine article explaining what conversions are needed. Even with that documentation the process of converting a long program will a slow and laborious task.

He then repeated his usual delusions that the Commodore 64 was something other than a set of Commodore PET ROMs cobbled together with 64K of RAM chips, plus a graphics chip and a sound chip tacked on to this collection of mass produced trash. The fact is it WASN’T any more than that. End of story!

The author is a complete and utter idiot. End of story.

No, your correspondent is aware that arguments don’t work like that (even if the author is deluded enough to believe they do) and honestly doesn’t expect this discussion to stop there just because he unilaterally declared this to be the “end of story”.

And we’ll just pause here to note the glaring irony of the author incorrectly declaring the C64 to be “a set of Commodore PET ROMs cobbled together with 64K of RAM chips, plus a graphics chip and a sound chip tacked on” and then claiming that the ”original MSX standard had been well designed around tried and tested technology” is hysterically funny even before we remember Clive Sinclair’s scathing comments.

The following information has been compiled from my memories of a computer show in London, probably at Earl’s Court Olympia, as well as from reading the British magazines “MSX User”, “MSX Computing”, a SONY manual about MSX BASIC 2.0, as well as the Dutch “MSX Computer Magazine” of the mid 1980’s. I also used to own a Yamaha CX5M Music Computer, which was one of the original MSX or MSX1 standard computers and WAS released in Britain as well as the USA. It certainly isn’t a collection of rumours or half truths “cherry picked off the Internet”!

So that’s memories from a computer show that was around three decades ago, second hand opinion from some magazines hailing from the same era, the author’s biased opinions and recollections of using the previous model of machine rather than the one in question and none of those sources can really be considered objective.

Unfortunately, I had hardly any information about the new MSX BASIC 2.0 commands when I saw those computers at the show, but I’ve recently found out about commands such as COLOR=(n,r,g,b) , which assigns any of the 512 colours in the palette to colour n, where the values r, g, and b are in the range 0-7.

There’s another example of a BASIC command that works differently between platforms and, as ably demonstrated by the author who didn’t know at the time how it worked, unless the documentation is there to support transition between BASIC dialects, the average user like he was at that point is always going to struggle.

Little did he know that, thanks to the price wars started by Jack Tramiel, as well as some other more obscure tactics that could be described as “restraint of trade”, only the Spectravideo SVI-728 and Yamaha CX5M (both MSX1) computers would ever be released in the USA.

Your correspondent would like to see some actual proof of “restraint of trade” at this point for a change because the author has made similar comments in the past without offering even a shred of evidence to back them up.

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