The author waffles about MSX – part 2

Debunking MSX2: The “C64 killer” computer banned from the English speaking world – part 2

The author has returned after nearly two months away but still spews out the same tired old garbage. We’ll skip over most of what was posted because it’s just a combination of myopic “what ifs” and detail that, quite frankly, wasn’t even vaguely necessary.

The other disks contain a collection of 19 classic games, now abandonware, mainly ripped from cartridges

The term “abandonware” is a rather shady one; it was originally invented to describe software which, because the publishers were no longer supporting it, was considered “abandoned” but the term was coined by people hosting abandonware on the web in an attempt to make what they were doing appear more legitimate. It’s usually still considered to be software piracy, especially when paired with words like “ripped”.

When faced with the choice of this or the C64 320×200 hires with 16 colours and 8×8 attributes or colour bleed, or the 160×200 multicolour mode with only 4 colours in each 8×8 cell, surely only people totally brainwashed by Commodore propaganda or living somewhere MSX2 wasn’t available would have wanted to play blocky games or do rough, woodcut style graphic art on a Commodore 64!

There were Amstrad CPC fans who were satisfied with the same “blocky” resolution for their games from that era and Atari 8-bit users who were happy to live with the even coarser 4:1 ratio pixels their GTIA-specific modes required[1]; the “Commodore propaganda” is just in the author’s mind since it seems to extend to other, non-Commodore platforms.

And we do also need to remember that the MSX2 was released in 1985, the same year that the original Atari ST and Commodore Amiga were released, so the idea that a machine put out three years after the C64 has better graphics shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody who isn’t terminally stupid.

I think the software and the music cartridge could both be totally amazing, but whatever it is, I can practically guarantee it will be a lot better than software for the Commodore 64!

The author has yet to use the software or hardware in question so cannot “practically guarantee” anything at all at this point. Putting the MSX2 with expansion hardware up against just a standard C64 would just be an almost childlike, pointless comparison that wastes the time of the author’s readers even further than usual and the author’s lack of experience with C64 music software means he can’t fairly judge that in comparison either.

I have been encouraged by my new/old MSX2 computer to study Z80 Assembly Language/Machine Code again, this time from the book “Programming the Z80” by Rodnay Zaks. I haven’t got very far.

Your correspondent admits that he isn’t particularly surprised by that, but notes that his own attempts to learn Z80 assembly language have been coming along quite nicely to the point where he has the basic framework to a game running.

However, in this book Rodnay Zaks makes the revelation that about 10% of people can write programs without making flowcharts first, but about 90% of people think they’re members of this 10%, so the programs they write crash, and as for the 10% who can write programs without making flowcharts, other people can’t understand how their programs work. I think this sums up TMR of the website . In other words he thinks “Flowcharts are for wimps!”

No, that’s an outright lie on the author’s part since your correspondent has never made any such claim. Your correspondent’s view on flowcharts is that, once a certain level of complexity is reached, they are pretty much useless unless reduced to a level of simplicity that doesn’t help things along.

And just because something appears in print it isn’t a universal truth; if that were the case there wouldn’t be even a peep about the A-Z of Personal Computers from the author and, since Steven Levy’s book Hackers has a similar “revelation” that none of the programmers at seminal Apple II and Atari 8-bit software company Online Systems used flowcharts, we’d have a ridiculously large paradox.

BTW, some recent news about programming MSX1 and similar systems with the Z80 CPU and TI99XX VDP video chip is on the YouTube channel Electric Adventures. A series started on 22-12-14 which is called “Let’s Make a Retro Game”. In this series Tony Cruise, a former writer on “Micro’s Gazette”, a fanatical Australian MSX/Spectravideo 318 and 328 magazine is using development software running on Microsoft Windows, such as a sprite editor (which combines two sprites into a single two colour sprite), and the BlueMSX emulator to develop a game

We need to pause in order to appreciate the scale of the author’s hypocrisy here dear reader; in a comment on his blog that we’ll be dealing with in the next post the author has recently reiterated his belief that “people were supposed to learn how to do everything they could in BASIC, before learning how to do the same things in Assembler/Machine Code” but the programming course he’s essentially endorsing to his readers in the quoted paragraph is for beginners but starts with Z80 assembly language.

We’ll have to see if the author either apologises to his readers for previously misleading them about the actual importance of BASIC to beginners or renounces the Electric Adventures programming course for not teaching BASIC first.

Warning: watching this final stage could blow your mind!

Warning: the author doesn’t understand why he’s talking absolute garbage. The tutorials are about assembly language and using sprite hardware, so the C64 is in exactly the same boat as the other machines in that respect. We will, dear reader, have to keep an eye on the course to see how it goes, in part because your correspondent picked up a Toshiba HX-10 MSX yesterday for a mere £25 that looks like this:

'Ello Tosh, got a Toshiba?

‘Ello Tosh, got a Toshiba?

Finally, here’s a video clip showing a well known game that was first released on MSX2. This game is called “Metal Gear”! Try doing this on a C64 with its blocky 160×200 16 colour graphics!

There’s no need for anyone try of course, because Metal Gear was released on the C64 in 1990. We have previously mentioned the author’s poor research, but now seems to be a good time to reiterate that.

[1] Amstrad CPC fans seem, generally speaking, to be more predisposed to the 2:1 ratio pixels and Atarians tend to lean towards them as well and there are some recent games and demos using the 4:1 ratio pixels too.

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