Getting into MSX/Hardware Questions

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Door Highlands

Supporter (8)

afbeelding van Highlands

03-05-2023, 09:38

Hey there! I’m a longtime Metal Gear fan, who recently decided to get an MSX console to play the original versions of MG1 and MG2 on original hardware. I have a number of questions that I hope the learned among you would be kind enough to answer:
1. Can an MSX Turbo R play MSX2 and MSX2+ games?
2. What considerations do I need to keep in mind as an American user importing a japanese MSX? Do I need a mini voltage transformer to convert the 120w into 100w?
3. Are there any accessories I need to invest in?
4. I’m looking into purchasing a retrotink to upscale the video through RCA composite to HDMI on my 27inch gigabyte monitor. Do I merely just have to hook up the MSX to the monitor to start playing? Do I need to download any software? And if so, how do I do that?
5. How do I save games? Does that require any additional hardware?

Thanks for your patience and help.

MSX newbie

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Van meits

Scribe (6573)

afbeelding van meits

03-05-2023, 09:48

0. Hi, Welcome here.
1. Yes, but there might be some incompatibility issues when you play really old MSX1 stuff on a later machine as the coders weren't flexible back then. Not every MSX is an exact copy of the other.
2. Do get a transformer to get 100V if you get yourself a Japanese machine (which you should, because of NTSC). They were made for 100V and there's a 10% rule in electronics. This means 110V would be the top limit. America's average standard went to 120V and can carry less, but more than that as well. It could happen you push 125V in a machine that can handle 110V max.
3. You'll get your MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD and Carnivore2 answers below Wink
4. I'm not familiar with any Scart/RGB to HDMI conversion. But conversion is what you will have to do. MSX outputs analog RGB.
5. Metal Gear 1 saves to cassette tape (turbo R can't handle data recorders), but iirc there's a patch (correct me if I'm wrong). Metal Gear 2 saves to password (long ones, and japanese on japanese machines/normal alphabet on other machines) and floppydisk. Metal Gear 1 resulted in me having the computer switched on for weeks in the 80s.

Van cjs

Master (143)

afbeelding van cjs

03-05-2023, 10:03

3. Actually you are very likely to be fine without a AC transformer to bring the voltage down from nominal 115 V to nominal 100 V. MSX machines generally have a transformer in the external PSU that brings the voltages down to around 15 V and 8-9 V (either AC and then rectified on the motherboard, or DC with a rectifier in the external PSU) and then linear regulators on the motherboard that produce +5 VDC and +/-12 VDC. These linear regulators have a reasonable range of input voltages they accept. So a +5 VDC regulator will normally need to see a minimum input of +6 to +7 V (or it won't produce a +5 V output) and the maximum will depend on how much heat it can dissipate to bring the input the voltage down to +5 V (usually at least 9 V or more; technically well over 15 V for the part itself if it's got enough heat sinking).

In other words, a +5 VDC linear regulator might be getting +10 V instead of +8.3 V on its input, but that will simply generate a bit more heat.

That said, it's best to ask about the particular model you're using, just in case there are any issues. And obviously, whether you're using 100 VAC or 120 VAC input, it's always better for the lifetime of the PSU and main unit if allow reasonable space for ventilation around it and don't use it in a particular hot room.

4. Many MSX2 and a few MSX1 machines have analogue RGB, but a few have digital RGB and virtually all have NTSC CVBS ("composite colour") outputs. CVBS isn't as good quality as RGB, but usually isn't terrible, either, and the odd game here and there even relies on NTSC colour artifacts to produce the intended colours.

You might have a composite input on your monitor itself, which will use an upscaler of some random level of quality to create the image on the LCD. You can buy cheap CVBS to HDMI upscalers for about $5 (from Amazon or wherever); this might be the easiest place to start if you don't have a CVBS input on any of your monitors. And of course a 4:3 CRT monitor is the way it would have been played back in the day.

Van Highlands

Supporter (8)

afbeelding van Highlands

03-05-2023, 13:30

Thanks so much for the responses thus far. Is starting an MSX up plug and play? Or do I need to install specific software?

Also, on the saving issue, is there a universal solution? I.e. purchase a special device, download a specific program, etc?

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (10135)

afbeelding van wolf_

03-05-2023, 15:24

Highlands wrote:

Thanks so much for the responses thus far. Is starting an MSX up plug and play? Or do I need to install specific software?

Well, yes. Upon boot you end up in MSX-BASIC or MSX-DOS if it's present. But games 'n demos usually just start automatically. It's really easy! In the 80's most of us were young kids, and we could all operate an MSX.

Van AndreV

Champion (272)

afbeelding van AndreV

03-05-2023, 16:40

The msx hardware is plug and play, the software/ games has to load in the machine or by data recorder, diskette, cartridge and a modern device is the carnivore2/ megaflashrom to play rom image/ dsk image. Availablity can be an issue to get a flash device.

Most software can be found on the internet, dsk image can be put on al real diskette and a Windows machine and the program
Even and old smart Phone can be uses as a load device

Saving game state, depence from the game some datarecorder or diskette, most game not no saving.

Msx file Hunter (google) complete msx archive.

Van Highlands

Supporter (8)

afbeelding van Highlands

03-05-2023, 17:40

So I actually bought the original games. So I have the cartridges! So I just plug them in and go to town? Ha. I just need to know how to save the games on my Turbo R then.

Van AndreV

Champion (272)

afbeelding van AndreV

03-05-2023, 18:05

Yes, mg1 no option than save on a cassette ms2 has disk save.
Note that always enter or remove cartridge when the msx is off, you can otherwise damage the cartridges

Mg2 is in Japanse only mg1 has a European version in englisch

Van Manuel

Ascended (19683)

afbeelding van Manuel

03-05-2023, 18:10

If you buy a turbo R, you cannot save with the original Metal Gear game without help from the Konami Game Master 2 cartridge. Which is the most comfortable way to save anyway, so better get it as well Smile

Van Matt512

Resident (33)

afbeelding van Matt512

03-05-2023, 18:42

On my Panasonic FS A1-ST turboR the Game Master 2 doesn't work. I heard there is some error, but not on the GT.

Van Highlands

Supporter (8)

afbeelding van Highlands

03-05-2023, 18:45

So if I buy the cartridge to save, how do I save both games then? I.e. what does that process look like in terms of inserting the cartridge, using it, etc. Keep in mind I dont have the console yet, only ordered ha

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