Before Microsoft envisioned the Xbox on every TV, Kazuhiko Nishi from Microsoft Japan created the MSX in 1983. The MSX is primarily a home computer, but it was equally known for its games. Konami put Metal Gear on the MSX first and the MSX was home to Dragon Quest way before it became a phenomenon on the Famicom. While the MSX was released by Spectravideo in the US it was largely overshadowed by the Commodore line of computers. The MSX did find a solid user base in Japan and the Neterhlands, which brings us to Bazix who is trying to revive the device.
This month they are releasing the One Chip MSX, a fully programmable console that supports the MSX1 and MSX2 standards. The One Chip MSX can play MSX cartridge and downloaded games via a SD card. Coinciding with the MSX re-release is Woomb.net a service that distributes MSX software online. What is interesting about Woomb is they are taking the classic Japanese MSX titles and translating them into English. Very cool stuff, but the price of the MSX is almost destined to make its re-release rather limited. The cost of the One Chip MSX is 229 euros ($292), nearly the same price as a Nintendo Wii. Ouch. At least the games are reasonable, they run around 10 euros a piece ($13) and are slight cheaper if you shell out a little to become a member. A cheaper option than buying the One Chip is go the emulation route or wait until the MSX games appear on the Wii’s Virtual Console.