MSX
Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSX#/media/File:Sony_HitBit_HB-10P_(White_Background).jpg

One of the original creators of the MSX, Kazuhiko Nishi, has been discussing the prospect of revisiting the machine for the next generation over the last year on Twitter and on his website.

It's news that will likely excite fans of the vintage Japanese PC, which was originally created by ASCII and Microsoft primarily for the Eastern market in the 1980s. Though the machine was not developed with gaming in mind, several notable Japanese developers like Konami and Hudson Soft released popular titles for the machine, including Metal Gear and Bomberman. This has earned it an affectionate place in the hearts of many Japanese players.

In a blog post, dated 29th June 2022, Nishi stated his intentions for this new project,

"I'm thinking 18 hours a day to finalize the specifications of MSX3 with the aim of meeting software developers at the end of July. There are three things MSX3 is aiming for.

"The first is to make an inexpensive one-board system that runs on Linux as an extension of the previous computer. The displays are 2K, 4K and 8K. When you connect an optical disc, it takes CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, and UHD Blu-Ray. If you connect to the Internet, you can play video and audio.

"The second is IoT. About 300 types of Grove sensors are connected, and can be programmed with MSX IoT BASIC.

"The third is Super Computing. Eight 64-bit modules of ARM realize a cubic menicoa cluster combined with the Torus network in the XYZ direction. I want to make an easy-to-use supercomputer for people who are interested in what I've never touched. No one has done this in the world of computers and smartphones. It's about 128 CPU at most, but I want to try it with 1024 CPU from the beginning."

More recently, as in yesterday (21st September), he also posted more information about the supercomputer element of his plans:

"I'm designing a new computer called MSX3. As part of that, we are planning a personal supercomputer.

"Candidates for CPUs include Fujitsu's FX64 CPUs used in the Fugaku supercomputer, MN4 CPUs from Preferred Networks, and SC3 from PEZY. If possible, I would like to plan on using them all."

That's not all he's shared either, with the engineer and businessman posting tweets showing off the new branding for the MSX 3 and the MSX Turbo supercomputer (pictured below).

And over on Twitter, he's announced that Occam will be the new programming language for the MSX 3, saying that this will allow for "more detailed and efficient programming".

It will be interesting to see what happens with this set of new machines, as the last attempt to make an MSX3 didn't necessarily go to plan, with the computer missing its deadline leading to the development and release of the revised MSX TurboR. Arguably one of the biggest hurdles for development will be the ongoing semiconductor shortage, which Nishi admits is providing a few headaches already.

Between this and the X68000 Z mini, though, it's clearly an exciting time for Japanese PC-revival projects. We'll try and keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Do you have an MSX computer in your collection? Let us know in the comments!

[source nishi.org]