In 1983, Microsoft launched the first revision of the MSX standard. The idea was to create a standard platform to allow hardware and software vendors to develop compatible products while being able to differentiate themselves as they see fit. While the customer had the guaranty of interoperability and a greater choice. For example, I’ve picked a Sony computer and used a Yamaha synthesizer module and a Canon external floppy drive for a while. MSX was very successful in Japan and to a lesser extent in Europe. Specialized publications, as well as press coverage of the Nippon tsunami, are good proofs of this healthy ecosystem. Later on, the standard evolved into MSX2 (1985), MSX2+ (1988), MSX TurboR (1990), and then … died. I jumped on the MSX2 bandwagon in 1986 when I started my journalist career testing software and hardware for various MSX publications. When I had to choose a system to do my work – and have fun programming –, I’ve picked the Sony HB-F500F (the French version of the F500 Hit Bit designed for the European market) alongside the amazing Sony KX-14CP1 monitor (the best CRT ever made). I remember falling in particular for the professional look & feel of the computer, its separated keyboard and integrated 3.5” floppy drive (720KB). Until then, all my computers used magnetic tapes to save and load my programs! From an expandability point of view, Sony had three slots to receive cartridges, an external floppy, and a printer. The rest of the system was … standard: Zilog Z80A CPU running at 3.58 MHz, a Yamaha V9938 video processor, a Yamaha YM2149 sound processor, Microsoft MSX BASIC V2.0, 48KB of ROM, 64KB of RAM and 128KB of VRAM. Really a neat system I enjoyed using and working with. I loved it so much that I kept it during all these years and carried it over when I moved to the US. Unfortunately, when I wanted to play with my faithful MSX2 a few months ago, I was horrified by the mess a bunch of mice left behind on/in it. Disgusting! A revival was necessary, but my past experience (for example with the HP Integral PC prototype) made me procrastinate. It took me three days of vacation to revive one of my favorite systems. I will share with you this experience in the next four posts. Enjoy!