The Z80 CPU is an 8-bit based microprocessor. It was introduced by Zilog in 1976 as the startup company's first product; the Z80 was conceived by Federico Faggin in late 1974 and developed by him and his then-11 employees at Zilog from early 1975 until March 1976, when the first working samples were delivered. With the revenue from the Z80, the company built its own chip factories and grew to over a thousand employees over the following two years; the Zilog Z80 was a software-compatible extension and enhancement of the Intel 8080 and, like it, was aimed at embedded systems. According to the designers, the primary targets for the Z80 CPU were products like intelligent terminals, high end printers and advanced cash registers as well as telecom equipment, industrial robots and other kinds of automation equipment; the Z80 was introduced on the market in July 1976 and came to be used in general desktop computers using CP/M and other operating systems as well as in the home computers of the 1980s.
It was common in military applications, musical equipment, such as synthesizers, in the computerized coin operated video games of the late 1970s and early 1980, the arcade machines or video game arcade cabinets. The Z80 was one of the most used CPUs in the home computer market from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. Zilog licensed the Z80 to the US-based Synertek and Mostek, which had helped them with initial production, as well as to a European second source manufacturer, SGS; the design was copied by several Japanese, East European and Soviet manufacturers. This won the Z80 acceptance in the world market since large companies like NEC, Toshiba and Hitachi started to manufacture the device. In recent decades Zilog has refocused on the ever-growing market for embedded systems and the most recent Z80-compatible microcontroller family, the pipelined 24-bit eZ80 with a linear 16 MB address range, has been introduced alongside the simpler Z180 and Z80 products; the Z80 came about when physicist Federico Faggin left Intel at the end of 1974 to found Zilog with Ralph Ungermann.
At Fairchild Semiconductor, at Intel, Faggin had been working on fundamental transistor and semiconductor manufacturing technology. He developed the basic design methodology used for memories and microprocessors at Intel and led the work on the Intel 4004, the 8080 and several other ICs. Masatoshi Shima, the principal logic and transistor level-designer of the 4004 and the 8080 under Faggin's supervision, joined the Zilog team. By March 1976, Zilog had developed the Z80 as well as an accompanying assembler based development system for its customers, by July 1976, this was formally launched onto the market. Early Z80s were manufactured by Synertek and Mostek, before Zilog had its own manufacturing factory ready, in late 1976; these companies were chosen because they could do the ion implantation needed to create the depletion-mode MOSFETs that the Z80 design used as load transistors in order to cope with a single 5 Volt power supply. Faggin designed the instruction set to be binary compatible with the Intel 8080 so that most 8080 code, notably the CP/M operating system and Intel's PL/M compiler for 8080, would run unmodified on the new Z80 CPU.
Masatoshi Shima designed most of the microarchitecture as well as the gate and transistor levels of the Z80 CPU, assisted by a small number of engineers and layout people. CEO Federico Faggin was heavily involved in the chip layout work, together with two dedicated layout people. Faggin worked 80 hours a week in order to meet the tight schedule given by the financial investors, according to himself; the Z80 offered many improvements over the 8080: An enhanced instruction set including single-bit addressing, shifts/rotates on memory and registers other than the accumulator, rotate instructions for BCD number strings in memory, program looping, program counter relative jumps, block copy, block input/output, byte search instructions. The Z80 had better support for signed 8 - and 16-bit arithmetics. New IX and IY index registers with instructions for direct base+offset addressing A better interrupt system A more automatic and general vectorized interrupt system, mode 2 intended for Zilog's line of counter/timers, DMA and communications controllers, as well as a fixed vector interrupt system, mode 1, for simple systems with minimal hardware.
A non maskable interrupt which can be used to respond to power down situations or other high priority events. Two separate register files, which could be switched, to speed up response to interrupts such as fast asynchronous event handlers or a multitasking dispatcher. Although they were not intended as extra registers for general code, they were used that way in some applications. Less hardware required for power supply, clock generation and interface to memory and I/O Single 5-volt power supply. Single-phase 5 V clock. A built-in DRAM refresh mechanism. Non-multiplexed buses. A special reset function which clears only the program counter so that a single Z80 CPU could be used in a
Central processing unit
A central processing unit called a central processor or main processor, is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logic and input/output operations specified by the instructions. The computer industry has used the term "central processing unit" at least since the early 1960s. Traditionally, the term "CPU" refers to a processor, more to its processing unit and control unit, distinguishing these core elements of a computer from external components such as main memory and I/O circuitry; the form and implementation of CPUs have changed over the course of their history, but their fundamental operation remains unchanged. Principal components of a CPU include the arithmetic logic unit that performs arithmetic and logic operations, processor registers that supply operands to the ALU and store the results of ALU operations and a control unit that orchestrates the fetching and execution of instructions by directing the coordinated operations of the ALU, registers and other components.
Most modern CPUs are microprocessors, meaning they are contained on a single integrated circuit chip. An IC that contains a CPU may contain memory, peripheral interfaces, other components of a computer; some computers employ a multi-core processor, a single chip containing two or more CPUs called "cores". Array processors or vector processors have multiple processors that operate in parallel, with no unit considered central. There exists the concept of virtual CPUs which are an abstraction of dynamical aggregated computational resources. Early computers such as the ENIAC had to be physically rewired to perform different tasks, which caused these machines to be called "fixed-program computers". Since the term "CPU" is defined as a device for software execution, the earliest devices that could rightly be called CPUs came with the advent of the stored-program computer; the idea of a stored-program computer had been present in the design of J. Presper Eckert and John William Mauchly's ENIAC, but was omitted so that it could be finished sooner.
On June 30, 1945, before ENIAC was made, mathematician John von Neumann distributed the paper entitled First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC. It was the outline of a stored-program computer that would be completed in August 1949. EDVAC was designed to perform a certain number of instructions of various types; the programs written for EDVAC were to be stored in high-speed computer memory rather than specified by the physical wiring of the computer. This overcame a severe limitation of ENIAC, the considerable time and effort required to reconfigure the computer to perform a new task. With von Neumann's design, the program that EDVAC ran could be changed by changing the contents of the memory. EDVAC, was not the first stored-program computer. Early CPUs were custom designs used as part of a sometimes distinctive computer. However, this method of designing custom CPUs for a particular application has given way to the development of multi-purpose processors produced in large quantities; this standardization began in the era of discrete transistor mainframes and minicomputers and has accelerated with the popularization of the integrated circuit.
The IC has allowed complex CPUs to be designed and manufactured to tolerances on the order of nanometers. Both the miniaturization and standardization of CPUs have increased the presence of digital devices in modern life far beyond the limited application of dedicated computing machines. Modern microprocessors appear in electronic devices ranging from automobiles to cellphones, sometimes in toys. While von Neumann is most credited with the design of the stored-program computer because of his design of EDVAC, the design became known as the von Neumann architecture, others before him, such as Konrad Zuse, had suggested and implemented similar ideas; the so-called Harvard architecture of the Harvard Mark I, completed before EDVAC used a stored-program design using punched paper tape rather than electronic memory. The key difference between the von Neumann and Harvard architectures is that the latter separates the storage and treatment of CPU instructions and data, while the former uses the same memory space for both.
Most modern CPUs are von Neumann in design, but CPUs with the Harvard architecture are seen as well in embedded applications. Relays and vacuum tubes were used as switching elements; the overall speed of a system is dependent on the speed of the switches. Tube computers like EDVAC tended to average eight hours between failures, whereas relay computers like the Harvard Mark I failed rarely. In the end, tube-based CPUs became dominant because the significant speed advantages afforded outweighed the reliability problems. Most of these early synchronous CPUs ran at low clock rates compared to modern microelectronic designs. Clock signal frequencies ranging from 100 kHz to 4 MHz were common at this time, limited by the speed of the switching de
A ROM cartridge referred to as a cartridge or cart, is a removable memory card containing ROM designed to be connected to a consumer electronics device such as a home computer, video game console and to a lesser extent, electronic musical instruments. ROM cartridges can be used to load software such as other application programs; the cartridge slot could be used for hardware additions, for example speech synthesis. Some cartridges had battery-backed static random-access memory, allowing a user to save data such as game progress or scores between uses. ROM cartridges allowed the user to load and access programs and data without the expense of a floppy drive, an expensive peripheral during the home computer era, without using slow and unreliable Compact Cassette tape. An advantage for the manufacturer was the relative security of the software in cartridge form, difficult for end users to replicate. However, cartridges were expensive to manufacture compared to making a floppy disk or CD-ROM; as disk drives became more common and software expanded beyond the practical limits of ROM size, cartridge slots disappeared from game consoles and personal computers.
Cartridges are still used today with handheld gaming consoles such as the Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, the tablet-like hybrid console Nintendo Switch. Due to its widespread usage for video gaming, ROM cartridges were colloquially referred to as a game cartridge. ROM cartridges were popularized by early home computers which featured a special bus port for the insertion of cartridges containing software in ROM. In most cases the designs were crude, with the entire address and data buses exposed by the port and attached via an edge connector; the Texas Instruments TI 59 family of programmable scientific calculators used interchangeable ROM cartridges that could be installed in a slot at the back of the calculator. The calculator came with a module that provides several standard mathematical functions including solution of simultaneous equations. Other modules were specialized for financial calculations, or other subject areas, a "games" module. Modules were not user-programmable.
The Hewlett-Packard HP-41C had expansion slots which could hold ROM memory as well as I/O expansion ports. Notable computers using cartridges in addition to magnetic media were the Commodore VIC-20 and 64, MSX standard, the Atari 8-bit family, the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A and the IBM PCjr; some arcade system boards, such as Capcom's CP System and SNK's Neo Geo used ROM cartridges. The modern take on game cartridges was invented by Jerry Lawson as part of the Fairchild Channel F home console in 1976; the cartridge approach gained more popularity with the Atari 2600 released the following year. From the late 1970s to mid-1990s, the majority of home video game systems were cartridge-based; as compact disc technology came to be used for data storage, most hardware companies moved from cartridges to CD-based game systems. Nintendo remained the lone hold-out. SNK still released games on the cartridge-based Neo Geo until 2004, with the final official release being Samurai Shodown V Special. Nintendo's handheld consoles, continued to use cartridges due to their faster loading times and minimal equipment for data reading being beneficial for playing video games in short, several-minute intervals.
ROM cartridges can not only additional hardware expansion as well. Examples include the Super FX coprocessor chip in some Super NES game paks, The SVP chip in the Sega Genesis Version Of Virtua Racing, voice and chess modules in the Magnavox Odyssey². Micro Machines 2 on the Genesis/Mega Drive used a custom "J-Cart" cartridge design by Codemasters which incorporated two additional gamepad ports; this allowed players to have up to four gamepads connected to the console without the need for an additional multi-controller adapter. The ROM cartridge slot principle continues in various mobile devices, thanks to the development of high density low-cost flash memory. For example, a GPS navigation device might allow user updates of maps by inserting a flash memory chip into an expansion slot. An E-book reader can store the text of several thousand books on a flash chip. Personal computers may allow the user to boot and install an operating system off a USB flash drive instead of CD ROM or floppy disks.
Digital cameras with flash drive slots allow users to exchange cards when full, allow rapid transfer of pictures to a computer or printer. Storing software on ROM cartridges has a number of advantages over other methods of storage like floppy disks and optical media; as the ROM cartridge is memory mapped into the system's normal address space, software stored in the ROM can be read like normal memory. Software run directly from ROM uses less RAM, leaving memory free for other processes. While the standard size of optical media dictates a minimum size for devices which can read disks, ROM cartridges can be manufactured in different sizes, allowing for smaller devices like handheld game systems. ROM cartridges can be damaged, but they are more robust and resistant to damage than optical media.
Video game console
A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play. The term "video game console" is used to distinguish a console machine designed for consumers to use for playing video games, in contrast to arcade machines or home computers. An arcade machine consists of a video game computer, game controller and speakers housed in large chassis. A home computer is a personal computer designed for home use for a variety of purposes, such as bookkeeping, accessing the Internet and playing video games. While arcades and computers are expensive or “technical” devices, video game consoles were designed with affordability and accessibility to the general public in mind. Unlike similar consumer electronics such as music players and movie players, which use industry-wide standard formats, video game consoles use proprietary formats which compete with each other for market share. There are various types of video game consoles, including home video game consoles, handheld game consoles and dedicated consoles.
Although Ralph Baer had built working game consoles by 1966, it was nearly a decade before the Pong game made them commonplace in regular people's living rooms. Through evolution over the 1990s and 2000s, game consoles have expanded to offer additional functions such as CD players, DVD players, Blu-ray disc players, web browsers, set-top boxes and more; the first video games appeared in the 1960s. They were played on massive computers connected to vector displays, not analog televisions. Ralph H. Baer conceived the idea of a home video game in 1951. In the late 1960s, while working for Sanders Associates, Baer created a series of video game console designs. One of these designs, which gained the nickname of the 1966 "Brown Box", featured changeable game modes and was demonstrated to several TV manufacturers leading to an agreement between Sanders Associates and Magnavox. In 1972, Magnavox released the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game console which could be connected to a TV set. Ralph Baer's initial design had called for a huge row of switches that would allow players to turn on and off certain components of the console to create different games like tennis, volleyball and chase.
Magnavox replaced the switch design with separate cartridges for each game. Although Baer had sketched up ideas for cartridges that could include new components for new games, the carts released by Magnavox all served the same function as the switches and allowed players to choose from the Odyssey's built-in games; the Odyssey sold about 100,000 units, making it moderately successful, it was not until Atari's arcade game Pong popularized video games that the public began to take more notice of the emerging industry. By autumn 1975, bowing to the popularity of Pong, canceled the Odyssey and released a scaled-down version that played only Pong and hockey, the Odyssey 100. A second, "higher end" console, the Odyssey 200, was released with the 100 and added on-screen scoring, up to four players, a third game—Smash. Released with Atari's own home Pong console through Sears, these consoles jump-started the consumer market. All three of the new consoles used simpler designs than the original Odyssey did with no board game pieces or extra cartridges.
In the years that followed, the market saw many companies rushing similar consoles to market. After General Instrument released their inexpensive microchips, each containing a complete console on a single chip, many small developers began releasing consoles that looked different externally, but internally were playing the same games. Most of the consoles from this era were dedicated consoles playing only the games that came with the console; these video game consoles were just called video games because there was little reason to distinguish the two yet. While a few companies like Atari and newcomer Coleco pushed the envelope, the market became flooded with simple, similar video games. Fairchild released the Fairchild Video Entertainment System in 1976. While there had been previous game consoles that used cartridges, either the cartridges had no information and served the same function as flipping switches or the console itself was empty and the cartridge contained all of the game components.
The VES, contained a programmable microprocessor so its cartridges only needed a single ROM chip to store microprocessor instructions. RCA and Atari soon released their own cartridge-based consoles, the RCA Studio II and the Atari 2600, respectively; the first handheld game console with interchangeable cartridges was the Microvision designed by Smith Engineering, distributed and sold by Milton-Bradley in 1979. Crippled by a small, fragile LCD display and a narrow selection of games, it was discontinued two years later; the Epoch Game Pocket Computer was released in Japan in 1984. The Game Pocket Computer featured an LCD screen with 75 X 64 resolution and could produce graphics at about the same level as early Atari 2600 games; the system sold poorly, as a result, only five games were made for it. Nintendo's Game & Watch series of dedicated game systems proved more successful, it helped to establish handheld gaming as popular and lasted until 1991. Many Game & Watch games were re-released on Nintendo's subsequent handheld systems.
The VES continued to be sold at a profit after 1977, both Bally and Magnavox brought their own programmable cartridge-based consoles to the market. However, i
South Korea the Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and lying to the east of the Asian mainland. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo, one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. South Korea has a predominantly mountainous terrain, it comprises an estimated 51.4 million residents distributed over 100,363 km2. Its capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of around 10 million. Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was inhabited by early humans starting from the Lower Paleolithic period; the history of Korea begins with the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BCE by the mythic king Dangun, but no archaeological evidence and writing was found from this period. The Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in 11th century BCE, its existence and role has been controversial in the modern era; the written historical record on Gojoseon was first mentioned in Chinese records in the early 7th century BCE.
Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Unified Silla in CE 668, Korea was subsequently ruled by the Goryeo dynasty and the Joseon dynasty. It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U. S. zones of occupations. A separate election was held in the U. S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea, while the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established in the Soviet zone. The United Nations at the time passed a resolution declaring the ROK to be the only lawful government in Korea; the Korean War began in June 1950. The war lasted three years and involved the U. S. China, the Soviet Union and several other nations; the border between the two nations remains the most fortified in the world. Under long-time military leader Park Chung-hee, the South Korean economy grew and the country was transformed into a G-20 major economy. Military rule ended in 1987, the country is now a presidential republic consisting of 17 administrative divisions.
South Korea is a developed country and a high-income economy, with a "very high" Human Development Index, ranking 22nd in the world. The country is considered a regional power and is the world's 11th largest economy by nominal GDP and the 12th largest by PPP as of 2010. South Korea is a global leader in the industrial and technological sectors, being the world's 5th largest exporter and 8th largest importer, its export-driven economy focuses production on electronics, ships, machinery and robotics. South Korea is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, the United Nations, Uniting for Consensus, G20, the WTO and OECD and is a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit; the name Korea derives from the name Goryeo. The name Goryeo itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo in the 5th century as a shortened form of its name; the 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo succeeded Goguryeo, thus inherited its name, pronounced by the visiting Persian merchants as "Korea". The modern spelling of Korea first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Company's Hendrick Hamel.
Despite the coexistence of the spellings Corea and Korea in 19th century publications, some Koreans believe that Imperial Japan, around the time of the Japanese occupation, intentionally standardised the spelling on Korea, making Japan appear first alphabetically. After Goryeo was replaced by Joseon in 1392, Joseon became the official name for the entire territory, though it was not universally accepted; the new official name has its origin in the ancient country of Gojoseon. In 1897, the Joseon dynasty changed the official name of the country from Joseon to Daehan Jeguk; the name Daehan, which means "Great Han" derives from Samhan, referring to the Three Kingdoms of Korea, not the ancient confederacies in the southern Korean Peninsula. However, the name Joseon was still used by Koreans to refer to their country, though it was no longer the official name. Under Japanese rule, the two names Han and Joseon coexisted. There were several groups who fought for independence, the most notable being the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.
Following the surrender of Japan, in 1945, the Republic of Korea was adopted as the legal English name for the new country. Since the government only controlled the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, the informal term South Korea was coined, becoming common in the Western world. While South Koreans use Han to refer to the entire country, North Koreans and ethnic Koreans living in China and Japan use the term Joseon as the name of the country; the Korean name "Daehan Minguk" is sometimes used by South Koreans as a metonym to refer to the Korean ethnicity as a whole, rather than just the South Korean state. The history of Korea begins with the founding of Joseon in 2333 BCE by Dangun, according to Korea's foundation mythology. Gojoseon expanded until it controlled parts of Manchuria. Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in the 12th century BC, but its existence and role have been controversial in the modern era. In 108 BCE, the Han dynasty defeated Wiman Joseon and installed four commanderies in the n
Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit home video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It is a remodeled export version of the company's Family Computer platform in Japan known as the Famicom for short, which launched on July 15, 1983; the NES was launched through test markets in New York City and Los Angeles in 1985, before being given a wide release in the rest of North America and parts of Europe in 1986, followed by Australia and other European countries in 1987. Brazil saw only unlicensed clones until the official local release in 1993. In South Korea, it was packaged as the Hyundai Comboy and distributed by SK Hynix, known as Hyundai Electronics; the best-selling gaming console of its time, the NES helped revitalize the US video game industry following the North American video game crash of 1983. With the NES, Nintendo introduced a now-standard business model of licensing third-party developers, authorizing them to produce and distribute titles for Nintendo's platform.
It was succeeded by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Following a series of arcade game successes in the early 1980s, Nintendo made plans to create a cartridge-based console called the Famicom, short for Family Computer. Masayuki Uemura designed the system. Original plans called for an advanced 16-bit system which would function as a full-fledged computer with a keyboard and floppy disk drive, but Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi rejected this and instead decided to go for a cheaper, more conventional cartridge-based game console as he believed that features such as keyboards and disks were intimidating to non-technophiles. A test model was constructed in October 1982 to verify the functionality of the hardware, after which work began on programming tools; because 65xx CPUs had not been manufactured or sold in Japan up to that time, no cross-development software was available and it had to be produced from scratch. Early Famicom games were written on a system that ran on an NEC PC-8001 computer and LEDs on a grid were used with a digitizer to design graphics as no software design tools for this purpose existed at that time.
The code name for the project was "GameCom", but Masayuki Uemura's wife proposed the name "Famicom", arguing that "In Japan,'pasokon' is used to mean a personal computer, but it is neither a home or personal computer. We could say it is a family computer." Meanwhile, Hiroshi Yamauchi decided that the console should use a red and white theme after seeing a billboard for DX Antenna which used those colors. During the creation of the Famicom, the ColecoVision, a video game console made by Coleco to compete against Atari's Atari 2600 Game system in The United States, was a huge influence. Takao Sawano, chief manager of the project, brought a ColecoVision home to his family, who were impressed by the system's capability to produce smooth graphics at the time, which contrasted with the flickering and slowdown seen on Atari 2600 games. Uemura, head of Famicom development, stated that the ColecoVision set the bar that influenced how he would approach the creation of the Famicom. Original plans called for the Famicom's cartridges to be the size of a cassette tape, but they ended up being twice as big.
Careful design attention was paid to the cartridge connectors since loose and faulty connections plagued arcade machines. As it necessitated taking 60 connection lines for the memory and expansion, Nintendo decided to produce their own connectors in-house rather than use ones from an outside supplier; the controllers were hard-wired to the console with no connectors for cost reasons. The game pad controllers were more-or-less copied directly from the Game & Watch machines, although the Famicom design team wanted to use arcade-style joysticks taking apart ones from American game consoles to see how they worked. There were concerns regarding the durability of the joystick design and that children might step on joysticks left on the floor. Katsuyah Nakawaka attached a Game & Watch D-pad to the Famicom prototype and found that it was easy to use and caused no discomfort. Though, they installed a 15-pin expansion port on the front of the console so that an optional arcade-style joystick could be used.
Uemura added an eject lever to the cartridge slot, not necessary, but he believed that children could be entertained by pressing it. He added a microphone to the second controller with the idea that it could be used to make players' voices sound through the TV speaker; the console was released on July 15, 1983 as the Family Computer for ¥14,800 alongside three ports of Nintendo's successful arcade games Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. and Popeye. The Famicom was slow to gather momentum. Following a product recall and a reissue with a new motherboard, the Famicom's popularity soared, becoming the best-selling game console in Japan by the end of 1984. Encouraged by this success, Nintendo turned its attention to the North American market, entering into negotiations with Atari to release the Famicom under Atari's name as the Nintendo Advanced Video Gaming System; the deal was set to be finalized and signed at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in June 1983. However, Atari discovered at that show that its competitor Coleco was illegally demonstrating its Coleco Adam computer with Nintendo's Donkey Kong game.
This violation of Atari's exclusive license with Nintendo to publish the game for its own computer systems delayed the implementation of Nintendo's game console marketing contract with Atari. Atari's CEO Ray Kassar was fired the next month, so the deal went nowhere, Nintendo decided to market its sys
MSX is a standardized home computer architecture, announced by Microsoft on June 16, 1983. It was conceived and marketed by Kazuhiko Nishi vice-president at Microsoft Japan and director at ASCII Corporation. Nishi conceived the project as an attempt to create unified standards among various home computing system manufacturers of the period. MSX systems were popular in several other countries, it is difficult to determine how many MSX computers were sold worldwide, but 5 million MSX-based units were sold in Japan alone. Despite Microsoft's involvement, few MSX-based machines were released in the United States. Before the great success of Nintendo's Family Computer, MSX was the platform for which major Japanese game studios such as Konami and Hudson Soft produced video games; the Metal Gear series, for example, was first written for MSX hardware. The exact meaning of the "MSX" abbreviation remains a matter of debate. In 2001, Kazuhiko Nishi recalled that many assumed it was derived from "Microsoft extended", referring to the built-in Microsoft Extended BASIC adapted by Microsoft for the MSX system.
However, he said, the team's original definition was "Machines with Software eXchangeability". In the early 1980s, most home computers manufactured in Japan such as the NEC PC-6001 and PC-8000 series, Fujitsu's FM-7 and FM-8, Hitachi's Basic Master featured a variant of the Microsoft BASIC interpreter integrated into their on-board ROMs; the hardware design of these computers and the various dialects of their BASICs were incompatible. Other Japanese consumer electronics firms such as Panasonic, Casio, Yamaha and Sanyo were searching for ways to enter the new home computer market. Nishi proposed MSX as an attempt to create a single industry standard for home computers. Inspired by the success of VHS as a standard for video cassette recorders, many Japanese electronic manufacturers along with GoldStar and Spectravideo built and promoted MSX computers. Any piece of hardware or software with the MSX logo on it was compatible with MSX products of other manufacturers. In particular, the expansion cartridge form and function were part of the standard.
Nishi's standard was built around the Spectravideo SV-328 computer. The standard consisted of several off-the-shelf parts; this was a choice of components, shared by many other home computers and games consoles of the period, such as the ColecoVision home computer, the Sega SG-1000 video game system. To reduce overall system cost, many MSX models used a custom IC known as "MSX-Engine", which integrated glue logic, 8255 PPI, YM2149 compatible soundchip and more, sometimes the Z80 CPU; however all MSX systems used a professional keyboard instead of a chiclet keyboard, driving the price up compared to the original SV-328. These components alongside Microsoft's MSX BASIC made the MSX a competitive, though somewhat expensive, home computer package. On 27 June 1983, the MSX was formally announced during a press conference, a slew of big Japanese firms declared their plans to introduce machines; the Japanese companies avoided the intensely competitive U. S. home computer market, in the throes of a Commodore-led price war.
Only Spectravideo and Yamaha marketed MSX machines in the U. S. Spectravideo's MSX enjoyed little success, Yamaha's CX5M model, built to interface with various types of MIDI equipment, was billed more as a digital music tool than a standard personal computer. During the 1980s, Europe became the largest computer games market in the world, the popular Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, Sinclair ZX Spectrum computers dominated. By the time the MSX was launched in Europe, several more popular 8-bit home computers had arrived, it was far too late to capture the crowded European 8-bit computer market. A problem for some game software developers was that the method by which MSX-1 computers addressed their video RAM could be quite slow compared to systems that gave direct access to the video memory. This, the fact that the different features the MSX-1's video chip had to compensate for the slower video access were not efficiently used while porting software, made the MSX-1 appear slower when running ported games.
Some minor compatibility issues plagued ported Spectrum games. For example, the Toshiba HX-10 machine was unable to read certain key combinations at the same time, preventing the Spectrum "standard" of "Q, A, O, P steering", whereas machines by other manufacturers worked fine. Games tended to use the MSX-1 joystick port or used MSX's official arrow keys and space bar, or offered the option to choose other keys with which to control the program, solving the problem. A larger problem was that the designers of the MSX standard bank switching protocol did not prescribe to hardware manufacturers in which banks the cartridges and, more the RAM should be found. Moreover, the MSX's BIOS did not provide this information either, thus requiring programmers to implement complex routines to "find" these resources. Pr