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Thread: MSX2 + Flash Cart: Worth It?

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    Mai's Bosom Buddy
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    MSX2 + Flash Cart: Worth It?

    I noticed that decent MSX2 machines have been going for $200 shipped on eBay. Also, there's now an SD flash cart that runs 99% of the games (depending on what hardware upgrades you have). Most MSX machines look really cool, but has the library aged well enough to justify the $200 for the console and $150 for the flash cart?

    I'd love to play the early Aleste games, and the MSX version of Final Fantasy looks cool. But what else is there that 1. is worth playing and 2. isn't outdone by a Famicom / PC Engine / Mega Drive port?

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    Haomaru's Blade Shiner
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    The MSX Castlevania, Goonies and Metal Gear games are all good and quite different than their NES / Famicom counterparts.

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    Kraut Mod Takumaji's Avatar
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    Big MSX fan here. Yes, it's worth it for the shmups like Aleste alone, and of course the Konami games. What SD cart do you have in mind, MegaFlashROM?
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    Mai's Bosom Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takumaji View Post
    Big MSX fan here. Yes, it's worth it for the shmups like Aleste alone, and of course the Konami games. What SD cart do you have in mind, MegaFlashROM?
    Yup, MegaFlashROM. I don't really understand the difference between the three carts, but it seems like you can just dump ROMs onto them right?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregN View Post
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    Kraut Mod Takumaji's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fakeXsound View Post
    Yup, MegaFlashROM. I don't really understand the difference between the three carts, but it seems like you can just dump ROMs onto them right?
    There are versions with extra memory, extra SD slots and SDD+/PSG, a sound expansion that lets many games sound better than the ones that just use the builtin Yamaha chip, like Metal Gear, the Gradius games, etc. Usually the SDD+/PSG-expansion gets detected on booting a game, just like the extra memory.

    Yes, of course you can just dump roms on it and play them but some games require a bit of tweaking. The MFR supports cartridge (.rom) and floppy disk images (.dsk), many of which work right out of the box but not all of them. MSX computers were meant to be compatible across all the versions but some are a bit more tricky than others and have different memory mappers that may or may not be compatible to some modes of the MFR. As a workaround, there are lots of command line switches for the tool opfxsd which is used to load the roms.

    The MegaFlashROM cart runs on MSX-DOS (64K memory machines) or MSX-DOS/Nextor (128k memory and up machines) which is a MS-DOS-compatible system. After installation of the MegaFlashROM cart, you will be presented with a graphical menu that you can use to browse your SD cart(s) and run games. This is done by simple scrolling to a game you want to play and pressing return. If a game does not run out of the box, you can exit the menu to command line and load it manually with the tool opfxsd.

    You can also create a multiROM and load as many single roms into the memory of the cartridge as possible (up to 511), then you have to create a simple text file on your computer that contains the names of the rom files and optional command line options to load them, then transfer it to the SD cart and use opfxsd again to create a multiROM menu (command line switch /O (letter o)). As loading the multiROM games selection menu is done automatically on startup when you switch on your MSX computer with the MFR inserted, running games that way is quicker than booting into the file manager/graphical interface (it's called MultiMente, btw.).

    It's highly recommended to read the manual of the cart and watch the tutorials on YouTube to get started.

    This may sound a bit complicated to you and you will probably spend a few hours to get things going. Most of the time it's just a select-game-press-return affair so don't worry too much...

    Speaking of disk images, there are two ways to use them with MFR. The easiest method is to select them and press return just like you would with a .rom file. The disk image file then gets loaded and the MFR cart emulates a floppy drive from which your computer boots the data. The simple method does not work with several disk images, tho, so you have to use the main command line tool opfxsd again. MFR also supports multi-disk games and writing to disk, this comes in handy if you want to play one of those longer adventure games like Ys II - Ancient Ys Vanished that support saving your progress.

    IMO the MegaFlashROM cart is the best SD-based cart solution for classic computers ever made. I have a SD cart for my ZX Spectrum (DivMMC Future) that basically works very well but it's a very bland affair in comparison to MFR, it's hit-and-miss, games either work or they don't, and if they don't, there's little you can do about it. The MFR on the other hand gives you lots of options to run your games which makes things slightly more complicated but success rate is much higher in the end.

    You might also want to check out this thread for some game recommendations: MSX games and discussion thread.

    If you have any questions or need help, just gimme a shout.
    Check out my new tracks on SoundCloud (free mp3 download):

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    Mai's Bosom Buddy
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    Wow - thanks for the info!

    Yeah, this seems slightly complicated, but I should be able to figure it out. I'm going to keep an eye out for the Panasonic FS-A1 in red. (There's one on eBay right now but it has two holes drilled into it. May be worth lowballing.)

    And just to confirm - I can output to a CRT TV or PVM with composite, right? Needing a dedicated monitor would be a dealbreaker.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregN View Post
    Grocery stores are like chinese and mexican places; some of them are local.

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    Kraut Mod Takumaji's Avatar
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    Panasonic FS-A1 is an excellent choice, that's my main machine! Yes, it has composite and audio ports (RCA), as well as RGB and RF so there are a lot of ways to connect it to a TV or monitor. I'm using it on my RGB monitors (Commodore 1084S and Philips CM8833), very good output, razor sharp and with vibrant colours.

    Here's the FS-A1 entry of the MSX Resource Center Wiki: https://www.msx.org/wiki/Panasonic_FS-A1 .

    Happy bidding!
    Check out my new tracks on SoundCloud (free mp3 download):

    Dreieinig | Flung | Intox (Pandora Variant) | DeMil 7 (Revolt Edit)

    .:. El riesgo siempre vive .:.

  8. #8
    Mai's Bosom Buddy
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    Got it for $210 shipped!

    Quote Originally Posted by GregN View Post
    Grocery stores are like chinese and mexican places; some of them are local.

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    . Yodd's Avatar
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    MSX fan here as well.


    The Megaflashrom is great and supports almost all of the cartridge games.

    The floppy disk based games are a different story and require some looking around for ways to play them. Some are available in converted cartridge image format.

  10. #10
    Kraut Mod Takumaji's Avatar
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    You can convert some dsk images to rom with a bit of work but it only works with a handful of them because many of the earlier disk-based games have the drive letter A: hard-wired in the code. Still, it's possible to get most of them running with MegaFlashROM if you use its configuration features and perhaps know a thing or two about BASIC and MSX DOS, sometimes it's possible to circumvent the BASIC loading routine and directly load and run the game file(s) as binaries (bload).

    There are more disk-based games than cart-based ones so it's worth the hassle IMO.

    So far I've been able to run almost all of the well-known games with MFR, both disk and rom versions. The real problem here is the quality of the rom/disk dumps you can download from the net, some of them are incomplete or hacked to run on emu. It will take a while in some cases to find a rom or disk image that works for you if you want to play the games on the real hardware.

    fakeXsound,

    $210 shipped is okay-ish I'd say. Congrats, man. Here's a tip: Keep DEL pressed while booting from the MFR in order to skip the "GUI" that has been built into the FS-A1, it contains a simple notepad and other office/desktop tools. Of course you can also exit the GUI with F8 and continue loading the MFR system but it's faster and more convenient with the DEL function.
    Check out my new tracks on SoundCloud (free mp3 download):

    Dreieinig | Flung | Intox (Pandora Variant) | DeMil 7 (Revolt Edit)

    .:. El riesgo siempre vive .:.

  11. #11
    Mai's Bosom Buddy
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    I got my MSX2 in on Friday and finally had a chance to check it out today. It's great! The guy really cleaned it up before selling it, apparently. I was messing around with the built in functions and played with how you can switch between one-button-per hiragana character and combo-button characters. Now I just have to save up for the flash cart!

    What do you guys recommend for a controller? I don't like the ones that look like muffin tops. Any reason to steer clear of the Hudson Famicom-style ones? Or does anyone hack Mega Drive pads to match the MSX configuration?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregN View Post
    Grocery stores are like chinese and mexican places; some of them are local.

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    . Yodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fakeXsound View Post
    I got my MSX2 in on Friday and finally had a chance to check it out today. It's great! The guy really cleaned it up before selling it, apparently. I was messing around with the built in functions and played with how you can switch between one-button-per hiragana character and combo-button characters. Now I just have to save up for the flash cart!

    What do you guys recommend for a controller? I don't like the ones that look like muffin tops. Any reason to steer clear of the Hudson Famicom-style ones? Or does anyone hack Mega Drive pads to match the MSX configuration?
    There used to be a guy on msx.org and the msx Facebook group that sold mega drive adapters for the msx.

    I have a spare one. Let me know if you are interested in it.

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    Haomaru's Blade Shiner
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yodd View Post
    There used to be a guy on msx.org and the msx Facebook group that sold mega drive adapters for the msx.

    I have a spare one. Let me know if you are interested in it.
    Dunno if it's the same guy, but this is definitely a similar adapter:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/JoyMega-Ada...UAAOSw7aBVDoTD

    I just ordered two of these adapters yesterday. You really can't go wrong with the Genesis 6 button pad-it's one of the best controllers ever made.

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    . Yodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShootTheCore View Post
    Dunno if it's the same guy, but this is definitely a similar adapter:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/JoyMega-Ada...UAAOSw7aBVDoTD

    I just ordered two of these adapters yesterday. You really can't go wrong with the Genesis 6 button pad-it's one of the best controllers ever made.


    Not the same guy. As a matter of fact, it's generally advised to stay away from that specific JoyMega adapter design (transistor based ones) as it's known to have issues with certain model of MSX machines and controllers:

    https://www.msx.org/forum/msx-talk/h...nterest?page=7


    The ones I have use a hex inverter to decode the controller output.





    So fakeXsound if you want one, PM me your shipping deets and I'll send you one.
    Last edited by Yodd; 02-06-2018 at 07:32 AM.

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    Haomaru's Blade Shiner
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yodd View Post
    Not the same guy. As a matter of fact, it's generally advised to stay away from that specific JoyMega adapter design (transistor based ones) as it's known to have issues with certain model of MSX machines and controllers:
    Good to know-I'm planning on using it with an x68000 which uses the MSX controller pinout. Have to see if it has glitches on there-if it does, then at least I won't be surprised.

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    . Yodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShootTheCore View Post
    Good to know-I'm planning on using it with an x68000 which uses the MSX controller pinout. Have to see if it has glitches on there-if it does, then at least I won't be surprised.
    These inverter based ones do work on the x68000 as I tested it on my XVI.

    Just an FYI in case you have issues with the transistor one.

  17. #17
    Mai's Bosom Buddy
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    Thanks, Yodd! I'll PM you when I get home tonight.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregN View Post
    Grocery stores are like chinese and mexican places; some of them are local.

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