Tonight I'm going to speak of my first MSX computer. I just waited too long to collect it, but it was worth the waiting. This is the Sony Hit Bit 10P.
MSX is an acronym for Machines with Software eXchangeability, and was the first attempt to standardize the home computer. There is no coincidence that a such Microsoft was involved in. 🙂
This standard, defined and published in the early 80s, passed almost unnoticed in both the old continent and the U.S., and found a strong response in Japan and South America, particularly in Brazil. Over the years, was further expanded, landing the definition of MSX-2
The machine that I own, expensively purchased through e-bay, was produced by Sony that, Like many Japanese factories, provided a major contribution to the MSX machines.
Hit Bit serie was the Sony entry-level production, and was distributed in two colors: a fire-red one, dedicated to the Japanese market, and a black version, targeting foreign markets. The final letter of the code identifies the country in which the serie was marketed. The specimens were Spanish codename ending with S, the ones in Germany with D, the Portuguese ones (or Polish?) as mine, with the letter P.
To obtain the approval of the MSX consortium, each machine had to meet certain requirements.
All specimens were kept, for example, to provide two slots for cartridges, to mount a Z80 processor to at least 3,58 MHz and, particular thing for a standard deliberately “cheap”, was the mandatory adoption of an high quality keyboard, with key caps placed on mechanical-ish structures (usually rubber dome alike), rather than membrane-based as the ZX Spectrum or the Sega SC-3000 models.
The Sony Hit Bit 10P I'm lucky to have, as well as the vast majority of MSX-1 spread at the time, is equipped with a Z80 @ 3,58 MHz, has 64KB of RAM, MSX Basic 1.0 (provided by Microsoft), mono audio section with 3 independent channels of 8 octaves, two textual and two graphical display modes, with 16 colors and 32 sprites. The Commodore 64, to be clear, had only 8 sprites, with many limitations on the colors.