The MSX standard was developed in the early 1980s by ASCII and Microsoft Japan, with the goal of allowing different companies to make mutually compatible computers. Hence the acronym, "Machines with Software eXchangeability". That was still a bit of a crazy idea back then, but it worked: although it remained pretty much unknown in the USA, it had a huge following in Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Soviet Union, and parts of Europe and the Middle-East. Not only it was a fine all-purpose home computer, it was a really damn good game machine.
Note: this list is only for games compatible with the first generation MSX machines. MSX2 games must go on their own page. Many games have slightly different MSX and MSX2 versions; in such cases, the MSX2 version is usually superior, so add them only to the MSX2 page.
The list[edit | edit source]
|Bubble Bobble||Puzzle||Same as the NES but with slightly downgraded graphics, though they're much more colorful.|
|Castle Excellent||Puzzle||This small series, which includes this and "The Castle", is about saving a princess from, well, a castle. However, this castle is full of puzzles and traps. Your hero isn't exactly a platforming star either, which makes things more difficult. That said, these are pretty entertaining if you take it nice and slow. It's clear to see where more modern games like this got their inspiration though! Also known as CastleQuest and also released on NES (though I don't know how the versions compare).|
|Comic Bakery||Arcade||Only on the C64 and MSX, and this version is much prettier. You play as a baker trying to save your bakery from crazy raccoons!|
|Eggerland 2 / Meikyū Shinwa||Action-Adventure||This and Eggerland Mystery (the first) were remixed into a little game you may know as The Adventures of Lolo. The two games are fairly basic compared to their later cousins and sequels, but still interesting and amusing enough to warrant playing. If you haven't played a Lolo game, or haven't played the first (or at least in a long while), give these carts a push into your MSX and get block-shoving.|
|Game Master 1 / 2||Cheat||Can be used to unlock secrets and save and stuff in Konami games, VERY useful and highly recommended.|
|Golvellius||Action-Adventure||Compile's first try at action-adventure before The Guardian Legend on NES. It utilizes three different types of gameplay: Exploratory, Auto-scroll, and Platforming. The first game is a little dated, but still worth a shot (the Master System version is superior though, and easier to find). Then there's also the MSX2 remake. See also the surreal parody version, Super Cooks. If you liked The Guardian Legend, and don't mind a step in a less shmup-based direction, give these a shot.|
|The Goonies||Puzzle / Platformer||Loosely based on the movie and a spiritual prequel to Maze of Galious above and Goonies II (on NES). If you've played (vs.) Goonies and Goonies II on NES, then this is something of an in-between point. The action is divided into stages, but each is large and has a handful of areas to explore to rescue your fellow Goonies. There's some slight puzzle and RPG elements here, including ability-boosting power-ups and the life-healing EXP bar later used in Galious. Good stuff, definitely worth a play, even though it isn't the strongest game out there. Was also remade as freeware by the team that did the Galious freeware remake.|
|King's Valley||Puzzle-Platformer||Classic MSX game with rather impressive visuals and programming.
Just be careful not to get stuck or you'll be there for a while.
|Knightmare||Shoot 'em Up||The first in a trilogy where each game is completely different from the other. The scrolling sucks for this game, but the power-ups and enemies are pretty cool. Just try not to die, or you're gonna see the same old screens for a LONG time. Other than that, it's worth giving a fair try. Catchiest music EVAR! This is Popolon's first game, and he was very big on the MSX starring in 2 of the Knightmare games, Parodius, and even Magical of Tile!|
|Knightmare II: The Maze of Galious||Metroidvania Precursor||One of the best games you've probably never heard of, but an absolute necessary game to play. The game is one of the best action-adventure platformers. From the start, you're dumped right in the middle of a huge castle with 8 sub-worlds. Your goal is to defeat the bosses of each world and eventually defeat Galious himself. New power-ups and abilities are yours to find, but there's also tons of difficult enemies and numerous traps to deal with as well. This game in particular is remarkable for utilizing the fact that it was on a computer, as different romcarts (games) in the second slot unlock bonuses and you have to literally type things out at times (one of which is the UMBRELLA trick, which you'll grow to love). Also available as a freeware remake/remix. There's also an Famicom/NES version, but it plays a little differently with altered physics, maps, and changing up of a few items (due to no keyboard on the controller). It's inferior, though still fun. This game inspired the infamous La-Mulana, a similar freeware game which makes numerous references to MSX games in general.|
|Knightmare III: Shalom||Adventure||Final game in the Knightmare series. Has little in common with the first two games, hell, Popolon and Aphrodite aren't even playable. Instead you play as a young teen and his pig companion, Butako. The game is comparable to a point-and-click adventure, with exploration and item usage, but in 3rd person, and you move around as such. There's A LOT of text, puzzles, and adventure within this game, so find a translation patch ASAP. Pretty fair wrap up to the series, even if the genre shift is odd at first.|
|Konami's Ping Pong||Sports||A simple and fun conversion of Konami's arcade game. Look, it's Pentarou in the crowd! (Not a Pong clone)|
|Konami's Tennis||Sports||Like the above it's a simple and fun game of tennis.|
|Nemesis II / Gradius 2||Shoot 'em Up||No relation to Gradius II seen in the main series. Nemesis is an offshoot that introduced many original elements. James Burton pilots the Metalion, a remodeled Vic Viper, which has additional slots for upgraded weaponry. After a boss encounter there's a special stage which lets you capture high quality power-ups. It's a decent game that's hard as nails if you can tolerate the poor scrolling of the MSX. It has an absolutely gorgeous remake on the Sharp X68000, titled Nemesis '90 Kai, which smooths the scrolling and brings the graphics up to 16-bit glory. Put Penguin Adventure in the second slot to play as Penta!|
|Nemesis 3: Eve of Destruction||Shoot 'em Up||Also known as Gofer no Yabō: Episode II. This makes it sound like a sequel to Gradius II but in reality it simply took a few pages from its playbook. Beyond the first level with the flaming suns it's an entirely new experience. There's four ship types known as Vixens each with their own unique configurations, options and shield types - something that was passed on to Gradius Gaiden. One cool feature is that the strong power-ups from Nemesis 2 are hidden in the scenery instead of captured in extra stages. Like all MSX games the scrolling is atrocious, but it's a great deal easier due to how generously power-ups are dropped.|
|Parodius||Shoot 'em Up||The original Parodius, before Da!, which most people know. There's some neat exclusive touches to this, one being that Popolon, the hero of Knightmare, is only playable in this game. The game itself is pretty fair, though the choppy scrolling kinda sucks. There's also some annoying bosses in this. And not just hard, but flat out cheap, one being a rock-paper-scissor boss, who's a dick if you lose to his RPS game. If you're curious about Parodius' origins, then check this out.|
|Penguin Adventure||Platformer||A vastly improved sequel to the so-so Antarctic Adventure, and the first game directed by Hideo Kojima. You're a penguin running around the world to find a fruit to save the princess from some illness. A pretty fun title, even if it doesn't have the pizazz later games did. Oddly enough, there's even a BAD END.|
|Pippols||Arcade||You skip over bushes and flowers to avoid enemies and collect fruit, you defend yourself with hearts and you look like Peter Pan. MANLY AS HELL, still a great game in any aspect.|
|Q*Bert||Puzzle||WHOA! This is not Q*Bert what is this?? That's not even Q*Bert himself what's going on...Oh well actually this is more of a remix of Q*Bert's Qubes and the orginal starring some Konami characters made up just for this, they made sure you knew it was them because Twinbee and moai are even in there. Definatly the strangest and most unique version of Q*Bert. You want this because it works like the game master for most MSX1 games and unlocks a few extras in others.|
|Salamander||Shoot 'em Up||This version of Salamander is very different from the arcade game, and in a good way too! Unique stages and such. You need to have Nemesis II in the second slot to unlock the real ending!|
|Starquake||Platformer / Action||Basically it's Metroidvania type of game before Metroid. You are alien that crashed on planet that he attempted to explore and now must fix it's core. The game is very large and consist of 512 screens that make together one big area. Items that must be found to finish game are randomly placed. You are unable to jump, instead you can create limited number of platforms underneath you to reach higher places, use flying platforms or teleports. You can shoot aliens with your laser but combat is not your primary goal in this game.|
|Thexder||Platformer||You're a robot that can turn into a jet and has to destroy other robots because reasons. Hard as balls: shooting depletes your energy, but destroying the enemies replenishes it. Had improved remakes on PC (Thexder 95) and PS3/PSP (Thexder Neo), but this version retains a certain charm.|
|Yie Ar Kung Fu||Fighting||A precursor to the fighting game genre, you go by screen by screen and kill all the kids and stuff who come flying at you until you reach the boss and then it's more like jumping around and waiting for the right moment to strike.
Unlocks a secret in the sequel if placed in the second cartridge slot.
|Yie Ar Kung Fu 2: The Emperor Yie-Gah||Fighting||Sequel to the above with improved visuals and gameplay. Only on MSX.|
|Consoles||Action Max - Atari 7800 - Amstrad GX4000 - RDI Halcyon - View-Master Interactive Vision - Sega Master System - Nintendo Entertainment System - Casio PV-1000 - VTech Socrates - Epoch Super Cassete Vision|
|Computers||Mattel Aquarius - Acorn Archimedes - Commodore 64 - Amstrad CPC - Fujitsu FM-7 - Apple Lisa - Apple Macintosh - Microsoft MS-DOS - ASCII MSX - ASCII MSX2 - IBM OS-2 - NEC PC-88 - NEC PC-98 - Amstrad PCW - Sinclair QL - Commodore VIC-20 - Sharp X1 - Sinclair ZX Spectrum|