Overview of the Casio PV-7
In 1984, Casio released it's first MSX Computer in Japan, the Casio PV-7. The PV-7 has what is known as a chicklet keyboard (a keyboard without full-stroke keys) but does have cursor keys arranged in a joypad fashion for easy game-play. There are two keys that are the equivalent of the joystick fire buttons 1 and 2 and the cursor keys are repeated at the top in normal style. The Casio PV-7 came in black and red.
With 8kB RAM, no printer port, and one cartridge slot, it barely meets the MSX1 standard. An expansion unit (KB-7) was available, that added 8kByte of RAM and two extra cartridge slots. The 8K RAM is sufficient to play games on cartridges, but this computerwill lack memory to play games from other mediums such as tape. There is an active fan scene that has provided several options to expand the Casio PV-7 to an internal 16K of RAM.
The MSX Standard
MSX was announced by Microsoft and the ASCII Corporation on June 16th 1983. It was marketed by Kasuhiko Nishi, who was Vice-President at Microsoft and a director at the ASCII Corporation. MSX was an attempt to create a hardware and software standard among various home computers, similar to what VHS had accomplished for the Home Video market.The MSX Standard defines specifications for:
- CPU and Memory
- Video Output hardware
- Audio hardware
- Cassette and Disk drives
- Keyboard, mouse and joysticks
- Expansion and I/O ports
The standard became a success in Japan, with many big software houses such as Konami creating games for it. Outside of Japan, the adoption rate was low. In the USA, Microsoft actively pushed the PC compatibles, since they sold the operating system for it, and in Europe the MSX computers had stiff competition from Commodore and Atari. The Netherlands and Spain have the highest rates of MSX users in Europe.
MSX I/O Ports
The follwing sections details the Standard MSX I/O ports that are available on every MSX.
The MSX Standard calls for all MSX computers to have a standard data-cassette port. This port transports the audio-in/out signals to and from the datarecorder and the computer has a relay-switch on board to turn the recorder on and off.
The MSX Cartridge system uses a 50-pin flat-edge connector to connect to the systems expansion bus. The cartridge slot maps into one of the main- or sub-slots.
MSX Cassette Pin Layout
MSX Cartridge Connector
MSX Joystick Connector