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I Couldnt Believe It!

Computer Collector

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Jan 22, 2005
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283
I Am A Regular Thrift Shop Shopper. I Go To Them Every Week. Its Rare That I Find Vintage Computer Stuff, But I Found Some Today. I Really Wasnt Looking For Any; I Was Just Browing Around And Looking At General Crap When I Decided To Take A Look At All The Boring Tape Cassettes, To See If There Was Something Good. I Normally Dont Bother With Them. From Now On, Ill Check Them More Often, Though. Because Today I Found All These Spectravideo Software Cassettes! Now I Just Need To Get My Hands On A Spectravideo Computer. Do You Know Where I Might Find One? Ive Never Even Seen One. I Wish They Had One At The Thrift Store, But They Didnt For Some Reason. I Hope They Didnt Pitch It. I Know Nothing About This Computer.
 

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Unknown_K

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Nice find, I wonder if the data on the tapes is still good.

No Idea (outside of ebay) where you can find the computer they go with. I remember seeing thr spectravideo advertisements in the computer magazines and thaught they looked cool, but have never seen one anywhere.
 

carlsson

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I wonder if those would load on a MSX compatible computer, or if they were made for SVI-318/328 and having an incompatible format. I know too little about these computers to tell.
 

atari2600a

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If you want to cheat, you could probobly record them in WAV format & find some emulator that takes WAV... (Are their emulators that take WAV?)


That would really suck though; takes all the fun out of it!
 

carlsson

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There is an outdated (2001) SVI Emulator that runs in DOS mode, and the most recent versions of BlueMSX is capable of emulating SVI-318/328 as well as e.g. Colecovision. If you record the tapes as WAV, you may want to use a WAV to CAS converter; CAS is a higher level representation I suppose akin to TAP on other formats.
 

bokvamme

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May 18, 2006
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Bergen, Norway
Unknown_K said:
Nice find, I wonder if the data on the tapes is still good.

The data is probably good.
I've got about 2500 c64 tapes and only about a handfull of those are bad.
It's much more common to find faulty disks.
 

Bill_Loguidice

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Central New Jersey, USA
carlsson said:
I wonder if those would load on a MSX compatible computer, or if they were made for SVI-318/328 and having an incompatible format. I know too little about these computers to tell.

I have two Spectravideo 328's, one fairly loaded accessory and software-wise. Ebay is the only place I've ever found anything for or related to them, save for a lucky query one day to a user who had something on his Website (where I got the bigger lot). The MSX standard was based off of what Spectravideo did, but they are not compatible. The Spectravideo 728 is MSX 1 compliant, but was never sold in North America like the 318/328. Of course Spectravideo's impact was neglible at best in North America regardless.
 
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carlsson

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Hm, I thought Spectravideo the company was part US based, but maybe they had moved operations when they finally launched the 728/738 series. There appears to have been a number of Japanese pre-MSX systems that have several things in common (don't forget Colecovision), so maybe Spectravideo rushed out their 318 before the standard was set, rather than the Japanese copied its design. I saw my first 318 in real life a few weeks ago, but it wasn't plugged in, so I could just have a touch of the keyboard. Extremely low key height on the rubber, much less than e.g. ZX Spectrum or many of the other computers with rubber keyboard. The 318 keyboard more resembles a touch keyboard with loose keys having small height.
 

Bill_Loguidice

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The MSX standard was definitely based off of the 328, so Spectravideo blazed the trail there. Neither of the two 3xx Spectravideo systems had success here in the US - the Commodore 64 juggernaut pretty much sealed up the low-end market here - and by the time the 728 was ready, there was no more market for MSX systems. In fact, the US never saw ANY MSX-based systems. We pretty much stuck with the C-64, Atari 8-bits and Apple II's before transitioning for a short-term to the Atari ST and then the Amiga. Of course soon enough the IBM PC standard would dominate everything.
 

carlsson

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I'm sure a few MSX brands were sold, but not in any numbers to make a difference. In comparison, depending on where in Europe you look, they had none, mediocre or decent impact. From my horizon, Atari 8-bit didn't make much more impact than the MSX machines, partly due to the Ataris didn't become competitive in price until they were outdated. Apple II series were (priced as) office computers and thus were equally scarce in home use.
 

Bill_Loguidice

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Well, there were no MSX computers sold in the US. It was mostly sold in Japan and a little bit in PAL-land. The US was definitely dominated by the C-64, Apple II and to a much lesser degree, the Atari 8-bit systems. The Timex Sinclair 1000 sold for a little while and the TI-99/4a did all right, while the Tandy/Radio Shack systems hung around from the beginning of the home computer revolution. Basically, though, there was the big three and nothing else until the 16-bit systems came and the PC eventually rose to full prominence. The US also standardized on disk drives much earlier than in Europe. In any case, the US, European and Japanese markets were quite different in regards to what computer systems they took to. The same goes for videogame systems. Things didn't start to equalize a bit until the mid-90's.
 
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carlsson

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Ok, you should know it best. I'm just a bit surprised because COMPUTE! had a five page special on MSX in December 1984, predicting that:

Most, but not necessarily all, of 18 MSX companies will probably market MSX computers in the U.S. next year. Microsoft would like to see them enter the U.S. market soon, and indications are that it will most likely happen at the January 1985 Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. At last June's CES in Chicago, MSX machines were already on display at booths run by three Korean manufacturers - Daewoo, GoldStar, and Samsung - and a Japanese company, JVC. One evening during CES, Microsoft held a private showing of Japanese MSX machines for selected third-party developers at Chicago's chic Javon Restaurant. The party, hosted by Microsoft's Bill Gates, also was intended to lure more manufacturers into the fold.

There was a follow-up article in January 1985, but I don't own that issue. If zero and absolutely nothing followed all that build-up on CES, something major must've happened that prevented all potential importers from taking on the MSX generation. Perhaps it was a bit outdated, but was the market as a whole so hardened on avoiding sales failures already in early 1985?
 

Bill_Loguidice

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Yes, Electronic Games had a huge write-up too about the MSX invasion. There were many products shown at CES and to the press, but not one ever made it out officially over here. Every MSX system is either PAL or Japanese. It was a wise move in retrospect, as releasing a "standard" that was somewhat weaker than the ultra-cheap and ultra-popular Commodore 64 was death. Don't forget, this was right after the videogame market "crashed" as well. A lot of companies made their official exits around that time as well in the computer market, including Timex and Texas Instruments.
 

Bill_Loguidice

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TI officially pulled the TI-994/a in March 1984 in the US. 1984 was really the year that videogames and many computer and software companies tanked for good, mostly due to the excesses and losses from 1983. 1985 was really the beginning of a clean slate with far fewer competitors. Of course many thought videogames were dead by 1985, but late 1985 saw the successful limited release of the NES. By late 1986, videogames were back into full swing and the slow transition to 16-bit computer systems was in gear.
 

Bill_Loguidice

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Agreed. In fact, a lot of mainstream media acts that way too. It's like there was the NES and nothing else, not even computers of the era. Basically when talking about "classic" software, people refer to the NES and PC, when there was obviously so much more both before and during.
 

carlsson

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Although we're straying away from the Spectravideo topic, imagine how it could've turned out if Atari had dropped their 7800 console and instead agreed to sell Famicom. Maybe it had been very un-Atarilike, but I'm sure they could've worked out some hardware improvements with Nintendo as required to make it big in the US from the start.
 

Bill_Loguidice

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This can be and has been argued from many different angles, but if Atari had in fact decided to market the Famicom as their own, it likely would have been disastrous. History has proven that it took a new player, an outsider, to get things going again. Let's also not forget that Nintendo teamed up with Worlds of Wonder for marketing and distribution purposes. Sega went with Tonka for the Master System. Both companies eventually went fully on their own.
 
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