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The MSX standard was developed in the early 1980s by ASCII with a little hand from Microsoft, 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, what it's really good for is games. Metal Gear, Bomberman, Puyo Puyo - they all started here!

The List Edit

Title Genre Description Screenshot
Aleste Shoot 'em Up Classic compile shooter that defines classic vertical shmups. Very smooth scrolling and nice graphics. 200px
Aleste 2 Shoot 'em Up Sequel to the above that vastly improves upon each aspect. 200px
Bubble Bobble Puzzle Same as the NES but with slightly downgraded graphics, though they're much more colorful. 200px
The 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). 200px
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! 200px
Dragon Quest II (MSX2) RPG Arguably better than the NES version (if you get the MSX2 version). Better graphics and sound than the NES, just beware of either MSX version of the first game and the MSX1 version of this game. 200px
Dragon Slayer IV: The Drasle Family Action-Adventure If you've played this on the NES, you might know this as Legacy of the Wizard. The two versions play similarly enough, 4 family members and their "dog" with different abilities each, but there's a BIG difference: the Map! That's right, there may be a few similar areas, but the map is quite different from the NES version. If you don't mind the game not quite running as smoothly as the NES version and are hankering for more Dragon Slayer-an action, look no further. 200px
Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes RPG This is the sixth game in the series. More traditional RPG setting and scores rather high in all categories. This is just one of those games that show off just how pimp the MSX2 is. 200px
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. 200px
Final Fantasy RPG Arguably the better 8-bit version of the original. Has far better graphics and sound but at the cost of MSX quality scrolling. 200px
Game Master 1 / 2 Cheat Can be used to unlock secrets and save and stuff in Konami games, VERY useful and highly recommended. 200px
Ganbare Goemon: Karakuri Douchuu Action A somewhat Zelda-ish game where you have to find items to advance as quickly as possible. Better than the NES game as it has 2 player and better graphics. 200px
Golvellius 2 Action-Adventure Golvellius 1 & 2 along with the parody game, Super Cooks, were Compile's action-adventure series before The Guardian Legend on NES. These games utilize three different types of gameplay: Exploratory, Auto-scroll, and Platforming. The first game is a little dated, but still worth a shot (Personally, I recommend the Sega Master System version over this one). However, the second game is solely on MSX and surpasses the original quite well. Super Cooks plays like 2, but with a strange and comical food theme, and main character Kelesis is now a chef for some reason. If you liked The Guardian Legend, and don't mind a step in a less shmup-based direction, give these a shot. 200px
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. 200px
Hai no Majutsushi Mahjong Occasionally called "Magician of Tile" or "Mah-Jong 2" in the west, it's a Mahjong game starring all your favorite Konami characters, including Pentarou, Simon Belmont, Goemon, Popoplon + Aprohodite, Dr.Venom(Nemesis 2 MSX), Moai, and even Snatcher! 200px
Hino Tori Run and Gun Plays similarly to Knightmare but on MSX2 hardware. Has a Hindu atmosphere like Usas.Very expensive outside of Japan and very useful since you can use this to save in King Kong 2. 200px
King Kong 2 Action RPG First off, the movie sucked. This game doesn't. Even though the NES game has a similar name, you play as Mitchel(l) instead of Kong. As expected of a Konami title, especially on MSX, there's lots of tools and items for you to find, a huge world to explore, and lots of traps and enemies to face. There wasn't originally an English translation, though you can find a Korean ROM, which is full English, or a translation patch. Either way, be ready, because this is early Konami, which means HARD. 200px
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.

King's Valley II Puzzle-Platformer 60 levels of puzzle platforming goodness. Comes in MSX and MSX2 versions. 200px
Knightmare Shoot 'em Up The first of the three game series, 2 is a precursor to Castleroid/Metroidvania subgenre, and 3 is an adventure game with point-and-click elements. 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.

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. 200px
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. 200px
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) 200px
Konami's Tennis Sports Like the above it's a simple and fun game of tennis. 200px
Metal Gear Stealth Well it's only the first fucking game in the Metal Gear franchise can it really be all that great? Yes, yes it can. It's a lot like Ghost Babel, but less limited due to being on a computer. Most prefer the MSX 1 version over the MSX 2 version. If you somehow don't know, the NES game is different from this one in a number of areas, though the core gameplay is similar. Re-released with MG2:SS below, both in the special version of MGS3: Subsistence on PS2 with minor differences. 200px
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake Stealth Amazing sequel to the first that improves upon everything like a good sequel should. A bit more like the later games in that you have more maneuverability and the fact that the story and characters are more fleshed out. As mentioned above, you can find an altered version of this on Subsistence as well. But who doesn't want to play as Solid Sly Stallone? 200px
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! 200px
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. 200px
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. 200px
Penguin Adventure Platformer 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. Don't worry it's not like it's garbage predecessor... 200px
Pennant Race 1 / 2 Sports Extremely good baseball games by Konami that have lots of personality (like Neo Geo Pocket Color graphics) and are light years ahead oh Konami Baseball for the MSX1. 200px
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. 200px
Quarth Puzzle / Shoot 'em Up It's like Tetris and space invaders put together. Also on NES but they're about the same. 200px
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! 200px
SD Snatcher RPG Yeah, it's FUCKING SNATCHER, only it's an RPG. One of best the games on the system, and probably the best 8-bit graphics you will ever see. It even takes several floppy disks to play. 200px
Snatcher Adventure Yep, the most original version. The PC Snatchers are very different from the console ones, and the best console one is on Sega CD just so you know. The MSX2 version was fan translated if you can tolerate it. 200px
Space Manbow Shoot 'em Up Great MSX2 shooter with wonderful visuals and music. Considered to be a spiritual sequel to Thunder Cross. Comes in hybrid MSX2/MSX2+ cart with improved scrolling on MSX2+ 200px
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. 200px
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. 200px
Treasure of Uşas Adventure / Platformer (Meant to be pronounced Ushas) A strange platformer that has two characters with different abilities exploring 5 ruins each with their own 4 stages and a boss fight. The game also considers the current character's emotion into play, as they will become stronger or weaker in different ways depending on the emotion, thus making you consider who to play as for each stage. Spoiler: You may want to cut the game off right after you beat the final boss to avoid the depressing and pointlessly cruel ending mentioned in the link above. 200px
Vampire Killer Platformer Very different from Castlevania on the NES. Has superior graphics and sound, but no scrolling. More puzzles, alternate bosses and stages etc. 200px
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.

Ys II Action RPG A pretty good version of Ys 2, if not one of the best 8-bit versions. Ys 2 is like a more action-centric Zelda. The emphasis is on combat and fighting massive and tricky bosses over solving puzzles (though there still are some to solve). This is the best of the Ys series on MSX because the first is rather basic, and the 3rd deserves to be played on a faster and stronger system rather than making the poor MSX struggle to keep up with the power and speed demanded of Ys 3. This one has enough game to keep you satisfied, and you get filled in on 1's story along the way, so don't worry about missing important details, plot-wise. You do need a translation patch though. 200px