Friday, 28 August 2015

Obscure Systems Showcase : Casio PV-1000

Casio were an electronics juggernaut in the 80's. Watches, calculators, portable keyboards, personal organisers, you name it - if it took batteries and went beep, Casio made it.

It's no surprise then that Casio attempted to break into the console market, what is a surprise is just how badly they seemed to do. Their first attempt was the PV-1000, an eight bit system released in 1983 and discontinued soon after. Only around 15 games were released for the system and was apparently taken of the market within weeks of it's initial launch. It's no doubt safe to assume that it didn't sell well, but why it's life was so short is a bit of a mystery. The fact that it was released in the same year as the gaming juggernaut the Nintendo Famicom probably didn't help, but it seems odd that Casio abandoned it quickly, perhaps they just realised how outgunned they were. 

It does not seem to be another MSX clone as some sites have reported, as whilst it does have a Z80 processor it has different and less capable graphics and sound chips. There were a lot of 'almost MSXs' released in this era, machines based on similar hardware, but not fully compatible with the standard, but this isn't one of them.  The Casio's graphics and sound are controlled by the custom D65010G031 chip which is reportedly very different from the ones used in the MSX. 

The Video above was made with the ePV-1000 emulator by Toshiya Takeda, which is pretty basic but works well. MESS also emulates the system too.

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