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No news is not good news

7th March, 2014:

Exhausted!

Well, it’s been a while and not very much has gone on. A couple of people who were being interviewed seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth, some others who have (or say they have) various Konix items are equally silent and no-one is coming forth with any additional information.

I may have exhausted all possible avenues, which is a great shame as three of these people promised to open up a near endless supply of stories information and artefacts.

Still, if my efforts to unearth all this information are fruitless now yet these people are genuine, then one day we may see more come to light.

So, apologies for a lack of updates, it’s certainly not through a lack of effort on my part, but I’m exhausted chasing, probing and dealing with people who play silly games and it is not worth my time anymore.

If anything does come up, I’ll keep reporting and investigating it, but for the meantime, I’m done chasing!

What do YOU know?

21st January, 2014:

Do you have any tips?

This website needs your help!

There is still a lot of information out there, there are possibly still copies of incomplete games and source code, and of course - somewhere there are real prototype Konix Multi-systems.

We need you to think hard! Do you know anyone who was involved in any stage of Konix development, or who worked in any of the games companies that were purported to have been developing? Is there a Bloke at the Pub who claims he has a Garage full of the liquidated Konix stock, documents, etc.?

Do you know anyone who worked in the Konix Factory in Wales. So far, after all these years, I have talked to just one person who worked there! There were more and some of them must be able to get in touch (or their Sons, Daughters, Brothers Sisters...).

Seriously, ANYTHING you know, think you know or have access to may help.

If you have ANY information, please email me.

Great progress made on Flare One era demos

12th January, 2014:

SavourySnaX has improved the Flare One Blitter performance and it seems he has come very close to decoding at least some of its mysteries.

As you can see from these work-in-progress videos of the Flare One era "3-modes" (AKA Transformers) demo, he has the basic functions of the demo working well and has only to work out some glitches.

This build has seen the Flare One Blitter implementation teased away from the code for the latter implementation of the Konix Multisystem version of the Blitter.

It's great to see this improvement, and as always, well done SavourySnaX!

It is pretty funny that the demo that was used to advertise the Konix Multisystem was written for earlier hardware.

Flare One Anyone?

5th January, 2014:

Flare One Lives!

You never owned this machine, You have never used any of it's software and You have never seen it in real life (unless you're one of just a handful of people), but if you are here you will probably have heard of this machine that went on to be the Konix Multisystem.

Thanks to a HUGE amount of luck, SavourySnaX has been loaned the only existing prototype Flare One Computer and has managed to read the BIOS EPROMS. Thankfully, despite one of the EPROMS not being protected against UV light for all of these years (UV light is used to ERASE the contents of the ROMs!), the contents were still, somehow in-tact and this means that the code has been preserved. The Slipstream emulator has now been updated to include the additional code to allow the system to use it's CPM 2.2 OS and preliminary Floppy Drive support has been added to load programs.

This is a very important development - and with thanks to John Mathieson of Flare, the emulator development was furthered by the provision of some useful archived code which helped improve the accuracy of the emulation and provide some missing information.

It's not ready for public release quite yet, but it's very promising and may (fingers crossed) lead to some further understanding and improvements of the early Flare One Chipset, which in turn may help improve Konix emulation.

Front Rear

MSC Controller Disc and "Game" found

15th December, 2013:

MSC Software

I have found the elusive disk that was bundled with the MSC Game Controller which was based on the Konix Multisystem. Now you can enjoy the simplistic game that was created by the Chinese programmers at MSC. It appears to be modelled on Lotus Turbo Esprit or games of that style.

The disk contains the Game – Race Car and a setup tool for configuring the controller. From what I see, there weren't specific drivers, or maybe they came on a separate disk? However, you can still play this game in DosBox using the PC Keyboard if you can't connect the controller.

Download the zipped contents of the disk – I'm distributing it here as it was free when you bought the controller – therefore, as there are so many disk-less controllers out there, now you can finally try the game.

It's important to add that this IS NOT a Konix Multisystem game, and there is no proof that it was even intended for the Multisystem and later ported to the PC.

More Magazine Scans Added

8th May, 2013:

Moar Scans!

With thanks to the folks (including The Laird and Michi) on the Retro Video Gamer and Kultboy forums, we have added to the already quite well stocked scans section of the website (confusingly called The Press). This naming makes perfect sense to me however no-one else seems to think the same way I do...

Konix on the Rocks?

16th April, 2013:

Better neat?

While trawling for some information, I discovered that Konix was a registered trademark of the company "Betterneat" operating from EXACTLY the same address as Konix was registered at.

On another recent trawl, I've discovered that Future Publishing is listed as a Creditor of Betterneat. Maybe it's no surprise that Future Publishing's ACE magazine had such an interest in Konix and the Multi-system? The magazine seemed to be championing the machine so much that it looks as if Future had a vested interest... This of course only means that Future claim that Betterneat owed them money, but why would a publisher be owed money by a manufacturer unless Future had invested in Betterneat? This is all, of course, an act of assumption.

As to the origin of the name Betterneat - one can only assume it refers to Whiskey which arguably is better served neat.

Betterneat had also registered a variation of it's KONIX name as KONIK.

References:
London Gazette Betterneat insolvency notice
Konik trademark
Konix trademark

A mini Konix Mystery

9th April, 2013:

Mysterious 'Konix' image

In my trawl through the internet I have discovered this image that comes up when you search for Konix.

It looks like it could be an early image from a Konix game with the merest hint of a Multi-system wheel in the bottom left corner? - however the website that contained it had NO reference to what it was and where it came from.

Does anyone have any idea what it is? Is it a work-in-progress Konix game?

If you have any information, please email me.

*UPDATE* Mystery solved - thanks to a kind soul (The Laird) from the Retro Video Gamer Forum, apparently it's Missile Command 3D on a Jaguar VR system! (not a Konix Multi-system)

Konix Pilgrimage

13th March, 2013:

waiting

I'm toying with the idea of going on a Konix Pilgrimage. Yes, I know it's Geeky!...

It would however be a nice road trip to sunny Wales to get a sense for the hills and valleys that gave birth to the idea of the Konix Multi-system.

And if you follow the link above, you too could go!

Waiting...

12th March, 2013:

waiting

There are three potentially very exciting developments that I'm waiting on. One that may lead to a huge haul of Konix items and information being brought back into daylight, another that may lead to more information about post Konix MSU games and developments and another lead that may have a Power Chair that could be dusted off and shared with the world.

However all of this is could, may , might, possibly and it's all taking a painstakingly long time to come to anything. Rest assured, there is a lot of stuff happening in the background - one day it may all come to light.

More Konix documents found and available to download

28th February, 2013:

Dusty documents

With thanks to John Matheison (via Lee Hammerton) we now have 3 more revisions of the Konix Slipstream reference guide - including one from the last possible SS4 386sx CDROM based evolution.

And, with thanks to Jason Daniels of Pagoda Software, We also have a beta copy of the PDS development kit's User Manual - guiding those programmers in how to use their shiny new Konix Dev-kits to write games for the wonder console.

Visit the (downloads) section to find them.

Work in progress on emulating the demo used in the Konix Promo Video

29th January, 2013:

Transformers demo

As you can see from this carefully chosen image - SavourySnax has been busy over the weekend working on emulating the 3 modes transforming demo (Transformers for want of a better name).

He has managed to get it in a state where it mostly runs, but has a few control issues and some drawing glitches (hence me taking a snapshot when it wasn't glitching!).

Hopefully he'll get to the bottom of the problems and we can all finally play another Konix game after all these years when he feels it it's time to release the next version of the Emulator.

When I say "Game" I mean "interactive demo" ;).

Another Konix Demo Emulated!

23rd January, 2013:

Lee has been busy working on a demo we found. This is an early one based on hardware closer to the Flare One (Early version of the single ASIC and Z80 CPU). I'm excited to see our first 3D demo running.
The slow-down here is mostly because of the Fraps video capture adversely influencing the performance of the emulator.
The wire frames spin quicker normally.

This ROM and emulator are still work in progress so aren't released at the moment, so for the meantime, enjoy the video!

Flare One Prototype Found!

21st January, 2013:

Flare One prototype saved!

After the appeal went out for help in trying to emulate the Flare One better, one of the creators of the Flare One: Martin Brennan came forward with a very generous offer of the loan of the prototype PCB that had been in storage. It's unclear if this can be made to work, and if the BIOS on the EPROMs is readable however we're sure going to try our best.

It is very relieving to know that this piece of history still exists and that it won't now be cast into the landfill of broken electric dreams.

Wanted: Flare One Prototype (or BIOS)

16th January, 2013:

Flare holding their Flare One system PCB

Just like the one in this photo of Flare Technology and the Flare One PCB!

In his mission to fully emulate the various revisions of the Slipstream chipset, Lee has come across various challenges.
It would help him greatly if there were a copy of the BIOS or enough technical information to fill in the blanks that can be derived from having access to a Flare One Prototype.

From what I understand there are likely to be only two people in the world who might have one (Martin Brennan and John Mathieson), but if they don't have it, who knows who they may have passed it onto? So, do you or do you know anyone who knows where the Flare One prototype might be?

As usual, If you have any information, please email me.

Progress being made emulating early Konix (Flare One Z80 era)

16th January, 2013:

Latest discovered Konix Demo being emulated

We've uncovered two demos for the Flare One version of the Konix Multi-system. Based on a Z80 CPU and with an ASIC much closer to what the Flare One must have been like (while it was still called the Konix Arcade System). The code has required Lee to jump through more hoops to emulate the one already complied ROM. He has also had to build the other ROM from the source code using a variety of specially hacked and modified tools.

There are two ROMS, one an animated TV which shows a bouncing flickering Konix logo with interference lines which gradually comes good and reveals the 'Tune in to Entertainment with Konix' message. This is presumably meant as an attract sequence for a trade show or something.
This is the first time I’ve seen this demo – so for me it’s very exciting!

The other demo is a colour palette display showing to the programmers that their system is working (visually at least). This second demo is not exciting, but it's real Konix Z80 code running on the emulator - so that can only be good!

These ROMS and the updated emulator are still Work In Progress so they are not available just yet.

Konix Source Code for AMC98 released

3rd January, 2013:

Konix Source code for AMC98 released

Today the Source Code and a custom Assembler for Jeff Minter's Attack of the Mutant Camels 1989 written for the Konix Multi-system has been released.
This means that if you have the skills, you can modify the code and build a ROM that will work in the recently released Emulator. It would be great to see the game developed further!

You can gain access to it on GitHub by visiting SavourySnaX's Twitter account

And in related news: SavourySnaX the programmer of the Slipstream Emulator is now on Twitter ;)

A Dongle, a Dongle! My kingdom for a Dongle

18th December, 2012:

PDS Dongle?

After quite some investigation and experimentation, I've realised the PDS software for the Konix Dev Kit is unfortunately Dongle Protected. This may have been obvious to some, but I never used this system when it was released, and I don't have a manual.

So... I'm on the lookout now for a Dongle that enables the PDS software to run. Until then we won't see any life from the Konix Dev-kit as it won't run software on it's own.

If anyone knows more details about PDS dev kits and where I might find a dongle (or how to build on if it's quite simple) then please get in touch!

Konix Multi-system Emulator Released

9th December, 2012:

Konix Multi-system Emulator released

I am very excited to share the news that the first releasable build of the Konix Multi-system Emulator written by a programmer called Savoury SnaX has been released and is available by clicking here.

What's an emulator without out something to run on it? Well, Thanks to an amazing stroke of luck and the blessing of it's author, Jeff Minter, we are able to include an early (but playable) version of Attack of the Mutant Camels 1989 for the Konix Multi-system. Also included in the zip files are a few test programs we also stumbled over, not as exciting as AMC'89, but still interesting.
Konix ROMs (including Attack of the Mutant Camels '89)

Finally, some example programs from the MSU Robocod era are also included. Check the README files in the Zips for instructions.
MSU ROMs

And you will need OPEN AL to hear the audio - download the installer here. Have Fun!

Attack of the Mutant Camels 1989 Found and Emulated!

18th November, 2012:

After all these years, and with the kind permission of it's creator, Attack of the Mutant Camels 1989 for the unreleased Konix Multi-system has been found AND emulated.

The Emulator programmer has produced this video of the emulation running on his computer. Shortly, once he is completely happy with the quality of his emulation, he will release the Emulator and along with Jeff's permission we will be able to have a copy of the game and play it ourselves.

This is astounding and is a very significant development. I am, needless to say thrilled!

Featured in Retro Gamer!

27th October, 2012:

Featured in Retro Gamer Magazine

In the pages of Retro Gamer issue 108.

It's been a long road, there have been many developments in the last couple of years, and the events of the last few months have only helped heighten the status of the project.

This article is a nice way for me to take a break for a moment with a cup of tea to look back at the seemingly never ending quest to play a Konix Multi-system Game and where I started and where we are now.

Thanks to all who made it happen, it was a thrill being involved and I highly recommend you go and buy a copy today!

Konix Power Chair Found!

2nd October, 2012:

A REAL Power Chair is in the wild

There had to be one.

After all this time I can finally bring news of the existence of an actual Konix Power Chair.
I have been contacted by someone who wishes to remain anonymous who has in his possession a real Konix Multi-system Power Chair. I have seen a picture that proves this is the real deal.

Read more here

Talking to an Argonaut

21st September, 2012:

Argonaut Software

Chris Walsh a former Argonaut programmer has kindly dredged his memory and recalled a few snippets about working on the Konix exclusive game Bikers.

I also probed his memory for traces of Starglider information whilst I had his attention.

Sharing resources with the Video Game Console Library

20th September, 2012:

Video Game Console Library

The very excellent VGCL is hosting a feature about the Konix Multi-system to make their archive of interesting machines more complete. If you've read everything on this site, then you won't learn anything new about the Multi-system, but I do thoroughly recommend visiting their website as it has a massive amount of very interesting material about other interesting and obscure machines, one of which I've made reference to in one of my pages.

You won't be disappointed, and it was a pleasure to work with 'Marriot Guy' and I'll be reading his site to make sure I fill in the gaps in my knowledge of other gaming systems.

Rotox Information Added

6th August, 2012:

Rotox

I've just spoken with Nick Speakman formerly of Binary Designs and now Matrix Software. Nick has filled in some information regarding the nature of the Multi-system port of Rotox. Follow this link to the Rotox page for the update.

Power Rider Revealed!

20th July, 2012:

Power Rider

Matt Bignell is the young man seen commanding the Power Chair in this picture, he has shared his experience with us about how he came to be photographed and how he became a member of the exclusive "Power Riders" club (at least that's what I'm calling it!).

Read his account here

Where was Kickstarter 20 years ago?

11th July, 2012:

Ouya!

Although this isn't a piece of Konix news, I feel that it's so important a milestone in the games industry that it's worthy of comment. The proposed Ouya Android based Games Console has been successfully funded through Kickstarter.

Look back 20 years and imagine the significance of having a scheme where people could have helped fund the Konix Multi-system - it's truly staggering. As a games player, although the concept of this machine leaves me cold, I am interested to see what sort of impact this machine has going up against the establishment. Read more about the Ouya at the project's Kickstarter page.

*Update*

Wow - 9 million dollars. Just stop for two seconds and think... 9 million dollars! This is for a device that doesn't use new technology (it uses proven tech.), it has no fancy gimmicks, It's games are the ones you already have on your Android phone. It uses the shareware model of getting a level for free and paying for the rest - just like 20 years ago...

All it really offers is ownership. Complete freedom to modify add subtract and tailor this device to your own wishes, not unlike a PC - however these days someone else works out all the hard bits for you and you don't have to do it yourself. Don't get me wrong - I'm not critical, I've backed it and it's nice that there is a machine where I can freely tinker unlike having to feel like a dirty pirate for wanting to free my Xbox 1 of it's region restrictions or to run XBMC for example.

Now - back to the point - where's the Kickstarter for a Multi-system + Power Chair revival... Wyn are you reading this?

MSU Updates

14th June, 2012:

MSU

I've been lucky enough to talk with some more guys who worked at MSU. A much fuller picture of the post Konix development of the Multi-system has come out.
Also, I feel I can tell a much franker more and accurate story of how life was at MSU.

Read the fascinating continuation of the Konix story here.

Did you, or someone you know, work at Konix?

25th May, 2012:

Konix Employees

I'm looking to talk to anyone who did or who knows someone who worked here.

I've talked to most of the bosses (except for Robert Kent - where are you Robert?), but now I want to talk to the people who worked on the production line, the packaging area - anywhere.

I want to hear your stories of the mood in the factory building up to the production of the Multi-system. Please email me with whatever information you have.

Wanted! Emulator Programmers

7th May, 2012:

Emulator

If you're a programmer who works for a living and programs things like Emulators for fun, you're probably aware that taking on a project like this is prone to "real life" getting in the way. Unfortunately, that's what's happened to two programmers who were thinking of working on a Konix emulator.

If I have any say in it, I think it would be better if it's designed to be as portable as possible to start with.

If you'd like to take on the task and are happy for it to be open source (so that other people can pick it up if it has to be put on hold) then please email me.

Konix Multi-system PCB

4th May, 2012:

PCB

This is an actual PCB that would have been used in a production Konix Multi-system. Of course, it's unpopulated. Given time, I may be able to track down a circuit diagram and then source the components needed to populate it. For the meantime, it's actually pretty cool and very useful that it is unpopulated, as it makes it much easier to make a copy of the PCB prior to experimentation (if any).

The photo (created using my Scanner for highest resolution and best degree of accuracy) is very large (around 9MB) so be patient when clicking the links for a larger version!. This is the real deal - it fits like a glove in the production plastic case I have which I have been kindly given and will get photographed very soon.

Front Rear

Spring Clean

24th April, 2012:

Spring Clean

The Eagle-eyed amongst you may notice subtle changes - I'm finally getting around to proof reading and tweaking various things on the site.

There's a lot of info to come as a result of Brian and Chris contributing to the website (thanks once again guys!). Now I have to get around to writing it all up and taking photos. Before that though, I'm making sure the rest of the house is in order a little and nicely spring cleaned in preparation.

Forum Removed

23rd April, 2012:

Forum

It wasn't really worth the effort of keeping the spammers away (there were a LOT!), so it's gone. However please do contact me if you have news, tips or info that isn't mentioned in these pages.

Thanks to those who did register (especially Chris!), please keep coming back to the normal website for updates.

The New Zealand Story

24th April, 2012:

Not The Konix New Zealand Story

After talking with Paul Hughes recently, it was revealed that the Konix Devkit that Ocean software had was being tested with a port of The New Zealand Story.

This is the first time I heard of this particular game being run on the box (in any form). More details in the games section of the website.

Note: This isn't a screen shot from the Konix version - it's purely for illustrative purposes!

Attempting to revive the dev-kit

16th April, 2012:

Dev-kit

Since I have very kindly been made the custodian of the only know surviving Konix Multi-system dev-kit, I have been attempting to gather everything required to get the machine safely running again. In its default state when not connected to a PC, it doesn't do anything. It is my challenge to try to build an interface and send code to the Konix which it then runs.
As it used parallel data transfer from a bespoke (copy protected) development package running on the PC, I have several hurdles to overcome. I'll stick at it though, as I'm very keen to try to get something running on the machine.
I'll keep you up to date as soon as things happen, there won't be a specific progress blog, but there will be occasional updates. Follow my progress at the dev-kit page.

Devkit Found!

12th September, 2011:

Dev-Kit Found!

EXCITING NEWS!!!!!

A Konix Multi-System dev-kit has been found!

One of the original programmers has found the devkit after thinking it was long lost. What does this mean for us? If he turns it on, one day we may see the closest thing to a working Konix Multi-System. Hopefully he will be kind enough to send pictures of the inside of the unit too!

Dev-kit piccie 1 Dev-kit piccie 2

Konix Game found!

21st September, 2011:

Konix version of Robocod found!

I have managed to talk to a developer who was involved in porting the game Robocod 2 to the Konix Multi-system. Somehow - miraculously, he still had the source code for the combined PC / Konix Multi-system port which also includes a compiled binary Konix image - the combination of the two is incredibly exciting - we now have everything required to emulate at least one game. If anyone finds any more games, then the emulation can improve as more is learnt about how the games were written.

Plan to win - not plan to fail

13th April, 2011:

Download the Multi-system Business plan

EXCLUSIVE! Download the Konix Multi-System Business plan document.
This recently discovered document from over 21 years ago explains the Multi-System to potential investors and why Konix thought it was such a great prospect.

Chris Green Talks!

March 13th, 2011:

Read the Chris Green Interview here

I have finally found the time to add the interview with Chris Green. Thanks again Chris for taking the time to answer my questions!

Another Victim - sorry, Interviewee

January 25th, 2011:

Coming soon: A new interview with Chris Green

Coming soon: A new interview with Chris Green an Electronic Design Engineer who worked at Konix on the Multi-system readying it for mass production. He was deeply involved in preparing the machine and solving the design niggles of both the electronics and plastic case. The interview has been completed, I just need to reformat it before I can share it with you.

It's good to talk

December 5th, 2010:

picture from http://visitsteve.com

There's a lot of stuff going on at the moment, I've been talking to several ex Konix and MSU people who have a wealth of information, I hope to write it up and share it all very soon.

6502 Inside

September 20th, 2010:

MOS 6502 in the Power Chair

I've just found out that the Konix Power Chair used a 6502 processor! I really didn't think it was a particularly complex design. I've updated the Power Chair reference in the overview page. Thanks to Steve a former MSU employee for mentioning it.