When I was growing up in Kuwait, it — and many neighboring countries — had a strange and wonderful duality: a meeting of Japanese and American brands, media, and technology. Our television channels carried both Captain Tsubasa, a popular soccer anime program, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My cousins’ dad bought them an NES, while my father brought home Famicom game systems, the Japanese version of Nintendo’s console. Boots or Bath & Body Works? Both!
This Japanese connection explains the dominance for much of the 1980s of the MSX, a Microsoft Japan-led project launched in 1983 to create a standardized computer platform that multiple companies could make and that would be affordable enough for home use.
MSX turned out to be a dead-end platform, and it derailed both gamers and the gaming industry in the Middle East for decades. The community is finally starting to revive.