Replacement FM Towns 2F

I’ve been spending more time on alternatives to Yahoo Auctions these days. Right now, there is a small window of opportunity for buyers using the PayPay Flea Market application. Because this is a new channel for selling off your old stuff, they are running a free-shipping promotion to improve brand recognition and increase the number of items for sale.

It’s not easy-pickings, but the combination of allure for sellers and the relatively unpopulated state of PayPay Flea Market means that you can sometimes find some interesting stuff for low prices. Persistence is the key, I search multiple times per day to try to be among the first to find the real treasures.

For example, I found this FM Towns. It is a 2F, so I already have this exact machine, but the one I found was in amazing shape. It came with the original box, the first time I’ve ever seen one.

And the machine itself is as if it had never been touched. Look at this thing!

It was untested, but it has been working perfectly, making it a total bargain. I can’t imagine what it would fetch with a standard auction format, but I was able to talk the seller down from 15000 yen to 12000 yen (with free shipping) and bought it on the spot.

Unfortunately, as unique as it is, it is not practical for my to keep the box. I’d like to, but I know it would just end up in the closet, never being looked at. So I have put my old FM Towns 2F into this box and have it ready to be listed on Yahoo Auctions tomorrow. The new machine itself I will keep!

X1 Widget

I saw this thing on Yahoo Auctions a few months ago. I was interested, but it was kinda expensive, it ended up going for 7500 yen. I passed. But it suddenly showed up on PayPay Flea Market for 500 yen, including shipping! So it was a no-brainer.

But what on Earth IS this, you demand to know? Well, it’s made out of a really nice glass and crystal hybrid by Koshida Glass, a company with some international recognition. It has a nice weighty feel to it. Looks sharp (pun actually not intended, but recognized and not removed)! And it’s in the shape of the X1 logo.

Yeah, but what on Earth IS this, you still demand to know? Well, I’m not sure. I thought it was a business card holder at first, but when I put a business card in it, it fell right out of the little wedge. Maybe it’s a business card repeller? But someone suggested it might be a pen holder.

It seems to work as such. I am used to pen holders being vertical and holding multiple pens, not this horizontal, single-pen holder. It’s probably for someone who has nice pens. My favorite pen (not the one pictured, but this is my most aesthetically pleasing pen) costs like 500 yen. But it looks pretty nifty, anyway!

Ice Warriors

A tale of two MZ-700s. The game Ice Warriors was developed for the MZ-700 in Europe, but I have an MZ-700 for the Japanese market. The systems are compatible, having the same hardware configuration. The only differences are on the keyboard and in the character ROM. But sometimes that’s critical!

I picked this up on the cheap from eBay, even shipping to Japan was not very expensive. However, when I tried to load it from the monitor, it didn’t find any data. Is the format of the tape somehow inherently incompatible? Is the tape bad? I tried both sides, but nothing.

Then one day, I stumbled upon some information: programs written in BASIC are saved with a different identifier and not picked up by the monitor’s loader. Now that I think about it, it makes sense, since the MZ-700 has no built-in BASIC. So I tried loading BASIC, switched the tape, then loaded Ice Warriors. And it found the program! And then READ ERROR!

But I’m not going to be deterred at this point. I tried a few more times with no success, so I tried the back side. It also produced a load error, but the second time it worked! I can play Ice Warriors!

Well, the title screen looks pretty good, if you assume the text is actual Japanese. The problem is, it’s not. The difference between the character ROMs is affecting the ability to play the game. What that is actually trying to say is:

ICE WARRIORS
of VALTEC
Copyright Solo Software
Please wait whilst game is set up.

Or at least, I would bet money that is what it’s supposed to say. It’s what I expect it is saying based on the length of each word, repeated characters, commonly used verbiage with old games, and process of elimination.

But I still refused to give up after I got this far. I slowly worked through the cryptogram to create a character and get into the game, even going so far as to have one battle, which was also messed up due to the character ROM differences, but that’s okay. I felt very satisfied getting this far! And those beautiful graphics were worth my several hours of effort over the past year or so.

Shanghai

“Shanghai, AGAIN?!” you aggressively wonder. Yes, again. It was the first game I used to test my Sharp X1, Shanghai II was the first game I used to test my PC-8801MA2, and now Shanghai is the first game I used to test my X68000. You might think I have some obsession with the game, but it’s not precisely true. I think I’ll write a comparison post later that goes into greater detail. But for now, this is Shanghai on my X68000.

I bought the original disk from BEEP in Akihabara. It was dirt cheap at 280 yen, because there was no box, no manual, and there was mold on the disk. I’m sure a disk without mold wouldn’t have cost much more, as even a boxed version would probably sell at 1000 yen, but this was the only copy they had. Of course, I cleaned off any excess mold before using it in my drive.

And then it’s standard fare for Shanghai. Find the matching tiles and remove them from the game board until you have cleared it. This game hardly stresses the limits of the X68000, but it is a clean looking version of the game. The only option for game control is the mouse, so if you don’t have that, you’re kinda stuck looking at the game board and planning your first move until your mouse arrives.

Luck was with me once again, as I managed to complete the round to 100% and get the winning screen shot. Here we have my standard progression of 100% ⇒ 75% ⇒ 50% ⇒ 25% ⇒ 12.5% ⇒ last two tiles ⇒ finish.

And a standard picture as well as an animated GIF of the winning screen. Just noticed the GIF is 32MB! Well, load it if you want to, but depending on my server’s response time at any given moment, it could take a while!

HuCAL

I picked up this MZ-700 application. I enjoy poking around with them, just to see what productivity was really like back then. The most productivity I can recall doing back in my childhood was using Magic Desk I on the Commodore 128. It was basically a typewriter emulator, so doing more sophisticated things like this spreadsheet application is a pretty new experience for me.

It loaded (on the fourth time) and I was up and running. I could figure out some of the basics, such as entering text, entering numbers, inserting and deleting rows and columns, adjusting column width, and entering the expression editor to perform simple mathematical calculations. The one thing I really would like to figure out but couldn’t is how to perform calculations by cell reference (for example, in Excel, navigating to C1 and entering “=A1+B1” would add the values of A1 and B1 and put it in cell C1). I can’t seem to find any syntax for it online, and in fact, I can’t seem to find much about this program at all! So it’s more a curiosity.