Introduction to FM77AV20EX disk (2 of 5): Keyboard Practice

This is the keyboard practice branch of the menu. It is divided into three sections: alphabet, kana entry, and complex entry including kanji. Keyboard entry should not be so exciting, but I learned some good information here.

First is alphabetic entry. We can see that upon completion of a typing task, it tells us how long it took and how many mistakes we made. Don’t judge, I was typing in the dark to get a good picture! My most common mistake was my hands being shifted one column over from the home keys.

Next is kana entry. On a Japanese keyboard, even to this day, there is a hiragana (or sometimes katakana) character printed on almost every key. One keypress adds or alters one character.

It is a crude system to enter every possible sound made in Japanese. By the kana alone, you can enter an entire text document, and in fact people used to do it that way. Nowadays, very few people use this method, but it’s still available in today’s OSes.

Finally, the most interesting to me, is complex entry. Honestly, I didn’t think 8-bit computers had the capacity to operate this way.

I’ll spare details here, because it will probably get its own entry later. But this system is not so different from the much more modern, convenient IME entry. If you press ctrl-A, you switch to this newer method, and ctrl-S puts you back into kana entry. Actually, either method is capable of complex entry, but the newer method will be much more comfortable to people who didn’t use Japanese computers until after the 90s.

Introduction to FM77AV20EX disk (1 of 5): Disk Information and System Time

I have gone through every feature of my FM77AV20EX system introduction disk. It is too much information for one post, I feel. So I am breaking it up into five, one for each menu branch. As the first one is the shortest, it will also serve as the introduction. It is also the most boring and least interactive, so if it feels dry, wait for the third, fourth, and fifth articles! I will particularly like the second, but that’s my specific quirk about Japanese text entry.

These screens below are loaded in sequence upon booting the disk, they are similar to a Windows loading screen or something along those lines. The third image mentions that the machine is equipped with a Japanese language card, which allows for the input and display of complex Japanese writing. This is covered a bit more in article 2, and will probably eventually get its own article.

This is the first menu, each one opening up to its own submenu. In order:
– Preparing to use the AV20EX
– Keyboard practice
– Features of the AV20EX
– Introduction to audio software
– Introduction to other software

The first menu item just talks about handling floppy disks, the merits of backing up floppy disks, and allows you to set the date and time in a fancy-schmancy GUI.

First the advice about handling floppy disks:

Solid advice: Don’t put your floppy drives in extreme heat or high humidity or dusty places. Don’t put heavy things on the floppy. Don’t eat the floppy. Don’t open the shutter and touch the floppy. It says most of those things.

But one piece of advice that is quite important is about compatibility with previous models. The FM77AV20EX comes with 3.5″ 2DD (640KB) floppy drives. The FM-77 and FM77AV came with 3.5″ 2D (320KB) floppy drives. It says that disks made for these older systems will work on the new one, but once you write data onto a 2D floppy disk, there’s a chance you can’t use that disk on the old systems again. I suppose you could format and use it again, but it doesn’t mention that.

Next: Copy that floppy! But only this time.

In the event your disk explodes, grows legs and runs away, etc. you want it to be a *copy* of your system disk, not the originals you’ll have to hunt down on Yahoo Auctions 30 years later, right? So copy those disks and use those copies. I did.

And finally, let’s set that system time!

Well, it sure does look nice and is extra informative when you compare it to MS-DOS’s “Current date is 6/15/88/Please enter new date.” But it does take a lot longer to load.

FM77AV20EX System Disks

A while back, I posted about a three-pack of FM-77 system disks that I found. I bought them, copied them, then re-copied them just in case, and then resold them. I don’t have an FM-77, but it does work on my FM77AV20EX, and that’s been just fine.

But last week, a set of system disks specifically for my model showed up. I expected them to be dreadfully expensive, but actually they were half the price of the FM-77 disks I’d bought before. I made a copy of them, and am currently using those, but I don’t think I’ll resell the disks this time. The price was not that bad, and it makes it feel like a more complete system (still need the manuals, though!).

The contents are different – there is an updated version of F-BASIC, now at 3.3 instead of 3.0. And Logo has been replaced with a system introduction/demo disk, which highlights and shows off the multimedia features of the system, as well as introduces peripherals and software available.


I picked up this game for my PC-8801 MA2. I normally don’t want boxed games unless they are in very good condition, but this one was cheap, and I wanted a couple of cheap games to feel a little more confident that my system was working properly. So I went with this one.

Despite the rough condition of the box, the packaging is pretty charming. Check out that Styrofoam holder!

Here are some captures from the introduction. The graphics are blue-heavy, to be certain, but it is full of detail.

The game has the potential to be fun, or at least intriguing. I’ve always enjoyed the bizarre, and this indeed appears to be bizarre. I played around with it a little bit and thought it might be worth reading the manual, so I opened it up and it said something to the effect of “we’re not telling you how to play this game, you must explore and discover for yourself.” So I went back to the game and did just that. You start out as a spirit, and you can take over other bodies to become more powerful. You pick up items and explore the world, and that’s about all I’ve worked out so far.

Super Rambo

This is a game I received as part of a large batch of images a while back (thanks, Chris!). I tried it tonight for the first time. I *knew* this was going to be interesting just by the first screen.

Gosh, I just don’t know! How about the first one, I guess? But it didn’t take long to figure out what was what.

Actually it’s a little deceiving, the demo isn’t actually a demo. What they’re really asking is if you want to watch the introduction (four looping screens with some simple animation), or just load the game directly. Kind of wish that was a standard option, to reduce waiting for unnecessary loading time for those who are ready to just jump in. But some of the graphics in the opening screens are nicely done.

The game is a lot less straightforward action and a lot more exploring than similar games. As is often the case, I couldn’t get very far. I explored about twenty screens or so and usually I end up dying by stepping on a landmine. Maybe there’s an option to detect them? Or maybe if I can keep that guy alive at the beginning, he shows me where to go without stepping on a landmine? I’m not sure, because he keeps disappearing after getting to the first enemy barracks. Captured? Beats me!

It can sometimes be a bit challenging without a manual, actually. I played the game for quite a while before I learned you could crawl by pressing the tab key. I sometimes press every key if I get stuck in a game, but there are a lot of combinations because I may have mistakenly pressed the kana key, which puts it in a different mode, or some games only recognize upper-case key presses, which I often forget about.

There was a saved game file on the disk so I loaded it just to see what it was like, but I probably won’t go back to it. Definitely better to figure the game out for myself!