Rany Battikh

DMC88 interest check – A new ODE for the FM Towns Marty by Fixel

Developer Fixel has just opened an interest check for an FM Towns Marty optical drive emulator (ODE), cleverly named DMC88 (referencing Back to the Future’s time traveling car).

Best known for his innovative series of 3DO ODEs, Fixel has recently announced on Twitter that a plug-and-play ODE solution for the Japanese-exclusive Fujitsu FM Towns Marty is in the pipeline. Fixel attached a Google Docs survey to the tweet to gauge interest and demand for the DMC88.

If you are unfamiliar with the Marty, it’s totally understandable. As previously mentioned, the console only saw the light day in Japan in the early 90s and was based on the FM Towns series of computers. The Marty is often described as under-powered when compared to most other FM Towns computers, as it featured a 16 MHz 386SX processor and 2 MB of RAM, whereas some higher tier FMT computes boasted processors with speeds up to 100 MHz and 6 MB of RAM. That being said, the Marty can run most of the FM Town’s software library and even has a small list of exclusive titles. But games that require 4 MB of RAM to boot, such as Super Street Fighter II, are not compatible with the Marty, at least for now. Throughout its short-lived lifespan (1993-1995), the Marty had 4 different models: Model 1, Model 2, Car Marty, and TC Marty, with the first two being the most commonly available on the market right now.

Both Model 1 and Model 2 Marty consoles (which are basically the same console in different shells) are known for their notoriously faulty CD-Rom drives. And tracing down a CD-Rom drive replacement nowadays is no easy task. So aside from its “having all your games on one SD card” convenience feature, Fixel’s DMC88 can present itself as a means to revive a lot of previously-thought-unusable Marty consoles.

But what captured my attention the most about the DMC88 is the intriguing idea that it may serve as dual-function device. Let me explain. You see, the Marty features a 3.5″ floppy disk drive on its side and that serves two purposes: saving and booting up games. Using a floppy disk, you could save your progress in some games. But most importantly, some games require the presence of a boot disk in the floppy drive to start such as Asuka 120% BURNING Fest. And just like the console’s CD-Rom drive, the floppy drive is prone to failure. Fixel mentioned that he’s considering incorporating both CD-Rom and FDD functionalities into the DMC88.

While there exists a plethora of FDD emulators out there, some even dedicated to the Marty itself, having an all-in-one device (ODE + FDD emulator) is a much more convenient solution in my opinion.

If you own a Marty with a dead CD-Rom drive, check out Fixel’s tweet and fill the interest form to help make this project a reality. Note that no price point or release date have been announced yet, this is just a preliminary interest check. Now, would somebody please come up with an RGB-out solution for the Marty?



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