New multi-system Japanese retro PC controller available from OMPeaRetro with 2/6-button mode

OMPeaRetro has just released his brand-new FM2AND6 controller, combining both 2-button and 6-button FM Towns controller functionality into one pad! Both the FM Towns and FM Towns Marty are notorious for very expensive controllers on the second-hand market, a problem OMPeaRetro has sought to fix once and for all.

Even cooler still is that, while in 2-button mode, the FM2AND6 controller is also compatible with the NEC PC88/98, the MSX, the Sharp X68000, and even Fujitsu’s FM-7. Presently, the FM2AND6 is not compatible with the Sharp X1 series of machines, but OMPeaRetro will be selling an adapter sometime in the future to address this.

For those raising an eyebrow at the very obvious use of the Sega Saturn controller shell, rest assured that no OEM controllers were cannibalized to make the FM2AND6 a reality. Instead, aftermarket controller shell replacements were the form factor of choice.

The controller itself can be purchased directly from the creator here:

At a high level, it’s important to know that the Start Button is used to toggle between 6/2-button modes, and there’s even an a button-mapping option called “Derek Mode”, which you can read more about on the product page. Furthermore, the L and R Triggers are used as Run and Select.

Below, I’ve featured a full Q&A with OMPeaRetro for all those curious to learn more.

What is the FM2AND6?

The FM2AND6 is a custom controller that lives in a Sega Saturn style shell that combines both the 2-and 6-button FM Towns controllers into one.

Why the need for both controllers?

There are many games that do not work with the 6-button controller, including the Doc Brown ODE navigation menu. Having to swap controllers back and forth is annoying, so being able to push a switch makes life a lot easier.

Are there games that actually use the extra buttons?

There aren’t many, but there are some great games in the mix. PuLiRuLa and Blandia Plus use 3 buttons, Samurai Spirits and the extremely rare Fatal Fury use 4, and Street Fighter 2 uses 6.

Is it all custom made?

No. Everything is off the shelf except the PCB to keep costs down. The PCB is my own design that does some multiplexing and switching to make everything work.

I would love to have my own shells made with custom markings and such, but that would raise the price dramatically. I was able to source very nice quality off the shelf shells for low cost. There are some minor tweaks I make to them as well. These use membrane buttons for the triggers instead of the clicky momentary buttons. This makes for a more reliable controller, as I know I’ve dropped my share breaking these triggers switches. I did add provisions on the board if someone wanted to swap the pcb into a real Saturn controller and solder in the buttons.

Where is it made?

The PCB and SMD assembly is handled overseas. I solder on the cable, switches, trigger boards, and do the case modifications. I partially assemble the controller so I can function test certain things. Then I fully assemble the controller, apply to logos, and do a final function test.

Does it only work for FM Towns?

2 button mode works on many platforms. NEC’s PC88/98, MSX, Sharp X68000, Fujitsu’s FM-7, and more. The one glaring omission is Sharp’s X1 series. I will be offering a simple plug-in dongle that adds compatibility at a later date. I’m still working on the case design for this.

The 6-button mode is specifically designed for FM Towns though. The only other platform that uses more than 2 buttons is X68000. There was not an official 6 button controller for this platform. Actually there wasn’t even an official controller at all that I’m aware of. Some games made use of a Megadrive/Genesis 6 button controller, and Magical Company bundled their own special controller with Fatal Fury 2.

That being said, it’s not like it doesn’t work at all. Most of the buttons can be mapped, but it’s not an ideal solution at this time.

Why bother picking one up? Why not just get and MSX or FMT controller?

An MSX or other generic controller will certainly be useful, and there are some great ones out there. They’re usually reasonably priced as well. The one thing they lack is the SELECT and RUN buttons that Fujitsu introduced with the FMT. These are needed on some FMT software, and some other platforms actually made use of these buttons. There’s also at least one person, for now, adding them to controller designs for Western computers, though I don’t know of any software that uses them

FMT controllers unfortunately are getting more and more expensive. It’s not uncommon to see 2 button versions for sale for over $70 now. The 6 buttons, if you can even find one, tend to sell for $150+. That’s a lot of money for a pair of controllers.

Any other benefits to the FM2AND6 over an official controller?

The first party FMT controllers are all really nice in my opinion. Some games were designed around the original controller layout, which had the SELECT and RUN buttons directly above the B and A buttons, such as Turbo Outrun and After Burner 3. The later controllers moved these button to the lower middle of the controller, making their use a bit cumbersome for games like these. The FM2AND6 has these buttons mapped to the L and R triggers, making their use nice and intuitive.

The 2 button controllers also followed the unspoken standard of having Button II on the left and Button I on the right, like an NES controller. The 6-button controller swaps them around so the layout is like a 6 button Genesis/Mega Drive/Saturn controller, XYZ over ABC.

The FM2AND6 follows this same practice, and swaps A and B between 2 and 6 button modes. If you don’t like this and prefer the button layout to always have Button I on the left and Button II on the right, there is a hidden switch inside the controller to swap this behavior.

The FM2AND6 is also available in two colors, black with grey buttons, and white with multi-color buttons.

Any downsides to the FM2AND6?

I’m obviously biased since I created it, but I don’t really think so. If you don’t like the Japanese Sega Saturn style controller, then that’s obviously a downside. I really like that style controller, and it has the perfect number of buttons for what I wanted to do. I wanted to make something affordable and accessible for these sometimes extremely expensive platforms.

How much?
The cost at this time is $35 plus shipping.

Where to purchase?

I will be listing these on my website This initial release will have 20 of each color.

Any plans for other controllers or products?

As I mentioned earlier, I will be releasing a dongle to add Sharp X1 compatibility. I do have other controller designs I’m working on. I’m even testing a prototype right now. I do plan to release a version geared toward Western computers as well at some point. I’m also working on various adapters for video output, and plan to start looking into CMT (cassette) adapters.