New keyboards

I wasn’t really happy with my keyboards for the X68000 and FM Towns. So after hunting for a decent deal on Yahoo Japan, I found these two:

The first is a X68000 compact keyboard, which was released along with the X68000 XVI compact I believe. It is basically new and it is an awesome keyboard. The second is a full size FM Towns keyboard. I am not totally sure if it was the original keyboard for my model but it does look a lot better than my previous grey keyboard. It is a bit yellowed but the keys themselves are in very good condition. Here is how my Towns set up looks like now:

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Switching resolution for x68000 games in VGA

If you are running your X68000 in a VGA monitor like I am, you will notice that for most cases only the 31Mhz resolution will work. Some games will boot in a different video mode (usually 15Mhz) and therefore you need to switch it back to 31Mhz in order to get the signal to show up.

Thankfuly someone from the X68000 forum went through many games and documented what video modes are available and how to switch between them. Just to make sure this info is not lost, I am reproducing it in the table below.

Unfortunately, some games don’t have a quick and easy way to switch video modes. You actually have to navigate (blindly in this case) through menus to do so. I am also adding some info to the table that will help you do this.

Name Default Video Mode Optional
Video Modes
Notes
After Burner 15kHz 31kHz Mouse/Trackball/Micom Analogue pad support
Cyber Stick (CZ-8NJ2) support
Mousepad included
Ajax 31kHz 15kHz – hold down the HELP key when first booting  
Akumajou Dracula 31kHz   The famous X68000 version of Castlevania.Requires a blank disk for saving, or to hard disk
Alien Syndrome 31kHz 15kHz  
Argus no Senshi 31kHz   Japanese title for Rygar
Arkanoid Revenge of DOH 31kHz   Mouse/Trackball support
Atomic Robo-Kid 15kHz   For MIDI support, hold down F1 when booting
Baraduke 31kHz 15kHz, 24kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions  
Battletech 31kHz    
Bomberman 31kHz    
Bonanza Brothers 31kHz 15kHz  
Bosconian 31kHz    
Bubble Bobble 31kHz 15kHz  
Butasan 31kHz 15kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions  
Chelnov 31kHz 15kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions Megadrive joypad adapter included,
as three buttons are required
Chourensha 31 kHz
(Narrow)
31kHz (Wide)15kHzThe display can be rotated  
Chuka Taisen 15kHz 31kHz – press F1 to alternate  
Code Zero 15kHz    
Columns 31 kHz    
Cotton 31kHz
(384 x 256)
31kHz (512 x 256)15kHz (448 x 240)15kHz (512 x 240)  
Crazy Climber 1/2 31kHz   Crazy Climber 2 requies 2 MB, makes use of the XPD-1LR joypad (included with Libble Rabble)
Cybercore 31kHz   Can be run from hard drive, as long as the disk is in Drive 0. The program name is “Y.x”
D-Return 31kHz    
DaiMakaiMura(Ghouls’n Ghosts) 31kHz   Menu navigation:
button 1
down
button 1
down 4 times
left/right to select resolution
Dash Yarou 31kHz   Cyber Stick (CZ-8NJ2) support
Detana!! Twinbee 31kHz 15kHz – use F2 to select, F1 to revert to 31kHz  
Dig Dug/Dig Dug II 31kHz    
Dive On 31kHz
(384 x 256)
31kHz (256 x 256)15kHz (256 x 256)15kHz (512 x 256)  
Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 31kHz 15kHz – hold down the HELP key when first booting Japanese title for River City Ransom
Dragon Buster 31kHz 24kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions  
Dragon Spirit 31kHz
(256 x 256)
31kHz (512 x 256)15kHz (256 x 256)15kHz (512 x 256)The display can be rotated Some releases includes a flag
Dungeon Master 31kHz    
Dynamite Duke 31kHz    
Etoile Princesse 31kHz   Not MT-32 compatibleRequires a blank disk for saving
Exciting Hour/Shusse Oozumou 31kHz 15kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions  
F-15 Strike Eagle II 31kHz   16 MHz highly recommended
Fairyland Story 15kHz 31kHz  
Fantasy Zone 31kHz 24kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions  
Final Fight 15kHz
(512 x 256)
31kHz (512 x 256)31kHz (384 x 256) Menu Navigation:
button 1
down
button 1
down 5 times
left/right to select resolution
Flying Shark 31kHz 15kHz  
Full Throttle 31kHz    
FZ Senki Axis 31kHz 15kHz  
Galaga ’88 31kHz 15kHz  
Garou Densetsu 31kHz   AKA Fatal Fury
Garou Densetsu 2 31kHz 15kHz AKA Fatal Fury 2; Joypad included
Garou Densetsu Special 31kHz 15kHz AKA Fatal Fury Special
Gemini Wing 31kHz 15kHz  
Gempai Toumaden 31kHz   Some releases includes a flag and flagpole
Genocide 31kHz    
Genocide 2 31kHz 15kHz  
Geograph Seal 31kHz   Not MT-32 compatibleRequires a blank disk for saving
Gradius 31kHz   Can be run from a hard disk by simply copying all files to it and running Gradius.x
Gradius II 31kHz    
Granada 31kHz 15kHz  
Gunship 31kHz    
Image Fight 31kHz 15kHz  
Jack Nicklaus Golf 31kHz    
Klax 31kHz    
KU2 15kHz 31kHz  
Kyuukyoku Tiger 31kHz   Japanese title for Twin Cobra
Lemmings 31kHz    
Libble Rabble 31kHz 15kHz, 24kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions Includes special joypad (XPD-1LR),
can also be used by Crazy Climber 1/2
Mahou Daisakusen 31kHz
(256 x 256)
31kHz (384 x 256)
15kHz (256 x 240)
Japanese title for Sorcer Striker16 MHz highly recommended
Maison Ikkoku Kanketsuhen Special 31kHz    
Marble Madness 31kHz
(384 x 512)
24kHz (336 x 448) Trackball support
Märchen Maze 15kHz(256 x 224) 31kHz (288 x 224)31kHz (256 x 224)15kHz (256 x 224)Press the 登録 key to alternate  
Metal Sight 15kHz 31kHz Cyber Stick (CZ-8NJ2) support
Mid-Garts 31kHz    
Motos 31kHz(256 x 256) 31kHz (384 x 256)  
Mr. Do! / Mr. Do! V.S Unicorns 31kHz 15kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions  
Naious 31kHz 15kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions  
Nekketsu Koukou Dodgeball Bu 31kHz 15kHz – hold down the HELP key when first booting  
Soccer Hen 31kHz    
Nemesis ’90 Kai 31kHz    
Overtake 31kHz (256) 31kHz (256 SQ)15kHz (256 Low) Cyber Stick (CZ-8NJ2) support
Pac-Land 31kHz   Includes a three-button pad
Pacmania 31kHz 15kHz – hold down the HELP key when first booting  
Parodius 31kHz    
Phalanx 31kHz 15kHz  
Populous 31kHz    
Populous The Promised Lands 31kHz    
Populous 2 31kHz    
Powermonger 31kHz    
Prince of Persia 31kHz    
Pro Soccer 68 15kHz 31kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions  
Puyo Puyo 15kHz 31kHz (Six resolution options to choose from)  
Puzznic 31kHz    
Quarth 31kHz    
Quiz Torimonochou 31kHz 15kHz, 24kHz  
R-Type 31kHz    
R.C. Robot Construction 31kHz    
Salamander 31kHz 15kHz – hold down the HELP key when first booting  
Scorpius 31kHz    
Shoot Range 31kHz    
Sim City 31kHz    
Sim Earth 31kHz   REQUIRES SX-Window to run
Sol-Feace 31kHz 15kHz  
Space Harrier 15kHz    
Star Force 31kHz 15kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions  
Star Luster 15kHz 31kHz Not MT-32 compatible
Supports the AE-1AP Analogue Joypad
Star Trader 31kHz 15kHz  
Star Wars Attack on the Death Star 31kHz   Runs better at 16 MHz
Street Fighter II’ 31kHz 15kHz Includes an adapter for Megadrive controllers, specifically the Capcom Power Stick Fighter
Strider Hiryuu 15kHz
(512 x 256)
31kHz (512 x 256)31kHz (384 x 256) Menu navigation:
button 1
down
button 1
down 4 times
left/right to select resolution
Super Hang-On 15kHz 31kHz Cyber Stick (CZ-8NJ2) support
Super Street Fighter II 15kHz (Narrow) 15kHz (Wide)31kHz (Narrow)31kHz (Wide) 16 MHz recommended
Syvalion 15kHz 31kHz – hold down the HELP key when first booting Trackball supportCyber Stick (CZ-8NJ2) support
Terra Cresta & Moon Cresta 31kHz You can switch between narrow and wide display sizes by pressing the HELP key  
Tetris 31kHz    
The NewZealand Story 31kHz 15kHz – hold down the HELP key when first booting  
The Return of Ishtar 15kHz    
Thunder Blade 31kHz   Cyber Stick (CZ-8NJ2) support
Thunderforce II 31kHz 15kHz – hold down the F10 key when first booting  
Twinbee 15kHz    
Undeadline 31kHz    
V’Ball 31kHz 15kHz – hold down the HELP key when first booting  
Viewpoint 31kHz   Runs better at 16 MHz, but it’s still slow compared to the Neo Geo version
World Court Pro Tennis 15kHz 31kHz (Square)31kHz (256 x 256)15kHz (256 x 256)Hold Down 0, 1 or 2 on the numeric keypad respectively while booting  
Xenon 2 31kHz 15kHz, 24kHz – press HELP to switch resolutions  
Xevious 31kHz   Both Xevious and Super Xevious are available

Transfering files from your PC to your X68000

After quite a bit of research I got my file transfer from a modern PC to my X68000 XVI Compact nailed down. Here is what you need to do:

– An external USB floppy drive or an internal one that supports 3mode (your computer bios needs to support that as well – which makes the USB option more accessible). I my case I am using an external USB drive from Dynex (DX-EF101).

– Format your floppies using the 1.2m options – FORMAT A: /A:1024 /T:77 /N:8 /U. A tip here is that sometimes this command will fail if the floppy is unformatted. The workaround I found for that is to run the default FORMAT A: command and then run the command with the options above.

– Get DiskImage_13b. This is a software that reads and writes disk images to floppies. You can get it from here

– Many ROM files for the X68000 come in a .dim format, so you should also get a .dim to .xdf converter from here

Beyond that all you need are the actual ROM files which you can search using your preferred search engine. These .xdf floppies will be bootable so all you need to do is to turn on the computer with the disk inserted and that is it.

The advantage of this process is that you don’t need a computer running an older version of Windows. My computer is running Win 7 and it works fine (I run DiskImage and the DIM converter in XP compatibility mode though). The downside is that this will work only for the Compact X68000 since I don’t think it is possible to have a 5.25 drive mounted on a modern computer. There is another set of steps that allows you to burn 5.25 disks using a Win 95/98 computer but I haven’t got that done yet.