Lets Play: Marble Madness on the FM Towns Marty

We continue our FM Towns Marty week by trying the conversion of the arcade game, Marble Madness.

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Fujitsu Car Marty

Fujitsu Car Marty

Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan 1996  1997  4K
North America NA NA NA
Europe NA NA  NA

After the Marty flopped Fujitsu gave the technology to their Car Audio arm, Fujitsu Ten.  Their brief was to make use of the Marty‘s capabilities in the car somehow.

Fujitsu Ten succeeded on many fronts, they created the worlds first car entertainment system.  It was capable of using multiple external screens, had built-in GPS (another first) and could use most of the software that worked on the Marty.  In fact, with the addition of an external floppy it could use all of the Marty software.

Once again, however, the Car Marty was far too expensive.  It did not sell well and was pulled from the market after a fairly short time.  It was a harbinger of things to come though and many other companies took notes from the Car Marty design.

The Car Marty itself is pretty hard to get working outside of a car.  There was a cable available, but this is even rarer than the machine itself (which is incredibly rare).  Because it’s made for a car, it needs a 12v power supply (centre negative) and a proprietary connector for video.

We’ve already got a pinout available if you need it, right here Car Marty Accessory Port Pinout

You can at least use a PSU of your choice, which means you can make it work without a step up/down convertor.  But that’s really the only advantage of using this over a standard Marty.

There were two versions released, the MVP-1 and MVP-10.  They’re pretty much the same but the MVP-10 has a slightly different CD mechanism for reliability.

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FM Towns Marty

FM Towns Marty

5th Generation Competitors
3DO Jaguar Saturn Playstation Nintendo 64 CD32 PC-FX Pippin Playdia Loopy
Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan 20th Feb 1993 1995  45K
North America NA NA  NA
Europe NA NA  NA

Fujitsu were deep in battle for Japan’s PC98 throne with their FM Towns systems.  Their main rival, NEC, was also doing well in the console market with their PC Engine machines so Fujitsu decided to fight them on this second front.

But instead of making a custom platform like NEC did, Fujitsu decided to take the base model from their FM Towns range and put it in a home friendly casing.  The Marty came out at a high price, unsurprising given the fact that it was a truly advanced PC in a compact casing.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that it was the first 32 bit console (debuting a few months before the 3DO) consumers were not swayed.

The Marty was compatible with a few titles from the FM Towns range of PCs.  It’s (relatively) low memory stopped it from playing the majority of the games. There was a memory upgrade released which allowed it to play some games, like Street Fighter 2, but it slowed the whole machine down due to it’s implementation.

Fujitsu released a second edition of the Marty, the only difference was the (rather smart) grey casing and a much lower price.  This change did start to work and sales started to increase, unfortunately Fujitsu’s management had given up and pulled out of the console market entirely.

Because of this decision a new rule of business was made in Japan called The Marty Law, basically it states that you don’t keep offering something for sale then you can’t increase it’s sales.

The technology used in the Marty finished with the Fujitsu Ten Car Marty.

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