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FM Towns Emulator "Tsugaru" Project

For Quick-Start


I have been writing an FM Towns emulator since January 2020.  I suppose it would be easier if I import existing CPU core, audio-chip core, etc., but if I do so it won't be my experience.  I am going hard way and writing from real scratch, beginning with 486 core.

There are two known FM Towns emulators.  Kasanova's UNZ probably is the best emulates FM Towns, and I hear that MAME is getting better.  But, in my opinion, it is good to have three or four programs that do the same thing.  If we have only one, and if it is terminated, or suddenly unavailable, we will be left in the dark.  Such a risk is higher than ever because OS developers irresponsibly and unnecessarily and too frequently drops backward compatibility.  I am lucky enough to be a programmer, I am trying to write what I need by my own whenever possible.

I have been working on FM TOWNS preservation project for a few years.  Over the course of the project, I have experienced a situation where I really needed a debugger.  For FM-7/77AV preservation, a very powerful debugger of the emulator called XM7 helped a lot in analyzing the behavior and developing necessary programs.  However, UNZ didn't come with such a powerful debugger.

That forced me to disassemble whole executable file and to play a human CPU late 2019, which gave me a very good understanding in how FM TOWNS was working internally, the knowledge I didn't need while I was using FM TOWNS back in 1990s.  That gave me some confidence or possibility of writing my own emulator.  Well, I am a programmer.  I should write a program I need by myself.  I wrote the very first line of Tsugaru on January 17 2020.  And, within a year, with a lot of help from the users, more than 95% of commercial games run on Tsugaru.  That's a conservative estimation.

Well, one of the motivations was a debugger.  But, I ended up with winning a bid for 386ASM, 386DEBUG in Yahoo! Auction early 2020 though  :-P

But, anyway, because I needed a debugger for preserving FM TOWNS, Tsugaru has a very powerful debugger.  Also I wanted to use it for developing my Internal CD to SCSI CD BIOS redirector,  YSSCSICD.SYS.  So Tsugaru can also emulate external SCSI CD drive.

The source code has been on Github.

I made executable binaries available from the following:

Click on "Assets" where you will see download links.

I have added a GUI module as well.  Tsugaru_GUI will do.  It internally calls Tsugaru_CUI, so the both executables must be in the same directory.

Windy kindly created a Wiki.

You can find user-tested titles below.  Tsugaru can run majority of FM Towns/Marty titles.  The improvement of compatibility got a boost since the users started reporting the issues in various applications.  I appreciate all of those help!

Recommended Environment

Windows 10 Professional, Core i7 8650U 2GHz, 16GB RAM -> With this Tsugaru runs like 486SX 33MHz.

Compatible ROMS from Free FM Towns Project

Like all other emulators, Tsugaru needs ROM images to run. If you own an actual FM TOWNS hardware, you can get the best experience by extracting ROM images from your FM TOWNS. However, if you do not own an actual hardware, you can still use Tsugaru in limited capability by using the compatible ROM set.

See this link for more details about the compatible ROMs.

Tested Software Titles

I started mid January 2020, and after 4 months it can play Afterburner II!  I never expected it to come to this point in such a short time.  I was underestimating my programming skill. <
Software Title Developer Date Tested What's Tested
Towns OS V1.1 L10 Fujitsu (Unit Test) Boot, Basic operations, Demo programs
Towns OS V1.1 L30 Fujitsu (Unit Test) Boot, Basic operations
Towns OS V2.1 L10 Fujitsu 2020/05/23 Boot, Basic operations, Requires -PRETEND386DX option. (Tested with Free Software Collection 4 Disc B)
Towns OS V2.1 L10B Fujitsu 2020/05/23 Boot, Basic operations
Towns OS V2.1 L20 Fujitsu (Unit Test) Boot, Basic operations
Towns OS V2.1 L31 Fujitsu 2020/05/23 Boot, Basic operations
Towns OS V2.1 L50 Fujitsu 2020/05/23 Boot, Basic operations (Tested with Free Software Collection 11)
F-BASIC 386 V2.1 L10 Fujitsu 2020/05/23 Boot, Running simple programs
MS-DOS V3.1 Fujitsu (Unit Test) Boot, Basic operations
Afterburner II SEGA/CRI 2020/05/23 Play tested to Stage 8 (Regularly tested up to Auto Demo)
Turbo Out Run SEGA/CRI 2020/05/23 Play tested to the second check point. (Regularly tested up to Auto Demo)
Galaxy Force II SEGA/CRI 2020/05/23 Play tested to Stage 3. (Regularly tested up to the title screen)
Wing Commander I Origin 2020/05/25 Finished VEGA Campaign!
Augusta Far Far Away T&E Soft 2020/06/07 Opening Demo, Shot Practices, Stroke Play Hole 1
Alone in the Dark INFOGRAMES 2020/06/07 Opening Demo, Started the Game
RAYXANBER DATAWEST 2020/06/12 Start Playing  (Regularly tested up to Auto Demo)
Afterburner III SEGA/CRI 2020/06/12 Start Playing, a few stages
Air Combat II Special System Soft 2020/06/13 Confirmed I can take off and fly around.  [Utility]->[Create User Disk] doesn't work because the program tries to access files on the CD without stopping CDDA.  But, looks like all you need is a blank formatted disk.  You can customize key assignments from the Utility menu.  (Regularly tested up to opening demo)
Super DAISENRYAKU System Soft 2020/06/13 Started a game, played from an old save data, finished Island Campaign, Ending roll.  BGM lags though.
VIEWPOINT SNK/VING 2020/06/17 Auto Demo, Started the Game (Regularly tested auto demo)
Chase HQ TAITO/VING 2020/06/19 Start playing, finished stages 1 and 2.  (Regularly tested auto demo)
Take the A-Train 3 ARTDINK 2020/06/20 Making a user-disk, Game start, Placed rail track.  (Regularly tested up to opening)
F-29 Retaliator Imagineer 2020/06/23 Auto-Demo, Flying in Zulu-Alert mode.
Libble Rabble namco/DEMPA 2020/06/30 Payable.
VSGP Drivers T's
(In Free Software
Collection 6)
2020/06/30 Drove FD1 map all the way.  But, this program doesn't seem to be controlling timing with a timer.
You probably want to reduce speed to 12MHz or so.
Sky Duel Makken
(In Free Software
Collection 9)
2020/06/30 Flew through Snowy Valley.
Puyo Puyo COMPILE/CRI 2020/07/01 Played stage 1
Dungeon Master FTL 2020/07/02 Took somewhat long time to load.  But, I was able to resurrect a character, walked around, and throw a shuriken.
Emerald Dragon GLODIA 2020/07/03 Game title, Start Playing, and Start Battle.
Advantage Tennis INFOGRAMES 2020/07/03 Playable, but runs too fast.  May need to reduce frequency.
Lemmings Imagineer 2020/07/08 Playable.  Use -APP LEMMINGS option to control with mouse.
DAINOSAUR Falcom 2020/07/11 Started and walked around in the starting town. RAW binary image cannot emulate the copy protection.  You need .D77 disk image to play through.  Clear confirmed!
Xak II MICRO CABIN 2020/07/11 Created a user disk and started the game.
Strike Commander Origin/EA Victor 2020/07/11 2020/09/06 Played through all the way!  Need 8MB RAM.  Mouse Integration is enabled once an arrow key is pressed.  Clear confirmed!
Strike Commander Plus Origin/EA Victor 2020/07/17 Installed to HDD, clear confirmed!
New Zealand Story TAITO/VING 2020/07/19 Played through stage 1-3.
Fractal Engine Demo Psygnosis/Fujitsu 2020/07/19 Left running for about 30 minutes or so.
Scavenger 4 Psygnosis 2020/07/28 Confirmed to start playing and can be killed by the first boss.  It's too hard for me to go any further :-P
Microcosm Psygnosis/Fujitsu 2020/07/29 Confirmed to start playing, take the first turn to the right, won the first battle, and then lost to the first boss.  Psygnosis games are hard.
Shadow of the Beast Psygnosis 2020/08/02 Walked around and looks to be ok.
Megamorph Psygnosis 2020/08/02 Screen is shifted a little bit up, but playable.
Vain Dream GLODIA 2020/08/02 Confirmed it starts, saves, loads with no problem.
Vain Dream II GLODIA 2020/08/02 Confirmed it starts, saves, loads with no problem.
Shadow of the Beast 2 Psygnosis 2020/08/03 Started the game and walked around.  But, I don't think the way it is aborting the MODE1READ command is not a good programming.
Lemmings 2 Psygnosis 2020/08/04 Screen flickers, but playable.  -APP LEMMINGS2 for mouse integration.
Wing Commander II Origin 2020/08/16 Need minimum 5MB RAM.  Tsugaru must be configured 5MB or greater at the time of installation and at the time of play.  Clear Confirmed!
Towns OS V2.1 L51 on MS-DOS V6.2 Fujitsu/Microsoft 2020/08/18 Surprisingly Towns MENU starts with EMM386.EXE present.
Railroad Tycoon Microprose 2020/08/19 Confirmed to start the training map.
FM-OASYS Fujitsu 2020/09/12 Can boot from hard-disk installation.  Still I am trying to figure how to get to document-editing screen.  The program looks to be functioning all right.
Music Pro Towns Musical Plan 2020/11/02 Played a few demo scores.
BestPlay Baseball ASCII 2020/11/04 Played through one game in the observer mode.
Operation Wolf TAITO/VING 2021/01/25 Requires to start with -APP OPERATIONWOLF option, or select OPERATIONWOLF from the GUI. Confirmed to clear the first stage.
Hyper Planet DATT JAPAN 2021/01/26 Works with no problem.


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