FM Towns Keyboards, Mice, and Game Pads
By Tim Tepatti
If you've read my other FM Towns blog post you can skip this section, as it's just a bit of background on why I'm writing these blog posts.
I recently bought an FM Towns computer. I was overjoyed! But it was only the tower - I needed a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and gamepad. I don't have any of those!
The obvious option would be to bankroll all of the official FM Towns accessories from Japan, but who wants to do that? Buying them all separately, you could easily spend $400+ after shipping (and that would be on the cheap side!) I wanted a cheaper alternative that I could buy or create right here at home in the United States, no hefty importing fees required!
In my last blog post, I covered what to look for when buying a monitor to use with your FM Towns. In this blog post, we'll go over some of the accessories - Keyboards, mice, and game pads! Possible alternatives, adapters you can use, and everything in-between.
Notice: If you find anything inaccurate in this article, or know history for an item that's currently listed as "unknown history", feel free to reach out to me! I'm always happy to respond and update pages if I did something incorrectly. You can find my contact details on my Contact page.
Side note: All prices listed here are average prices on eBay, in the United States. These are not good prices, and you should not pay them. Importing from Japan can be cheaper, but isn't always. Please keep in mind - all Japanese prices will require shipping! For a large item like a keyboard, that could add as much as $30+ to the total cost!
FM Towns Keyboards
We'll start with the simplest and most common computer accessory, the keyboard.
The FM Towns has a number of OEM keyboards available for it. They come in all shapes and sizes - some with numpads, some without. Some beige, some dark gray. There's even a separate numpad-only keyboard!
|Keyboard Model||History||eBay Cost (USD)||eBay Link||YAJ Cost (JPY/USD)||YAJ Link|
|FMT-KB101||Came with an unknown model FM Towns, has no numpad||$450||eBay||4,200円 ($38 USD)||YAJ|
|FMT-KB105||Came with an unknown model FM Towns||$250||eBay||7,000円 ($64 USD)||YAJ|
|FMT-KB107||Came with the FM Towns CX20||$450||eBay||6,750円 ($62 USD)||YAJ|
|FMT-KB1071||Came with the FM Towns MX20, beige color scheme||$170||eBay||6,600円 ($60 USD)||YAJ|
|FMT-KB201||Came with an unknown model FM Towns, has no numpad||$Unknown||eBay||Unknown円||YAJ|
|FMT-KB205||Came with an unknown model FM Towns||$Unknown||eBay||5,816円 ($53 USD)||YAJ|
|FMT-KB207||Came with an unknown model FM Towns||Unknown||eBay||35,000円 ($350 USD)||YAJ|
|FMT-KB2071||Came with an unknown model FM Towns, beige color scheme||$Unknown||eBay||7,450円 ($68 USD)||YAJ|
|FMT-KB501||A small number pad for the FM Towns, came with Unknown model||$Unknown||eBay||6,170円 ($62 USD)||YAJ|
The FM Towns keyboard is a particularly difficult accessory. The FM Towns uses a proprietary keyboard connector that was ONLY used on the FM Towns series of computers. No PS/2, no USB, nothing standard. It's an 8-pin connector, but luckily, adapters are available!
While you can buy these directly from sites like Amazon.co.jp, they're EXPENSIVE. They can easily cost $80+, and that's before the shipping cost!
Two of the most popular on Yahoo Auctions Japan are this PS/2 to FM Towns adapter for 8,380円 ($84 USD), and this USB to FM Towns adapter for an eye-watering 9,800円 ($98 USD).
On the flipside, if you love the aesthetic of the FM Towns keyboards and want to use one with a modern PC, adapters for that exist as well! this blog has a ton of great information about the adapter, but be warned - not for the faint of heart, it's all in Japanese!
FM Towns Mice
Just like the keyboard, there were a number of different mice offered for the FM Towns:
|Mouse Model||History||eBay Cost (USD)||eBay Link||YAJ Cost (JPY/USD)||YAJ Link|
|FMT-MO101||Unknown||$Unknown||eBay||3,100円 ($28 USD)||YAJ|
|FMT-MO102||Unknown||$Unknown||eBay||1,000円 ($9 USD)||YAJ|
|FMT-MO103||Came with the FM Towns CX20, beige or gray color scheme||$65-95||eBay||4,000円 ($37 USD)||YAJ|
|FMT-MO104||Came with the FM Towns MX20, beige color scheme||$Unknown||eBay||Unknown円||YAJ|
|FMT-MO105||Unknown||$Unknown||eBay||1,000円 ($9 USD)||YAJ|
Luckily, compatible mice are easier to find than compatible keyboards. The FM Towns uses an Atari-style mouse, meaning it's compatible with the MSX, Fujitsu FM-77, and NEC PC-8801. This gives you a wide variety of cheap OEM mice to choose from, and means converters are a bit cheaper as well! (or at least, they SHOULD be, due to increased demand and not having to make them for niche single-use connectors...)
You can find adapters to use USB mice with this kind of connector right on Amazon.co.jp! That one is a bit expensive, running ￥10,800 ($99 USD) before shipping to the United States.
Alternatively, there's a PS/2 to FM TOWNS/Atari/etc model available for a bit cheaper, ¥8,800. ($80 USD)
If you don't mind sourcing your adapters from elsewhere in the world, the Netherlands seems to have a large MSX scene! As such, the UJIMA USB to MSX adapter is available from msx-shop.nl and only costs €32.00! ($36 USD)
I'm sure there will be dozens more adapters made over the years, so don't be afraid to go looking around! Good search terms are "usb to msx mouse", "usb to atari mouse", etc. since many of those systems are more popular than the FM Towns :)
FM Towns Joypads
The same story as mice - lots of different OEM options available from Fujitsu!
|Joypad Model||History||eBay Cost (USD)||eBay Link||YAJ Cost (JPY/USD)||YAJ Link|
|FMT-PD102||Came with the FM Towns CX20||$50-80||eBay||Unknown円||YAJ|
|FMT-PD103||Came with the FM Towns MX20, beige color scheme||$Unknown||eBay||4,200円 ($38 USD)||YAJ|
The FM Towns actually uses the same port as the mouse to connect to the joypad! This makes things easy - you can also pick up Atari, MSX, FM-77, or PC-8801 joypads to use with the FM Towns, or use a USB or PS/2 joypad and grab one of the same adapters as listed in the mouse section! Easy!
These are far from the only accessories available for the FM Towns. There were scanners, monitors, microphones, printers, and much more! But for this article, I decided to stick with the simple ones. Lets prepare to send input before we set up complicated accessories, ok? :)
There are many great accessories you can get from Fujitsu to use with the FM Towns, but getting a few cheap adapters will make your life a lot easier! :) If you don't have the money to pick up an authentic FM Towns keyboard, getting a USB to FMT adapter will be a lot more economical. The same goes for the joypad and mouse!
As always, if you have any feedback or have suggested changes, feel free to contact me! You can find my contact information here. Thanks!