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THEA500 Mini
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Hi everyone,

THEA500 Mini was announced today. Wrote quick post on my blog about it here:

THEA500 Mini

Some of the games to be included at launch is The Chaos Engine, Kick Off 2, Speedball 2 and Simon the Sorcerer.

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Re: THEA500 Mini
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Does the keyboard work? I would assume not. :(

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Re: THEA500 Mini
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@AmigaOldskooler

Do we know how official this thing is? Apart from Team17 confirming they've licensed their games, there's nothing from the Amiga rights holders. What's the hardware? FPGA with an AROS ROM??

I'd rather it had an A1200 style case, but modern without the faux keyboard.

[Correction} Their website also has "© 1985–1993 Cloanto Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Furnished under license from Cloanto Corporation. Cloanto is a trademark owned by Cloanto Corporation throughout the world and registered in the United States and internationally."

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Re: THEA500 Mini
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It would need to be 4x faster than a pi4 to tempt me in. A Lego A500 Pi case will do me for nostalgia.

We should remember that us established Amiga users are unlikely the target audience for this. I suspect the casual 40+ yo gamer who had an Amiga in their teens to be the target.

AmigaOne X1000.
Radeon R9 270X

http://www.tinylife.org.uk/
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Re: THEA500 Mini
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Just bought a working C16 with box in a perfect state!! :D

i'm really tired...
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Re: THEA500 Mini
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@ddni

+1 this definitely isn't for 'us'

_______________________________
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Indivision AGA & Catweasel MK4+= Amazing
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Re: THEA500 Mini
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@328gts

Then this is probably not for you either, although it is somewhat on topic for Amiga and games:

The return of Writer's Group Film Corp.

#6

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Re: THEA500 Mini
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@ddni
For users who want to recapture their youth by playing their childhood games...

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Re: THEA500 Mini
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@NinjaCyborg
Good question the rights holders for the games, because I think that the old Amiga fan will be back with the old practices of pirate games, also with this new hardware the fans programmers that want make new games to earn money will be the reality like has happened to others fans with their games low sales after to make a professional products with boxes, manuals disk, etc.

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Re: THEA500 Mini
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For anyone interested....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Vivn-ek8WY

Another reviewer also took it appart and it is a custom PCB running a dualcore ARM microprocessor. Since it is an ARM processor, it is using AmiBerry for the emulation. And it also emulates AGA.

I really like the Plug-n-Play approach. It is for those people that used Amiga as a games console (A500, A1200) and never thought about it as something more and would want an easy to use Amiga games console, who can't be bothered with the technical side of setting up a PC with WinUAE etc.

Current Amiga computers: Vampire V4-SA, Sam460ex, A1-X5000
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Re: THEA500 Mini
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Here's what I posted to Slashdot:

"I just bought the A500 Mini here in the Netherlands. The first reviews are now available.

The Guardian gives the device a 4 out of 5 score in their review: "The A500 is a robust piece of tech nostalgia that will give veteran fans many hours of nostalgic pleasure while also providing an accessible means of introducing younger family members to the Amiga scene. The colorful sprites, pounding techno soundtracks and sardonic wit of the beloved Sensible Software, Team 17 and Bitmap Brothers games retain their appeal and it has been fascinating to rediscover how much the modern independent gaming scene owes to this 35-year-old home computer."

Nintendo Life has reviewed the device, giving it an 8 out of 10 score: "As such, this is an intriguing device for anyone who is even remotely interested in tracking the development of the games industry -- and while its 120-pound price tag makes it more expensive than many of its micro-console rivals, the ability to side-load games is very welcome indeed."

Express.co.uk gives the device a 3.5 out of 5 score in their review: "Overall, the Amiga 500 Mini is a strong addition to the crowded classic console market that will appeal mostly to those that have a lot of nostalgia for this iconic PC gaming machine. And the ability to add extra games is a great little bonus which will add plenty of extra life to the system."

Furthermore, various YouTubers have reviewed the A500 Mini, including Retro Recipes, which gives the device a perfect 5 out of 5 score while stating it beats expectations."

https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/22 ... -reviews-of-the-a500-mini

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Re: THEA500 Mini
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@NinjaCyborg

There is a lot more information about licensing and the game developers here:

Interview posted the day of the release

In short:
"I’m also the licensing director for Antstream Arcade, so I have spent lot of the last 25 years licensing retro content."

And as far as the "owner" side goes:
"The interesting bits, the bits that make the Amiga, the Commodore 64, the VIC-20, etcetera, work are 100% percent owned by Cloanto Corporation in Italy."

#6

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Re: THEA500 Mini
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A500 Mini review: a great intro to the world of Commodore Amiga

Eurogamer has published an in depth Digital Foundry review of the new A500 mini retro console, their conclusion:

"So in the end, we are left with the usual two-fold answer when taking a look at these mini devices. For rekindling childhood memories or exploring the Amiga library for the first time, the A500 Mini is a very welcoming device indeed — especially given its open nature when it comes to sideloading games. It gives a more modern console experience, allowing access to some incredible games that were previously hard to find as original copies and tough to dial in under emulation. But for those who have already dabbled with the original hardware or extensively configured their emulation boxes via Recalbox or MiSTer devices, there’s nothing new here and you are probably better served within your own infrastructure of custom setups.

Like the C64 Mini before it, it will be fascinating to see if the A500 Mini leads to a boom period for new commercial releases based on Amiga hardware. With that mini console, developers saw an opportunity to target a 'new' platform for their modern retro releases, and sales steadily increased as fans both new and old saw new software specifically optimised for the aftermarket device, something which could be taken even further on the A500 Mini with WHDLoad. The A500 Mini could usher in a new wave of Amiga fans and software, but it remains to be seen if Retro Games Ltd. make it possible."

"Despite some flaws, unique options and solid emulation earns this tiny retro console a DF recommendation."

https://www.eurogamer.net/a500-mini-re ... -world-of-commodore-amiga

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Re: THEA500 Mini
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The biggest tech website here in the Netherlands also reviewed the A500 mini. Here's their conclusion translated from Dutch into English:

"THEA500 Mini is a very good mini version of the Amiga 500, but also much more. The device can handle not only Amiga 500 software, but with software for practically all Amiga 1200 versions: from the Amiga 1000 to the Commodore CDTV. The emulation options are very extensive and the configuration options are endless. For 129 euros you don't get as many games as with other mini computers and the included games are not all equally iconic, but Retro Games Ltd makes up for that with the possibility to add games yourself, without being difficult. In addition, the emulator is so well preconfigured that even many of the self-added games work right out of the box with no changes, but that is mainly due to the preconfigured WHD images.

On the hardware side, it is also a must. The supplied controller and mouse work well and it is possible to connect your own peripherals. The hard core Amiga enthusiasts can also have fun with the device. The expert mode gives them the opportunity to play around with different memory configurations, blitter settings and CPU optimizations. Still, we wonder if the hardcore Amiga fan runs to the store for this. The device costs 129 euros at the time of writing and for that money there are other, cheaper solutions that can do the same. The fact that those options in some cases take more work to get it working is something the hardcore tweaker does not turn his hand for. That's why we think THEA500 Mini is mainly for the nostalgic enthusiast who doesn't want to mess around too much. You get a nice package, with all legal kickstart images and other software. The package also knows exactly how to press all the nostalgic buttons and that is also worth something. If you don't like the included games, you can always easily add your favorites yourself, provided you have the originals in your possession of course."

https://tweakers.net/reviews/10014/the ... tgezel-vol-nostalgie.html

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"The reviews of the A500 Mini have generally been positive. Although I find the included games a little of a mixed bag and prefer a joystick for most games. However games including Qwak, Speedball 2 and the Chaos Engine I really wanted for their 2 player gaming modes! I thought it would be cool to make a list of games known to work well and which games have aged well. I tried to carefully make a list of good games which already run flawlessly on the A500 Mini. I tried to select my own 25 games which do not need USB or onscreen keyboards. Here's my list, what are your top games on the Amiga and how do they run at this point?"

https://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=110546

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Re: THEA500 Mini
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I recently went out and bought THEA500 Mini.

First impression was good, since it has very nice and inviting packaging! Looks pretty cool I'd say. A printed manual is included, which is handy.

While hooking everything up, I noticed that it did not have audio out. I should have done more research before purchasing it I guess. Had to buy an HDMI-extractor (or what it is called) to separate the audio from the HDMI-cable. Audio is now working properly.

Tried playing various games and they all ran well. Found the controller a bit hard to use due to the navigational buttons on the left. Think a joystick would have been better for the kind of games that they've included. Mouse was excellent though!

The menu works fine and it is a nice touch to have music playing in the background.

Did install a few classics on an USB-stick, which also worked OK for the most part. These games are not accessible from the main menu, so you have to leave the carousel to play them.

Have not much to complain about, but I'm not very excited it about it either. Did not get the "Amiga feeling" if you can call it that, and you have to do quite a bit of fiddling to get creative on it with Workbench and various programs.

I've decided to sell the unit to someone who will appreciate it more, as it was not for me. Was worth a shot though and interesting to see what all the fuzz has been about.

There are many people on YouTube who are extremely excited about this console, but personally I can't see why after playing around with it. On the other hand, I find AmigaOS 4 very exciting, as well as old Sam boards and AmigaOne's, which those people probably think is strange, hehe.

All in all, it is OK, has a nice design, and is probably good for people wanting to try some old classics again after not having used an Amiga since the 90's. For enthusiasts and those who enjoy using Amiga for creative stuff, probably not so interesting, but milage do vary of course.

Anyone else having bought THEA500 Mini? What are your thoughts about it?

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@AmigaOldskooler

Have one on pre-order at Amazon, but the release date there is 5/31

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From the EAB thread I posted above.

>> Originally Posted by BigD View Post
>> @MikeB

>> Are you saying that the 2-player mouse games i.e. The Settlers
>> and Lemmings work with 2 USB mice on THE A500 Mini? That's
>> awesome if true!

I changed it to "supports GamePad as second controller". I managed to get the GamePad to work as secondary controller in both Lemmings and The Settlers.

It doesn't always work and the exact procedure has to be investigated, but when it works it works well.

I just tried a PC mouse as secondary controller. It worked but both mice operated in the same screen simultaneously...


Edited by MikeB on 2022/4/30 8:20:33
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Team Pandory recently released a Easy Mod guide (Soft mod) for the A500 mini, this to add access to the Amiberry config, allowing the usage of ADF and HDF files. In their youtube video they show Workbench running Amiga ports of Doom and DukeNukem3D with good performance on the A500 mini.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p99DdKIjQo4

Now they have hacked the console. In their latest video they demonstrate Native RetroArch and ScummVM running straight from the Amiga Games Menu. They state: "Once "The A500 PandoryMod" is in a tweaked and ready state, it will be released fully open source for free."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBfnM5eTNAM

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Another soft mod guide by Team Pandory:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqMVlsNlO-A

So Scala seems to run well. Would the A500 Mini make a nice little presentations tool?

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