In the year 2022, you’d think it’d be impossible to walk into a shop, and pick up a brand new Amiga 500 off the shelf…. Well, that’s what you’d think if you don’t follow the world of the retro reproductions, but yes, last year, a company called “Retro Games” brought out a mini Amiga, much in the line of similar devices, such as the mini archade machines, and mini consoles that have came out over the last few years.
Now, I’ve known about this for quite a few months, and watched quite a few videos on it, but have never seen one in the shops until this weekend. Besides, a certain chain of betting shops have been very good to me recently, and due to the sad news of our dear old Queen Liz passing, and my place of employment wanting some poor saps to cover the bank holiday (this wasn’t through choice, might I add), I have a little more disposible income this month., so I’m considering this a gift to myself…
So, as the box says, it comes with 25 games, a mouse, a joypad, and the dinky little Amiga itself. It does come with a USB-C power cable, but no adapter. To be honest, if you’re interested in this product, you’re going to be swimming in the bloody things anyway, so I don’t consider this an issue, and neither should you.
So, let’s take a first look at the games themselvles.
Soem classics, some in there that I’ve never played. The one obscured by the light reflecting of my fantastic photography is “Alien Breed 3D”.
Out of these, I’d say I’ve played about a third of them. There’s lots of Team 17 ones in there, and this, to me, isn’t a bad thing…. Arcade Pool is in there, and if you follow this blog, you’ll know this is where this whole love for Amiga emulation was rekindled a couple of years ago.
“Worms: The Directors Cut” was also another one I bought back in the day. I had great fun with that, and some of my level designs even still exist on Aminet.
There were a few more that came to me with… ahem… “handwritten labels”, shall we say. Qwak was one of those, a cutesy little platformer.
Anyway, I don’t want to get bogged down too much on the games for now. I’ll do that in a follow-up post. For now, I’m just going to blather about me opening the box and exploring its contents
I broke the seal to display a rather charming piece of kit…
It’s almost 30 years since I caught eyes on something so beautiful… that fateful day on 25th December 1993, when I opened my Christmas presents to see an A1200 staring back at me…. Despite this being an A500, I still got a lump in my throat. It was a beautiful moment.
Despite my permanent Amiga being an A1200, I did own an original A500 for a very short amount of time. I think we got it given, possibly for spare parts I remember my dad powering it on, getting the picture, then a plume of smoke coming out of one of the chips. Ooops. It did live on, however. I assume the drive went on to replace either mine of my dad’s floppy drive… I swapped one of the keys out on my A1200 to keep its memory alive, and to this day, one of my keys is slightly yellower than the rest. Finally, the ROM went into my mate Wayne’s A500+. He’d inserted the ROM incorrectly in his, frying it, so he ended up with the only A500+ I’m aware of that ran the 1.3 workbench,
Anyway, I’m rambling a bit now. Back onto the star of the show. It comes as no surprise that the keyboard is just for show.
There is, however, an official keyboard, limited to a run of 500 units, which I have, of course already ordered too…. That was about 6 months ago, and I’ve heard very little from them, so I’ll be interested to see if and when that arrives. Sigh.
Also in the box are the mouse, controllers and associated cables, all neatly packaged.
I can’t decide if the mouse is slightly smaller than the original. It’s certainly lighter, as it’s obviously optical now.
On the back of the unit are the ports. There’s a full-size HDMI port, three USB ports, and the USB-C power port. Got to admit, three USB ports is a bit of a quiz, and maybe the first oversight. Maybe there’s a reason that I’ve overlooked that they couldn’t add more, but to use the system to its fullest extent, you’ll need the mouse, joypad, external keyvoard, and a memory stick, taking up 4 ports. I’m reliably informed that you CAN use a USB hub to support all of these, but it just seems a little bit odd…
Onto the pickiest gripe of the lot, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have been any the wiser if I hadn’t stuck my macro lens in places where it shouldn’t have been, but in some places, the printing/etching looks a little “unfinished” between the keys.
I do, however have to applaud the Caps Lock key (words I thought I’d never type), but despite the fact the LED is just printed on and will never illuminate, the printing texture they’ve used has made it appear to have the “Rowntrees Fruit Gum” texture of the original… an accidental bonus there!
Wow, I have no idea how / why any of the last two paragraphs ended up in the final edit.. Well, I do, I have the photos there and didn’t want to waste them, but let’s just go to part 2 where I stick a power supply up this puppy, and see what she can really do….