The Commodore Amiga was one of the most successful home computers before IBM Compatible PCs became established as not just the default office choice, but good for home users too. Until the early 90s, the Amiga's games library, out-of-the-box multimedia capabilities - and price - made it a winning home computer choice, but PC started to gain admiring glances with higher resolution graphics, fast 3D games, and first FPS titles. Probably the last couple of nails in the Amiga's coffin were the arrival of Intel Pentium processors running at 100MHz+, and Windows 95 with its easy-to-use UI and multi-media smarts.
There is still a lot of nostalgia for the Amiga computers, and at last it has been targeted by one of those mini console form factor devices that have proliferated over recent years. HEXUS received an email describing the new THEA500® Mini from Retro Games on Tuesday, from the same people who brought out the C64 Mini in 2018.
Retro Games says that TheA500 Mini is inspired by the 1987 vintage Amiga 500 – that is what the shrunken console looks like, however it is quite a bit more powerful with support for not just OCS chipset games but those with ECS and AGA enhancements too. Over the years Amiga emulation has sometimes been tricky depending on the era/title, so it is pleasing to hear that this console offers "perfect emulation," of the full range of Amigas and chipsets that were sold.
Retro Games is providing users with 25 built-in games, but the console's ability won't be restricted in this department, as it features a USB port with support for WHDLoad format games images. WHDLoad was first developed by Amigans who wanted to store multi-disk gaming wonders on their built-in HDDs (from A600 and newer) and it seems to have been adopted by the emulator community alongside ADF floppy image files.
Just 12 of the 25 games pre-installed have been revealed so far (PR is saving the other 13 for a pre-release announcement?), as follows: Alien Breed 3D, Another World, ATR: All Terrain Racing, Battle Chess, Cadaver, Kick Off 2, Pinball Dreams, Simon The Sorcerer, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, The Chaos Engine, Worms: The Director's Cut, Zool: Ninja Of The ''Nth'' Dimension. (A new Zool game is coming to PC later this month)
In the console box you will find TheA500 Mini, a 1.8m (6ft) wired USB classic mouse, a 1.8m (6ft) wired precision 8-button gamepad, a USB-A to USB-C power cable (PSU not included) and HDMI cable (both 1.8m (6ft) in length). The machine has a built-in save game function, can switch between 720p 50Hz and 60Hz screen refresh rate, and provides various screen filter and scaling options. As well as extra games/apps, and plugging in a USB keyboard, you will sometimes use a USB port to update firmware.
The peripherals bundled with the mini Amiga are understandable, if not optimal. Most Amiga users quickly replaced the standard mouse (which this looks like, albeit with a USB connector) for a more ergonomic model. The CD32-style USB gamepad offers a good deal more functionality than a single or dual button joystick which was more the norm for Amiga users, but will handily cover enhanced AGA and CD32 games which map the extra buttons.
Retro Games informs us that THEA500® Mini will hit the shops in early 2022 with a suggested retail price of GBP£119.99/ EUR€129.99/ USD$139.99/ AUD$199.99.