A mini version of the legendary Amiga 500 is on the way

midian182

Posts: 7,782   +80
Staff member
Something to look forward to: For many people, this writer included, the Commodore Amiga home computers of the late eighties and early nineties were a huge factor in their love of games and tech. Now, like many retro machines of old, it’s making a comeback in mini form: THEA500 Mini.

As we explain in The Commodore Story: Gone but not forgotten, the company introduced its first machine to carry the name, the Amiga 1000, on July 23, 1985. But most people familiar with the computers owned an Amiga 500. That model was released in January 1987 and, thanks to its 16/32-bit CPU, 512Kb of RAM, and amazing graphics and sound—for the time—went on to become the best-selling Amiga.

As the name suggests, Retro Games' THEA500 Mini is based on the Amiga 500. It will feature 25 built-in games, twelve of which have been confirmed: 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, and Zool: Ninja Of The ‘’Nth’’ Dimension.

It’s great to see Chaos Engine, Another World, and Speedball 2 in there. Hopefully, North & South, Sensible World of Soccer, and Syndicate will be among the remaining 13 unannounced titles. The Secret of Monkey Island would also be a welcome addition, if Retro Games can secure the rights.

Even if the console is missing some of your favorite Amiga classics, users can load their own games via USB, and the console has full WHDLoad support, allowing you to install Amiga games, which originally came on several 3.5-inch floppy disks, onto a hard drive.

Also read: The Commodore Story: Gone But Not Forgotten

Elsewhere, buyers get an original-style two-button mouse along with a newly engineered 8-button precision gamepad. The keyboard itself isn’t functional, but you can plug in a standard PC keyboard if required. It also runs at a selectable 50Hz or 60Hz in 720p via HDMI, comes with multiple scaling options, and has a CRT filter for nostalgic types.

“In this initial mini version of A500, we have created what we believe gaming fans will love, and will see as the evolution of mini games consoles”, said Paul Andrews, MD at Retro Games

THEA500 Mini will cost $139.99 when it launches early in 2022. In the meantime, you can try out the remastered version of Zool, Zool Redimensioned, later this month.

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Bawlsdeep

Posts: 141   +154
Fun, altho any ultra low end pc can emulate Amiga games with ease.

My HTPC emulates pretty much all consoles up to PS3 and Xbox 360. One PC, tons of consoles. I don't see much point in these mini consoles, unless you mod them afterwards maybe.
 
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,319   +4,962
Not even sure this counts as emulating when all you need is DOS to run these games.... $140 is a big ask for what is basically a 2 button game pad you could buy for a few bucks...

I did LOVE Speedball 2 though - its available on the appstore, but doesn't play the same on my ipad :(

 

DZillaXx

Posts: 486   +621
Not even sure this counts as emulating when all you need is DOS to run these games.... $140 is a big ask for what is basically a 2 button game pad you could buy for a few bucks...

I did LOVE Speedball 2 though - its available on the appstore, but doesn't play the same on my ipad :(

The Amiga version of many of these older games is a good deal better than the dos version. Honestly Dos games only started becoming good in the early/mid 90s. With VGA Graphics and Sound Blaster support.

The Raspberry PI does a pretty good job emulating Amiga, and I'm sure this is nothing more than a ARM chip emulating the 68K.
 

Irata

Posts: 2,042   +3,469
Due to the ability to load games via USB, this sounds like one of the more interesting retro systems. Never had an Amiga but would love to play Marble Madness, Giana Sisters and many of the other games that were great on the Amiga.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 496   +933
Fake keyboard is a missed opportunity, just like with the C64 Mini. Even a compact A600-style keyboard without numpad would be fun.

Hope the mouse is optical sensor, at least.

ECS chipset and 68030 emulation would be nice. Not like these ARM SOCs don't have the power to spare.

Ok I guess it's just not for me.
 

ferrellsl

Posts: 66   +62
Fake keyboard is a missed opportunity, just like with the C64 Mini. Even a compact A600-style keyboard without numpad would be fun.

Hope the mouse is optical sensor, at least.

ECS chipset and 68030 emulation would be nice. Not like these ARM SOCs don't have the power to spare.

Ok I guess it's just not for me.

Agreed. A RaspberryPI for $35 and a copy of UAE (Universal Amiga Emulator) will run rings around this device in terms of versatility, price AND performance. The case is cute but I'd much rather see a full-sized case with a working keyboard and a Pi or other SOC on the inside. Actually an A1000 case and keyboard would be much cooler!
 

ZedRM

Posts: 940   +654
While including games is a plus, the Amiga was well known for it's very excellent library of programs. Let's hope they focus on full program compatibility, not just games.
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,176   +1,098
With emulators around which can do much much more than what these minis can do, there's no reason to waste the money on these rip-offs. But dumb wasteful fools will buy them anyway. In fact, they will PRE-ORDER anything.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 496   +933
With emulators around which can do much much more than what these minis can do, there's no reason to waste the money on these rip-offs. But dumb wasteful fools will buy them anyway. In fact, they will PRE-ORDER anything.

Well, I did get the Japanese version of the Genesis Mini, because it comes with 2 good 6-button gamepads, 40+ licensed games with emulation fine-tuned by developers M2, and a pretty and easy to use menu system with save states. Also, it's just a really cute box.

It usually takes me a few hours to configure a new emulator, ROMs, BIOS files, set up Launchbox, find all the cover art and descriptions and all that, so I figure it isn't necessarily a terrible deal..
 
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Ravey

Posts: 350   +152
Oooo this brings back memories! Shame The Settlers isn't in the bundle. I lost many hours of my life playing that! Same with Carrier Command. and F18 Interceptor (I think it was F18)

The was also a great medical simulator called Life or Death!

I wounder if they will also supply us with the old decryption cards that were meant to make the games "uncrackable" just for the nostalgia of it all!
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,319   +4,962
Oooo this brings back memories! Shame The Settlers isn't in the bundle. I lost many hours of my life playing that! Same with Carrier Command. and F18 Interceptor (I think it was F18)

The was also a great medical simulator called Life or Death!

I wounder if they will also supply us with the old decryption cards that were meant to make the games "uncrackable" just for the nostalgia of it all!
OMG, I forgot about Life or Death! That was awesome! And Life or Death 2 was even better - brain surgery :) if you had a subdural hematoma, I had about a 50% chance of saving you... if it was an aneurism or tumor, you were toast (and watching the interns eating pizza off your corpse was hilarious!
 

Ravey

Posts: 350   +152
OMG, I forgot about Life or Death! That was awesome! And Life or Death 2 was even better - brain surgery :) if you had a subdural hematoma, I had about a 50% chance of saving you... if it was an aneurism or tumor, you were toast (and watching the interns eating pizza off your corpse was hilarious!
I was vey young at the time, I could barely get out of the diagnosis phase, then when I finally got to surgery the patient would bleed out on the table! lol

It got worse when I lost the decryption card that gave you the phone numbers to progess in the game.. All I could do was contact the local Chinese take away!
 
Zero interest without a working keyboard. I would buy the JUST for a working keyboard in that scale.
Without it, might as well get a Raspberry Pi.
 

AmigaInside

Posts: 29   +19
TechSpot Elite
Well, even a simple calculator is a computer. Not playing word games here. I am referring to consoles as systems that mainly (or exclusively) deliver games. Even more so, back in the day. I know today's consoles are more powerful.

A "home computer" can deliver a lot more than that, even a butchered one like this A500 Mini.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 940   +654
Well, even a simple calculator is a computer. Not playing word games here. I am referring to consoles as systems that mainly (or exclusively) deliver games. Even more so, back in the day. I know today's consoles are more powerful.

A "home computer" can deliver a lot more than that, even a butchered one like this A500 Mini.
If you want full functionality, plug in a usb mouse and keyboard, run your software. Tada! It was the same situation with the C64Mini. The primary focus was games mostly because other software titles for the 64 have very limited usefulness today. While Amiga software is more useful and still has some relevance, it's also still very dated. So it's only natural for them to focus on the game library for Amiga which has aged better.

Now personally, I want them to do the Amiga emulation with custom options so that upgrades like 4MB of fast RAM and 8MB of system RAM along with emulating faster versions of the 68k CPU can be enabled.

As long as those kinds of options are open, I don't care how they market the system.
 
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