The cult computer Amiga 500 is back

Manufacturer Retro Games has brought back the legendary home computer Amiga 500 as a mini version. We tested whether the games from back then on “TheA500 Mini” are still fun today.

It brought graphics and music into children’s rooms that were hardly considered possible at the time: the “Amiga 500”. Produced from 1987 to 1991, it was Commodore’s best-selling Amiga computer. This was also due to the low price of around 1,100 marks compared to IBM PCs.

Now the British company Retro Games is bringing back the cult computer “Amiga 500” as a mini version. Are games like Simon the Sorcerer, Speedball 2, and Another World still as fun as they used to be?

The mini console is called “TheA500 Mini”

Retro Games calls the mini console “TheA500 Mini”. When unpacking the device, one notices: In contrast to the mini consoles already available from the manufacturer, the “C64 Mini” and “The C64”, the mini Amiga is packaged much smarter. After opening the packaging, the small console is found under a transparent plastic cover, which is reminiscent of the dust covers for the original Amiga 500 that were available in the 90s.

Gamepad and mouse: There is nothing to complain about when it comes to the peripheral devices supplied with “TheA500 Mini”.

The processing of the mini console is of high quality. Details such as the ventilation slots have been lovingly worked out. Even the keyboard is the same as the original down to the last detail and looks snazzy, although it has no use. If you want to use a real keyboard, you have to connect it to one of the three USB sockets on the back of the console.

The gamepad is a good decision from Retro Games

In addition to the console, the “TheA500 Mini” comes with a wired USB mouse, an 8-button gamepad, a USB power cable and an HDMI cable for connecting to the TV or monitor. A USB power adapter is not included.

The mouse is based on the original mouse that was available at the time. Only the mouse ball has been replaced by an optical sensor. And in contrast to the original mouse, “TheA500 Mini” variant is slightly smaller. However, the ease of use is excellent. There were no noticeable delays during testing. The two mouse buttons have a comfortable pressure point.

A special feature that comes with the mini console is the gamepad. While owners of the “Amiga 500” had to control their games either with the mouse or a joystick in the 90s, a gamepad was only reserved for owners of the Commodore “CD32” console, which was developed on the basis of the Amiga 1200. The gamepad of “TheA500 Mini” is based on the shape of the “CD32” controller, but is a bit handier than the prototype.

Own titles can be installed

Let’s get to the 25 pre-installed games. There should be something for every player here. Action fans can let off steam with excellent titles like “The Chaos Engine”, which is still a lot of fun today. Adventurers should try the point-and-click game, Simon the Sorcerer. And sports fans can’t go wrong with “Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe”, which combines sports and action.

WHDLoad: With the on the "TheA500 Mini" installed software, users can transfer additional games to the device.  (Source: Retro Games)WHDLoad: With the software installed on “TheA500 Mini”, users can transfer additional games to the device. (Source: Retro Games)

Playing the other titles also takes you back to the era of Commodore home computers. The action-adventure game “Another World”, which was also available on other systems at the time, is pre-installed and is still exciting today. A revamped version for current systems like the Nintendo Switch was recently released with the 20th Anniversary Edition.

If the selection of games is not enough for you, you can add more titles via a USB data carrier. Provided the games are freely available or owned by the user. Otherwise, ownership of the files is legally problematic. We haven’t tried the add games feature.

The blur effect is annoying

Users will find numerous options to select or deselect in the settings of the mini console in order to adapt the gaming experience to their own needs. For example, it is possible to select a refresh rate of 50 Hertz or 60 Hertz. We recommend 50 Hertz because that is the frequency for which titles were programmed at the time and otherwise there could be problems with the display on the television.

In addition, players can choose a CRT-Filter Select to make the picture look like it is on a tube TV. We liked the effect because it made the image look a bit sharper. What we didn’t like so much, however, was the blur effect. This made the picture look too washed out by our standards.

Further options for image display are the scaling options. In addition to being displayed in its original size, the image can be scaled up a little or output as a full screen. The image output of “TheA500 Mini” is in 720p resolution.

Many good titles are missing

How much fun is playing with “TheA500 Mini”? As with other mini versions of retro consoles, some titles have aged better than others. “California Games”, for example, is a title that we wouldn’t have missed due to the outdated graphics and lack of gaming fun.

Other games like “Another World” or “Alien Breed” are still great and still fun. In addition, we would have wished for more classics such as the excellent action game “Turrican 2”, the graphically complex racing game “Lotus” or the role-playing classic “Eye of the Beholder 1-3”.

“TheA500 Mini” is not only a great acquisition for connoisseurs of the original Amiga 500. We only find the price of 129 euros a little too high. For comparison: The mini console “Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)” from Nintendo with similar equipment as “TheA500 Mini” cost 90 euros when it was launched. The “TheA500 Mini” is distributed in Germany by Koch Media.



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