So, finally, the long-running speculation can end. The Amiga ‘mini’ is here, in the form of a miniaturised Amiga 500 called ‘The A500 Mini’. It comes from the same company that produced the C64 mini, Retro Games Ltd and is now available to order.
Where to order the A500 Mini?
The A500 Mini is available now at many retailers to pre-order including Amazon.
What games does the A500 Mini have?
It will come with 25 games preinstalled, including:-
- Alien Breed 3D
- Another World
- ATR: All Terrain Racing
- Battle Chess
- Kick Off 2
- Pinball Dreams
- Simon The Sorcerer
- Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe
- Stunt Car Racer
- The Chaos Engine
- Worms: The Director’s Cut
- Zool: Nina of the ‘Nth’ dimension
There are some real classics in this list, of course, you won’t always please everyone, especially when it comes to the Amiga! I’m particularly pleased to see ATR, Pinball Dreams, and Worms.
The great news is that the A500 Mini works in a similar way to the C64 Mini in that you will be able to load your own games via USB using the WHDLoad support built in – Great news!
About the A500 Mini
With it being an HDMI-based system, it is also welcome to see scaling and scanline options, as well as save states. These are all crucial with any mini system these days. It also outputs at 720p and offers both 50hz and 60hz modes.
In terms of what Amiga systems it recreates, they specifically mention A500, A600, and A1200 complete with OCS/ECS and AGA options, meaning pretty much all games will be able to be used. It will be interesting to see if any emulation options, such as RAM, CPU speeds, etc, can be tweaked for those who wish to create the higher-end Amiga experience achievable with WinUAE.
Of course, the main aim here is to create an accessible product for those who remember the Amiga. Typically Amiga emulation has always been not for beginners, so I suspect the front end will not have these tweaks available, but it will be good to see the options hidden away somewhere for those who like to tweak.
Looking at the preview video, the A500 mini looks the part, and the beige/off-white plastics of the system look to be nicely recreated. Due to licencing (and Commodore / Amiga licencing has always been a contentious area for many years!) the A500 mini has no Commodore or Amiga logo, but rather an embossed ‘The A500’ logo in place of where ‘Amiga’ usually sits, and a kind of boing ball chequered logo in place of where the Commodore logo sticker is.
The previews also show it has an authentic red power LED, rather than a green one seen in later revisions of the Amiga 500.
Perhaps one of the most exciting things for me is the inclusion of a USB tank mouse. I hated these things back in the day, but for authenticity, they had to include them! I suspect it will be an optical mouse, but hugely useful not just with the A500 Mini, I suspect if they sold the mouse separately they would see a decent amount of sales from the likes of the MiSTer and broader Amiga emulation community.
I’m a bit unsure about the choice of the controller, to be honest, it’s clearly a CD32-inspired design and has 8 buttons (but thankfully with a revised d-pad!),
I guess for me the Amiga was meant to be used with the likes of the Competition Pro, Zipstick, etc. I didn’t know too many people who used control pads with their Amiga, but then again the feedback from the C64 Mini joystick was not that great so I could live with that.
It appears on the Retro Games Ltd website that the A500 Mini utilises licenced ROMs and Workbench from Cloanto as well as WHDLoad, so it is ticking all the boxes so far with regards to using all of the right ingredients.
How Much Does the A500 Mini Cost?
The A500 mini is currently available to order at Amazon.
Overall, this is a promising-looking product, again, aimed at the more casual user and collector. Hardcore Amiga enthusiasts may prefer to stay away, I guess probably due to the mini form factor as well as there being a few unknowns at this stage – It’s more than likely this audience already has original hardware and various other emulation-based solutions.
For now, the A500 mini is perfect for Amiga fans or a great retro gaming gift for anybody who loves the nostalgia of older retro systems.
An A500 ‘maxi’ though would be a different story – This, just for the full-sized case alone would be a huge draw and open up this product to the hardcore Amiga scene.
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of Retro Gaming experience. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).