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English Invader

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About English Invader

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  1. I had the STe Turbo Pack and the amount of games/software that came with it was a major selling point over the Amiga to my naive 10 year old self. In business terms, the Turbo and Discovery Packs were what Alan Sugar called a "mug's eyeful" which is when they bundle together a load of outdated gear they can't sell and present it at an attractive price point to inexperienced chumps. I think these packs were a good idea and certainly a lot better conceived than some of the marketing ideas for the Amiga (A500 Batman Pack excepted). I made the right decision for the wrong reason and even when the Amiga became available to me many years later I still preferred the ST.
  2. A few years ago, I went on a personal mission to prove that Wine was better than a post Windows XP operating system for old PC games because it's more configurable. I used Linux Mint 17.2 on an old PC rig with 4GB RAM, an AMD dual core processor (2.4 GHz) and a Radeon HD5450 graphics card. I ran the vast majority of what I wanted on either bare-bones Wine or through PlayOnLinux and the games that didn't work usually posed the same problems on Windows anyway. The ones I'm most proud of are Need for Speed 2: SE and the original retail version of POD - the most tricky part was figuring out how to provide CPU affinity to games that would only work with a single core processor. I've also been able to run a lot of supposedly Windows only games from GOG (Steam is also doable but it is a bit more tricky) and if you throw in DOSBox as well there are plenty of old school PC games to go around. Wine is available for Mac so you may want to hold fire on a Windows PC - you may be pleasantly surprised by what your Mac can come up with. I also repurposed an early XP era system with Windows 98 but it's not really that much more compatible than my Linux rig (especially with the support from GOG, Steam and DOSBox thrown in).
  3. I recently learned about this Saturn cartridge from Aliexpress that enables one to run CD-R copied isos on an unmodded system: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000109181327.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.492d5395eNio7F&algo_pvid=21f045b7-555d-4b92-8b7e-06ed192ad788&algo_expid=21f045b7-555d-4b92-8b7e-06ed192ad788-4&btsid=2100bdec16045839050795838e059a&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_ This suits me a lot better than an SD card-based CD-ROM drive emulator as I have an decent collection of Saturn originals that I'd like to continue using. I also don't want to go into the system to add a mod. The cart claims to do everything the Action Replay does as well so it seems like the way to go. The only thing holding me back is somewhat mixed results with cheap Chinese products from AliExpress. I can't praise the GB Boy Colour enough but I've had a few Famiclone multi-carts from them that are very error-prone. Anyone here able to vouch for the quality of this device or know of any better quality ones? The only other thing I'm unsure about is whether I'm able to use any old CD-burning software to create a Saturn-compatible CD-R or if it requires special software. If so, is it available on Linux?
  4. You might be better off with one of these: https://www.thefuturewas8bit.com/shop/tynemouth-products/built-kits/bk-mpa-deluxe.html He sells them as either DIY kits or ready-built systems. There is also an SD2PET device you can add for software.
  5. I recently started using a Gotek with a BBC Master 128 and I can't recommend it enough for that system or the model B BBC Micro. It helps a lot that the floppy drive is external on the Beeb and you just run a long IDE cable underneath the case and plonk the Gotek on the top with the LCD display and the little knob sitting right in front of you. The Beeb has several different file systems and a device like the Gotek that doesn't require any bespoke software on the system is very useful if you want to use the Master or model B with the file systems that were originally designed for them instead of using something like the MMC that requires its own software and file system and cuts the user out of the original experience. I've long suspected that happy and comfortable use of the Gotek depends a lot on the system you're using it with and how conducive its native features are to the device which is why I held off on it for so long. Didn't like the idea of cutting a hole in the side of an Amiga/ST case and not having convenient access to an original floppy drive. What I would suggest for your A500 (if you have floppy disks), is to use your A1200 to prepare disks for it. The A1200 has the PCMCIA adapter and the software to convert ADFs to real floppy disks so you just make them on the 1200 and then run them on your A500. The OCS compatibility issues with ECS and AGA have been well documented over the years and the solutions like Relokick, TUDE and WHDLoad are very good. As mentioned before, I'm a recent A1200 adopter and after learning a bit about how the system is at factory spec I don't begrudge the A1200 community their elitism. They got nothing out of the box from Commodore and everything they have managed to get out of the system has been down to their own initiative.
  6. The PCMCIA adapter requires a driver. I bought the pre-prepared bundle from Cloanto that comes with a compatible CF and all the software you need on a floppy disk. Up and running within five minutes.
  7. This is kind of where I am but I haven't explored the more obscure micros like you have. I don't really feel attracted to Atari 8-Bit or Amstrad because I don't think they're offering anything I don't already have a lot better with the C64 and ZX Spectrum. Acorn was the one area in which I felt I was lacking but I recently branched out to the model B and Master 128 - I did consider the Electron prior to buying them but I felt that I wanted the real deal rather than the low cost derivative. The Archimedes and RISC OS are areas I may look to explore in the future. I also backed the ZX Spectrum Next Plus in the recent Kickstarter so I'm looking forward to exploring the Sinclair systems on a whole new level next year. I've reached a point where I've identified the systems and companies that are important to me and I prefer to focus on those rather than obscure cul-de-sacs like the Oric and so forth. The more US specific ones like Apple, TRS and TI also seem like they're more trouble than they're worth. The Amiga was a system I was always curious about as a child. Mainly because I had an Atari ST and the games on the Amiga seemed like they were miles ahead of anything that was happening on the ST. I finally got an Amiga in 2009 and while I enjoy the system a lot, I found that the system's limitations only deepened my love for the ST.
  8. Sounds like you had quite a cool father and a smart one too - he wouldn't give you £75 for the Sinclair crap but he gave you £300 for a real computer.
  9. My story is quite a bit shorter than that. I'm too young for the original 8-Bit computer market and my first computer was an Atari ST. The Amiga was £100 more expensive and came with less software. In business terms, this is what Alan Sugar called a "mug's eyeful" which is when manufacturers put together a load of outdated gear and present it at an attractive price point. I still love the computer to this day so I don't think it was too bad a choice. My retro odyssey started 11 years ago with the VIC-20. I feel I get a lot more out of micros today than I did back in the 90s.
  10. 1) In answer to your first question, there are games that came with hard disk installable files back in the day but they're few and far between and tended to be football management sims, shareware or games/software that clearly appeal to an older, adult, intellectual type consumer; developers tended to err on the side of caution with games that appealed to a younger, less responsible market. Some contemporary homebrews have separate hard disk installable files as well. So, yes, there are some but you'll have quite a limited experience without WHDLoad. 2) The PCMCIA slot is for file transfer only so if you plan to use it you'll need floppy disks and a program to convert ADFs to real disks as detailed above. If you use a Gotek floppy emulator, you won't need the PCMCIA or a conversion program as the Gotek runs ADF files and can run them straight off a USB stick. 3) An 8MB+ upgrade will be needed if you want to run WHDLoad but remember that not all memory expansions were created equal and you'll need to do your research before buying. I personally regard the lack of standardisation for memory upgrades as a significant failing of the Amiga (by comparison an Atari STe takes off-the-shelf PC SIMM modules and a 4MB configuration will run everything there is to run on an Atari ST). 4 and 5) The A1200 has what is called the AGA (Advanced Graphics Architecture) chip set and there is a significant library of AGA games that the A1200 was designed to run. This new chip set caused significant compatibility issues with OCS (Original Chip Set) and ECS(Enhanced Chip Set) games and a homebrew piece of software called TUDE (mentioned above) was created in 1994 to resolve these problems. These problems are also resolved with WHDLoad. 6) Original floppy disks are a lottery. I'm fortunate to have a reliable batch of DD disks that I'm able to use but I wouldn't want to rely on buying them from eBay in this day and age. My advice would be if you have reliable disks and a working floppy drive, you might as well make use of them but if you haven't I'd go with the Gotek. The Atari ST is a different beast when it comes to floppy disks. The file transfer process happens on the PC and you need an old system with Windows XP and an internal floppy drive to do it and you'll spend a lot of time messing around with disk parameters and so forth before you'll finally get an ST bootable piece of software (I recommend a hard drive solution all the way with the Atari ST). With the Amiga, the ADF goes on the CF card from your PC to the A600/1200 and in the space of a couple of minutes you've got a working piece of software (including the time it takes to format your floppy).
  11. If you're on Windows, Steem is the way to go; if you're on Linux, use Hatari. Never used Mac so I can't offer any recommendations there.
  12. This is the expansion I used: https://amigakit.amiga.store/product_info.php?cPath=182_25_87&products_id=12690 I did the basic stuff like adding the A500 KS ROM and so forth but I didn't tinker with any major settings.
  13. As Daedalus said, that's one hell of a find. You have three systems that many Amiga enthusiasts would love to have. Good luck with the restoration job.
  14. I think memory will be an issue with your set-up. I'm assuming you have the stock 2MB which isn't enough to reliably run WHDLoad and the cheap 4/8MB upgrades are unreliable (most of the games either won't run or will crash in a few minutes). I found a PCMCIA adapter with ADF Blitz to be the most effective but I'm fortunate enough to have tons of DD 3.5" floppy disks lying around - I don't see any reason why a Gotek wouldn't produce the same results. You'll need another program called TUDE (The Ultimate Degrader and Enhancer) to successfully run most OCS/ECS games on a stock A1200. This can go on your CF hard drive along with ADF Blitz (if you're using a real disk drive). Make sure you use a light Workbench or you'll have no memory to run games. Floppy disks or ADFs are really the only way to go unless you plan to spend a fortune on a memory expansion to reliably run WHDLoad. I know this from bitter experience.
  15. I'm enjoying learning Basic on the BBC Micro in 2020 because I like the system. Python and a Raspberry Pi just doesn't cut it for me. I don't care if I do anything special or not or if I ever make programs that are of interest to other users; it's just something I do for fun like playing games. There are a lot of people who enjoy flying as a hobby. That tiny little two seater plane is never going to qualify them to fly for a commercial airline and it's never going to be of any practical use and it's never going to be anything but a huge money pit but people still do it. Why can't I fly the BBC Micro?
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