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Spike Danton

Anybody own the C64 Mini? Impressions?

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https://thec64.com/

 

The C64 Mini has been out for awhile now and in the United States you can get it at Gamestop for $79.99. I've been tempted to pick up this device, but generally haven't heard much about it since it released. I wanted to get the opinions of fellow Commodore 64 fans before I decide to pick this up.

 

I saw some talk about it on this and a few other boards but no detailed impressions.

 

I'm mostly concerned about the build quality, especially for the controller, and whether the included software is up to snuff. I do know you can side-load additional C64 roms to the machine, but if I am going to pay $80 upfront for this I want to make sure I have as few issues as possible when I take it home with me.

 

GS link for those curious: https://www.gamestop.com/consoles/c64-mini-retro-gaming-console/166451

Edited by Spike Danton

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I read of some latency issues and also that the joystick quality is not the greatest but those are Euro reviews. Maybe the NTSC one won't have those lag issues? Too early to tell. There's loads of YouTube reviews so you can look at the game selection (again on the Euro version). I'm tempted but my favorite 64 games are those multi-disk RPGs so they don't really lend themselves to this kind of unit. Once 10/9 rolls around I am sure there will be plenty of adopters and reviews. May want to hold off until then.

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I read of some latency issues and also that the joystick quality is not the greatest but those are Euro reviews. Maybe the NTSC one won't have those lag issues? Too early to tell. There's loads of YouTube reviews so you can look at the game selection (again on the Euro version). I'm tempted but my favorite 64 games are those multi-disk RPGs so they don't really lend themselves to this kind of unit. Once 10/9 rolls around I am sure there will be plenty of adopters and reviews. May want to hold off until then.

Yeah, I likely will. If the controller and lagging issues are the same for the NTSC model as the Euro version I'm not sure if it's worth the $80 investment. Best to wait for more impressions.

Edited by Spike Danton

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They advertised a new firmware update coming out before the end of the month, and that the US units will be shipped with the latest firmware. Exactly which issues the update will fix is too early to tell.

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It looks like this has not been released, so how can anyone have a review? People on youtube and tech websites get free early review copies, and they are biased to give a good review so they will continue to get free early review copies. If you don't give good reviews, you don't get the early review copy, so you have to wait to buy it out of your own pocket. Not being able to be one of the first to have a review online means you don't get many clicks and views compared to the pre-release reviews. And it goes without saying some reviews are paid to give a positive review, some admit they are paid, and some are lying when they say they are not being paid.

 

I would only trust unbiased reviews, and not youtubers who get free stuff before the release date with the understanding that the free stuff will stop if they give bad reviews.


My personal opinion having not seen the C64 mini, is that if you like Atari Flashbacks, the Retron 5, and other clone consoles, you will probably like this. If you want full features and the original hardware, then you probably will be disappointed with this. Do you think $80 is a fair price for something you might only use a few times, or will you get a lot of use out of that $80?

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It looks like this has not been released, so how can anyone have a review?

Do you mean the US/Canadian release when you write "this"? Over here in Europe it was released this spring so it has been on the market for several months, soon a half year. I understand the US version will have some HDMI fixes and the latest firmware, but generally it shouldn't be any different from what already was released.

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Do you mean the US/Canadian release when you write "this"? Over here in Europe it was released this spring so it has been on the market for several months, soon a half year. I understand the US version will have some HDMI fixes and the latest firmware, but generally it shouldn't be any different from what already was released.

 

The release date is October 9 at Game Stop. Usually what happens is they have very few units the first few weeks and/or scalpers buy them all to sell on ebay, so it takes a few weeks after the release date to get it.

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I played with it at VCFMW. I thought the joystick was absolutely terrible. There's a large dead zone in the middle, so you have to move it pretty far before the signal clicks in, and that distance is different in each direction. I also didn't grow up with that joystick style, and find its ergonomics in generally pretty bad.

 

Playing right next to CRT-connected 80s equipment, there was noticeable lag. However, without that immediate comparison available, it might be okay in that department.

 

And yes, davidcalgary29, the keyboard is nonfunctional and cosmetic only.

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I played with it at VCFMW. I thought the joystick was absolutely terrible. There's a large dead zone in the middle, so you have to move it pretty far before the signal clicks in, and that distance is different in each direction. I also didn't grow up with that joystick style, and find its ergonomics in generally pretty bad.

 

Playing right next to CRT-connected 80s equipment, there was noticeable lag. However, without that immediate comparison available, it might be okay in that department.

 

And yes, davidcalgary29, the keyboard is nonfunctional and cosmetic only.

 

Ugh. I watched a few youtube videos in order to answer my own question, and now I'm definitely on the fence with this thing. I'll have to see what the price point will be in the pending Canadian release.

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I am going to pick it up, I did not like the joystick on the Direct 2 TV C64, the hardware and emulator were great, but that stick was so hard to have any accuracy.. I remember trying to play Jumpman Junior on that thing and commited sooo much suicide from ladders and edges of girders. I told myself one day I will convert it to a console, hey if this one is not great then maybe I will get a 2nd used one for cheap and use the shell for my D2TV.. haha..

 

At least this time I can choose to use a different joystick, but I am convinced if I open that stick up I can make it work much better..

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My friend has one don't buy it's a heap of shit

 

WinVice in a box

No PSU

Terrible lagg

Joystick heap of shit

WinVice crashes alot

No working keyboard

Near impossible to use 3rd party games without being a total headfuck

Edited by 256 colors
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Just picked up mine today.. I have to say I really like it..

 

I grew up on the C64 and this is a great way to play games without pulling out a system. I never cared for the Raspberry Pi solutions so this one with the small breadbin was ideal.

 

Getting the Apshai games, Pitstop II, Jumpman 1 & 2, Impossible Mission 1 & 2, California Games, Winter, World Games, Speedball 2, are some of the highlights for me.

 

I have not updated the firmware but from what I understand it adds the ability to easily play C64 games from your USB stick which is what a lot of people were waiting for.

 

The stick on the other hand is a problem. OK it works better than the Direct 2 TV C64, but not by much... the biggest problem is that it has problems with 4 way games like Jumpman and Apshai. I found myself going up on Apshai when I was pushing right, those angles are wayyy to easy to hit. I think a better build of the joystick would help, but a 4/8 restrictor plate switch would go a long way.

 

Since you can use some USB SNES pads this might not be a big deal.

 

I wish they would have included 4 USB ports instead of the 2 so you can connect a keyboard and USB stick with 2 controllers installed.

 

I had heard that you can add more USB ports with a powered USB hub. I have to wonder if you used a higher amp power supply like a 2 or 3 AMP power supply if the powered hub would be necessary?

 

I do like however that you can switch between PAL and NTSC back and forth no matter if you have the US or European versions.

 

The creators did an innovative way to customizing your joystick buttons, PAL/NTSC, settings by adding switches to your filename.. clever..

 

All in all if you grew up with the C64 and want to play it again in a very charming fashion without constructing a Pi system, I recommend it. I honestly think I will play this mini more so than all of the other ones put out already, but that is just me.

 

I am going to try to mod the controller to make it work better but the system but that is a one day project...

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Most of the reviews I'm finding are just a repost of their old reviews of the EU one, since they still list boulderdash as an included game and you don't see them mention NA vs EU versions, except maybe a short update blurb, like this one:

 

https://www.techradar.com/reviews/the-c64-mini

 

Even the one new review I found was really a non-review. Nobody seems to be in a hurry to review this a second time, which makes me think they didn't make any fundamental improvements over the EU one, except for the firmware updates.

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Hm, previously it was praised that they obtained licensing to include Boulder Dash. Now that the IP has a new owner, it seems strange if they had to cut it for the American release unless there is some strange 3rd party copyright lingering that the Boulder Dash IP owner can't circumvent.

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I see the NA release lost IO and Boulderdash and gained Slayer and Stormlord. Not sure about this tradeoff.

Slayer was more playable than the lovely looking I.O and Stormlord worth it for the music alone.

 

But what caused I.O to be replaced?

 

I.P rights again? .

Edited by Lost Dragon

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I see the NA release lost IO and Boulderdash and gained Slayer and Stormlord. Not sure about this tradeoff.

 

I have the North American version and it has Boulderdash and IO already on the system, but not Stormlord or Slayer.. I liked Stormlord on the Amiga but never played it on the 64 and I am not sure what kind of game Slayer was but I am sure it was good too. I personally like Boulderdash and IO myself.. but you can easily add Stormlord and Slayer via USB.

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I am having a lot of fun trying out all kinds of games via USB, it is really hit and miss on if they work at this moment or not. I am using the newest firmware of 1.1.4 and can load many games from a USB stick.. the real problem most of us are having is that running Multi disc games is difficult or just does not work at this moment.

 

Since you can use other USB controllers, I like how you can map other keys to other buttons like space bar for grenades in many games.. that is very useful .

 

All in all, if you are at all interested in C64 I say its a really great Mini machine..

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I have the North American version and it has Boulderdash and IO already on the system, but not Stormlord or Slayer.. I liked Stormlord on the Amiga but never played it on the 64 and I am not sure what kind of game Slayer was but I am sure it was good too. I personally like Boulderdash and IO myself.. but you can easily add Stormlord and Slayer via USB.

Hmmm...could be the website isn't that reliable or they are also selling the same ones from Europe. Never really heard of the website where they article was, was looking for one that gave the USA game list. I think the list was also missing a Jumpman game from the EU list. Oh, well, no matter.

 

https://www.notebookcheck.net/The-C64-Mini-is-finally-available-in-the-United-States-for-US-80.337890.0.html

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The official homepage has the old set of games but also notes that "not all games are available, in all territories, or on all versions of the console". Perhaps it is like with AtGames, each vendor has the option to choose their own version so there may be two or more versions of the console even on the American market, depending on where you buy it?

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I have to be completely honest, I am rather impressed with the physical presentation and how well it performs for most things I have tried. I, too, jumped right in with the new firmware and have been loading up D64s and PRGs. I want to try a T64, as well.

 

It is rather hampered by only having two USB ports. I will be going into more detail in a two-part blog post soon. First part will go into its physical appearance, unboxing, power consumption, and my thoughts on it in general; second part will be with video captures of the built-in games and loaded games and demos for good measure. I am interested in some suggestions for games and demos I otherwise might miss which would give a good demonstration of its abilities.

 

I am a little behind due to the hurricane, otherwise I would have had something up over the weekend.

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Yes, I found both Boulderdash and IO on my NA/NTSC mini. From what I can tell, though, several of the games are still PAL versions exhibited by the speed of music. I will make this point in my break-down of my unit, which may be a little later than I wanted as I have a funeral to attend this weekend. Time is never on our side and death is so inconvenient.

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