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Anybody own the C64 Mini? Impressions?

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I'm taking the plunge Thursday- I bought one and will pick it up in town when I have to take my wife to an appointment. I can't wait to mess with it!

 

It'll be cool to play all the games from when I was a kid on the C64 again.

 

That being said... be ready for questions from me as I go through this. ;)

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Yep - FAt32 - same here. I didn't go much further than my last post. The objective for me it do list our the original file names next to the renamed ones for the mini and the full name of the game in a spreadsheet and keep it handy.

 

I'm hooked on The castles of Dr Creep - again - and will probably be stuck with that one game for a while. It runs the best I've played on the mini. The Steam PC version is a bit rough with an XBox360 game controller and that's all I've got for the emulators on PC as well. I don't mind the controller it came with at all, seems to work perfectly fine for me and CoDC is one of those precision games where movement and timing are critical

 

Going to pick up one of those Atari 2600 USB controllers for player 2. My powered USB hub arrived yesterday, i have yet to use it tho. Going to wait until i get the second controller. I also purchased one of those USB power modules that reports on power draw with a digital display. That will come in handy for many things like my rPIs and other USB powered peripherals.

 

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Glad to be of help. Have fun! It is a rather neat little device. BTW, that character limit on the file names: did you format it FAT16? I used FAT32 and all my files names are long.

Edited by Sinphaltimus

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Yeah... I think I'm going to deal with the renaming one game at a time as I play the ones I really want to play now. Over time I'll get to the ones I try and such. doubt I'll ever get the entire collection done. With the short naming convention it's awfully hard to tell what games they are. So a spreadsheet will get built as I make my way through the collection. Way too much to sit down and try to do as a side project alone I think.

 

 

I too wonder on this. Of the 3000 game file they are all stupidly long names and it would take a while to edit and compress the names for them all.

 

When I downloaded the Ransom Rom pack (273 games) they are all nicely labelled and organized alphabetically and I would like the 3000 games to look the same in the menu but not have to edit all of them!

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im thinking i'm going to curate my own romlist of the stuff that i want- there's probably only about 50 games or so initially i'm jonesing to play.

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A lot of revs and thinking about C64 roms, so I'll share how I've approached C64 Roms. Note that I've still done no testing on my C64mini. This is all from using VICE and the Ultimate 1541 cart. Note that I have also used SD2IEC devices and my advice would be separate and completely off topic for those.

 

  • I have the entire TOSEC library downloaded. This mostly sucks because it tracks every variation they can find and the names are REALLY long
  • I have the entire Gamebase 64 library downloaded. I think I have GBv14. There is a v15, but I haven't bothered. I joined pleasuredome dot uk to get these.

I do NOT put all of those ROMs onto my various devices or even unzip them. Instead, I treat those collections as a library where I look things up. BTW - I barely ever use TOSEC, GBv1# is enough.

 

I don't deal with file formats that are NOT in GB. I stick to .d64, .t64, .crt and sometimes .prgs. I have the following folders where I unzip ROMs and occasionally add more:

 

  1. My Collection <- these are roms of all the games I had in my personal collection BITD
  2. Top 100 <- a collection of roms based on the top 100 list from Lemon 64
  3. Other Greats <- games of renown that aren't usually in the top 100, and I did not have as a kid.
  4. Homebrews <- a place to drop new homebrews and other hacks and oddities
  5. EasyFlash <- I keep a separate folder for the EasyFlash versions of various games. When you work with emulating an EF cart it is easier to have them separated IMO.

 

This gives me some reasonably sized lists of around 100 or so in each folder (or less). I sometimes will also have a unique folder for all the .crt files from GameBase. Those are usually small when unzipped, so it is easy to do, but the cart versions are often less fun than their disk counterparts (see Zaxxon).

 

Here's something else to keep in mind. Often there is a cracked version of the game with various optimizations that has not been cataloged as part of TOSEC or GBv1#. For games that you are really interested to try, you should always look them up on CSDB.dk. Often you'll find some really incredible improvements like single disk versions of multi-disk games or EF versions that load almost instantly. This really changes things dramatically for games like Pirates!, Project Firestart, Ultima IV, etc.

 

 

Other tips:

  • I have no nostalgia for the tape drive known as the Datasette. If you are like me, you don't want to deal with the raw TAP files and starting .T64s is a little confusing. My understanding is that .T64s are just containers for the .prg files. Vice makes this easy with the menu commands so you can just choose to mount and load it from the file menu. You can also just browse and load the .prg directly or even move the .prg onto a .d64.
  • Finally, a helpful tool that I've used is old but good called Dir Master. It does a lot of things, but is an easy way to just create a blank .d64 which is useful when you want to create a save game disk. This makes emulating EF carts a little easier and is helpful for games that have not gotten the modern hack treatment.
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this is great info- thanks, @wongo! i was thinking i wanted to stick to .d64 files myself. Some of the ones i realllly want to play again are Lode Runner, Space Taxi, BC's Quest for Tires, Shamus, Sentinel, Blue Max- well, heck, any of the Synapse titles, really. I'd have to look through my old C64 disks to see which ones that I want to play now. :)

 

When my dad was finishing his Master's Degree he had several pirate buddies that all exchanged disks pretty freely, so i have lots of memories of Fast Hack'em and stuff :)

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ok- i got my c64 setup and the firmware updated. holy crow is the joystick awful- we're talking like 'v1 TI 99 4A joystick' level awful. my arthritic hands just can't cope with the stick.

 

first thing on my list is to get a new stick.

 

I'll add to this post so I don't spam too bad, but I wanted to share my experience. :)

 

**

 

1) I had a little trouble initially formatting my drive. I realized this was because it was a 64gig flash drive- stupid Windows wanted to format exFAT. Once I remembered to partition it as 32 gig, it did FAT32 and my C64 recognized it right away.

 

2) I realized super quick that I have to modify some of the games for _J1.

 

I am like the happiest nerd right now with it, though. Playing away at some of my favorite C64 games on the living room TV and the picture looks fantastic! Next up is USB hub, keyboard, and a proper stick.

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Yeah, I have never been a fan of that Competition Pro joystick, and everyone seems to love the damned thing. I need to test with an Atari-to-USB adapter sometime with a CX-40.

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I installed the latest firmware today, and the screen flickers and cuts out like crazy. It was fine previously. Anyone else see this? The first thing I ran after the update was some PRG of a cracked game (90% of my images, unfortunately), so I wonder if that messed something up? Still trying to get a working version of Cauldron...

 

FWIW, I don't mind the included joystick. I don't recall being a particularly big fan of the competition pro, but I didn't have any real problem with it, either. Hopefully it lasts, that's my main concern.

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I don't like the joystick at all. Too small and little movement when you make turns. Maybe I like to get into it when turning. But one think I think would be awesome is if it had suction cups on the bottom then it would stay put when making moves. That would probably fix it for me.

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I installed the latest firmware today, and the screen flickers and cuts out like crazy. It was fine previously. Anyone else see this? The first thing I ran after the update was some PRG of a cracked game (90% of my images, unfortunately), so I wonder if that messed something up? Still trying to get a working version of Cauldron...

 

I have not seen problems with the video output other than when I went HDMI-to-DVI. What kind of display are you using?

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I installed the latest firmware today, and the screen flickers and cuts out like crazy. It was fine previously. Anyone else see this? The first thing I ran after the update was some PRG of a cracked game (90% of my images, unfortunately), so I wonder if that messed something up?

 

I took mine out of the box for the first time tonight. It was on 1.0, and I played with it for about an hour. Then I updated the firmware to 1.2 and didn't notice any flicker.

 

The file loader works pretty well. It even played the EasyFlash cart of Maniac Mansion which was kind of a surprise. It couldn't hand EF Sly Spy though.

 

It really is too bad that they haven't implemented a way to just switch the joystick port on the fly. I tried to play Moon Patrol and Gyruss, and I guess they both require the stick to be in port 1. I'm not sure I have the patience to update all those filenames. Hopefully they'll add a flip-disk type solution and a way to swap joysticks in a future revision.

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I have not seen problems with the video output other than when I went HDMI-to-DVI. What kind of display are you using?

Olevia 720p TV, don't have anything else with HDMI to try it with, unfortunately. When I get some free time I may restore to factory settings and see if that fixes it and update again.

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I took mine out of the box for the first time tonight. It was on 1.0, and I played with it for about an hour. Then I updated the firmware to 1.2 and didn't notice any flicker.

 

The file loader works pretty well. It even played the EasyFlash cart of Maniac Mansion which was kind of a surprise. It couldn't hand EF Sly Spy though.

 

It really is too bad that they haven't implemented a way to just switch the joystick port on the fly. I tried to play Moon Patrol and Gyruss, and I guess they both require the stick to be in port 1. I'm not sure I have the patience to update all those filenames. Hopefully they'll add a flip-disk type solution and a way to swap joysticks in a future revision.

tell me about it, lol- the port 1 thing is kind of aggravating, especially if you have a ton of games.

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tell me about it, lol- the port 1 thing is kind of aggravating, especially if you have a ton of games.

 

I would really appreciate a pre-made configuration file with all of the J1 games switched to J2. Of course they don't know what my filenames are, but RetroGames could just make a massive cfg file and put all of the file names from TOSEC and GBv15 in there. Could have an NTSC file and PAL file to flip the region where appropriate and set the joystick correctly. Users would F that up massively though.

 

Overall, I think I will probably just use this with the built in games. They represent most of the categories I mention above anyway (albeit in smaller quantities). I can always use one of the other options I have to run C64 programs when things get complicated.

 

Regarding lag, I'm usually pretty sensitive to lag, but I can't say I've noticed any lag after playing with it for about 2 hours. However, I'm aware that lag is often hard to detect unless you are doing some very specific comparisons. It often impacts your play without being noticeable. It's not until you realize you can't beat your high score in Kaboom or get past Soda Popinski in PO. Maybe trying to get past the tentacle in HERO would be a good test for me here.

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Greetings!!  I was recently fortunate enough to get this useless piece of dung that belongs in a COMMODorE .... to borrow an earlier expressed opinion and throw and old commodore joke in from a long time Atari user.  It was gifted to me as a fathers day gift.  I got it at the currently discounted price of $30 at gamestop.

I'm not a big fan of the Competition Pro joystick either.  If I remember correctly the last "portable C64" that I got was built into a competition pro style joystick.  So far at best it is tolerable.  I can see where people have issues with the weird diagonals being registered in "4 way" games.

 

I've only briefly had a chance to tinker with it ( due to real bad allergies ).  But it seems to have a pretty decent set of games included.  I played a few.  I also see that they have screenshots and descriptions with each game.  Is this possible to have when doing the firmware update and having your own games on a USB stick?  That sure would be great if so.

 

Will post more later ( maybe ) as I tinker around with it more.  I managed to get in a good round of boulder dash and navigated to the fourth level fairly easy.  Yes Boulderdash came with my release so go figure.

 

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I forgot to mention... That CSDB.dk site is really cool and all.  The only downer is there is no description for the hacks, etc.  So I have no clue what they do or what they are for.  Maybe I'm missing something?

 

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7 hours ago, Shannon said:

I forgot to mention... That CSDB.dk site is really cool and all.  The only downer is there is no description for the hacks, etc.  So I have no clue what they do or what they are for.  Maybe I'm missing something?

 

Regarding CSDB.  I am not a supporter or contributor.  These hacks create some contentious opinions, and it is more of a one at a time style of finding ROMs.  Use the dates in the search results to help you pick the hack you want.  Hacks without dates are from the BBS days.  Hacks with a date are "modern."
 

image.png.3469a4d14fb02122e03ffa189879ff9b.png

When you actually click on one there will usually be comments to give you more clues.  The values next to the names mean stuff too +10 means there are 10 "trainers" (think cheats) available.  They are usually selectable on program start.  I forget what the other symbols mean.  Maybe D is for "Disk?" 

 

Be sure to create an account and log in to see all of the downloads available.  Some are hidden, but some are not.  I dunno - ask the Germans.  Here are 2 more German sites that have A LOT of C64 assets: C64sets C64Games.de

 

9 hours ago, Shannon said:

I was recently fortunate enough to get this useless piece of dung that belongs in a COMMODorE

What is a useless piece of dung?  The joystick?  Do you actually think that or were you just trying to use that hilarious old commode joke?

 

IMO, the joystick is fine.  Short throw sticks are good for certain games, so that's fine.  I know a lot of people come into retro gaming who have never really used an at-home stick.  What do people not like about it?    At this point, I've used it for about 6 hours.  It feels sturdy enough to me, and if I don't like it or it breaks, the instructions give advice for using a different USB option.  Based on their instructions, I'm guessing the XBox 360 pad could work.

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I don't know about this version of the joystick, but I have the C=64 in the joystick model and that joystick is awful.

 

I grew up playing Intellivision, colecovision and Atari 2600.  I don't mind any of those controllers.  Back then, I tried the Epyx joystick :(, a bunch of wico sticks :(

The little Amiga stick was pretty good, but this one is near the worst joystick I have ever used.  I did not buy the mini just because the joystick looks the same!

 

However, when the full size version comes out with extra usb ports, I may take the plunge!

 

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4 hours ago, wongojack said:

What is a useless piece of dung?  The joystick?  Do you actually think that or were you just trying to use that hilarious old commode joke?

 

I was just doing a cross of making fun of a rather persistent poster in this thread who insists the whole product is a piece of sh*t and and attempt on a play of the old commode joke ( partially because I was ALL atari growing up ).  But I've always appreciated systems for their content vs their capabilities.  So it is merely an attempt at humor.

 

As for the stick it is a little hard on my hands ( like the Atari 7800 nub and other painful joysticks of the past ).  I will know more as I use it more.  As I stated I did manage to get a decent run of boulder dash out of it.  But I can see where people complain about accidentally moving up when the are pushing right ( for example ) because it happened to me a couple of time.  I think if the joystick had "click" feedback then I might like it a little better.  We will see.  I only had about an hour to play with it.

So back to one of my questions.  Does anyone know of a way to add our own boxart and screenshots to custom added games.  The interface obviously has the ability to display such.

 

Thanks!

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6 hours ago, 1980gamer said:

I don't know about this version of the joystick, but I have the C=64 in the joystick model and that joystick is awful.

 

I grew up playing Intellivision, colecovision and Atari 2600.  I don't mind any of those controllers.  Back then, I tried the Epyx joystick :(, a bunch of wico sticks :(

The little Amiga stick was pretty good, but this one is near the worst joystick I have ever used.  I did not buy the mini just because the joystick looks the same!

 

However, when the full size version comes out with extra usb ports, I may take the plunge!

 

I have them both.  This stick is different in that it is like 10 years later, and it has a different button scheme.  The "action" on the directions does feel a bit similar though, but I'd have to get the DTV out to really compare.  Then again, if you just don't like the Competition Pro to begin with, I could see why you'd be a little skittish.  I guess, rest assured that you can use a different USB controller with the mini, but (per the website) you need at least 8 buttons.:

 

We can’t guarantee they all work but other USB controllers can be connected.  THEC64 Mini expects a controller to have a minimum of eight buttons. When you connect a controller, THEC64 Mini will attempt to automatically configure the controller, assigning the left FIRE, right FIRE, TL, TR, A, B, C and MENU buttons for you.  Typical USB gamepad shoulder buttons are usually assigned as left FIRE and right FIRE by THEC64 Mini. The SELECT button is typically assigned as button C, and START becomes the MENU button, giving access to all of the expected menu options that THEC64 Mini needs. Most controllers will have their X and Y buttons as THEC64 Mini’s TL and TR buttons, leaving their A and B buttons to be A and B.

 

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35 minutes ago, wongojack said:

I have them both.  This stick is different in that it is like 10 years later, and it has a different button scheme.  The "action" on the directions does feel a bit similar though, but I'd have to get the DTV out to really compare.  Then again, if you just don't like the Competition Pro to begin with, I could see why you'd be a little skittish.  I guess, rest assured that you can use a different USB controller with the mini, but (per the website) you need at least 8 buttons.: 

 

We can’t guarantee they all work but other USB controllers can be connected.  THEC64 Mini expects a controller to have a minimum of eight buttons. When you connect a controller, THEC64 Mini will attempt to automatically configure the controller, assigning the left FIRE, right FIRE, TL, TR, A, B, C and MENU buttons for you.  Typical USB gamepad shoulder buttons are usually assigned as left FIRE and right FIRE by THEC64 Mini. The SELECT button is typically assigned as button C, and START becomes the MENU button, giving access to all of the expected menu options that THEC64 Mini needs. Most controllers will have their X and Y buttons as THEC64 Mini’s TL and TR buttons, leaving their A and B buttons to be A and B.

 

I have a bunch of "nes" / "snes" usb controllers around, so I am hoping when the full size version is released, I can use both controllers or better yet, load games from the FULLY FUNCTIONAL Keyboard!  I really want to be able to use the classic 2600 controller, That is how I play Hardball!, 4th and Inches, One on One etc.  Hmmm, all sports games..

Rush 'n Attack was a great game.  I added a second button to the 2600 controller wired to the space bar.  I hope I can do this cleaner on this new console...

 

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There's room for improvement, but here's my setup I was tinkering with in my office today.  Please excuse dusty stuff.

 

I'm using an old powered USB hub right now, but I think I can improve that.  Gonna play some Lode Runner in my free time. :)

20190617_084558_resized.jpg

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FWIW, I did a factory reset and the screen still cuts in and out and is full of distorted lines.  Unplayable.  I'm just going to return it.  Too bad, seems like a nice little unit if it worked, I just don't have the time or patience to debug this further.

 

On the plus side, I was able to get my Cauldron d64 to run in C64 Forever, so I think that's my go-to for now.  I need a general USB Atari stick.

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5 hours ago, BydoEmpire said:

FWIW, I did a factory reset and the screen still cuts in and out and is full of distorted lines.  Unplayable.  I'm just going to return it.  Too bad, seems like a nice little unit if it worked, I just don't have the time or patience to debug this further.

 

Bummer. I hope it was just a bum unit.

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