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Is anyone planning on doing the Atari equivalent of The C64 Mini or the new larger one?

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1 hour ago, toddtmw said:

As people have stated above, this exists in several forms now. Just not easily available and not for $100.

 

You're quite right, I should also have said I didn't want to have to acquire the parts and assemble it myself.

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I really wish someone would create an UAV mod board that outputs native HDMI or Display port.  The latter has no royalty issues.  Make it no bigger than the RF metal box so you can remove and replace using the same position as the RF out video for the HDMI or Display Port.

 

Edited by ACML
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I never owned a C64 but I've bought one (The C64) which arrived before Christmas.  It seems quite expensive and a collector may rather pay less or the same price for an original but it has a full keyboard and can boot to good old C64 Basic (and can work as a Vic 20).  It comes with some good games like Impossible Mission 1 + 2, Cybernoid 2, Street Sports Basketball i.e some of the games to envy we haven't yet got on Atari 8 bit and some titles that did appear on the Atari such as Hovver Bovver, Attack of the Mutant Camels (Atari's was better), Uridium (or at least various clones) and the C64's Pitstop 2 which always looked far better. 

 

With it hooked up to a HDMI monitor (it doesn't seem to scale at all unlike an emulator), you can see that even hi res doesn't look that great these days on this type of display as even the main sprites in Impossible Mission look blocky.  There are a few games you start to see as being the sort of thing that would have been relatively easy to port to Atari 8 using a decent SW sprite engine like Gribbly's day out and Thing on a Spring.  The games soon tire and you can put in a regular USB stick in the back and so you can play pretty much anything you can download.  The joystick feels solid and is great (USB) but is irritatingly micro-switched and very loud, so much I'm sure my neighbour will complain eventually.

 

Two things, it initially seems to be little use for dissassembling/ debugging / game conversion as far as I can tell, there's no cartridge port etc, ie. for a C64 Action Reset Cartridge or equivalent.  I will be impressed if someone figures out it's possible to crash it to a Linux shell or something (I believe the C64 mini was Linux) as the presentation carousel seems robust....  At best, you can count the pixels of the C64 sprites, being as I say, rather large and it's OK for the kids.  Secondly, it would at least be great if Altirra or other emulators could provide a driver for the joystick.   I used to keep hold of the family Atari 8 bits but I no longer have them but would definitely buy an Atari version if it had an original cartridge port as well.  If you think of the fascination for kids in just plugging in a cart for their friends and playing original Donkey Kong on new stable cheap HW (not an antique you need to protect) then that would be great with the option for the parents of downloading the newer Arcade releases or adding a 1Mb cartridge or a cart based accelerator would be awesome.

 

Edited by TracMan

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I don't think any of these mini-consoles need to exist other than to serve as introductions to their respective game libraries. Or perhaps very casual playing of select favorite games. Most of them are jokes. All are attempts at cashing in on whatever retro-craze still exists.

 

Hardcore enthusiasts are going to use some combination of emulation and real hardware. And casuals will likely try out games through emulation or a 1-time minisplurge on ratbag stuff from ebay.

 

Edited by Keatah
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10 hours ago, Tezz said:

I noticed the influx of reviews the past few days. The reproduction case/keyboard makes it appear somewhat appealing but really at the end of the day it's just a cheap board running VICE with latency issues although not so much as the mini. I'd stick with the real hardware.

The problem. The real hardware is getting old, and components fail.  I mean the c64 gets you close to feeling like you are playing the real thing. So there is a place for it. 

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I wonder if it would actually sell to people who never owned an Atari computer, always wanted to, but had all their money invested in something else like C64 or Apple or whatever.  I know a few people who never owned a C64 but bought the Mini console.

 

I didn't note which YouTube "review" I saw of the new full-sized unit, it was by one of the developers.  It wasn't objective, but it sure showed off how to deal with some of the perceived issues.  And the last third of the video showed that you could use it for development, even though you can't use an Action Replay cart on it.

 

Also, of course these aren't as good as the real deal.  Didn't say they would be.  Makes me laugh how angry some of you are about it.  Purists gotta hate, I guess! 

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O.P.: It is pretty unlikely that you will ever see an Atari equivalent to the Maxi or even Mini due to the economics (as others have said). I think that the closest you'll come is our Atari FPGA versions (eclaire XL or MIST or MISTer).  These are essentially hardware emulators rather than software emulators. And they do a very good job, overall. The 1088XL certainly is a full-featured modern Atari, but you declined the DIY versions. (I certainly understand the reluctance for the most users to take on such a complicated project!) And the price for a "pretty darned close" C64 maxi of less than 150 Euros!  Wow! Priced right!  And with that you get some very good games! I think they will sell a bunch of them, and continue to fuel the retro boomlet.

 

I don't have a C64 Maxi, but I think it falls a little bit short of providing a full retro experience.  But it does have a serious advantage of having a full, cloned C64 keyboard. All of the alternatives that use a PC keyboard are lacking in usability (again, IMO).  Our Altirra (PC-based) emulator is a true wonder of emulation, but it still suffers from the keyboard issue. Hopefully we will have the ability at some point to use a real Atari keyboard with the eclaire XL. Part of the retro experience is also using the older peripherals.  I'm pretty sure that you cannot use a real 1541 or other C64 retro peripherals with the Maxi.  You can use disk images, which is pretty close. Perhaps with the yet to be released MEGA65? AFAIK, the eclaire XL is unique in this respect. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As with everything its horses for courses, not every one has the space for the big old hardware and if you are like me and have a love of many systems then it starts to get silly to have them all out so emulation or smaller sized units then become more viable. Of course there's the steadfast real hardware only people who obviously have the space or like a cramped lifestyle :)

 

I'm somewhere in the middle, I've got real hardware, to my left about 5 inches away are my 130XE and a C64, both with SD related loading devices because trying to get a 1050 and the brick that is a 1541 (which I don't own) on to my table would be a joke. So I swap around with emulation on the Atari while testing on real hardware and even though I have an Amiga 1200 I use the rather excellent WinUAE emulator.

 

So the mini devices have a place to play but remember its emulation and while Vice is really good and Hoxs64 being better in pure emulation (not supported extra hardware) but not used in emulation on these devices so there's differences BUT are ideal for 99% of stuff and offer a nice easy way to play. The downside for me is that its pure HDMI only in most cases which means newer bigger TV's or older LCD's or the like with the small but noticeable latency issues and yes, the ultra clear graphics which just look so blocky without the slight haze of CRT :)

 

Its like when I got my first PC and I'd played Monkey Island on the Amiga through RGB and then the same game on a VGA via the PC was more colourful but boy was it crispy clear blocks pixels :)

 

So we do have an 2 Atari alternatives in the MIST and Eclairexl (spelling?) which look lovely but a little more expensive that my pocket can afford but they do look so nice in the clear cases...

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Ha ha.....I've just been one of my presents from my lovely daughter, its a C64 tee shirt :)  (Last year was an Atari one and the year before a N64 one (which I've never owned) I think there's a pattern here :)

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16 hours ago, ACML said:

I really wish someone would create an UAV mod board that outputs native HDMI or Display port.  The latter has no royalty issues.  Make it no bigger than the RF metal box so you can remove and replace using the same position as the RF out video for the HDMI or Display Port.

 

Well, it’s easy enough to go from DVI to HDMI - and SOPHIA DVI exists already.

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4 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

Well, it’s easy enough to go from DVI to HDMI - and SOPHIA DVI exists already.

Yes, but I'd prefer a more turn key solution.  DVI does not have audio, but HDMI and display port do.  You can buy display port to HDMI cables cheaply and it would be great to just have to buy a $8 cable that hooks up to all modern TVs.  DVI is kind of dead, going the way of S-video.  Hard to find modern monitors with DVI.  Is there a small compact S-video to HDMI board already out there that would fit in the same space as the RF box?

 

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On 12/24/2019 at 4:14 AM, Gunstar said:

We already have better than they have in new versions of Atari with the 1088 projects. You just have to build the kits yourself. Not a problem for any serious Atari 8-bit fan that wants new hardware. And if you aren't a serious A8 fan, then have fun with your new C64's! Me personally, I'll stick with OEM equipment from both Commodore and Atari. Especially with Commodore since the "new" C64's don't have the ports for peripherals; they don't pass muster with me mister. I just upgrade and mod the old hardware into something new and better than any "mini" would ever be.

 

Plus, we Atari fans have a brand-new "state-of-the-art" gaming console on the way this coming year, despite all the nay-sayers during it's development, it's being made in the factories NOW and will arrive first-quarter 2020! Do Commodore fans have new tech hardware on their horizon? Don't think so!!! Not to mention Atari "mini" 2600 consoles have been selling for years with multiple versions in the flashback consoles. Atari hasn't been left in the dust, it's so far ahead Commodore will never catch it! So even though the A8 may not see new factory-built versions like the 'mini' and 'The C64' We've been getting all that from Atari's smash hit the 2600! And now something truly modern with the classics still built-in and can be used as a real PC to boot!

 

https://atarivcs.com

 

Better is subjective. The Commodore 64 scene has a modern drop-in replacement motherboard featuring Dual SID and plenty of other nifty stuff to it. 

 

And seriously, you bring up the "VCS" debacle? How many years has that money-grab been delayed already? The C64 Mini shipped and the C64 "Maxi" is available in Europe now and soon to be in North America. 

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The C64 was the most successful line for the Commodore brand, so they will keep going to that well.  You don't see an Amiga mini?  Similarly, the Atari cash cow is the 2600, and the license holder doesn't care about the other systems.

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I wonder what the price for the eclaire would be if it were mass produced... I am often surprised at how cheap something electronic can be if you order 100k.

 

Also; I think Curt Vendal mentioned putting an area to add a vcs cartridge connector on a flashback w/o a cart slot... re: if say an sio had to be left off the board for cost saving... as long as the plastic has a pop out and it can be added to the motherboard after the fact....

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Look, lets not be silly about these things, products like the C64 Mini are done to hit the retro market out there and make a killing from it, its going to be made as cheap as possible and just do as basic as possible stuff (a virtual keyboard on the mini, lol) but like all the other classic type things its cheap to make and designed purely for the rose tinted people. Where you get the good stuff is from the community itself, there its not so much about price but about making it as good as possible, supporting real hardware (if possible). Obviously they don't want it too expensive but its made for the real Atari people and its the same with other communities home made dev stuff like the 1541Ultimate ++, its not cheap but its a wonderful bit of kit that does not cut corners.

 

All the communities get hit by the retro phase products but in most cases its the rose tinted folk that they are aimed at and if there's not a big enough community (in the makers opinion) then it won't happen because its about money...

 

So there are better choices out there but they cost a bit more, personally if I had the money I'd prefer to get from the communities own dev made items rather than some cheap plastic bit of poorly thought of tat..That's perhaps a bit unkind but for me the C64 mini alone is just pooh...

Edited by Mclaneinc
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Yes, but I'd prefer a more turn key solution.  DVI does not have audio, but HDMI and display port do.  You can buy display port to HDMI cables cheaply and it would be great to just have to buy a $8 cable that hooks up to all modern TVs.  DVI is kind of dead, going the way of S-video.  Hard to find modern monitors with DVI.  Is there a small compact S-video to HDMI board already out there that would fit in the same space as the RF box?
 

HDMI requires a license that’s unlikely to be economically viable for someone building adapters for bronze-age computers with at best a few hundred sales. You can add a 3,5mm phone jack to your Atari and use a combined DVI to HDMI and 3,5mm cable. Many LCD TVs are able to use analog audio input and for those that don‘t there are combiner boxes.


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1 hour ago, slx said:


HDMI requires a license that’s unlikely to be economically viable for someone building adapters for bronze-age computers with at best a few hundred sales. You can add a 3,5mm phone jack to your Atari and use a combined DVI to HDMI and 3,5mm cable. Many LCD TVs are able to use analog audio input and for those that don‘t there are combiner boxes.


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Yes, but Display Port does not have the same royalty issue and you can buy the $8 Display Port to HDMI cable.  No royalty issues.

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On 12/25/2019 at 9:32 AM, adam1977 said:

I wonder if The 64 could be hacked to play A8 games? :twisted:

I was wondering if it could be used to emulate the A8, I don't think there is anything special about the C64 maxi, it's just using emulation on an arm processor isn't it?

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On 12/27/2019 at 9:41 AM, mimo said:

I was wondering if it could be used to emulate the A8, I don't think there is anything special about the C64 maxi, it's just using emulation on an arm processor isn't it?

Yes it's just running Vice.

 

I find the FPGA based ZX Spectrum Next a much more interesting system. It's got the spirit of the original system but extended with better graphics and it's just about to ship on Kickstarter (and has been for some time!) There is a software emulator at https://dailly.blogspot.com/.

 

The Mega65 sounds interesting too since it's based on the never released C65.

The easiest way of doing something similar on A8 would be to ship Altirra/Wine/Linux preconfig'ed on something amd64 based with a small form factor.

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