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Hwlngmad

The Amiga Mini?

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Well, probably never. The licencing around the Amiga is a legal mess, so it's unlikely we'll ever see something like that in a commercial sense. In the hobby sense though, there are a few similar solutions already. Of course there's the RetroPie and similar distros for the Pi, and then you've got things like the MiniMig, the MiST (which also does Atari ST emulation), the MiSTer, which is a more powerful evolution of the MiST, the FPGAArcade which supports multiple cores for emulating many different systems and can use original CPUs on add-on boards, the Armiga (an older Arm-based board with a floppy drive for imaging original disks), and then the imminent Vampire 4 Stand-alone, which is arguably the most capable of the lot, but the pre-order price was €549, so well out of casual purchase territory.

 

Adding to the legal complexity of the systems itself and the OS needed to run on it, there aren't many of the big game titles that would easily be (legally) included. Anyone can find almost any Amiga game themselves of course, but to sell bundled with a commercial product would probably cost a bit in licencing from the original publishers, many of which have been absorbed into present-day companies and so are still active in a sense.

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Amiga is in myriad legal quagmires, but right now we know where to get OS 3.1.4 and other software is not impossible to track down.

 

Psygnosis is owned by Sony.  Bitmap Bros games are now owned by Rebellion.  Team 17 is still around.  Cinemaware released its Amiga titles public domain and its back catalog is now owned by Starbreeze (but considering I never received my copies of Wings! and Defender of the Crown Extended Cut... well...)  There are also plenty of modern commercial and home-brew releases.  I do not see games being much of a problem.

 

 

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Even 3.1.4 is somewhat legally dubious, given there are ongoing court cases involved. Previous versions are also available for licencing, but are similarly dubious - you can be sure if you licence it from one party, the other will take notice as soon as you try to make money using it.

 

Yep, the licencees for a lot of the big games are indeed still around in some form or other - but how many of them are willing to licence games for reasonable costs, or at all? It would be interesting to know. The hardware could certainly be made cheaper by basing it on a Raspberry Pi type board, provided you could find enough licenced games to make it a worthwhile enough casual purchase to be able to sell tens of thousands of them.

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On 2/20/2020 at 11:52 AM, Hwlngmad said:

Came across this in eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Amiga-500-600-1200-4000-Raspberry-pi-retopie-LIZENZIERT-kickstart-WB-Spiele/233469129515?hash=item365bd8332b:g:K1gAAOSwpJJeG6Tk.  Makes me wondering if/when an Amiga product along the lines of The C64 Mini or Maxi will come out?

Sorry to be late on this, but the only direct response we have from the rights holder:

Cloanto re:Amiga Mini (October, 2017)

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I'm not sure if there'd be enough interest to warrant mass production. Personally I'm not interested, was never that big fan of the Minis (especially in this case, if it meant giving more money to Cloanto :)) but it's quite easy to roll your own, should anyone really want it. There are Amiga-shaped RPi cases available one ebay.

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This is quite something. With all the licensing/rights nightmares with the Amiga I still cannot believe it is happening.

 

 If it turns out to be a FPGA based Amiga with HDMI output and USB drive support for HD/Floppy then they cannot take my money fast enough. I would even be happy if it was just a WB 1.3 A500. 

 

Price is obviously a factor, but since all Amiga hardware is stupidly overpriced these days they could sell it for $299 and shift loads. Especially given that the horrible modern 'Amiga' machine costs more than a gaming PC.

Edited by Arnuphis

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A Mini (or even Maxi) will never be an FPGA, it's a completely different target audience and price range. Besides, you can get a MiSTer for less than 200USD now, and run A500-1200 with HDMI on it. And for 300USD  you can get 2 x tested A500s with Goteks, ad accessories (at least here in Europe).

 

It will most likely be another Mini, because full size Amiga is a lot of plastic. Seeing as you can get decent emulation on RPi 3-level SoC that shouldn't be a problem. More interesting will be seeing where will the emulator come from and how convoluted the deal with Cloanto was. This being Amiga, the poor ol' Cursed Lady, I can't help but think this won't go down without at least some sort of shenanigans :)

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Full size would be tough, I think you'd lose a lot of potential buyers and even retailers who may have carried a mini.

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17 hours ago, Arnuphis said:

This is quite something. With all the licensing/rights nightmares with the Amiga I still cannot believe it is happening.

 

 If it turns out to be a FPGA based Amiga with HDMI output and USB drive support for HD/Floppy then they cannot take my money fast enough. I would even be happy if it was just a WB 1.3 A500. 

 

Price is obviously a factor, but since all Amiga hardware is stupidly overpriced these days they could sell it for $299 and shift loads. Especially given that the horrible modern 'Amiga' machine costs more than a gaming PC.

 

It's most likely to be an ARM-based emulator of some sort along the lines of a Pi, just like most other Mini devices. Especially since it's being teased by the same guys who did the "The64" Commodore 64 a little while back. Licencing is still gonna be a big deal - the OS itself is is one thing, it can probably be sorted by licencing from Cloanto, but games are a very different prospect.

 

Knowing that "Retro Games Limited" are behind it makes me feel a little less positive about the whole thing. If / when it does come along, it wouldn't surprise me to find that there are only a few games bundled with it, and they're all cracked versions. But you never know... Personally, I thing the MiSTer is a much better proposition for anyone looking for a mini Amiga-alike.

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21 hours ago, Arnuphis said:

This is quite something. With all the licensing/rights nightmares with the Amiga I still cannot believe it is happening.

 

 If it turns out to be a FPGA based Amiga with HDMI output and USB drive support for HD/Floppy then they cannot take my money fast enough. I would even be happy if it was just a WB 1.3 A500. 

 

Price is obviously a factor, but since all Amiga hardware is stupidly overpriced these days they could sell it for $299 and shift loads. Especially given that the horrible modern 'Amiga' machine costs more than a gaming PC.

I doubt it will be an FPGA device of somekind, although there is going to be a Kickstarter for a new Checkmate case with an UnAmiga in it here soon.  This, I think, will be along the lines of the THEC64 and THEVIC20.  I believe if then can produce a full size THEAMIGA for $199, it will sell like hot cakes.  Obviously, we have to wait an see, but the market for such a machine is there, that is for sure.

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I agree that the games selection will be very interesting. Expect a great amount of UK games. I don't know what that translates to on the Amiga, but checking which publishers were on the train for THEC64 would give you a few hints. I did a similar comparison regarding the Atari ST quite a while ago. Many people might go a bit "meh" if it is just adequate emulation and a bunch of half decent games.

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3 hours ago, carlsson said:

I agree that the games selection will be very interesting. Expect a great amount of UK games. I don't know what that translates to on the Amiga, but checking which publishers were on the train for THEC64 would give you a few hints. I did a similar comparison regarding the Atari ST quite a while ago. Many people might go a bit "meh" if it is just adequate emulation and a bunch of half decent games.

Yeah, I don't expect the games list to blow up anyone's skirt.  That being said, if it can add games like THEC64 and/or THEVIC20 and is a full-sized computer, I think they will be able to sell the machine quite well.

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These publishers are represented both on THEC64 and also made Amiga games:

Electric Dreams (7), Epyx (21), Firebird (18), Rainbird (19), Gremlin Graphics (54), Gremlin Interactive (8), Hewson (19), Image Works (32), Llamasoft (2), Martech (5), Mikro-Gen (1)

 

Out of the top 100 (all ranked 8.33 or better), it would in theory enable the following games:

 

13. Speedball II

27. Lotus Turbo Challenge 2

62. Super Cars II

68. Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge

71. Mega Io Mania

76. Elite (doubtful)

90. Starglider 2

 

Perhaps there are more companies like Sensible Software, Bitmap Brothers, Team 17 or 21st Century Entertainment that would be available.

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Since it will probably feature a SD card slot like THEC64 anyway, they'd rather not bother with included games imho. The selection would be necessarily disappointing, and Amiga gamers I know usually don't understand why mini systems don't provide the full set. 😅

Edited by roots.genoa

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Well, that sort of thinking applies to people like us, but for a mass market product sold in volumes by online retailers and various warehouses, they certainly need to supply the machine ready to play with at least 15-20 games preinstalled. Otherwise it will be very hard to sell more than perhaps a few thousand units (estimated based on price and how many retrogamers really care about the Amiga enough to go through the hoops of downloading mostly abandonware/pirated games and put those on a memory card or USB stick).

 

Ideally, the majority of software publishers still holding enough rights to republish games commercially, will see the benefits and release some of the most popular games for a reasonable fee. For instance, I haven't checked the Antsteam service lately but I seem to recall their supply was quite similar to the C64DTV & THEC64 selection regarding titles and publishers. I understand that arcade and other conversions may have complicated licenses so not even the original publishers 30 years ago would have the full rights to republish their games. That is why I didn't mention e.g. Bubble Bobble (Firebird).

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I agree but I was precisely wondering if that really was a "mass market product" or just something catering to "people like us" (well, not like me)... 🤔

I think it could be interesting to get a few homebrew games (not the ones made with Backbone I mean 😅) if classics are hard to get in there.

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6 hours ago, roots.genoa said:

Since it will probably feature a SD card slot like THEC64 anyway, they'd rather not bother with included games imho. The selection would be necessarily disappointing, and Amiga gamers I know usually don't understand why mini systems don't provide the full set. 😅

True, they could not include games on the device, but that won't happen.  They will have to include games with the device as that is expectation now that there are machines like the THEC64 and various other mini-consoles that come with games built-in.  However, if carlsson is correct, then there could be some really good Amiga games on the unit to warrant picking it up and then expanding on the device at one's leisure.

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