Retro Games Will Release Amiga 500 Mini Console in 2022

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If you’re interested in gaming reminiscent of the past, you only have to look to the future: Retro Games Ltd has announced it will release its Amiga 500 Mini console in early 2022. The $139 A500 Mini, named after the 1987 16-bit Commodore Amiga 500 personal computer the console emulates, consists of the same beige keyboard, mouse, and gamepad you might remember from your childhood—just a lot smaller. The unit comes pre-loaded with 25 games, including Battle Chess, The Chaos Engine, Pinball Dreams, and Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension. As a tiny console made mainly for the sake of nostalgia, its features are limited to save and resume functionality, 50Hz and 60Hz refresh rates, a handful of scaling options, and a CRT filter. Don’t get any ideas about hooking up a Video Toaster or creating MOD files with this thing.

Users can forgo the unit’s tiny keys by plugging in their own USB keyboard, as well as side-load software using WHDLoad. While some find this type of flexibility to be a plus, others in the retro gaming community seem to consider it an admission of mini consoles’ inherent gaps. A number of online forum members have accused dedicated “mini” consoles of having essentially expired, given how modern miniature systems such as the Raspberry Pi and the FPGA-based MiSTer are intentionally multi-use and expandable. But at its core, the A500 Mini (like its predecessor, the 8-bit C64 Mini) is meant to be a simple way to revisit the fond memories of playing 16-bit games—or create new memories. A mini console is far easier to plug and play than other retro gaming alternatives, such as RetroPie, RetroArch, and various other PC-based emulators. 

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Retro Games Ltd’s A500 Mini is the latest in a fading mini console “boom,” during which Nintendo, Sega, and other manufacturers released a number of retro minis. Despite the consoles’ popularity (Nintendo sold 3.6 million of its NES Classic Edition in less than a year), most major video game companies have stopped production of their minis. As Sony has recently shown once again, a console really makes money only as a catalyst for future software, subscription, and accessory sales. Sadly, that simply isn’t possible with platforms made solely to run a handful of preloaded games—however rabid each system’s fans may be.

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