Now other classic consoles are just toys!
Introducing THEA500® Mini, a compact reimagining of this classic home computer. Featuring perfect emulation of not only the original A500 (OCS) and Enhanced Chip Set (ECS) of future revisions, but also the Advanced Graphics Architecture (AGA) of the A1200. Play one of the included 25 classic Amiga games, selected from a simple to use carousel, including all-time greats like Alien Breed 3D, Another World, Simon the Sorcerer and Worms. Or side-load your own games via USB stick with full WHDLoad support and an array of options to choose from. Plus save and resume your game at any time to help you finish those punishingly difficult classics.
The THEA500® Mini comes with the original style 2-button mouse and newly engineered 8-button precision gamepad, allowing you to choose your control method. To compliment the on-screen keyboard, you can plug in an external standard USB PC keyboard for additional functionality.
25 classic Amiga games included, featuring: Alien breed 3D, Another World, ATR: All terrain Racing, Battle Chess, Cadaver, Kick Off 2, Pinball Dreams, Simon the Sorcerer, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, The Chaos Engine, Worms: The Director's Cut, Zool: Ninja Of The ''Nth'' Dimension
Emulates Amiga 500, 600 & 1200 (ECS/OCS/AGA)
Save & resume game functions
Via USB, add your own games, update the firmware, and connect your own devices (USB memory stick required (NOT supplied)). THEA500® Mini is compatible with 100's of classic Amiga games and demos, utilising WHDLoad for simplicity (games must be legally obtained/purchased from the legal owners)
50/60Hz in 720p HD via HDMI
Multiple scaling options & CRT filter
IN THE BOX:
THEA500® Mini (Keyboard non-functional. Virtual keyboard feature included), 2-Button USB Mouse (1.8m -6ft), 8-Button USB Gamepad (1.8m - 6ft), USB-C Power Supply Cable (1.8m - 6ft) (AC Adapter NOT included), HDMI Cable (1.8m - 6ft)
THEA500 Mini Retro Gamer Q&A
With Retro Games Limited’s CTO, Chris Smith
- How long have you been working on the Amiga 500 Mini now?
[CS]: About a year, though while doing so we managed to squeeze in the time to produce THEVIC20 and release some feature updates for THEC64 and mini. Starting a new product is always challenging, since you start with a whole lot of unknowns and even more unknown unknowns! That said, we'd been planning the project for several years and had already secured the various licences needed to be able to start the project.
- Why focus on the 500 rather than the 600 or 1200?
[CS]: This has been quite an involved process. Long before we settled on the name and shape of THEA500 we considered what users imagine when they think of the Amiga. So we let the process be user led and spoke at length with the wider Amiga community with which we are involved. The shape had to be practical, so that meant the Amiga 1000 would not have worked with its separate keyboard, base and monitor, and even though the more compact 600 or 1200 may arguably have been an easier build choice for us, they were not what the people nostalgically described when we asked them about the Amiga - it was invariably the classic Amiga 500. THEA500 Mini looks deceptive though, even though it looks exactly like a shrunken Amiga 500, it has the capabilities of a range of machines.
- Can you use the keyboard to programme like with the later C64 mini model?
[CS]: Well, being a Mini the keyboard is non-functional, and the keys are tiny. But you can plug in a USB keyboard if you want and use that to input into whatever it is you are running.
- How did you go about licensing the 25 featured games and do you feel the library is a good representation of the system?
[CS]: We work in the games industry and so have great relationships with various game studios and indie developers that continue to own or have acquired the licences to classic titles. This gives us access to a wide range of games, and we're really excited to secure some amazing titles that were really defining for the platform.
- Why have you included a side-loading option for games?
[CS]: We want THEA500 Mini to be an easier plug and play alternative to getting out a real Amiga from the loft and setting it up with an old school television. This old hardware can also become increasingly unreliable, which can spoil the fun. THEA500 Mini is an instant on, instant load gaming experience and we're sure seasoned and new users will enjoy playing the fantastic included games. However, if a user already owns a selection of Amiga games then we felt that THEA500 Mini would be even more useful to them if they could play those games as well.
- We love the inclusion of the mouse. Can you use it to navigate menus etc as well as play games?
[CS]: There was no escaping how important the mouse was to the Amiga to exclude it, and there are a few mouse driven games in the included selection, though a majority of the included games were originally joystick or keyboard controlled and so work with the included game controller. There were two choices for the user interface: traditional navigate-and-select with a game controller, or point-and-click with a mouse. The dynamics that underpin these two approaches are fundamentally different, and it is not easy to have them coexist in a single user interface without compromising and ending up with something less than ideal. The game controller offers the most intuitive interface with its multiple direction and function buttons, and is what today's gamers are familiar using, and it is needed for a majority of Amiga games, so we designed the user interface around that and made sure the included mouse driven games are also perfectly controllable with the game controller, so you only have to reach for the mouse if you want to.
- The joypad appears to be modelled on the CD32 pad. Is that intentional?
[CS]: Yes, absolutely, and we're happy you recognise the similarity! This was another involved design decision since, classically, Amiga games would have been played with a joystick/mouse and keyboard. We needed to reproduce the same gameplay experience without having a keyboard and recognised that joysticks have evolved into the now ubiquitous multi-button game controller, and at the same time acknowledged that the Amiga eventually got its own game controller in the form of the CD32 pad. However, the CD32 pad was not well received for various functional and ergonomic reasons. So we took the styling of the CD32 pad, addressed its ergonomic deficiencies and over many physical prototypes ended up with a very comfortable game controller that looks like it belongs with the Amiga.
- Will you be able to assign additional input to the pad (using a button in place of up for jumping etc)
[CS]: Yes, you can map keyboard keys, joystick, CD32 and mouse inputs to any of the game controller buttons through a really nice, easy to use user interface.
- What technical challenges have you faced?
[CS]: The Amiga, with its various chipsets, processor and memory combinations, is a complicated beast. The most difficult challenge was creating a hardware platform that would not only provide the power needed to run the Amiga games at their full frame rate without tearing at 720p, but which was also a good cost choice. This means getting prototype hardware built, tested and evaluated, which is a bit of a process as everything is custom. What we've ended up with is a compromise between hardware and software complexity, and a large effort has been spent on optimising the software components to boost performance, which is where the real technical challenges surfaced. Also, a design rule we have is that our products should "just work", so we try to take the complexity out of things, make things simple and design the user interface to be intuitive, but underneath that perceived simplicity lay a great deal of complexity and effort!
- Why do you think the Amiga 500 remains so popular and how will the Amiga 500 Mini preserve its legacy?
[CS]: The Amiga and machines like it really defined that step through from 8-bit home computing to what we understand today as the modern console. Back then we called it 16-bit gaming, as no one knew where it was going really. The Amiga, particularly when the cheaper 500 came out, really gave users their first taste of a more immersive, arcade quality gaming experience. Indeed, in later years the Amiga itself became a console in the form of the CD32, so it was doing it correct from the start. People remember the Amiga, they remember playing it, they remember it appearing on television, they remember the games. It was at that crucial point in time where no one could ignore the presence of computers and video games in the home. THEA500 Mini is small, easy to use and packed with great games, so it offers an easy entry to the world of Amiga and 16-bit games for the newcomers and a nostalgic hit for those who had or played an Amiga back in the day. For some users, we're sure THEA500 will replace their current Amiga setup due to its reliability and ease of use.
© 2021 Retro Games Ltd. THEA500 is a registered trademark of Retro Games Ltd. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved. Product specification subject to change without notice.