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 Post subject: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 22:36 
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I miss it, you know. The old A500, that is. What was once our pride and joy was cruelly abandoned to a damp basement, where it lay for many years before we sent it off to slowly rot in some junkyard in darkest Cornwall. From time to time I'll look on Ebay for one, make a token bid, then, once I've been outbid, realise that I really should let go. Yet, deep down, I want to give it a second chance. I was too young, back then, to really appreciate the gaming opportunities the system offered, preferring to waste my time adjusting the colour scheme on Workbench or typing in crappy programs from long-forgotten (and utterly unfunny) 'comic' for young nerds Let's Compute!*. So, realising that I had to get it out of my system, and having some spare money which I'd only waste on rent, I slammed 30 Euros on the table and bought the Plus version of Amiga Forever - an Amiga emulation suite.

Attachment:
1.3.6.1.4.1.23153.1000.9900.100_1.png


Whilst WinUAE, the emulator at the heart of the package, is open-source, the Amiga's Kickstart ROMs aren't, so for your money you get the ROMS legally, along with a selection of games and applications, all wrapped around a custom launcher. Once it's downloaded, running the program of your choice is easy: click on it, and it loads. On my 2Ghz/2Gb machine, everything ran very comfortably, both in a window and full screen. It was even smart enough to recognise that I use a widescreen monitor, and kept the aspect ratio correct. Charmingly, the emulator emits a realistic whirring sound whenever the 'disk drives' are accessed: it fooled me twice into thinking I had installed a physical drive.

Attachment:
1.3.6.1.4.1.23153.1000.9900.110_1.png


The Plus version comes with around 100 or so games pre-configured to run with just a click, though they seem mostly to date from the late 1980s and early 1990s, and to be honest I hadn't heard of most of them. You can, however, grow a flat-top, grab a bag of imported sweets, and experience the evolution of the Kick-off franchise, up to and including the 1%-scoring Kick Off '96. Cleverly, the emulator maps a joystick to the keyboard, which is easily re-configurable, though for two-player games I can foresee a benefit in investing in one to avoid crowding.

Attachment:
Capture.PNG


Once you tire of the included games, and have tripped out long enough at the included highlights from the demoscene, simple searches can lead you to online resources of ['public domain' - Ed.] software which download snappily (remember, only 880k per floppy). They are easily added to the launcher app, and load with little further tweaking required. In the interests of comparative retro-gaming, I obtained the Amiga version of North & South and found myself wondering why I'd put up with the EGA version for so long. It is, indeed, even more brilliant on the Amiga. I also loaded up Cannon Fodder and after bopping along to the unforgettable theme song soon found myself being surprised at just how relentlessly graphic and depressing the game is. Sadly, I tried to save my position and the 'Amiga' crashed stripping my men of the high ranks they'd faced so many dangers to earn, but I suppose you get what you pay for.

Attachment:
1.3.6.1.4.1.23153.1000.9.2644.1_1.png


Unless you have some files stored in some long-forgotten format, there's little real use for the bundled application software. You could, I suppose boot from the CD and pretend you're working on an Amiga, if you really are easily distracted by modernity, do not require auto-save, and have forgotten how fiddly it is to highlight text to cut, copy, or paste. However, two things stood out for me. Firstly, it is pretty dam impressive that the software automatically taps into your PC's Internet connection and feeds it to the OS so you can party like it's 1994 and remember just how ugly the World Wide Web used to be, then sit there wondering what to do now that most modern sites are never going to display correctly in the browser. Secondly, it was quite cool to be able to access photos on my PC's harddisk and see them rendered in glorious 256 (count 'em) colours on a Workbench screen. I could even edit a text file and save it back for access in Windows later. All this, of course, requires a level of tolerance for the GUI's ugly file browser dialogues: it took a lot of false clicks and repeated re-sizing and re-scrolling of windows to find the files shown below. I'm never moaning about Itunes again...

Attachment:
1.3.6.1.4.1.23153.1000.9900.101_1.png

Attachment:
1.3.6.1.4.1.23153.1000.9900.101_3.png


Unlike other emulators, which require a lot of tweaking of settings and hunting around the more dubious parts of the 'net to find ROMS, this comes as a complete, pre-configured set. It's worth buying for the sheer convenience of it. Including the 500MB download and burning the ISO to disc, then hitting 'install', I was probably up and running changing the default colours and making the machine say rude words within around an hour of buying it. Even when it was running in a window, it felt like I was using an Amiga. I even squealed with joy when I saw that Pacmania was included in the set, as I hadn't had the chance to jump over the ghosts in an isometric world since I was 9. If you want to experiment with Amiga games, or get back into the demo scene, and don't want or can't afford an original, this is the quickest way which involves the least amount of faff. It's whetted my appetite for more 16-bit gaming adventures, and I'm looking forward to seeing what other games I missed out on first time round. We've come a long way since then, but I'm still fond of the old A500.

Kern

* They never did send me the disk of 'exciting' software and the Logo interpreter that all new subscribers were supposed to receive. Gits.


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 22:41 
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Unpossible!

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Worth the read if only for the mental image of Kern squealing over Pacmania.

Great stuff, Sgt Kern!


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 22:52 
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"Praisebot"

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We need a Chinny in this thread...

That picture of you Kern, rendered in 256 colours, is lovely. Everything you said above takes me back to the Amiga days.... It was brilliant. I think I may dog out my emulator to mess with tomorrow.


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 23:08 
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Thanks

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Oooh how splendid.

I was fully 'into' WinUAE years ago (even back when a PC couldn't emulate an A500 at full speed a lot of the time), but it's always been a bit of a fucking pig of a thing to get running.

Seems like a nice purchase for 30 euros, I think I'll have a bit of that.

Cheers for the heads-up Kern :)

P.S. I'm assuming that all 'entirely legally acquired in the past' Amiga disc images will work OK? What were they, .adf files or something? I've got a few DVDs worth of them in storage somewhere downstairs, literally damn near every Amiga game ever released.

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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 23:12 
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Unpossible!

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I spent a lot of time with the old DOS version of UAE back in the day. That was torture, but still better than playing the DOS version of Shufflepuck Cafe


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 23:12 
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AtrocityExhibition wrote:
P.S. I'm assuming that all 'entirely legally acquired in the past' Amiga disc images will work OK? What were they, .adf files or something? I've got a few DVDs worth of them in storage somewhere downstairs, literally damn near every Amiga game ever released.


Yes, it reads .adf and several other file types ( see here).


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 23:20 
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Thanks

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DavPaz wrote:
I spent a lot of time with the old DOS version of UAE back in the day.


I dread to even think about that 8)

It was some of the earlier Windows versions when I first dabbled with it, not sure what my hardware was at the time, possibly a Pentium-II or Pentium-III at 500MHz or suchlike with 32 or 64MB of RAM, whatever it was it completely fell over when the ancient A500 started to do some of its funky shit :DD

At the risk of sounding all rose-tinted and nostalgic, some of the stuff the Amiga pumped out was truly amazing. No wonder I resisted defecting to PC for so long :)

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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 0:24 
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Where are you?

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DavPaz wrote:
I spent a lot of time with the old DOS version of UAE back in the day. That was torture, but still better than playing the DOS version of Shufflepuck Cafe

Pfft. The only version of Shufflepuck Cafe anyone should be playing is the original Mac Plus one.


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:19 
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DavPaz wrote:
Kern squealing over Pacmania.


It's Pacman - but in 3D! How cool is that?


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:29 
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CraigGrannell wrote:
DavPaz wrote:
I spent a lot of time with the old DOS version of UAE back in the day. That was torture, but still better than playing the DOS version of Shufflepuck Cafe

Pfft. The only version of Shufflepuck Cafe anyone should be playing is the original Mac Plus one.


did install that mac os emulator on osx recently, hopefully it's intel ready, as lots of emus are not,..

thought about buying this.. tempted

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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:29 
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Kern wrote:
DavPaz wrote:
Kern squealing over Pacmania.


It's Pacman - but in 3D! How cool is that?


ios pacmania is quite nice too.

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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:36 
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Ooh, very cool - I played around with WinUAE too, and found it a bit of a pain. Ease of use is the king for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 21:31 
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I recall buying this around 2003. It seems to have come along quite a bit since then, certainly in terms of ease of use. I seem to vaguely recall that there was a online "multiplayer" version of UAE that allowed people to play 2+ player games online. It's a shame that hasn't been developed. SWOS could not be any more laggy then the Eggbox version.

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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 22:05 
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I've yet to see it have a 'Guru Meditation'. For some reason, I won't be satisfied with the emulation until I see that mystifying flashing red box.


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 22:07 
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Do you have Battle Isle on it?

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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 22:16 
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MaliA wrote:
Do you have Battle Isle on it?


Doesn't come bundled with it, but it didn't take long to track down online.


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 22:17 
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Craig wrote:
I seem to vaguely recall that there was a online "multiplayer" version of UAE that allowed people to play 2+ player games online. It's a shame that hasn't been developed.


That sounds brilliant.


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 22:23 
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Kern wrote:
Craig wrote:
I seem to vaguely recall that there was a online "multiplayer" version of UAE that allowed people to play 2+ player games online. It's a shame that hasn't been developed.


That sounds brilliant.

It would be trivial, in theory, to translate the null-modem signals to TCP/IP signals. The internet is certainly fast enough to cope.


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 Post subject: Re: Initial impressions of 'Amiga Forever'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 22:36 
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I think it was this:

http://kaillera.com/

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