PETER HOSKIN reviews the A500 Mini 

The A500 Mini (£120)

Rating:

Verdict: Kapten 33 Brilliant, and beige 

Can you be nostalgic for a past that wasn’t yours?I ask, because that’s how I’ve been feeling since taking delivery of the A500 Mini, a new throwback console that seeks to disinter the 1980s charms of the Amiga 500 home computer.

I never owned an Amiga 500 — it was a little before my time — but opening up the Mini was, nonetheless, a warm and fuzzy joy. 

First came the actual console, which is a shrunk-down replica of the original’s keyboard, then a satisfyingly lo-tech mouse, and finally a gamepad that’s in keeping with the rest.

Best of all, everything is in that beige colour of old computers.The beige that looks as though it’s been pre-stained by someone else’s greasy fingers.

First came the actual console, which is a shrunk-down replica of the original’s keyboard, then a satisfyingly lo-tech mouse, and finally a gamepad that’s in keeping with the rest

Thanks to the directions in the (also old-school) spiralbound manual, making the A500 Mini work with my very modern television was a breeze, and I was soon enjoying the 25 games from across Amiga’s history that are wired into its innards. 

And that was when some hidden memories started stirring.

Battle Chess!This game of, er, chess between slow-moving knights and rock monsters is far from the best title on this console, but it is one that I’d played before, perhaps at a schoolfriend’s house. 

The same goes for Worms: The Director’s Cut and the candy-coloured platformer Zool. 

These are formative games — for the medium itself, as well as for thousands of gamers.

I never owned an Amiga 500 — it was a little before my time — but opening up the Mini was, nonetheless, a warm and fuzzy joy

And, on the A500 Mini, they keep coming. The Chaos Engine. Simon the Sorcerer. Alien Breed. 

Once I’d got used to the slightly cumbersome controls, F-16 Combat Pilot is a surprisingly detailed flight simulator.The unforgiving Vietnam War survival game The Lost Patrol deserves a bigger reputation and might now get it.

All of these games have been polished for hi-definition displays and augmented with modern conveniences, such as easy save slots, although, crucially, they remain true to the 80s and 90s versions.

Which leaves only one hitch: the price.The A500 Mini will set you back £120, which is about a fifth of the cost of a PlayStation 5 (if you can find one) for far less than a fifth of the power. Other recent throwback consoles, such as the Nintendo SNES Classic Mini, came in at around £80.

But the Mini has one more inducement beneath its beige frontage: it also allows you to play Amiga games downloaded from the internet on to a memory stick.So you’ll have to forgive me. I’m off a-huntin’ for Lemmings.