Lyonsden Blog

Category - Amiga

Amiga Future #141 – November/December edition out now.

Amiga Future #141

The latest issue of Amiga Future (Amiga Future #141) arrived through the post a couple of days ago. It’s another great issue packed with interesting Amiga related content, especially the in depth look at the new Vampire 4 ‘standalone’ hardware that’s featured on the cover.

 

Amiga Future #141

Amiga Future #141 Front Cover

 

Inside Amiga Future #141 there’s several game reviews but it’s the software and hardware reviews that are the stand-out content for me this time around. In addition to the Vampire V4 hardware there’s also a look at the TerribleFire 328 and 330. Software wise there’s Amiga Forever 8 and now that’s it’s finally here, IBrowse 2.5!

Remember AmigaAMP? If you were an Amiga user in the 90’s then you should do. For me it represented my first foray into the world of MP3’s. Anyway this stalwart of Amiga software has just seen an update to v3.25 and is reviewed inside the magazine.

 

Amiga Future #141

Amiga Future #141 Index

 

I have to be honest and report that I’m disappointed by the cover CD on this occasion. The featured software is basically a Backgammon game along with some card games and a few utilities. Not a big fan of either games so this definitely didn’t float my boat. Hopefully the disc will be better in the next issue… it’s an extra €2.90 per issue and sometimes I do feel it’s not worth it.

Below is a little peak at some of the stuff inside Amiga Future #141. If you’d like to purchase a copy then do please take a look here and support what is now the last remaining commercially printed Amiga magazine!

 

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Never come across Amiga Future magazine before? Perhaps you’d care to take a look at some of my other Amiga Future magazine previews here.

 

 

Retro Gamer Magazine #200 with Turrican CD!

Another absolutely brilliant couple of freebies with this months Retro Gamer magazine. First off there’s the A2 colour poster which contains the full image used on the front cover of this special 200th issue of the magazine. It’s like ‘Where’s Wally?’ only for retro geeks! I challenge you to find the C64 and Amiga 500 hidden in the poster!

 

Retro Gamer Turrican

Retro Gamer Issue 200 Cover

 

Secondly there’s an amazing Turrican soundtrack CD included, featuring 14 music tracks from the game.

 

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But these aren’t straight rips from the game, oh no. The first 8 tracks have been performed by a full orchestra and sound phenomenal. The final 6 tracks are remixed studio versions of the game tracks which sound terrific too. I’ve listened to this CD twice already now it’s that good. In fact I’d say the CD is worth the price of the magazine alone!

 

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There’s loads of great content in this months issue but I especially enjoyed the trip through the decades of gaming starting in the 70’s passing through the 80’s and ending in the 90’s. Plenty of coverage of both 8 and 16-bit Commodore machines too. I’d say this months edition is definitely worth a buy, even if it’s just for that epic poster and the Turrican CD!

More Commodore Magazines (on DVD in PDF format)

I posted about these magazine ‘compilations’ a while ago when I bought this bunch of Amiga ones off eBay. Well I was browsing again a few days ago and noticed the seller is selling some different Commodore magazines now so I bought a bunch more. Here they are:

 

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Here’s a look at the very first edition cover for each of the 5 magazines.

 

First Edition Covers!

 

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As with the last batch I bought, the presentation of these discs is first rate with nicely designed colour prints on the front of each DVD.

Unfortunately I discovered a few problems with two of the collections this time around. The first and least problematic was the source quality of the magazines used for the Zzap!64 collection. The pages were grubby and full of creases as you can clearly see in the Zzap! cover shown above. It’s a shame they weren’t able to procure better condition magazines for scanning. However the pages were still readable and given how old the source material is I can overlook some ropey quality issues here and there.

However with the Amiga Power collection there was a much bigger and unforgivable issue. Basically the magazine pages have been scanned at far too low a resolution. In some cases an entire magazine has been crammed into a 2mb PDF! This has rendered text unreadable on many of the pages as you can see with the excerpt of a Rainbow Islands review below.

 

Lousy scan quality – review text is unreadable!

 

As you can see the quality is simply unacceptable. Give the seller his due, he refunded me within minutes of contacting him about the issue and pledged to look into the problem and try to locate some better scans.

I’d definitely avoid the Amiga Power collection then but the rest are all recommended if you want to add these classic magazines to your collection.

The seller’s name is ‘another-world-games‘ if you fancy having a look at what they offer for yourself.

CDTV Disc Reference Guide Book Review

CDTV Disc Reference Guide

The CDTV Disc Reference Guide Book is a brand new title that has just been published by Castle Books. It’s been created by AmigaJay, the same guy who was behind the CD32 Scene magazines and ‘CD32 and Beer’ compilation CD’s.

The description on the back of the book goes as follows:

A comprehensive guide to Commodore CDTV software titles.

Over 190 titles fully catalogued, with screenshots and box-art, (over 850 images in total) with lots of other information on each disc, a perfect guide for collectors and owners alike.

Features of the book;

Each disc is catalogued into one of the six original categories, easily identifiable by the colour band on each page.

Biggest round-up of cancelled CDTV titles, over 130 in total!

New wave section, find out what new software has been available to buy for your CDTV in the last few years.

Did these games really come out in ‘Did They or Didn’t They?’

CDTV Stats

The book is A5 in size and has been produced in full colour and runs to 200 pages. The pages are thick and glossy making it around 10mm thick with quite a heft to it. It costs £19.99 plus £3.50 postage and packaging so £23.49 all in.

 

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A look inside the book

 

The book covers every single disc ever produced for the CDTV whether it be a PD release, encyclopaedia or game. All the discs are helpfully slotted into one of 6 main categories:

  • Arts and Leisure
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Music
  • Productivity
  • Reference

 

CDTV Disc Reference Guide

List of disc categories

 

There are also a couple of other categories for ‘Cancelled Titles’ and ‘New Wave’. The latter covers present day releases for the system such as PowerGlove Reloaded.

These colour co-ordinated categories are printed across the top of each page and are visible on the fore edge of the book. Titles are also arranged in alphabetical order within each category meaning you can easily track down ‘Lemmings’ in the ‘Entertainment’ section for example. Which is just as well because there is no index included within the book.

The vast majority of CDTV releases get their own page in the book barring a few exceptions. These exceptions are mostly stuff like yearly encyclopaedia updates and PD collections which are grouped together on a single page.

 

How CDTV titles are presented

 

Barring the exceptions mentioned above, each release is presented in the same format as shown below. There’s a photo of both the front and back of the CD packaging along with another of the disc itself. There’s also a couple of screenshots, usually featuring the title screen and the game or software in action. Other information provided includes the year of release, cost, languages, whether it was exclusive to the CDTV and if not, how it differed from the stock Amiga 500 version.

 

CDTV Disc Reference Guide

Example of how each CDTV title is featured in the guide.

 

The part I found most useful was the little rating box at the end. Every release has been rated from A to F and is accompanied by what I can best describe as a ‘micro review’. It’s hardly comprehensive but it gives you a fair indication about whether a particular release is worth tracking down or not.

 

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The book contains 200 pages and as most of the 190+ titles it covers get their own page this leaves some pages free for other content. Consequently there’s a few additional sections at the end of the book, detailed below.

  • Cancelled Titles – lists all the games that never quite made it to release along with the reasons why (if known). Sadly there’s quite a lot of games in this section.
  • Did they or didn’t they? – delves into a handful of mysterious releases that were advertised but the author was unable to track down.
  • CDTV Stats – provides information such as ‘least/most expensive release’ and ‘disc with least/most amount of content on it’ amongst various other things.

 

Worth a buy?

 

As a recent buyer of a CD32 console (most CDTV titles will work on a CD32) I’ve found this book to be quite a valuable resource . By referring to this guide I’m able to quickly see what titles are available and whether they were actually any good (I only collect stuff I will actually play/use).

The included images of packaging makes it much easier to spot them when ‘shopping’ and helps ensure you don’t buy something with dodgy home-made covers for example.

Personally I would have much preferred for it to come spiral bound so the pages could be opened easier and the book laid flat. Presumably that would have added to the cost though. However that’s just a minor niggle, it’s definitely usable as it stands.

It’s not something you are likely to sit down and read at length, it is a reference guide after all, but the content is interesting, useful and well presented. I’d say this was a recommended purchase for anyone who owns or is thinking about getting either a CDTV or CD32 system.

If you’re interested in picking up a copy you can do so by visiting this website.

Retro Acrylic LED Signs

Retro Acrylic LED Signs

So I was indulging in one of my favourite pastimes recently… idly browsing through retro stuff on eBay (or junk as my wife calls it). I came across these cool looking retro acrylic LED signs that I thought would look great in my man cave. The seller offers a wide range of designs to choose from. After much oohing and aahing I settled on a really geeky and detailed C64 Circuit board design and a fairly plain Amiga one.

 

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There’s a range of colours to choose from including white, green, blue and red. The colours are fixed and do not change although that would be a great feature if it was offered. I opted for blue and red. The signs arrived a couple of days later with each comprising three separate components which you assemble yourself.

 

Sign Components…

 

Firstly there’s the acrylic sign itself which is 210mm long, 148mm tall and about 4mm thick. It’s basically the same size as an A5 piece of paper. Then there’s the wooden base with the LED’s in it which is a little longer in length and about 50mm wide. The sign simply slots into it and can easily be removed if necessary. Finally there’s a USB power cable which is about 1m long and has a round male plug one end and a standard USB connection at the other.

The base of the sign is constructed from two pine wood strips glued together. They’ve been well finished with nice rounded corners and edges so no danger of getting splinters. Personally I would have preferred the option of a hardwood base but that’s just nit-picking.

 

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USB Power Cable

 

There’s some kind of circuitry within the USB adapter which makes the plug quite long and the plastic casing feels a little flimsy as a result. I’ve had no issues with it but I’d imagine you need to be careful not to put any sideways pressure on it or it may damage the solder joints. The signs are advertised as being 12v so I’m assuming the circuitry is required to step up the voltage from USB’s normal 5V.

 

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The signs illuminate pretty well even in a well lit room. The LED lights shine up through the acrylic plate and refract through the etched design very effectively.

 

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However dim the lights or use them in a dark room and they really come into their own. Both colours offer a significant glow around them in addition to illuminating the design. The blue is noticeably brighter than the red as you might expect with the latter being much more subdued. I actually found the blue to be too bright to use in a dark room if it was anywhere in my field of vision. However the red was easy on the eyes and created a nice warm glow.

 

Signs in a room with lights dimmed…

 

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Signs in darkened room…

 

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As I mentioned earlier you can remove the signs from their base easily. So, if you’ve bought more than one you can swap them around to see which sign looks best with which colour. Fingerprints become very visible on the surface of the plates though so it’s best to use gloves or handle them from the edges only.

 

In conclusion…

 

These retro acrylic LED signs cost £23 including postage within the UK and are available from this seller. All things considered I think this is a fair price considering what you’re getting. They do look a little ‘functional’ in daylight but once the lights go down they look amazing and really add an interesting focal point to your man cave/office/study/games room.

I do have reservations about the robustness of the USB plug but hopefully it will be fine. I have them plugged into Alexa controlled sockets so they shouldn’t really see much wear and tear. However if anything untoward happens to them I will update this article.

Amiga User 8 – Special Edition

Amiga User 8

This delivery of Amiga User 8 came as a welcome surprise, especially considering that I only received issue 7 a couple of weeks ago! This is actually a special edition issue of the magazine created specifically for the recent Amiga34 party which took place in Neuss, Germany.

 

Amiga User 8

Amiga User 8 Cover

 

Because the magazine was intended to be sold at the event in Germany it is presented in dual languages. The first half of the magazine is in English and the latter half in German. It’s also not as thick as regular issues, weighing in at 40 pages so in reality there’s only 25% of the usual amount of content. However it makes up for this by the addition of several other goodies bundled with it.

 

Amiga User 8 Bundle

Amiga User 8 Bundle

 

Amiga User 8

Amiga User 8 Goodies

 

Extras included with this issue:

  • Amiga User lanyard
  • Amiga User bookmark
  • Cover CD in professionally produced DVD case
  • Ten very cool looking professionally printed multi-colour Amiga disk labels
  • A 3.5″ Rescue floppy disk for booting your Amiga in the event of HD trouble.

 

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So what’s actually in Amiga User 8 then? Well it’s clear that this issue was designed as a ‘taster’ to introduce new readers or lapsed Amiga users to the fold. Consequently the content matter reflects this.  There are articles looking at the alternatives to using physical floppy disks, including a great guide to installing and configuring WHDLoad for new users. There is also a comprehensive guide on how to setup a Hard Drive and install workbench on it. The guide continues with tips for formatting floppies to transfer files from a PC and also for updating key parts of the OS like the Installer. Finally there is a guide for creating your own workbench icons.

 

Cover CD

 

The cover CD itself contains dozens if not hundreds of utilities and applications that you can install on your Amiga. Programs such as Directory Opus, MUI and CyberView. Of course most of these are readily available to download off Aminet or around the web but it’s still convenient to have them collected together.

 

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All of the applications and resources referred to in the magazine are included on the CD too which I find very useful. Besides the practicalities, there’s also the fun of rummaging around the disc to see what’s on there. Maybe uncovering a few surprises or jogging a few memories along the way. It all adds to the nostalgia which is a big part of what the retro scene is all about.

 

Cover CD Contents

Cover CD Contents

 

If you fancy getting hold of your own copy take a look at the amiga.net.pl website. Amiga User is produced in Poland but the English is excellent. I don’t speak much German so I can’t comment on the quality of that aspect. Delivery to the UK only takes a week or so. If you’d rather get a digital version they offer that option too.

If you’d like to take a look at some of my previous previews of the magazine then please click here.

Amiga User 7

Amiga User 7

Another new retro computing magazine was delivered through my door this week. This time it was the turn of Amiga User 7, making it’s second appearance of the year and crammed full of interesting Amiga content.

As I’ve said before, this is definitely a magazine devoted to the Amiga enthusiast rather than gamers. There’s a strong focus on hardware and software applications along with guides and tutorials to follow. More of a reference source than a typical magazine and well worth picking up if you are a ‘tinkerer’ like myself.

In this issue there’s a look at configuring next-gen Amiga OS’s MorphOS and AROS. A review of GoADF! 2019 plus articles delving into aspects of Dopus 5, ImageFX and even ShapeShifter!

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Here’s a peek at the contents page so you can see what else is covered in this issue.

 

Amiga User 7 Index

Amiga User 7 Contents

 

If you fancy getting hold of your own copy take a look at the amiga.net.pl website. Amiga User is produced in Poland but the English is excellent. Delivery to the UK only takes a week or so. If you’d rather get a digital version they offer that option too.

If you’d like to take a look at some of my previous previews of the magazine then please click here.

Retrokomp Issue 2 (1) Out Now!

Issue two of the multi-format retro magazine has finally been released and I received my copy a few days ago. Just to confuse things slightly this magazine is actually named Retrokomp Issue 1. That’s because the first issue was in fact numbered ‘0’. This is a slightly odd numbering convention that can be found on their other magazines such as Amiga User too.

 

Retrokomp Issue 1

Retrokomp Issue 1 Cover

 

This issue is packed with even more Commodore content that the previous one and arrives with a hefty count of 76 thick glossy pages.

 

A welcome bias towards Commodore in this issues contents

 

As I mentioned in my look at the very first issue, this is definitely a magazine aimed at the more serious user. There’s a big emphasis on productivity and creative software rather than gaming. This is no bad thing though as there are plenty of magazines offering gaming news and reviews now. That’s not to say the Retrokomp doesn’t dabble with games though. This issue has the first part of really interesting series of articles delving into MicroProse F-19 Stealth Fighter, possibly their finest flight simulation ever in my opinion.

 

F-19 Stealth Fightrer

F-19 Stealth Fighter on the C64

 

Rocket Smash EX Review

Rocket Smash EX Review

 

Of course there’s no shortage of interesting articles to expand your retro computing knowledge either. I particularly enjoyed the LHArchie GUI guide that shows how to install a GUI for the previously shell only LHA archive utility.

 

LHArchie GUI

LHArchie GUI

 

Other stand-out articles for me were the Ray-tracing and Brilliance articles for the Amiga.

 

Amiga Ray-tracing

Amiga Ray-tracing

 

Brilliance

Everyone remembers Deluxe Paint on the Amiga but who remembers Brilliance?

 

A quick run-down of the Commodore-centric articles in Retrokomp Issue 1:

  • F-19 Stealth Fighter
  • Data compression methods on the PET
  • Truths and myths about the Commodore 64
  • Rocket Smash EX Review
  • Black Box cartridge: Assembler support
  • My personal games set for Plus/4
  • Raytracing on the Amia 500 with 1MB RAM
  • Amiga Vision
  • (True) Brilliance: 24-bit on Amiga chipset
  • Get to know AmigaOS: programs and processes
  • PowerPC software tips
  • LHArchie GUI

 

 

Plus/4 Gaming

Plus/4 Gaming

 

If you’ve never come across Retrokomp magazine before you might like to read through my preview of the first issue here.

Alternatively if you’d like to purchase a copy of Retrokomp Issue 1 for yourself then visit the publishers website here and show your support.

A look at K&A Plus #13 Magazine

K&A Plus #13

It’s been six months since the last edition of K&A Plus plopped through my letterbox. Consequently my excitement level was high when I received K&A Plus #13 last week. Doubly so as this is the first edition of the magazine to come with a coverdisk!

Here’s a look at the magazine cover and that snazzy coverdisk in more detail.

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The CoverCD

Coming in a ‘proper’ slim jewel case with glossy cover and inlay the quality of the CoverCD is superb. The CD itself is a standard printable CDR but it’s been laid out well and is also printed in colour. The CD is loaded with software, utilities, wallpapers, icons, games and more. There’s also PDF versions of every edition of K&A+ on there. This is a really great feature since issues #1 – #6 only exist digitally.  Other content includes several full PD games such as the rather splendid Barbarian+ and Trap Runner. Demos of brand new games such as Bridge Strike and Reshoot R are also ready and raring to go too. I’d definitely recommend getting the CoverCD – it’s only an extra €5 and totally worth it.

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Inside the magazine there’s tons of content for all Commodore machines from the VIC20 right through to MorphOS and emulators. One of my favourite game series, The Settlers, gets a terrific multi-page article devoted to the game. There’s also reviews of many new games such as Mancave, Farming Simulator, Bridge Strike, Trap Runner and loads more. On the more productive side there’s a review of a new PDF viewer for the Amiga and tutorials for WinUAE and the C64 Strike WiFi modem. Incidentally, RNOPDF, the PDF viewer reviewed in the magazine is also included on the CoverCD!

Magazine Preview

Here’s a little preview of some of the stuff in K&A Plus #13:

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If you’ve never come across this magazine before you might want to take a look at some of my previews of previous issues here.

If you want to find out more about K&A Plus #13 or order yourself a copy, head on over to the Komoda & Amiga Plus website. The magazine is produced in Poland but the English translation is great. Shipping to the UK only takes a few days.

 

Amiga Future #140 – September/October edition out now.

Amiga Future #140

The latest issue of Amiga Future (Amiga Future #140) arrived a couple of days ago. It’s great to see it maintaining a hefty weight and plenty of content. Sadly the price has risen slightly from €6.50 to €7.00 but this is a very small increase and the first one they’ve made in many years. As I’m a subscriber I’ve not actually had to pay the increase but obviously my renewal will reflect the new price. However it’s still excellent value for money and this certainly won’t deter me from purchasing it in the future.

Inside Amiga Future #140 there’s several game reviews including SkillGrid, Labyrinth and the excellent text adventure Hibernated. There’s also a very interesting in-depth article about X-Copy. I think pretty much every Amiga owner used this software back in the day whether they care to admit it or not! Richard Lowenstein of Reshoot R fame is the focus of this issues big interview.

I was a little disappointed that there was no CD32 section this time around, hopefully it will make a return in the next issue.

This issues coverdisk is a nice return to form containing no less than 3 full games. Amongst them is a great little RPG called ‘Crystal Dragon’ that I’m looking forward to playing properly in the near future.  The other two games are Dead Metal and Craggy and Croco.

 

Crystal Dragon

Crystal Dragon RPG (screenshot from Amiga Forever emulation)

 

Below is a little peak at some of the stuff inside Amiga Future #140. If you’d like to purchase a copy then do please take a look here and support what is now the last remaining commercially printed Amiga magazine!

 

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Never come across Amiga Future magazine before? Perhaps you’d care to take a look at some of my other Amiga Future magazine previews here.

 

 

Amiga Future #139 – July/August edition out now.

Amiga Future #139

Another feature packed issue of Amiga Future (Amiga Future #139) arrived a couple of days ago. Weighing in at 50 pages there’s certainly plenty of content to read.

Inside Amiga Future #139 there’s several game reviews including Bridge Strike and Reshoot R. There’s also a very interesting review of a hardware project that allows hooking up an Iomega Zip drive to the parallel port of your Amiga. I know back in the day I used a Zip drive with my Amiga 4000 but that was with a SCSI interface…

This time around the CD32 section focuses on the final Beer games compilation CD whilst the magazines big interview is with Volker Wertich, the designer behind The Settlers game.

Sadly I have to say this issues coverdisk content was a little disappointing. There’s a full game on there called ‘Jonathan’ which appears to be some sort of adventure game. To say it’s a bit weird (and not in a good way) would be a massive understatement though!

Below is a little peak at some of the stuff inside Amiga Future #139. If you’d like to purchase a copy then do please take a look here and support what is now the last remaining commercially printed Amiga magazine!

Never come across Amiga Future magazine before? Perhaps you’d care to take a look at some of my other Amiga Future magazine previews here.

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Amiga Magazines (on DVD in PDF format)

Amiga Magazines

.Stumbled across these magazine collection DVD’s whilst I was browsing through eBay a few days ago. The design of the discs really caught my eye and instantly whisked me back to the 90’s heyday of being spoilt for choice with the Amiga magazines available in WH Smiths. Needless to say I ordered a whole bunch of them as they were doing a buy 4 for the price of 3 deal!

 

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What are they exactly?

Basically these are compilations of every single edition of a particular Amiga magazine in PDF format. The scans are of a really high quality,up to 100mb per issue or more and look terrific on screen. I’ve transferred several issues onto my Surface so I can read them in a more portable format at home, and stuck a few on my phone too to read when I’m out and about. Don’t get me wrong here, I love all the current magazines that are out there, but there’s something special about reading the original mags. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, or maybe it’s the enthusiasm of the writers shining through. After all, when they produced those articles the Amiga was at the cutting edge of home computing at the time.

 

First Edition Covers!

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Wait, what?

Now I bet some of you are reading this and thinking, what an idiot, he could have downloaded those Amiga magazines off the Internet for free! Well if I could be bothered I’m sure I could have. However I’d rather spend my time doing something else than wasting it downloading several gigabytes worth of PDF’s. Not just that, the presentation of these discs is first rate, that’s what caught my eye in the first place. The scans are of a really high quality and they came supplied with nice plastic storage wallets. Best thing of all is that I’ve now got them all stored safely away for ever and ever!

The seller’s name is ‘another-world-games‘ should you wish to avail yourself of their wares.