Lyonsden Blog

Category - Retro

Amiga Future Issue 135

Amiga Future 135

Plenty of reading material this week as in addition to K&A Plus 11, Amiga Future 135 is also out now. This edition is packed with all the latest news from the entire Amiga scene…


Amiga Future 135

Amiga Future 135 News pages


…including an in depth look at Gamescom 2018 that took place in Cologne back in August this year.


Amiga Future 135

Gamescom 2018 Feature


There are also plenty of reviews of both old and new Amiga games including the newly released ‘Extended Collector’s Edition’ of Rocket Ranger.


Amiga Future 135

Rocket Ranger Extended Collector’s Edition Review


A little late for me personally (having installed this about 6 months ago) but still of great interest, is a detailed review of MorphOS 3.11, the latest iteration of the long running replacement Amiga OS.


Amiga Future 135

MorphOS 3.11 Review


There’s plenty more to read about besides the few things I’ve highlighted already so if you are interested in finding out more about this long running Amiga magazine take a look here.

K&A Plus Issue 11

K&A Plus Issue 11

This magazine is only published a couple of times a year but is always packed with great content and K&A Plus Issue 11 is no exception. This is probably the biggest magazine both in terms of thickness and content there is for the Commodore range of machines in 2018, packing in a whopping 81 pages and none of them are filled by adverts!


K&A Plus Issue 11

Single Button Games & Exploding Fish Reviews


This issue has a fairly even split of content between the Commodore 64 and Amiga computers which is fantastic for me as I actively support both formats. There’s news, reviews, tutorials and retrospective articles covering both machines and even some stuff for the Vic 20 and the post Amiga MorphOS and AROS systems.


K&A Plus Issue 11

Mini reviews of C64 Racing Games.


The star of the whole issue for me is the included (if you pay a little extra for it) 5.25″ Coverdisk featuring a brand new game for the Commodore 64 – ‘Tower of Rubble’. This is the first 5.25″ Coverdisk I have seen since Commodore Disk User ceased publication back in 1991.


K&A Plus Issue 11

Tower of Rubble Coverdisk


There’s loads of content, far too much to list but some of the highlights for me are: A look into the Spy vs Spy franchise, H. R. Giger’s Dark Seed, reviews of ‘Retro Radio Stations’, an article about the pro’s and cons of modifying/upgrading retro machines and an ‘Amiga in your pocket’ tutorial showing you step by step how to convert a windows tablet into a portable Amiga!!!


K&A Plus Issue 11

A look at Dark Seed on the Amiga


If you want to find out more, or order yourself a copy, head on over to the Komoda & Amiga Plus website. The magazine is produced in Poland and shipping to the UK only takes a few days.


AIWA HS-PC202 Mk3 Cassette Player – Replacing a Drive Belt



I recently bought a ‘New Old Stock’ AIWA HS-PC202 Mk 3 Personal Stereo off eBay as I just couldn’t resist the idea of unboxing a ‘new’ walkman in 2018. Now I’m fully aware that you can buy brand new ones off Amazon but these are pretty cheap and nasty affairs designed to cash in on nostalgia rather than offer a quality audio experience. This Aiwa model is a quality bit of kit with the ability to play Chrome tapes, Dolby B & C noise reduction, auto-reverse and a super slim, attractive design.

However it had been sat in storage for about 25 years so when I popped in some batteries and tried to play a tape – nothing happened! I could see the power LED light and hear a hiss from the headphones but the spindles didn’t turn. Thankfully I could hear the motor run momentarily if I held the unit to my ear whilst pressing ‘play’. This was a sure sign that the belt had failed in some way which is very common on vintage cassette decks.

This post will provide instructions on how to open up the AIWA HS-PC202 Mk 3 cassette player, and replace the belt. The only tools you need are some small watch-makers screwdrivers and a pair of tweezers. It’s quite a straightforward job as the player has been designed with the foresight that one day someone would need to change that belt!

Getting Started with your AIWA HS-PC202

The first thing you need to do with your AIWA HS-PC202 is unclip the battery compartment as one of the screws you need to remove is hiding behind this. Now you need to remove the backplate from the player to expose the belt. It is held in place by 3 tiny screws and a clip that fits inside the case near the play button.

Take your philips screwdriver and remove the first screw shown in the picture below. Place it in safe place, preferably in a small container as the screw is incredibly small and easy to lose. This is a slightly different size to the next two so it should be easy to identify when you are putting things back together.


Remove this screw first

Now spin the player around so you are looking at the side where the lid hinges and remove the two screws indicated in the photos below.


Remove the left screw


Remove the right screw

Removing the Backplate

Store these two screws safely with the other and put aside as you are ready to begin removing the backplate now. You need to be careful and not rush this next part as there are a few things that are held in place by the backplate and they will fall out and get lost if you’re not careful. The one thing seems to fall out no matter what you do is a small, circular, black plastic spacer that fits between the backplate and the DC power socket. Now you know about it, be prepared for this and catch it. Store it safely with the other screws.

The other things held in place by the backplate are the Dolby NR and Tape Bias selector slide switches. It’s simple to put them back if they fall out – but if you’re not expecting them to drop out they could easily fall on the floor un-noticed and get lost.


This is the small plastic part that will fall out from around the DC power socket.

tiny bits of plastic

These are the Bias and Dolby selector switches that may drop out when you remove the backplate.

The backplate needs to pivot away from the case from the battery end first. There is a lip at the opposite end by the volume wheel and switches so you need to picture it hinging from that position and focus your efforts on making it open that way. If you place your AIWA HS-PC202  vertically it’s easier to do this and it will prevent the switches from falling out.


Gently prise the backplate off, starting at the battery end (the bottom in this photo)

As you can see in the above photo there is a small metal tab on the front edge of the backplate that fits into a plastic lug inside the case, above the play button. You will need to carefully slide a small flat bladed screwdriver in and gently lever the plastic around the play button outward, away from the backplate to release the tab. The backplate should now be free and you can pull it away from the body and slide it upward to remove it, leaving the switches on the top in place.


The backplate – note screw holes and cut-outs for controls and DC input.

Inside the AIWA HS-PC202 Mk3

Now that the backplate if off you should see be able to see the circuit board with a cut-out for the belt and pulley wheels just like in the photo below. A belt in good condition should be taught and fit around all the pulleys tightly, something that mine was definitely not doing!

The smallest wheel is the motor pulley, the two large brass wheels drive the capstans and I think the smaller black wheel is there just to guide the belt around the others.


Inside the player. See how the rubber belt is no longer taught and is just lying there looking lumpy and uneven

Replacing the Belt (Take 1)

It took quite a lot of investigative work to locate a new belt that was an exact match for the original. Avoid those cheap multi-packs you can pick up off Amazon and eBay from China – the quality of them is variable at best and the chances of getting one that actually fits correctly is next to zero.

The belt fitted to this walkman has a square cross-section, not round or flat like many other belts. It is also very thin – about 0.6mm thick. The length is 76mm. For belts most suppliers use the measurement of the diameter of the belt when laid out flat in a circle. So basically you need to find a 0.6mm x 76mm belt. I couldn’t find one this thin at first so I bought a 1mm x 76mm belt. It did fit and work but was quite a tight fit around the black wheel where it nearly touches the side of the case. It was also only a fraction of a mm away from touching itself (ooerr) where it passes beneath the nearby brass pulley (see the photo below to see how tight it was).

The company I bought the belt from (SignalsUK) was super helpful and based in the UK too. The belt arrived a couple of days after ordering. Although it was thicker than the original it did appear to work OK. (Edit: Sadly this company no longer appear to exist (at least online) so I’ve removed the out of date link to their site).

The belt is very easy to fit. Use your tweezers to place it around the motor spindle and around the other pulleys following the path in the photo below. There is a small plastic tab that protrudes out of the case towards the black plastic wheel. The gap it leaves is very small (you will find it at around the 8 o’clock position) so be careful not to snag or damage the belt here. There will be a a degree of tension in the belt and this is normal so you will need to stretch it a little over the final wheel.


The 1mm thick belt – notice how it is practically rubbing against itself where it passes back beneath the left-hand brass pulley wheel.

Replacing the Belt (Take 2)

If a jobs worth doing, it’s worth doing properly – so I continued my search for a better fitting belt. Eventually I stumbled upon a place that custom manufactures belts for a variety of machines, including the AIWA HS-PC202 Mk3. The Mk3 is apparently mechanically identical inside to the Mk2 and so the belt they supply for the Mk2 also fits the Mk3. Here’s a link straight to the correct belt – here. The company, FixYourAudio, is based in Slovakia and is run by a very helpful guy who makes the spare parts purely as a hobby to help enthusiasts keep these old machines alive. A week or so after ordering my belt arrived in the UK so I have no qualms in recommending them. It is ever-so-slightly thinner than the original but is definitely a better fit than the 1mm thick one.

belt path

New 0.5mm belt fitted


Comparison between the old stretched and worn belt on the outside and the new one on the inside!

Putting it back together

Before you finish off – if you have any additional problems with your player such as unwanted ‘scratchy’ noises when turning the volume wheel or when the headphone jack is twisted in the socket then take advantage of the opportunity and squirt some DeoxIT on them whilst you’ve got the player open. Don’t forget to operate the volume wheel fully a dozen or so times to work the fluid into the pot and clean it up. Likewise for the headphone socket, squirt some in and then insert the plug and twist it around in circles a bunch of times to clean off the contacts.

Now you just need to put it all back together. If you knocked off the slider switches then pop them back on now. You will notice that one side of them is hollow and this will sit on top of the appropriate switch sticking out from the circuit board. The larger of the two fits on the Dolby NR slider whilst the other belongs on the Tape Bias switch. Don’t forget to place the little round spacer back over the DC input port. There is a little flat spot on one side of the circle and this should be positioned facing the outside of the case so that it fits flush against the flat edge of the backplate.

back off

View of the controls – note the small white Bias and Dolby switches. It is on these that the black ‘cross’ pieces will sit on if they have fallen off

You may need to press and squeeze gently in a few places, particularly around the play button to get the tab to engage in the lug correctly. However you should not have to force anything. If you feel any resistance stop and check, reposition the backplate, check the spacer and/or the position of the slide switches and try again. Once it has popped back into place and you are happy with the fit all around, replace the 3 screws and you should be good to go! Enjoy the new lease of life your personal stereo has been given!


The small plastic spacer fits here. Flat edge towards the backplate.

If you found this guide to replacing the belt in an AIWA HS-PC202 useful then please leave a comment below, it would mean a lot to me. Likewise if you have any questions I’ll do my best to help.

If you’d like to know how to go about de-magnetising the play head in your AIWA HS-PC202 then take a look at this post.


Worthy Amiga game

It certainly took quite a while for Worthy to arrive, at least in physical form, but it was well worth the wait. This is the first new (physical) Amiga game I’ve bought in about 25 years! It includes both a CD and Floppy Disk copy of the game plus a digital version too so all bases are covered! It’s an OCS game so will work on the original A500 no problem.


Worthy Amiga game

Back of the box


I have to say I was really impressed with the physical presentation. The packaging is very faithful to the type used back in the Amiga’s heyday with a large cardboard box and glossy outer sleeve. Inside is the more modern and mundane DVD case that houses the floppy and CD.


Worthy Amiga game

The DVD style case inside the big box


I won’t bother reviewing the game as there’s plenty of info here but I will say I’m thoroughly enjoying it and it’s great to see new games making an appearance in 2018!


Worthy Amiga game

Contents of the DVD case with instruction manual, floppy and CD versions of the game


Anyway, here’s one final photo showing the game on a shelf alongside a few of my other Amiga games. It certainly doesn’t look out of place next to its much older forebears!


Worthy Amiga game

Worthy next to popular games from the Amiga’s heyday

Zzap 64 Annual 2019

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

How cool is this, just received the brand new Zzap! 64 Annual 2019 through the post! This really takes me back to my childhood when every Christmas I would get at least one annual in my stocking. I used to love receiving these as they were always crammed with content that I could while away the hours reading in my bedroom. This is no exception, in fact it may be the most jam-packed annual I’ve ever had with nearly 130 pages bursting at the seams with fascinating 64 related articles, reviews and information.


Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

Oliver Frey artwork on the cover


I backed this project on Kickstarter earlier this year and am so very glad I did. It’s probably one of the quickest (to finish) campaigns I’ve ever backed with the whole thing taking around 6 months from backing to receiving the goods. The cover had been kept under wraps so that it would be a surprise and features original artwork by Oliver Frey. Oliver’s work seems to be popping up all over the 64 scene of late, but needless to say it’s another quality illustration. There’s also a 2019 calendar included that’s packed with more of Oliver’s handywork and I can’t wait to display that on my wall come January.


Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

Contents page looks like it’s been lifted straight from an 1980’s copy of Zzap! 64


The art style and layout is instantly familiar. I’m delighted to see they’ve revived the little caricatures of the reviewers although they have ‘aged’ them to reflect the fact that these guys are now some 30 odd years older! But then aren’t we all…?


Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

Example of some the content


It doesn’t just cover stuff from the past though. There are plenty of articles and reviews about the current the Commodore 64 scene including an in depth look at The C64 Mini that released earlier this year. All in all it’s a fantastic read and one of the best projects I’ve backed on Kickstarter so far. If they decide to make another annual next year (which they are already talking about) then I’m all in.


Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

The C64 Mini gets an in-depth looking at!


Now that the  Kickstarter is over it looks like you can buy the annual directly from the Fusion Retro Books website for £15 although how many extra copies they made over and above the Kickstarter ones I don’t know.

Fusion Issue 2

Fusion Magazine Issue 2

Just received Fusion Magazine Issue 2 in the post. If you’ve not heard of this yet it’s a great little UK produced A5 magazine that covers a mix of retro and current generation gaming.


Fusion Magazine Issue 2

Aliens Arcade Game


It contains almost 60 pages packed with articles and reviews about games old and new and hardware too. I particularly enjoyed the review of retro joysticks and was glad to see that my favourite joystick of all time (the Zipstick) got a much deserved 9/10 here!


Fusion Magazine Issue 2

Retro Joysticks Review


There are a great many interesting articles and features in the magazine but I especially enjoyed ‘A Sensible Tale’. This describes how the Amiga Format coverdisk ‘Cannon Soccer’ came to be made. This really took me back to Christmastime living with my parents in the early 90’s. It also brought back very fond memories of getting coverdisks in the age before everything became instantly available over the Internet.


Fusion Magazine Issue 2

A Sensible Tale


Another great article covering a more recent game was the ‘Last of Us Revisited’. I remember this really pushing my fat PS3 to the limit – the fans used to run at full pelt while playing this game and made my PS3 sound like a vacuum cleaner!


Fusion Magazine Issue 2

The Last of Us Revisited


This really is a great little magazine and I’ll definitely make a point of subscribing now that they offer this as an option. Anyway if you haven’t yet got your own copy and would like to know more then head on over to the Fusion website.

Freeze64 September Issue out now!


Looking forward to reading this during my lunch break – it’s the September 2018 edition of Freeze64 and as always it’s packed with diverse and interesting C64 content.

All the regular features make a welcome return including the Mouldy Cupboard, Secret Squirrel and Pokes & Codes. In the now pretty regular “We Don’t do Reviews” section there’s a cracking review of the recently released game ‘Yoomp! 64’.

There’s plenty more inside to while away your time including Zzapback with Julian Rignall, a big interview with Karl Hornell, latest news snippets, cheats and a whole lot more.

This fanzine is simply a must buy for anyone with even a passing interest in the Commodore 64 and is well worth £3.99 of anyone’s money. If you’d like to get your very own physical copy (and this fanzine doesn’t do digital copies) then head on over to Freeze64 now!

CD32 Scene – A Brand new Amiga mag is out!

CD32 Scene

Just in time for the weekend the very first issue of a brand new Amiga CD32 magazine; ‘CD32 Scene’ arrived in the post, complete with a Cover CD and a cool fridge magnet. The cover CD features the full game ‘Lumberjack Reloaded’, demos of ‘Heroes of Gorluth’ and ‘Zerosphere’ plus some PD games and a video from the former editor of Amiga CD! magazine.

CD32 Scene

The magazine along with the cover CD and fridge magnet

According to the blurb on the cover this is the first new physical CD32 magazine there has been in the past 22 years! I don’t even have a CD32 yet but felt an endeavour like this needed to be supported so bought a copy. Besides there is a massive overlap between the Amiga and CD32 – the CD32 basically being a stripped down A1200 with a CD-ROM drive. It’s a system I would like to add to my retro collection at some point in the near future anyway.

CD32 Scene

Worthy Review

Inside the A5 sized magazine there’s plenty to read such as reviews of brand new Amiga games including Worthy, Reshoot and Lumberjack Reloaded. There’s also a look at several Public Domain demos that have been released recently.

CD32 Scene

Article looking into the troubles Commodore experienced before the launch of the CD32

There are plenty of articles about the history of the CD32 itself too alongside an interview with Martyn Brown, co-founder of Team 17 about his experience of making games for the system. There’s also current news and previews of upcoming games and more to get stuck into.

CD32 Scene

A-Z of CD32 Games

Of particular interest to me was the A-Z of CD32 Games. Given that I don’t currently have any games for the system at all this will be a great reference source for me when I inevitably start to build up a collection 😉

Commodore Amiga – A Visual Compendium

Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Probably a bit late to the party with this one as it has been out a while but I spotted this on Amazon a while back and just couldn’t resist ordering it. Published by Bitmap Books, ‘[amazon_textlink asin=’0993012914′ text=’The Commodore Amiga – A Visual Compendium’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’lyonsden-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’db50ba6b-fdec-11e8-a6db-3950523468af’]’ is just that. Every page features a lavish illustration of something from the Amiga’s history. There are screenshots of games, game artwork, hardware and more. It is presented in a lovely zoomed-in pixel art type of aesthetic which works really well for the subject matter.


Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Feature about Turrican 2


Every single page (and there are over 400 of them) is packed with nostalgia. I can pretty much guarantee that you will be transported back to the late 80’s or early 90’s in no time – I definitely was!


Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Lotus 2, one of my favourite games of all time on the Amiga!


If you were into the Amiga scene back in the day then I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s a cracking trip down memory lane and a great source of inspiration if you’re looking to expand your Amiga game collection.


Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Nice shot of the Amiga 500…


I purchased the hardback edition but there is a cheaper paperback version too. I’m actually not sure if the hardback version is still available now to be honest. Its definitely a book that you need to own physically – it just wouldn’t really work as an ebook.


Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Unfortunately (kids eh?) this was probably the most used bit of software I had!


It incorporates a couple of very useful ribbon style bookmarks in the spine and a matching paper jacket to protect the hardback cover underneath. If you are interested in finding out more about ‘Commodore Amiga – A Visual Compendium’ you can have a look on Amazon [amazon_textlink asin=’0993012914′ text=’here’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’lyonsden-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’f9479fe1-fdec-11e8-82b0-e3b24d53667d’]. There is also a Commodore 64 version which I intend to get too!


Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Another 2 classic games


August Issue of Freeze64 is out!

Freeze64 August

What a great start to the weekend! The August issue of Freeze64 has literally just dropped onto my doormat this morning. Pictured here with my copy of the cover featured Gremlin Graphics game – Bounder.

Freeze64 August

Freeze64 with Bounder Game

It’s another terrific issue with reviews of two new C64 games: Exploding Fish and The Legend of Atlantis. Julian Rignall returns once again with a great Zzapback article covering classics such as Elite and Airwolf. A look into the making of Miami Vice, and loads more besides. We’ll worth £3.99 of anyone’s money.

If you want to get your very own copy of the magazine, or just find out more, head on over to their website.

Amiga Future Issue 133 is out!

Amiga Future

Always a welcome arrival on my doormat – the latest issue of Amiga Future magazine!


Amiga Future

Amiga Future – Special Feature


As well as the regular Amiga, AROS and MorphOS news articles there’s a great preview of ‘Scourge of the Underkind’, reviews of Sweep Out, BOH Advance plus classic reviews of ‘Bombuzal’ and ‘Phobia’ which will also be of interest to C64 owners too! 😉


Amiga Future

Amiga Future – Blitz Basic Tutorial


There’s also the latest instalments of the Blitz Basic and FreePascal tutorials plus the start of a new one focusing on the Ignition spreadsheet. Sadly for me this is only for OS4 (I’m using 3.9). Of course there’s plenty more stuff to keep you entertained plus the coverdisk which I’ve not even had a chance to look at yet.

All in all another great read. If you’d like to get hold of a copy yourself, or just find out more information, head on over to their website.

Issue 1 of Fusion Magazine

This has just arrived in the post – the very first issue of ‘Fusion’ a new gaming magazine that covers everything from old school 8-bit classics right up to the current 4K consoles.

Fusion Magazine

Fusion Magazine – Contents Page

I spotted this on Kickstarter and pre – ordered it – it’s only £3.99 plus postage per issue. It’s A5 in size, really well produced in full glossy colour and contains 52 pages.

Fusion Magazine

Fusion Magazine – Atari VCS Article

There’s a good mix of content and although I’ve not read the whole thing yet the quality of writing of the stuff I’ve actually perused has been great. The Atari VCS article (a project I’ve been following for a long time) particularly rang true. There’s a great review of Hyper Sentinel and even Far Cry 5!

Fusion Magazine

Fusion Magazine – Hyper Sentinel Review

I must confess – at first glance I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more coverage of retro games. However that was before I’d actually read through everything on offer. There’s a really nice mix of old retro games, brand new ones and a lot of stuff in between. I really liked the spotlight on new games that have a strong retro feel to them. Hyper Sentinel, Horizon Chase Turbo and Celeste for example. Those last two games I’d never heard of before but after reading about them in Fusion I couldn’t wait to add them both to my collection!

I’ve already placed my order for issue 2 and can’t wait for it to arrive. If you’d like to find out more about the magazine or order yourself a copy head on over to their website here.