I originally spotted Retrokomp Magazine a few months ago. I thought it looked interesting but sadly it was only available in Polish at the time. That’s changed now though so I ordered myself a copy for €10 plus postage last week and it arrived today.
A technical article looking at diagnosing issues with the Commodore 64
So what exactly is it?
Retrokomp Magazine is a brand new retro computer magazine that focuses on 8-Bit and 16-Bit machines and is published by amiga.net.pl in Poland. Although it covers other makes and models of machine there is a lot of Commodore content covering everything from the VIC20 though to the Amiga. The other machines covered include Atari, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and the old Apple computers. It’s produced in full colour to a high standard on A4 glossy paper and there are 74 pages in total.
Detailed look at the long lost methods of interacting with 5.25″ floppies and how you can convert them to .D64’s
The first thing that struck me as I flicked through it is that it’s not like most of the other magazines in circulation right now. This is not a game-centric magazine, it’s very text heavy and it contains a lot of articles and information. This is a good thing in my opinion as there are plenty of other magazines that cover games already.
I’ve read a few of the articles in full and they’re well written, interesting and informative. They’re the sort of articles that I will either refer back to in the future or prompt me to start experimenting with a particular piece of kit or write a program. They remind me a little bit of the sort of articles you used to get in Amiga Shopper magazine (RIP).
Making a VIC20 sound generator, complete with type-in listing
A quick run-down of the Commodore-centric articles in this issue:
- Transferring data to the C64 (looks at converting real floppies into .D64 files)
- Controlling the floppy disk drive (in depth look at floppy disks usage on the 64)
- Expansion cards for the C16 – Plus/4 family (everything from adding more RAM to sound cards)
- Diagnostic info for repairing Commodore 64’s
- Better sound for the VIC20 (how to write your own sound generator – complete with listing to type in!!!)
- Hardware expansions for the CD32 (looks at several devices you can get to expand the capabilities of the machine)
- Devices supported by handlers (a look at Amiga DOS handlers and what you can do with them)
- Tandem IDE controller (a look at the Tandem IDE CD-ROM drive controller for the Amiga)
Although I’ve not read all of the magazine yet, what I have read so far impressed me. Even the non Commodore articles look interesting, so if I ever pick up one of those other machines there’s plenty to come back for.
Basically if you are interested in using your old computers for anything other than simply playing games on then I’d definitely recommend giving this magazine a try. It’s clearly targeted at hobbyists and tinkerers like myself and has plenty to offer. If, however, you are only interested in games then this probably isn’t the magazine for you.
Happy days – a program listing to type in! This alone made the purchase worthwhile. (yes it’s deliberately blurred)
Once again, just in time for some weekend reading, the latest issue #137 of Amiga Future was posted through my letterbox this morning. I was reassured to see that it’s packed to the gills with great content as usual with a particular focus on reviews this time.
Amiga Future Front Cover
There’s several game reviews including Powerglove Reloaded, The Kiwi’s Tale, Trap runner and more. A review of SMBFS which allows the Amiga to access NAS drives using the Samba File System (might do an article about setting this up in the future). There’s a great review of Amiga Forever 8 from Cloanto, latest Amiga news, Aminet uploads and plenty more to read. The coverdisk includes a full release of NemacIV plus lots of other goodies too.
I also received a notification that my 12 month subscription was about to expire, certainly doesn’t seem like 12 months since I last renewed! Anyway, at under £63 (€69) for another 12 months (including coverdisks) it was an easy decision to renew it.
Here’s a little peak at some of the pages of Amiga Future #137. If you’d like to purchase a copy then take a look here.
I have been eagerly awaiting Issue 25 of Freeze 64 for ages… I’m sure my postie must have travelled via the Bermuda Triangle to get to me!
Anyway it finally arrived today and as usual it does not disappoint. This issue’s featured game and interview is Herobotix and its’ programmer, Steven Collins. There’s also a tongue-in-cheek look at toilets that feature in C64 games, and the making of Rupert & The Toymakers Party plus all the regulars such as The Mouldy Cupboard, Secret Squirrel and much more.
Freeze 64 Issue 25 pictured with this months Cheat Card (#22) and Herobotix, this months featured game.
This is a particularly special edition for me personally because I’m actually in it!!! Vinny (the Editor) did a little interview with me about my C64 game collection for the regular “My Commodore 64 Heaven” feature. The following copy of the article is only reproduced here with his kind permission.
My Commodore 64 Heaven Interview (reproduced with permission).
As always, if you’d like to get your own copy (this magazine is only available in print form) then please head over to the Freeze64 website and show your support by buying a copy.
This morning the latest edition of Fusion magazine, issue 4, dropped onto my doormat. There’s quite a variety of interesting gaming content including a look at the Picade, PlayStation Classic and reviews of Spiderman and Hollow Night. There’s also articles about the Robocop arcade game, the history of Super Monkey Ball and even a ‘Retro Man Cave’ article looking at the Pioneer LaserActive.
There’s quite a bit more I’ve not covered too, but despite all that, I can’t help but feel short changed by the complete lack of Commodore related content this month. There’s simply nothing about my beloved machines at all. The most relevant thing I could find was an article about joysticks. Still, that’s the chance you take with any multi-format publication I guess. Hopefully in the next issue they will redress the balance!
Should any of those subject areas I’ve mentioned sound interesting then you might like to visit their website to order your own copy. However, if you’re mainly interested in reading about Commodore related stuff then I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to skip this issue.
If you’ve never heard of this magazine before then you might like to take a look at my overviews of the previous 3 issues here: Issue #1, Issue #2, Issue #3.
Interesting article about retro Joysticks
Nearly six months after its debut, CD32 Scene Issue 2 is finally out. It’s lost the coverdisk, it’s a little thinner but it’s also cheaper too. Best of all I’m happy to report that the quality of the writing has vastly improved. It’s not perfect and there are a few printing errors near the front but it no longer spoils the content of the magazine.
Speaking of content… Review wise we’ve got Zerosphere, Heroes of Gorluth, Tiger Claw and Power Glove. There’s a look at some of the recent PD releases and the next part of the A-Z of CD32 games.
A look at recent PD releases
There’s also an interesting overview of expansion cards available for the CD32 (both old and new), news, an interview with Richard Löwenstein and some game previews.
Expanding the CD32
As the author is quick to acknowledge, the CD32 scene is quite small at the moment and there isn’t a massive amount of new content that can be covered. However I enjoyed everything CD32 Scene Issue 2 had to offer and think it was well worth the £3.99 asking price. I feel it’s worth pointing out that most of the games featured work on regular Amigas too, so even if you don’t yet own a CD32, the content is still mostly relevant.
If you’d like to get hold of your own copy then take a look here.
After a tiring day at work it’s always great to come home to a nice surprise in the post. When I saw that familiar A5 envelope on the worktop as I hung up my coat I knew exactly what would be inside – Freeze 64 Issue 24! Really looking forward to settling down and reading through it all later this evening.
Just in time for some winter weekend reading in front of the fire – Amiga Future #136 dropped onto my doormat this morning! Looks like it’s going to be a very interesting read as usual. Here’s a quick peak at some of the content…
The latest issue of the relatively new retro/modern gaming mag, Fusion Issue 3 arrived this morning. Had a quick flick through and there’s lots of suitably ‘christmassy’ themed stuff in it to enjoy. The ‘Guide to gifts of Christmas past ‘ looked especially interesting. A great trip down memory lane for any kid that grew up during the 70’s and 80’s. Plenty of other stuff too including a review of the new NeoGeo Mini, a look at some of the best games you can get for the PS Vita and loads more. Definitely looking forward to reading it over the weekend in front of the fire!
In this post I’m taking a look at Eight Bit magazine, another new (to me at least) retro computer magazine. I actually ordered these 6 issues 4 months ago as part of a Kickstarter campaign but they took a fair bit longer to arrive than expected. I’ve only had time to read through the first issue so far but things are looking promising. The magazines are well written and interesting to read and feature multiple contributors rather than being written by just one person.
Issue one weighs in at almost 70 pages so there’s plenty to keep you occupied. As the title suggests, the content is spread across all 8-Bit formats. There’s a very interesting and in-depth look at the ‘Genesis’ of gaming. Here they delve into the history of the first arcade machines and home consoles that appeared in the 1970’s and early 80’s. This is a very long (14 pages) and text heavy article, but thankfully the font and colours used in the printing make it easy to read. Having lived through the entire period the article covers I found it to be a great trip down memory lane. I particularly enjoyed reading about long forgotten software companies such as Imagine (which was based in my home city) – as a child I used to dream of getting a job with them and razzing around in a flash car!
Commodore 64 Collectors Guide
Elsewhere in the magazine the article ‘Collectors Guide: The Commodore 64’ caught my eye. This is a brief introduction to the machine, what it can do and some of the most popular peripherals available for it. I hope to see more in depth articles about the 64 in future issues as this one didn’t really tell me anything new. However I think the point of these features is to give non-owners of such systems an idea of what the machine is capable of and what is available for it. The article did hint that they would be looking at GEOS in a future issue so I’m really looking forward to that!
Commodore 64 Collectors Guide
Also in issue one there is a brief (and I do mean brief) look at BASIC programming and machine code. I really hope they expand on this in future issues as I’ve got a strong hankering to get back into programming on the C64 and would love to see some proper tutorials. There’s also an extensive look at the early Apple 8-Bit computers, a quirky computer from Yugoslavia and even a couple of short game reviews. All in all I’m very pleased with this magazine and look forward to getting stuck into the other five issues. I’ll definitely be subscribing to future issues too.
If you would like to find out more information about the magazines or order your own copies then you can visit their webpage here: Eight Bit Magazine.
The latest Freeze64 Issue 23 dropped through my letterbox yesterday. This one features a photo of the late Ben Daglish on the cover rather than the pixel game art that I’ve become so accustomed to. In case you are not aware he was a legend in the C64 music scene and composed some amazing music for many great games including The Last Ninja.
As always there’s plenty to read inside including my personal favourite, a ‘Talkies’ article looking at games that featured speech. I always used to love games with speech – it was just so cool to hear your 64 talk, no matter how scratchy or poor quality it may have been. The fact that they were able to do this with just a few kilobytes of memory still amazes me to this day!
Most of the regular features make a welcome return including Zzapback and a look at new and upcoming games in the Commodore 64 scene.
This fanzine/magazine continues to go from strength to strength and really deserves your support. If you would like to get hold of your very own copy of Freeze64 Issue 23 then take a look here.
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 News pages
…including an in depth look at Gamescom 2018 that took place in Cologne back in August this year.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!!!
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.