Sam’s Journey on THEC64 Mini


The greatest ever Commodore 64 platformer (yes, it is!), Sam’s Journey has now been tweaked to play natively on THEC64 Mini!

When C64 games publisher and our very good friends at Protovision gave us the news that they are working with Knights of Bytes to bring us a THEC64 Mini version of Sam’s Journey, we must admit, there were lots of high-fives around the office.

If you don’t know anything about Sam’s Journey, well, all you need to know is that it is an absolutely sublime platformer and one of the best games released for the C64 in the past decade.

So what’s different about this version you may ask? Well, this version permits the THEC64 Mini user to read and start the game from a USB stick, making the previous workarounds totally obsolete. THEC64 Mini version also allows the user to jump by means of the additional buttons where you previously had to use the “joystick up” move. Oh yeah, this version of Sam’s Journey also takes advantage of better loading routines (taking advantage of the latest THEC64 Mini firmware).

If you have THEC64 Mini, then this special version of Sam’s Journey is a must! The download package is available via Protovision as well as on itch.io. If you already own Sam’s Journey, then you are in luck, as this special version is available free of charge to you!

 

Galencia on Steam!

The 2017 C64 GOTY, Galencia is now on Steam! So for those that missed out on Jason Aldred’s brilliant shmup on the C64, you are in luck, just head to Steam and buy it immediately!

If you are asking yourself, what is Galencia, then let us enlighten you – Galencia is a tribute to the great ‘stars and space’ shooters from the 1980’s, a love letter to Galaga and similar games from the golden age of arcade games.

Thanks to the awesome Jason Aldred, we have 5 x Galencia Steam keys to giveaway! All you have to do is tell us what your fave shoot’em up is on Twitter or Facebook (you must follow us and/or Like our page to be in the running).

The Galencia Steam keys giveaway will close at 4:00pm on July 31 (Australia Eastern Standard Time). Giveaway winners will be announced on August 1! So go on, what are you waiting for, hit Twitter and Facebook!

The lowdown:

Oh yeah, Galencia on Steam is enjoying a 40% launch discount, so go and get pew, pew, pewing!

PS: Jason has informed us that there is a sequel in the works, Galencia: Khaos Sphere that you can back right now on Indiegogo!

 

Review: THEC64® Mini Computer

The wait is finally over! If Nintendo can roll out their NES and SNES Mini consoles, then surely the greatest 8-bit computer deserves to have a Mini of its own. Roll out the red carpet, cause here comes THEC64® Mini!

So why would we want this C64 Mini when we already have ten original Commodore 64 computers and hundreds of games on tape and 5.25″ floppy disks? Well, the main reason is the convenience. The convenience here is that we can plug and play THEC64® Mini on our new Sony Bravia TV without concerning ourselves with tuning issues and also finding extra power outlets for the computer and disk drive. Yeah yeah, we know people will argue the “build your own Raspberry Pi with a 3D printed case”, but that sounds like a lot of effort to us.

Packaging:
Our first impressions of this unit is exactly the same impressions and feelings we had when we first got our Commodore 64 America’s Cup Family Pack edition in 1986 – “Holy Guacamole, this is ace! Look at the box and check out the cool games and stuff on the back!”. The added bonus here is that there is no John Laws caricature on the box, which is a damn good thing (Ed: Only Australians of a certain vintage will understand). You can tell you have a premium product by the quality of the packaging – and THEC64 Mini is packaged so good you won’t want to take it out.

So what’s inside the box you ask? Since you asked nicely, here you go:

  • THEC64® Mini
  • 1.5m wired USB joystick (with added function keys for game specific modes
  • USB charging cable (1.2m)
  • HDMI cable (1.2m) allowing full compatibility will all modern TVs
  • Quick Reference Guide

Build Quality:
Make no mistake, THEC64 Mini is on par, actually, it is even of a better build quality than Nintendo’s Minis! Yep, it is that good. THEC64 Mini main unit feels strong and durable, and it just looks like a shrunken C64 breadbin – it is super cute and detailed. There are no lose bits or wonky interfaces or shoddy buttons that feel like they will break at the slightest touch – everything feels polished and rock solid. This Mini should last just as long as the original C64 computers from 1982. Oh yeah, the bundled Competition Pro (CompPro) joystick is just as good, with a plethora of buttons to interact with the carousel menu and play games with. Thankfully the joystick is not microswitched, meaning you can play quietly while everyone is asleep (the fire buttons are a tad loud though). We just wish it was a TAC-2 instead of the CompPro – but that ain’t a biggie.

Entertainment:
THEC64 Mini comes with, surprise surprise, 64 built in games! Granted, there are a number of missing classics, like The Last Ninja, but hey, there is still enough awesome licensed games to satisfy even the most die-hard retro gamers.

Instead of getting all huffy about the games that are missing, let’s concentrate on the games that are in this cute little breadbin – we have, Armalyte, Creatures, Cybernoid I & II, Hawkeye, IO, Impossible Mission I & II, Nebulus, Paradroid, Uridium, Pitstop II and the awesome ‘Games’ series from Epyx, to name just a few. Oh yeah, there is an online keyboard which you can use for games that require keyboard input or you can attach an external USB keyboard to make things easier. And there are four save / load game slots per game, so use them wisely!

What we can say is that each of the 64 games are classics in their own right, with each of them getting favourable review scores back in the day. So instead of getting upset of what’s missing, enjoy what’s on offer! And if you really really want to add your own programs or games, then you can do so here, but be warned it is quite a cumbersome process.

Features & Flexibility:
Sick of playing the built games? No worries, if you prefer to type in your own programs, then THEC64 Mini has you covered. Just connect an external keyboard via USB and start typing in your BASIC listings – try doing that with your NES or SNES Classic Minis.

With the addition of the two USB ports, THEC64 Mini allows flexibility of connecting an external PC keyboard and also the bundled CompPro joystick. As mentioned previously, you can also load your own programs (or games) via this process.

The display is pretty much pixel perfect on any new TV. The Mini also has CRT filters and aspect ratio modes if you are longing for that true nostalgic look and feeling. The carousel menu is also intuitive and easy to navigate with the joystick with its functional buttons.

Unlike the original C64, the makers of THEC64 Mini have given their assurance that there will be future software / firmware updates via a USB flash drive. Future proofing such a device gives us confidence that THEC64 Mini will only get better.

Overall:
Without a shadow of a doubt THEC64 Mini has hit the mark. For those craving a mechanical C64 keyboard, then buy yourself an original Commodore 64, but if you look past this and connect an external PC keyboard to type in your BASIC programs, then you will enjoy this Mini. There are enough pre-installed games on this thing to keep even the most discerning retro enthusiasts happy.

If you prefer your original Commodore 64 computer, then keep playing it. For everyone else, check out this little convenient C64 beast, you won’t be disappointed.

The 8-bit micro-computing king is back, baby!

Released: March 29 2018
Available: JB Hi-Fi and EB Games
RRP: From $149

THEC64® Mini was kindly supplied by Five Star Games for this review.

 

2SER Radio Chat: The Commodore 64 Returns

In a world of fun and fantasy, and ever changing views
And computer terminology, Commodore is news
Are you keeping up with the Commodore?
‘Cause the Commodore’s keeping up with you

If you remember this (in)famous 80s jingle, you’ll know that it was for a particular 8-bit micro computer.

If you were curled up in bed this morning and missed the chat about all things Commodore 64 (and the comeback with the new THEC64 Mini) on Nic Healey’s 2SER Breakfast show, then you are in luck – go and listen to it over here!

Let the C64 legacy live on!

 

THEC64® Mini: Coming on March 29!

The World’s best-selling Home Computer on sale from 29 March 2018

The fully licensed re-imagining of the 80’s bestselling home computer – THEC64® Mini – will be released on the 29 March 2018!

Developed by Retro Games Ltd – and distributed by Koch Media – THEC64® Mini is half the size of the original C64 and is a fully functioning home computer that connects directly to your television and comes with two USB ports for the joystick and a keyboard.

Launched in 1982, the C64 home computer went on to dominate the home computer scene throughout the 1980s. Millions of units were sold across the world and have a special place in the hearts of its former owners.

36 years later and it’s back as the reimagined THEC64® Mini.  Plugging into any modern TV via its HDMI port, users can play any one of the 64 licensed classic pre-installed  games.  This includes games from developers like Epyx, Gremlin Graphics, Hewson and The Bitmap Brothers boasting titles such as California Games, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, Paradroid and Impossible Mission among many others.

Also included is the classic puzzler Boulder Dash®. The game sees ‘Rockford’ cavern crawling in search of gems while trying to avoid creatures, cave-ins and gas explosions. Stephan Berendsen, President of BBG Entertainment GmbH said: “Retro Games and BBG brought back together what has always belonged dating back to 1984 – the C64 and Boulder Dash®.”

Most of these games were rated over 90% by leading publications of the day, with many winning coveted awards. From sports to shooters, platforms to puzzles, there is a plethora of titles to keep the most discerning retro enthusiast happy!

“We are delighted to bring to retail THEC64 mini and let both original fans of the machine, and all-new generations of games players discover this amazing system, as well as maybe even have a go at programming it for themselves!”, said Paul Andrews, Retro Games’ Managing Director.

What’s in the box:

  • THEC64® Mini
  • 1.5m wired USB joystick (with added function keys for game specific modes
  • USB charging cable (1.2m)
  • HDMI cable (1.2m) allowing full compatibility will all modern TVs

Other features include:

  • Pixel perfect display with US/Europe display modes
  • CRT filter options
  • Save game function
  • Plug a standard PC keyboard into one of the two USB ports and use as a classic C64 to type in those old BASIC computer listings
  • Future software updates can also be assured by firmware revisions via USB flash drive.

image source: THEC64® Mini

PRESS RELEASE supplied by Koch Media