A500 Mini: Commodore's 16-bit legend gets the classic console treatment

Originally published at: A500 Mini: Commodore's 16-bit legend gets the classic console treatment | Boing Boing


It was 32-bit though. Motorola 68000

16/32. 24 bit addressing (though in this age of 64 bit chips with 39 bit address lines perhaps that’s a quibble too far.)


I wonder if the classic 3D rendering applications that early computer graphics nerds loved so much will run on this machine…

eta: and if so, if there is any way to output any files from it…(more ellipses)

A17716A would work to most 1337-speak folk.

From the days when computers were fun!


What are all those buttons on the controller for? Most Amiga games were controlled by a 1-button joystick. I used the same Wico Bat-Handle joystick that I had on my c64 and VCS.


It seems top be a version of the (later) CD32 joypad, which did have four buttons:

Hence the name of its competitor, the Atari ST.

At the time it was part of the “32bit generation/era” of computers and consoles, deliberately using that term to underline the point that they were a technological step up from 16-bit machines like the Speccy and C64. It might not be technically completely correct, but it as much of a cultural term as a technical one.
^^^ All bollocks, I doubled the numbers for some reason

As an Amiga owner I can tell you it’s actually called the ST because the H and I fell off. :wink:


You can sideload from USB (what would any Amiga be without pirated games, after all?). So maybe?

No. Speccy and C64 were solidly 8-bit machines and were called that at the time. There was nothing 16 bit at all about Z80s and 6502s. People called the Amiga and Atari ST 16 bit machines (even if they were 16/32). 32 bit machines were the 386/486/586 PCs and the PowerPC era Macs.



Happy Aww GIF by MCDM

I had:

  • A500, which I bought a 1.5MB upgrade card for that required clipping a wire onto Agnus (the chip, not a person!)
  • A1200 with a 80MB hd (my first!)

THEN I went to work for an Amiga design house. My work machine was an A4000 with a Video Toaster in it. My take-home Amiga was an A1200 with an 68030 accellerator, MMU, and 32MB of ram.
I also had an Amiga CD32 with the MPEG hardware accellerator card in it to watch movies. I bought every game I could - back them Sam the Recond Man in Toronto actually sold them!

I ran a multinode BBS (running DLG and a fideonet node) on that 1200. Ah, how I miss those days.


Another 16 bit computer, sadly overshadowed by the Amiga, Atari ST and even the IIGS was the TI-99/4A.

1 Like

The ST had a last generation sound chip

the POKEY - Wikipedia

and unlike the Amiga, was liimited to a 512 color palette,


Same Screen on Atari ST/Apple IIGS

These shots reflect the practical pallettes: 32 colors on the Amiga (from a pallette of 4096) and 16 (from 512) on the ST.

However, that ST screenshot there betrays a very crude port. 16 from 512 should look rather nicer than that and usually did.

Turning to Da Crowd There was all sorts of crazy graphical stuff on the Amiga. Working from the ground up (exploiting registers) you could fill a color with a gradient from the 4096 colors, which was very nice when done subtly (e.g. Shadow of the Beast) and “very Amiga” when not (e.g. Onslaught)

Amiga also had a 64 color mode with the second half being your 32-color set half-bright. This also required sufficient wizardry that it was only used on Amiga-first titles, but looked very nice when it was and titles using half-brights were competitive with PC VGA, and SNES, etc.

The famous HAM mode, 4096 colors at once, involved attribute clash and while at the time was spectacular, everything that used it now just looks like a really nasty deepfried JPG.


Yes, unfortunately TI made it so you needed an expensive developer kit (like with a console) to access machine code so the benefits it had over the competing 8-bits was pretty much lost


I did assembly programming on the processors of that era, and I always thought of the 68000 as 32 bit, especially compared with the 8088/8086 and awkwardness of segment registers, normalizing pointers…

1 Like

Hm. The ST used the AY-3-8910, which was finicky to work with. (We spent a lot of time taking apart the Tapper coin-op hardware and software to try to figure out how they got it to sound so good.)


I’ve still got my old A500 rig lying around here. Bought it from a company which had a huge collection of shareware diskettes, with the promise that as a customer, I could go in any time with blank disks and copy all that I wanted. Sweet!
That company was out of business before I ever got a chance to do that. :frowning:

Now, my Amiga’s dust cover is dust-covered. I haven’t used it in years and it would probably need a thorough recapping, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of it.