It has been a while since I posted anything regarding my experiences with Linux on my AmigaOne X5000 machine.  Regular readers of my blog will be aware that I succeeded in installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on to a USB Key, but the truth is since then Linux hasn’t seen much of the love.

Having not been a Linux user in the past and finding the environment a little different from the Amiga or a PC running Windows, I did find Linux a little difficult to get to grips with, even more so when things don’t work properly and you are then having to find out the answers.  I found the overall operating system a little sluggish. VLC media player did not work at all,  Firefox at version 47 was a little outdated, MPlayer was a little temperamental in its use.  Then it turned out my Radeon HD 7750 graphics card wasn’t fully supported and so had to suffer less than optimal playback of video.  I even tried installing Debian 9 on my machine but found things even more difficult and not so user-friendly.  Things just seemed easier back in Amiga world and so I left it at that.  At least in Amiga world, it didn’t prompt me for a superuser password every time I wanted to install a piece of software.

Keeping a semi-regular eye on the Hyperion Entertainment support forums, I became aware of a new Linux PowerPC specific distribution called Fienix which many regular contributors to that forum are rightly praising  for its speed and look so I thought today`s post would be best served looking at this Debian based distribution which comes to us courtesy of a fellow X5000 user Casey Cullen.

Now it should be noted that depending on what you would like to use Linux for on your X5000, you may need to change your graphics card or install a 2nd graphics card in one of the PCI-EX slots as it appears that there may be some speed issues in Fienix when using a Radeon SI based card and there is no 3D hardware acceleration when using a Radeon HD 7750. For the purposes of this test, I used a Radeon X1650 card, but would really recommend the use of a Radeon 5000 or 6000 series card due to these types of cards offering better OpenGL support.

For the purposes of this test, Fienix being run off this very tiny 128GB Sandisk USB key which cost me all of EUR22.99 in Media Markt when I popped into a branch on a recent weekend away in Nuremberg, Germany. However there is also the opportunity to install this to a physical hard drive or SSD connected to one of the onboard SATA ports on the X5000.

Fienix, along with some clear and excellent installation instructions can be downloaded from the following page.  It should be noted that you will need to install this from an existing Linux distribution using GParted, so if you have another machine running Linux, then the preparation can be done there before transferring the completed USB stick back to your AmigaOne X5000 machine. If you do not have an existing a Linux distribution and would benefit from the whole OS installed on a USB key, then US based retailer Amiga on the Lake can offer a very good solution here.

Fienix  which can also run on Sam 460 and AmigaOne X1000 machines, is primarily derived from Debian Linux and includes customizations, PowerPC bug fixes and performance enhancements.  It makes use of the MATE desktop environment which is probably one of the more user-friendly options.

The first thing that will strike you upon loading up Fienix is just how beautiful everything looks. I really like the blue and black look a lot.

In the top right hand corner you have a menu which opens downwards on the screen on to various sub folders on the left hand tab and a list of all your installed programs on the right hand side with a slider.

The first thing I wanted to check was that my sound card was working, so I opened up Rythmbox which is a music streaming program allowing you to play Internet radio or listen to a podcast.  I found this program quite easy to use and was able to download one of my favourite dance music podcast with ease.  Suffice to say the sound card worked without any issue and  as I was streaming the music, this also meant that my Internet was working.

Next up was to check out what Internet browsing options were available.  You will see from the screenshot above that Fienix features a nice dock like menu that you can add various programs to as a shortcut and here you can select Firefox 52.9 as a browser.

It isn’t the most up to date version of Firefox, but it is more up to date than that Firefox 47 found on Ubuntu 16.04.  There are some bugs with this particular release in so much as I did have trouble trying to re-open the browser whenever it crashed and had to do a few re-installations of the browser.

However for a more up to date browsing experience which is optimised for PowerPC based systems,  I suggest that you head over to the following webpage  where you can download the Arctic Fox browser which is quick and offers really good playback of YouTube videos, although if you are suffering with any sound playback issues you may need to download Viewtube as well as activating the Greasemonkey and VLC plugins in the Tools tab towards the top.

Web browsing is really quick with Arctic Fox with pages rendering very quickly and it was quite quick to move up and down pages with either the mouse or the task bar on the right. Sites like WordPress, Twitter, Outlook Mail, Expedia, Argos all rendered really well using this browser.

I am able to stream from BBC IPlayer without any stuttering which I was unable to do on my previous Ubuntu installation.

YouTube plays really well with the VLC Plugin and also in full-screen.  It would be quite nice to have this ported across to AmigaOS 4.

Now it should be noted that I have installed an extra 4GB of memory to my machine which this Linux distribution is using along with the 2nd core of the CPU, so the speed difference is really noticeable despite me using a not so modern graphics card.  If you do decide to add additional memory over and above the 4GB that comes with your X5000 machine, please note that your CD-ROM drive which in my case is connected to one of the on-board SATA ports will not work.  The good news here is that a USB CD or DVD-ROM will work just fine plugged into one of the USB ports on the X5000.

When I was previously using Ubuntu or Debian 9, one of the main disappointments was discovering that VLC was not working as it required AltiVec which the X5000 doesn’t have on board. Imagine my surprise and astonishment on discovering that Fienix delivers a non-AltiVec version of VLC player which plays back 720p video with ease. It did however, struggle with a few frame drops when it tried to play 1080p video in full screen mode.

The X1650 card installed in my machine is certainly not the most modern card, nor is it the most powerful with 512MB of RAM but I thought it performed quite well regardless and it is nice to finally have a working VLC Player on my Linux setup. Better results are obtained if you can use a Radeon 5000-6000 series card.

Email wise, you have the rather nice Mozilla Thunderbird, which uses Mozilla Firefox to display your emails in an HTML format and which is incredibly easy to set up.

Whilst Amiga users are awaiting Libre Office 4 or should that now be Libre Office 5 whenever it decides to appear, this version of Fienix treats us to the full Libre Office suite version


For those unfamiliar with Linux, the downloading of software is done by accessing a software repository and Fienix comes with Synaptic Package Manager which I quite like using and is a little similar to Grunch found on AmigaOS.  The annoying thing about Linux is that any big changes to the system like installation of new programs, requires you to authorise it via entering in your superuser password.

The package manager is nicely laid out in different sections and in this instance, I am going to download Extreme Tux Racer.

Before you download, it will give you a summary of what is to be downloaded, how much space it will occupy and the progress level of the download.  This lot took me about 3-4 minutes to download, although to be fair, I was streaming music at the time and using the Internet for a few other tasks around the house.

Once fully downloaded the program will drop into the relevant folder, in this case games.

Having never seen Extreme Tux Racer I thought this would be a good one to check out.

The 3D action moves quite well in this game and I rather enjoyed playing it and it ran at a reasonable frame rate.  Sadly not all the 3D games I tried managed to display correctly, some worked after I disabled the OpenGL and others like Super Tux Kart and TORCS suffered from graphics corruption which lead me to believe there is some issue with my graphics card driver or a version of OpenGL.

It is worth remembering that Fienix as a distribution is very much in Beta status and has been up until its release the hard work and man hours of one individual, for which Casey Cullen should be congratulated as it is really good stuff.  This distribution is so good in fact that there is talk on the Hyperion Linux support forums about focusing on this particular distribution moving forward and its hard not to see why as it ticks many boxes here as the system is quick and responsive with a working and up to date browser, VLC video playback which now works on the X5000 or other non-AltiVec machines, and an updated version of Libre Office.

For those who have yet to try out Linux on their X5000 machine or indeed Sam 460 or X1000 machines then I suggest that you give this distribution a try.  It certainly has made me more enthusiastic about using Linux, so you will have to excuse me whilst I go back to playing Extreme Tux Racer again.

Until next time, have fun with your Amigas!














VICE- Running Commodore 64 games on your Amiga

They say you never really forget your first love and whilst my first foray into the world of video games was with an Atari 2600, I’d probably say my first real love was arrived in the form of a Commodore 64 which was given to me for my 12th birthday back in 1990 and which I still own today.  As you can see from the picture below, It is in reasonably good shape considering the level of abuse that I have given it over the years.

Released way back in 1982 in a beige brown breadbin style casing, the Commodore 64 really does not need too much of an introduction. It remains one of the best-selling home computers of all time with around 17 million machines sold around the world. Its games library is so iconic and varied that it could easily fill a 500 page encyclopedia and the Sound Interface Device, known more commonly as the SID chip is a distinctive and iconic sound which has influenced all manner of video game composers modern-day chart acts and even its own radio station in the form of Slay Radio.

The Commodore 64 is a pretty versatile machine when it comes to loading software programs.  Most UK-based games players will remember having to load games off a C2N Datacorder and those iconic Ocean loading tunes composed by Jonathan Dunn, however for many users elsewhere around the world,  a lot of software also came out on 5 1/4 inch floppies.Many years later I managed to pick up a 1541 disk drive cheaply 2nd hand and the disk drive remains a handy and rather sought after peripheral in order to try out games, although many users have discovered the simplicity of a much smaller and less power-hungry SD card through the SD2IEC drive.

The machine also features a cartridge port which allows you to  play a number of cartridge games which were released back in the early 80’s and 1991 when Commodore unwisely saw it fit to release a cartridge only version of the machine in the Commodore 64 Games System.

A large proportion of Amiga owners first owned a Commodore 64 back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s and are well aware of what a great little machine this is, however what if you missed out on the party the first time round and are interested in taking a look either via one of the current  C64 Mini machines or via emulation?   Well today’s blog post will be looking at a program called VICE which will allow you to explore not just the C64 but the other machines in Commodore’s 8-bit range such as the VIC-20 and the Commodore 16 and Plus 4 although for the purposes of this post I will be looking specifically at the C64.

Now it should be noted that there are quite a few and more up to date versions of VICE knocking about the internet, but the one I will be looking at today is one that definitely works on the X5000 and is version 1.22 which can be found on OS4 Depot.  A more recent version on OS4 Depot  (version 2.420)  runs a little sluggish and suffers from corrupted sound and version 3.1 found on Sourceforge locks up my X5000 on start.  I haven’t quite worked out what would appear to be causing these issues, but I think it’s better to focus on what does work right?

Extraction of the file from OS4 Depot to my Ram Disk  reveals a .tar file which you will then need to extract further.

Simply extract this to a folder of your choosing, in this case I have C64 folder already set up in a folder I have called emulators.

In it I have a load of C64 program files so I simply extract the emulator into this folder.

Once extracted and you open up the VICE folder, you have a number of options to emulate various machines from Commodore’s range of 8-bit machines:

  • Commodore PET  (xpet.exe)
  • VIC 20 (xvic.exe)
  • Commodore Plus 4 (xplus4.exe)
  • Commodore 64 (x64.exe)
  • Commodore 128 (x128.exe)

You also have the option to add one of the logos to the X-Dock which I have done as a sub-dock emulator folder.

To add a program to the X-Dock just simply add and select wherever you have placed the executable file.

Once added you can see that the Commodore icon has appeared and to start the program you just need to double-click.

For those interested in the other tabs on my sub-dock, they are DGEN (Mega Drive), FPSE (Playstation), Hatari (Atari ST/Falcon), SimCoupe (Sam Coupe), Arcem (Acorn Archimedes), Atari++ (Atari 8-bit), OSMoSe (Sega Master System), SNES9X (Super Nintendo), GNgeoNG (NeoGeo), VICE (C64), FUSE (Spectrum) and AmiNES(Nintendo NES).

Opening up VICE reveals that famous Commodore 64 Basic screen.


The first thing you may want to set up are the Joysticks for use with the emulator.  The Commodore 64 features two joystick ports and many of the games will load from port 2.If you are playing solo, I would probably recommend configuring both ports under Joystick configuration A.   As for what Joysticks or pads to use, well the Competition  Pro USB is the obvious choice here as most Commodore 64 game players would have used a joystick, although it works just as well with a Xeox Speedlink or Logitech 310 joy pad.

Another thing you may want to configure beforehand, is in regards to the SID chip.  Having owned the later model with the 8580 SID chip, I am pretty used to hearing all its idiosyncrasies and  listening tosamples from certain games, however for the purists out there or those who owned the earlier breadbin model, you may want to consider the original 6581 model.

Other configuration options I would consider adjusting are in the menu option above.  Turning on warp mode is tempting when loading games to ensure that games load quickly as the original 1541 drive is notoriously slow and really benefited from the use of an Epyx Fastloader cartridge, but make sure that this switched off once you are in-game and I would also recommend that your drive lights are left switched on as on some games like R-Type where there can be black screen pauses, it can be handy to see if the drive is being accessed or not.

Loading a game is quite easy, in fact the autostart disk/tape image option matters quite a lot as there is no need to enter in any Load “*”,8,1 commands.   Similar to the CBM file browser, the VICE emulator will open up a file explorer within AmigaOS allowing you to select the required .d64 or .prg file from wherever your files are stored.  The only thing you will need to be aware of is when you have games that are on multiple disks. When the screen prompts you to insert the next disk, you will need to right-click the mouse to bring up the file menu and select attach disk image and attach this to drive 8 which is the standard Commodore 64 drive.

The first game we are loading up is Flimbo’s Quest an iconic title which many people will have played on cartridge format as it was bundled as an in-game pack for those who purchased the Playful Intelligence pack back in late 1990/early 1991.

The game still plays really well and I consider this to be much better than the Amiga or Atari ST versions which came out. It features some nice parallax scrolling effects which are quite similar those found in another well-known Commodore 64 game, Hawkeye. The SID chip belts a number of good tunes in this game.

Another of my favourite games is this Commodore 64 exclusive release Slicks from Codemasters released in 1992.

The Commodore 64 never got to see a release of the Micro Machines game that graced other platforms around the same time, so this game is about a close as you are going to get in terms of gameplay, even though you are racing around in Formula one cars.  In my humble opinion, this game actually plays better than the Micro Machines series.

You get to challenge other drivers for possession of their cars, but for me one of the best challenges is to try to win races  using the not so powerful Benetton car.  It is possible to do, it just involves you cutting corners in all the right spaces and a bit of luck!


Not many people realise that Alien 3 got a conversion to the Commodore 64, Virgin released this back in late 1992/early 1993 and was converted by Probe Software who did a really good job.

Similar in style to the Nintendo NES and Sega Master System versions, I think this version surpasses them and again the SID chip is the star here, belting out a good rendition of the in-game tunes found on the Amiga version.


Mayhem in Monsterland is the jewel in the crown of Commodore 64 titles and famous for being the only Commodore 64 game to have ever scored 100% in Commodore Format.

For those who have never played it, it is a bit of a Super Mario Clone, where each world is split into two sections.  The first section  of each world is all grey and dull and it is Mayhem’s job to collect all the magic dust to turn the second part of the world all a riot of colour.


Once you have collected the required magic dust, you are submerged into a world up until then never seen before on  the Commodore 64 which is perhaps the fastest and most colourful you will ever seen.  On a machine which was limited to just 16 colours, three of which were variants of grey, many games often had a distinctive look about them, but Mayhem  in Monsterland looked unlike anything on the Commodore 64.

Lemmings was the last commercially available game in UK shops and got its conversion a good 3-4 years after the Amiga version.

It’s not the best 8-bit version out there, as I think the Sam Coupe version is the best one, but given the Commodore 64’s limitations I think it does an admiral job.

The Commodore 64 has a pretty active homebrew scene and there are companies like Psytronik, RGCD and Protovision helping to fill a void left behind by mainstream publishing companies.  The good news is that many of these companies now supply their games in a digital as well as a physical format allowing you to try these out under emulation or through the new C64 Mini machine.


Galencia released in 2017 is an homage to the classic shoot-em-up Galaga and I have to say this game plays really well.

I wouldn’t say this is as good as Galaga-88 on the PC Engine, but the graphics and soundtrack in this game are really well done and the difficulty level is not set too hard.

Sam’s Journey is another game which was released in 2017 and comes in this rather professional looking box which I purchased in cartridge format.

It also available as a digital download so you can  play with through the VICE emulator.

Similar to Mayhem in Monsterland, this game is a riot of colour and is incredibly well done. There are lots of very clever tricks in the gameplay where you will need to bounce off  baddies in order to reach a higher platform, or use a cannon ball to launch yourself up to another level.  There are various power up points in the game where your character will turn into a ninja or a pirate complete with a new weapon in order to kill all the baddies on-screen.

Now you will have noticed that I have made mention of the C64 Mini machine, which for those unable to get their hands on the original hardware, is what I would consider to be VICE’s main competition here and it is worth looking at how these both compare in terms of performance. The C64 Mini appeared last year and is a Linux-based box using a closed version of VICE and allows you to play one of the 64 pre-installed games or load your own via USB key thanks to a recent firmware update.

The C64 Mini is a much more polished offering in terms of its front end as it allows you to select games from a nice looking GUI.

However this only applies to the 64 games which are currently supplied with the machine as any other games which you may need to load on are done through a file browser. The C64 Mini also requires you to plug-in a keyboard and limits you to a certain types of controllers of which the supplied joystick is a little on the stiff side especially when it comes to doing diagonals. It is interesting to note that when I tried to plug-in my own USB Competition Pro, it didn’t work and that joystick whilst looking the same is far more responsive.

The lack of USB ports on the mini machine is can also be an issue so you will also have to invest in a USB hub. That being said the C64 Mini, once you have everything set up, looks and sounds fantastic on a modern TV thanks to the default HDMI output and the ability to subtly tweak the picture to give a CRT effect with some subtle scan lines adds makes it hard to distinguish it from the original Commodore 64 machine.

The AmigaOS version of VICE by comparison offers a good quality emulation of an actual Commodore 64 with the ability to tweak no end of video and sound chip settings. The output in HDMI via the graphics card looks quite good although  PAL displays combined with scanline effects are not as polished and can appear a little washed out in colour.  I would also not recommend the use of the High Quality filter mode which is available as this often gives a rather un-natural look to the switch on-screen and the pixels on screen.

Keyboard use works incredibly well once you work out that the Run/Stop key found on an original Commodore 64 corresponds to the ESC key on your keyboard. You also have the option to  configure your mouse for games which on a real machine supported a 1351 mouse (Operation Wolf comes in handy for this) as does the GEOS operating environment.

It is a bit of a shame that the more up to date versions of this emulation package do not run properly on the X5000, but what we do have works quite well and comes recommended. For those who havent really followed the Commodore 64 scene for a while and are curious to find out what things have been happening with it, VICE offers a good opportunity to check out some fantastic games which have been released for the platform over the past few years.  Whilst you are at it, you may want to pick up a copy of the iconic Zzap64 annual for 2019 which features no end of really good reviews and features.


Until next time have fun with your Amigas!







Sega Mega Drive emulation

Today I am going to look at perhaps Sega’s most iconic console, The Sega Mega Drive and with it the option to play its extensive game library through the DGen emulation package on AmigaOS 4.

The Sega Mega Drive was launched in Japan way back in October 1988, but will no doubt be more familiar to my North American readers as the Sega Genesis when it was unleashed across North American a few months later.  It was based on the same Motorola 68000 series CPU found in the original Commodore Amiga 500 machine and pretty much offered an arcade at home experience such was the quality of its graphics and sound. Its game library which was chock-a-block full of Sega franchise titles such as Outrun, Afterburner, Space Harrier II, Super Hang On, Golden Axe and Altered Beast which many people will remember as being a pack in title when the machines were first released.

As the machine gained popularity, it became home to the most definitive franchises of the 16-bit era such as Sonic The Hedgehog, Streets Of Rage, Road Rash, Ecco The Dolphin and Phantasy Star. Its success in North America was largely down to the superlative sports titles and support of Electronic Arts who produced many great games such as John Madden Football and FIFA International Soccer.

Whilst it can be argued that Sega began to lose the plot a little in releasing an expensive CD add-on in the form of the Mega-CD, followed by the complete flop that was 32X, there can be no doubt that the Megadrive occupies a very special place in many a video game players heart and the good news is that thanks to DGen, you can try out many games that perhaps you may have missed out first time round.

DGen on AmigaOS 4 stands at version 1.24 and can be downloaded free of charge from OS4 Depot and I would recommend that whilst there, you also take the opportunity to download the rather simple GUI front end that exists. I see that on other platforms DGen stands at version 1.33, so it would be nice to see an update to this version somewhere down the line.

As you can see from my X5000 setup I have replaced my Amidock with the new X-Dock which can be found as part of the AmigaOS Enhancer Software Pack on the Amistore.  X-Dock has had a rather cool update over the past few months, so in terms of item layout so that items within a sub-dock can be displayed sideways.

DGen has a rather cool Sega like logo which I really like and the GUI is rather on minimal side as indicated.  You have the option to load up the emulator in a number of different screens and I would recommend starting the emulator in window x3 mode as opposed to full-screen, as the full-screen may end up displaying in a small window depending on your monitor and output settings.  If you start in window x3 mode, you can then swap to a correct aspect full-screen  by pressing the right ALT and Enter keys.

After selecting the window, you are then asked to select a game rom and this can be in one of the following formats  .bin or in compressed .zip formats.

The game ROM files can be kept in a folder of your choosing and as you can see I have placed them in the same folder as the DGen executable marked as ROMS.

In terms of configuration of the emulator, the good news here is that there is no real configuration as such if you are using the GUI front end.  DGen will automatically recognise your joy pad and it will also default to an NTSC system so that all North American and Japanese titles will work straight away.

However if you find yourself opening a ROM and are greeted with the following message, it means that the ROM will only run in PAL mode as many Mega Drive titles were region coded.

In this instance to run a PAL based ROM, you will need to start DGen from the command line and then enter in the -P to switch the emulator to the PAL Version.

The first game I am opening up is perhaps, the one which is most associated with the Mega Drive, Sonic The Hedgehog.

The graphics via the HDMI output on the X5000 look really good and the good news is that the emulator runs at a very good speed too.

Although I think the Sega Master System version is better than this Mega Drive version, Sonic is still a fantastic game to play.

Next up is another iconic Sega game, Super Hang On.  I absolutely love this game on the classic Amiga which is blessed with a really good conversion and some good in-game music tracks.

I think the tunes on the Mega Drive version are a little muted in comparison, but there is no doubt the game looks better than it does on the Amiga and generally looks more polished than its Amiga counterpart.

However Super Hang On, helps to demonstrate that DGen’s emulation is not 100% accurate.  It took me a few goes to try to get the screen grabbing software to catch this, but notice the trees on either side as the track turns slightly to the left.  You have the trees in the background slightly out of position so that it gives the impression when the screen moves that the graphics are all over the place.

Another game where I found that the emulation didn’t work too great was with Road Rash, which on the Mega Drive is vastly superior to the sluggish Amiga version. As you can see from the above screenshot, the emulation results in a set of corrupted backgrounds  which is a bit of a shame.

Another iconic Mega Drive game is Streets of Rage 2 which I am pleased to report does emulate really well.

This game manages to improve on the original game which in itself is worth checking out too.

In this game, I am pleased to the scrolling works well and is fluid. It feels so good to be playing this game with a HDMI output and its thumping iconic soundtrack.

The Mega Drive was able to dominate somewhat in North America thanks to its superlative sports games and support from Electronic Arts. The most iconic of their titles is John Madden Football which was unlike anything else seen on a home console up to that point.

As a Brit, the rules of American Football do tend to go over my head a little.

Especially when you are faced with tactical menus such as this. Where is the goal again?

Now for something just as iconic and perhaps more recognisable for my European readers as football even if it is called FIFA International Soccer.

In title screen and in game action is quite similar to the Classic Amiga version.

The emulation of this game is quite good and I have to say it plays much quicker than the Amiga version.

The NBA Jam series is another iconic set of games on the Mega Drive.

Again the emulation when playing this game is top-notch on this game and I really enjoy playing this game.

It is worth noting that many of the standout Mega Drive titles like FIFA, Road Rash or Street Fighter 2 were pretty poor efforts when they finally ended up on the Amiga and in contrast many of the top Amiga titles of the same period like Lotus, Chaos Engine, Shadow of The Best and Speedball were not as good on the Mega Drive.

In playing with DGen, it was nice to take a trip back to the early 90’s and re-discover a top-notch system that so many of my fellow classmates at school were raving about and with justifiable reason too. Whilst I have highlighted that not all games will run correctly using this emulator, I would say about 90% of what I have tried out appears to work ok and without issue. The Mega Drive game library is so numerous and varied that there are just too many games to go through in today’s blog post so if you do try this emulator out, don’t be too upset if not all games work. I do like how easy it is to set up and get going with no need to unzip rom files and the joy pad support works well, although it is perhaps a little bizarre to be using a Super Nintendo style joy pad in the 8bitdo SFC30 Pro when playing Sega Mega Drive games!

Until next time have fun with your Amigas!


Simplemail with KT Scripts update

Today I am going to look at a script which has just appeared on OS4 Depot that will make a big difference to one of the Amiga’s best known email clients Simplemail.

Certainly one of my main gripes with Simplemail has been that it does not fully support emails which are displayed in HTML and even when you received an email with containing HTML, it was not possible to view these in a browser like Odyssey. However thanks to a program contained within a program called KT_Scripts, you now have the ability to be able to view such HTML emails in the Odyssey browser.

KT Scripts which comes to us courtesy of its author Kevin Taddeucci, and is actually a collection of ARexx and AmigaDOS scripts which he has written to improve functionality within Simplemail and the web browsers Odyssey and Netsurf. I am only going to deal with the script for Simplemail in today’s post, but I will say it is worth installing the other scripts which appear as part of this package as they will enhance both Odyssey and Netsurf.

Simplemail, if you do not already have this installed on your AmigaOS 4 machine, can be found at OS4 Depot,

A more up to date beta version 0.44 can also be found at the Simplemail page. however I am choosing to stick with version 0.42 from OS4 Depot as I have found a few issues with the beta version which can lock up the machine at times or not display my IMAP folders correctly.

Whichever version you decide to use however, the installation process will be the same and is quite simple really, you just need to unpack the folder of your choosing.

Setting up your email account is quite easily done via the configuration tab.

I use Outlook email as my main account and to set this up for use within Simplemail you will need to enter the receive server details with the address and use port 993 and activate TLS security. You will also need to enter your email username and password as per your Outlook account and a good tip here is to make sure that the delete emails tab is left unchecked as this will ensure that when you download emails from the server they are not deleted. (handy if you access your emails on multiple devices)

Sending emails using an Outlook account will require you to enter and use port 587.  Change your security settings to STARTTLS, click the tab that says use SMTP AUTH and renter your email address username and password. You can always test your settings by running the test button towards the top right and once run, if there is nothing highlighted in red, your connection settings are correct and you should then press save.

Downloading emails from your email server can take a few minutes if you are doing this for the very first time, but here you can see that all my folders are accessible.

The next important bit is to move across the ARexx script from the KT Script file which you have also downloaded and transfer this across to the ARexx folder which can be found in your Simplemail folder.

Once this has been moved across it is simply just a case of opening up an email.

then right clicking and selecting run ARexx script from the top.  This will open up a file requester and you just need to select the view_html_odyssey.smrx script.

Once this is done, you can see that it opens up the email in a webpage in Odyssey.

I realise that this method might be a little awkward for the majority or users, however the script’s author has suggested that you can map one of the keys on your keyboard to automatically open up HTML emails within Odyssey and for this you will need to download Allkeys which can also be found at OS4 Depot.

I simply unpack this to my Utilities folder and open up Allkeys.

You simply need to select add a key and then press the key that you wish to configure in this instance I am going to use the menu key which sits on my keyboard next to the right CTRL key,  but whichever key you decide to use you need to ensure that when you select your key, you have the no upstrokes tab ticked as shown above.

Then you will need to fill the command with a rx command showing the location of Simplemail, for example as I have it stored also in my Utilities folder, I have to enter


This will then ensure that whenever I press the menu key within Simplemail, it will open the HTML in Odyssey.  Nice and easy!

For a while now, across many of the Amiga forums there have been many grumblings about Simplemail notably the fact it was never really updated and it seemed to be lacking all sorts of features, but I am glad someone has taken the task of resolving one of its biggest issues with just this script. A big thank to you to Kevin Taddeucci for solving this issue and making Simplemail useable again on AmigaOS 4.

Until next time have fun with y our Amigas.

Web browsing on the X5000

One of the biggest changes I have noticed over the past 20 years is that we have become so reliant on the Internet, that it is now an integral part of everyday life in a way that we perhaps couldn’t have imagined back in the 1990’s.  A good proportion of our daily existence revolves around the Internet from reading the news, to moving money around and paying our bills or booking our next trip away. We use the Internet every day to seek the advice of others and keep in touch with friends via social media. We rely on the Internet now for our entertainment through the streaming and downloading of music and TV, we order our food and clothes from websites and many of us have met our wives/husbands or love of their lives through the Internet.  It has such a vice-like grip on our daily existence that we even have major conflicts start or even peace summits brought about by a simple tweet.

Given the nature of the Amiga scene (a mainly low user base, installed hardware and the complete lack of funds for development) it is fair to say that Internet browsers on the Amiga have really struggled to keep pace with the advances that have taken place over the past 20 years. I remember back in the late 1990’s when I had an A1200, web browsing using browsers such as A-Web and I-Browse were already lagging behind their PC and Mac counterparts which had access to Internet Explorer and Netscape.

When I first got my hands on the AmigaOne 500 back in 2014 it was a nice surprise to finally have an Amiga which could handle more modern web browsing tasks and with some updated browsers in Odyssey and Timberwolf, although  after a couple of years using the machine it became clear that the machine was not powerful enough to handle the some of the demands of modern-day Internet browsing and was one of my main reasons for upgrading to the X5000.

Today I thought I would take a look at the various web browsing options that are available for us to use in 2018 on AmigaOS 4 and how they perform with the added power of the X5000 and what realistically you can expect to do on each browser.

Odyssey Web Browser

Odyssey Web Browser is without doubt the main browser when anyone thinks of Amiga Next Generation computing.  Based on the Webkit engine which is found in more well-known browsers like Apple Safari, this browser dates back from 2013 when it was developed on the  MorphOS platform and later ported across to AmigaOS.  The current AmigaOS 4 version 1.23 dates from late 2013 but there have been a few tweaks and bug fixes to it since then so that we are using version 1.23r4 which was last updated late last year.

Odyssey was the big game changer as far as AmigaOS browsers were concerned, as for the first time we had a browser that was capable of supporting HTML5 video. This means that we can now view videos from You Tube although thanks to a limitation of the AmigaOS port we are limited to viewing this in a small You Tube window within the browser. Granted, it is not ideal, but we have a number of work around solutions to this.  The first one I would recommend is to spoof as I-Pad as you will find that it will open up a video area which covers a much greater potion of the screen as shown in the screen shot above.   Playback of 360p and 480p videos shouldn’t cause too much issue, however expect some serious frame drops if we try anything higher.

The other option for You Tube viewing is to ditch the browser completely and use SMTube which will allow you to either download a video to your Amiga for playback in MPlayer or stream the file directly into MPlayer. 720p video is possible via this method and you also get the added advantage of full screen browsing, so for many a user this is considered the best and preferred option.

However for other video based sites, the advice to spoof as I-Pad also works well for websites like Daily Motion.   Its limitations?  Well you can’t access BBC I-Player or Netflix, in fact Netflix will not let you even get past the log in page!

Talking of the BBC, here is how the website displays in Odyssey.  Generally I find it works quite well although the BBC’s insistence on using Flash for video playback on many of its news items is a bit of a bugbear as Adobe Flash is not supported on the Amiga.

However by spoofing again as I-Pad and then reloading the page you then find that you are able to view the supposed flash enabled content. I am not quite sure what is going on here, but the BBC are renowned for supporting Apple based products over and above any other platform, so whether they chose to have their content displayed in HTML 5 instead of Flash when browsing as I-Pad, it does mean that we are not totally stuck.

Banking transactions can be done via Odyssey and the following UK-based websites appeared to load into the log in page: Santander, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, First Direct. Whether or not you may think its safe to be doing these types of transactions on an Amiga is totally up to you.  But it is interesting to note the web statistics from browsing with Odyssey; basically it thinks you are using Safari (albeit an older version) which makes sense as it is based on Webkit, however it is worth bearing in mind that some banks openly state that log in should only happen from a list of what they consider to be approved browsers and Odyssey being on the Amiga generally is not one of them, so you may expose yourself to all sort of risks in the event of any fraud on your account.

Surfing Amiga based browsers creates no issues, which is no surprise really as a lot of these are designed to display on lower specification machines and outdated browsers like I-Browse.

Online blogs like WordPress and Blogger work in Odyssey.  However I have found that WordPress can be a little temperamental with its standard display.  Until I recently reinstalled Odyssey I was pretty much restricted to the slightly clumsy looking mobile version which I can access at

However as you can see, this website is produced using Odyssey so I am able to make use of most of the functionality within WordPress.

You are also able to access Microsoft Office Online and use Word or Excel and Powerpoint.

Or make use of the Google equivalent Google Docs.

You can stream music online using websites like Digitally Imported.

It is possible to use Facebook and Twitter on both full website and mobile versions. On the desktop Facebook site, the chat works with no issues and you can also playback video.

I am also able to use Odyssey for web-based Outlook access, however unless you are browsing as Odyssey you are often greeted with an older looking version of Outlook Web Access which I find easier to use especially when it comes to attaching files which are stored locally on your Amiga.

I regularly book train tickets too on websites like Virgin Trains and London Northwestern Railway.

Expedia renders with no problems and I can print off boarding passes from airlines like Ryanair.

Talking of shopping, websites like Amazon and Ebay render really well in Odyssey and I tend not to experience any issues when paying with PayPal for any items either.

Some websites like Argos here in the UK don’t render so well, however it is still possible to browse their website and make purchases.

Overall I would say that I use Odyssey for about 90% of my total browsing needs. It is a pretty stable browser too which doesn’t seem to lock up my system in a way that my AmigaOne 500 machine used to do.  To give you an example, whilst writing today’s blog post, I have had several tabs open, I have also had Tunenet playing in the background and I have also been doing screen grabs non stop with Fastview. So far I have not experienced a lock up of the browser of the system.  Out of all of the browsers I have reviewed here today it is also the only option which allows you to print pages from the browser via a Postscript compatible printer.

Yes there are some negatives like there are with any browser. It is starting to get a little out of date and there are a few websites that will not render correctly.  Not being able to stream any TV from any UK-based websites is probably its biggest handicap  I would say and given today’s web browsing needs Odyssey is need of an update to be able to support such tasks. Although compared to what we used to have on the Amiga in the form of I-Browse and A-Web, this feels far more modern and once you accept its browsing limitations it’s a pretty good browsing experience.  Let’s hope we see an update on AmigaOS to version 1.24 which is currently running on MorphOS or version 1.25 which can be found on AROS (an X86 based Amiga like operating system)


Timberwolf is the name given to the Amiga port of Firefox which dates back from 2010. Now the origins of this port are quite interesting in that it basically came about as the result of a bounty raised by Amiga users to the tune of about EUR 6,732 to help support turn the dream of seeing Firefox on the Amiga into a reality.  Timberwolf is the work of the Frieden brothers, Hans-Joerg and Thomas, who are also employed as developers for Hyperion Entertainment, so their involvement was not without controversy especially when certain financial backers to the bounty felt that the end version provided was slow and lacking a number of features like for example HTML 5 video playback which could be found on other platforms.

This version was last updated in 2012 and is based on quite an old version of Firefox. It hasn’t really been updated since then which is a bit of a shame really,  even more so when we consider that the source code was released a few years back and no one has really picked this up to work on it further.  Back when I owned the AmigaOne 500 machine I tried to give this browser a go, but found that it crashed too often and that my computer was a little bit underpowered, so I guess like many other Amiga users we were a tad too quick to focus on the negatives.

What also doesn’t help matters is that the versions of Timberwolf which are knocking around are incomplete or are not totally up to date and then  require a bit of work in order to set up correctly. One version of Timberwolf on OS4 Depot is missing a number of files, however this incomplete version is a newer version than the one which exists on Aminet.  What you will need to do is download the Aminet version which contains the full files and then overwrite these with files from the updated OS4 Depot version for this to work.

You will also need to read the instructions that come with either version about deleting and installing the font configuration as if you do not do this, Timberwolf will not start-up correctly and crash.

One final thing I will also need to make you aware of, certainly as far as the X5000 is concerned is that  if you install this on a NGFS partitioned drive, then it will work for about 20 minutes, but it will then crash at some point and you may find yourself unable to re-open the browser even after a reset of the machine.

I would recommend that you try to install this on a separate SFS partition and you should find that things work quite well on the X5000.  In fact I would go on record to say that it is a much more useful browser than it ever was when I was using my AmigaOne 500 machine.  Whether this is simply down to the extra power of the X5000 I cannot be totally sure, but it sure does feel like a different browser.  I think many of the criticisms which were levelled against the original version about it being slow are simply down to the hardware it may have been running on.  Modern day browsing and browsers like Firefox simply require a lot of processing power and it stands to reason that the better the specifications, the more you are going to get out of the browser both in terms of speed and performance.  The same comment also applies with Odyssey on the X5000 which feels far more snappier than it ever did on my old machine, so it is proof that if you can go for the faster hardware and specs you will be rewarded.

Whilst we are not going to be able to view You Tube Videos or even write my blog on this current version, a lot of basic Internet browsing is still possible with Timberwolf.

BBC news tends to display quite well.

As does Bing News

Outlook Web Mail access

I can still shop for bargains on Ebay using Timberwolf, although given the age of the browser, it is clear less and less sites are going to render correctly with this browser.

As you can see with this example from Argos for those familiar with the website, the rendering is a bit of a miss and the layout of the items should be presented with at least 10 options on the same page. Here we have to painfully scroll down each item.

It is a bit of a shame that Timberwolf hasn’t been developed further especially as we now have hardware powerful enough to handle the browser, but looking at the release candidate notes, perhaps there is an insight as to why nothing has been pushed forward here.  First it has taken countless hours of spare time to port this thing across to the Amiga.  I dare say it also requires countless hours more of even more spare time to update this further and there are heavy hints in the read me file that we should in fact help to contribute to its development. It sounds logical but there is only so much work these programmers can do out of love, so perhaps the Amiga community would like to organise a fundraiser to update either Odyssey or Timberwolf.


Netsurf is a nice lightweight  CSS based browser that is being developed on and updated regularly and currently stands at version 3.7.  It was last updated on the 15th of October 2017 and on average we tend to see an update every 6-8 months.  As it is a CSS based browser, it means that it won’t be able to play videos within the browser, however the latest update and an ARexx script which has been installed, it will now open up SMTube in order to then display videos via MPlayer.

Web browsing on a CSS based browser can be a bit of a hit or miss experience in so much that the way the pages are displayed on-screen can be formatted incorrectly.  Therefore it is best to recommend these types of browsers for websites which are not too heavy on images.


You will certainly get most mileage out of this website on pages like Wikipedia which display items correctly.f4

Again Bing News displays its content correctly and you can always increase or decrease the size of the fonts by using the right Amiga key and + or – on the numerical keypad.



As Netsurf does not support HTML5 or Flash, it means videos from BBC’s website are not supported.



You will find that most web pages are displayed in a mobile/tablet format as you can see from the example above.  Again you can enlarge this by pressing the right Amiga key and the + on the numeric keypad.


Shopping is possible although it can be a tad hit and miss here.  Ebay seems to work ok.


However with Amazon as it is a little more graphic heavy so you can find the text a little too squashed together at times.


You can access Facebook, however as you can see from the above example it appears to be a modified mobile version of the website.


Lastly we come to National Rail Enquiries which works quite well actually.  In fact there is a lot you can actually get out of browsing on Netsurf once you are aware of its obvious limitations.  Websites like WordPress, Outlook Web Mail, Microsoft Office online and Google Docs sadly will not load up due to the primitive HTML engine which is within Netsurf.  JavaScript support is present in Netsurf, however it has been a work in progress and with each update there have been improvements to both JavaScript and the HTML engines so it may be possible that further down the line we get access to these websites.

There is actually a lot to like about Netsurf, largely down to the speed at which you can move between pages and tabs and whenever a new update appears I am always very curious to see what new features have been added. Amiga 68K and Vampire owners also get to join in on the fun too as a version has also been released for their systems so it means you can finally retire the classic I-Browse and A-Web.


So how does Internet browsing on the Amiga fare in 2018?   Well if you have upgraded from the classic side of things, browsing with Odyssey in particular doesn’t appear to be that bad and we can still get a lot of productive things done like blogs, emails, online documents and the streaming of You Tube and radio.  However if we compare things to 2013 when the Odyssey browser was released for the Amiga, it is scary just how much more reliant we have become on  the Internet for things like streaming movies and TV.  I do hope that any updates that we see to our browsers in the future are able to support things like Netflix or BBC I-Player as it is clear.  As mentioned before it would be nice if we saw another stab at Timberwolf/Firefox on the Amiga.  Anyone up for another bounty??

Until next time have fun with your Amigas.









Atari ++ Atari 8-bit emulator

Today I will take a look at another emulation package which can be run under AmigaOS 4, which on this occasion thrusts the Atari 8-bit range of computers into the spotlight.  Now growing up in the UK in the 80’s and early 90’s it was fair to say that as far as 8-bit home microcomputers were concerned, it was pretty much a three-horse race between the ZX Spectrum,  Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC range of computers.  Yet for some reason in the UK, the Atari 8-bit range of machines didn’t really take off in popularity in the way the other 8-bit machines did. Maybe it was down to poor marketing by Atari, or a focus on their other systems like the Atari 2600 and 7800  or their 16-bit Atari  ST range, but as a result for many UK gamers machines like the Atari 800, 800XL, 1200, 65XE and 130XE were largely ignored by the general public.

As I was given a Commodore 64 for my eleventh birthday all the way back in 1989,  my knowledge of the Atari 8-bit range only ever occurred when I used to see the odd Atari 8-bit tape game for sale down at my local newsagent. (Remember those days when they used to have a big selection of games all at £1.99?)   I  guess what didn’t help its cause was that I  never used to see any Atari 8-bit specific magazines like Zzap 64 and Commodore Format for the Commodore 64, Crash and Sinclair User for the Spectrum, or Amstrad Action for the Amstrad. In fact aside from the odd game in my local newsagent, I only really saw the Atari 8-bit mentioned when it came to adverts from companies like Virgin Mastertronic or Zeppelin Games who supported the format with their budget releases.

However for those who are curious, the Atari 8-bit range actually dates back to 1979 with the release of the Atari 400 and 800 machines which were based on a 6502 processor running at 1.79 Mhz and featured custom graphics chips called ANTIC and CTIA which offered sprite handling, advance hardware scrolling and collision detection.  Both machines were pretty similar in terms of specs although the 400 was released with 16K of RAM and featured a plastic membrane touch keyboard whilst the 800 machine featured 48K of RAM and a proper keyboard.  Games could be loaded off tape or cartridge format.  An interesting link to the Amiga’s history can also be found here as it was Jay Miner who many regard as the “Godfather of the Amiga” who headed up the design of the graphics chips.

The range of machines were most popular in the US and Germany and the most successful  and well-known version of the 8-bit family was the Atari 800XL, which is considered as the third generation model and followed the release of the 1200XL which flopped due to its high price. Both the 1200XL and 800XL machines are backward compatible with the original 400 and 800 machines and feature upgrades to the  ANTIC and CTIA chips along with an improved palette of 256 colours.  Later revisions of the machine were named the Atari 65XE and 130XE and were re-styled in grey to complement the recently launched Atari ST range. Atari also released a console version of the system called the XEGS which featured a separate keyboard, four very weird coloured buttons and a light gun.  In all across all model types, about 4 million units were sold Worldwide.  Atari finally pulled the plug on their 8-bit range in 1992, by at which point the machine had started to gain a following in Eastern Europe, in particular Poland where it still has a bit of a cult following today.

As my own retro game collecting hobby began in the mid to late 90’s, I got the opportunity to pick up this Atari 800 XL from a car boot sale which came with a tape deck and a number of games for the bargain sum of £10.00.  Following this acquisition, it  was only really then that I began to discover the Atari 8-bit range. Sadly the tape deck that came with it was rather worse for wear and many of the games I had picked up with the machine refused to load properly,  so after a few weeks of trying things out I kind of lost interest especially as games took an absolute eternity to load up only to be met with a load error at the end.

However my interest in the Atari 8-bit range was rekindled when I stumbled across Atari ++ for AmigaOS 4 which is a full emulation package designed to emulate the Atari 8-bit family of machines and also the Atari 5200 console. For those who are in Europe reading this, you will be aware that we never really got the chance to play as this machine was only ever released in NTSC format. It should be noted that there are not one but two different emulation packages for AmigaOS4  which do the same thing, with the other being Atari 800 which is a port from Sebastien Bauer of the Atari 800 emulator which is found on Windows and Linux platforms. In truth both emulators are quite similar in set up and execution, however given that I like to play with a joystick and joystick support appears not available in the AmigaOS4 version of Atari 800,  I have decided to go through a run of Atari++


Configuration of Atari++

Atari++ can be downloaded either from the OS4 Depot repository or from our buddy Dr.Hirudov as he is responsible for this port which is at version 1.73 and dates from 2015.  The emulator itself isn’t that big in size coming in at all of 1MB, however there are few other bits and pieces that you will need to download in order to complement the emulation package.  I would recommend that you source yourself the following ROMS as they will be required for maximum compatibility:

  •  Atari OS revision B (Atari 800), named  AtariOSB.ROM
  • Atari XL, named AtariXL.ROM
  • Atari 5200. named ATARI5200.ROM, respectively.
  • Atari DOS Disk ROM: It is recommended that for maximum game compatibility you use Atari DOS version 2.0S; this file is typically named DOS_20S.ATR.
  • Atari BASIC Cartridge ROM: This file is typically named ATARIBAS.ROM.

When sourcing game ROMS, you will need to be aware that the Atari 8-bit supports ROMS of the following types so if you are downloading a complete pack online, there is some preparation work here unzip these and then place them into separate folders.  Now there are files in .cas(tape) and .exe format but I would tend to ignore these and concentrate on the following

  • Game Cartridge ROMs: These files typically have the extension .ROM .BIN (XE Games System) or A.52 (Atari 5200) 
  • Game Disk ROMs: These files typically have the extensions .ATR. or .XEX

I then create two folders one for the emulation package and one which will contain all of my system and game ROMS.

I then break down the ROMS folder as follows

Then  it is time to start-up the emulation package Atari ++.

We are greeted with the above screen with a number of different options running down the left hand side of the screen that we will need to configure.  Now I’ll be honest here, but it took me a long while to work out what each of the various preferences referred to so I think it may be best here to go through each of the options and tell you what may or may not need configuring here starting first with the preferences tab.  The preferences tab is important in that you will be able to save any settings for any future use and it is also the place where you can restart the emulation process.

Under the machine tab you have the option to select the machine that you would like to run.  In all honesty you would probably be best to stick to the Atari XL option as this will run the most amount of software. For those interested in trying out Atari 5200 emulation, I do have a bit of bad news here. The emulation works, but I was really struggling to get this to configure with the keyboard or the joy-pad I was using for the purposes of this test.  As the Atari 5200 is effectively a console version of the Atari 400 and the XL runs cartridge software which was also released for the Atari 400, the reality is that you are not going to be missing out too much by not being able to run Atari 5200 specific ROMS.

Under the ANTIC and POKEY settings, there is nothing really to update unless you would like to swap the output from a PAL display to NTSC. I personally found the NTSC display delivered a rather washed out looked compared to PAL where the colours were far more vivid.  Please also accept my apologies for the next set of screenshots as it was not possible to a screen dump using Screen Grab in between scrolling through the various options.  Under the GTIA option,  I think it’s a good idea to go for the updated version of the GTIA chip which comes with the XL set of machines.

Under the cartridge setting you will need to enter in the folder where your cartridge  .bin/.rom files are located so in my case it is my games partition and then the rest of the folder location. Once you have saved your settings, every time that you are then required to load a new cartridge your list of titles will then appear.

Under the OsROM settings you will need select the path to the folder where  each of the individual ROMS are located.

It will be a similar process here for your disk drives and your .atr and .xex disk files.  One thing to remember however which is really important.  If you have a cartridge already in the slot you will not be able to load from disk, so remember to disable the cartridge slot and enable the disk drive when you want to use a disk and of course vice versa when you wish to use a cartridge.

One final bunch of settings which I would recommend to configure are under the Joystick tab where you can then select the option SDL Analog from the list above and then calibrate the joystick if required or change any keys under the SDLAnalog,0 tab.

Once we have all the configuration side of things all set up and ready, it will be a case of saving these configurations under the preferences tab so that when you next open up the emulator there is no further need to amend anything aside from the swapping of a cartridge or disk drive.


So what of the Atari 8-bit software library.  Well for UK users who more or less ignored this machine in favour of their ZX Spectrum’s, Amstrad CPC’s and Commodore 64, it may come as a big surprise to know that there are about 2,000 different pieces of software to play around with and the machine was quite popular for a time in the US, Germany and Eastern Europe with many later releases for the platform originating in Poland.  As the Atari 8-bit uses the 6502 processor, for me the games and graphics of many of its titles have a very chunky and distinctive Atari look about them.  Those who have ever played with the Atari 2600 VCS will know exactly what I mean, although as this machine pre-dates the later Atari 7800 series, the graphics resolution is not as good.  Personally I find the graphics very similar to those found on other 6502 based machines like the Commodore 64 and Nintendo NES.  Sound wise the machine performs a lot better than you would expect as the POKEY chip is capable of churning out quite a few impressive ditties, although it is nowhere near the level of the SID chip found in the Commodore 64.    The Atari 8 Bit machine is also much quicker than the Commodore 64 resulting in games which can  look similar to their Commodore 64 counterparts running much quicker and at a faster frame rate.

As you would expect with an Atari machine, the Atari catalogue of arcade classics feature strongly.  On this platform there are really good conversions of:

Pole Position which builds on the miracle that was the Atari 2600 version


As Pole Position and Joust were also released on the Atari 5200, you can start to see how much of an improvement the graphics were and how much more developed they were compared to the 2600 VCS.

Mrs Pac-Man looks amazing and really colourful.

Centipede is a really good conversion and is a great blast.

Food Fight is really fun to play and is a vastly underrated game that deserves to be checked out by the wider public.

Later on in the Atari 8-bit’s life cycle we had Dark Chambers make an appearance which also came out on the Atari 2600 and 7800 machines.

As you can see it is a bit of a Gauntlet clone and a pretty good game too.

3rd party support for this machine was pretty strong too with publishers like Activision who had strong links with Atari anyway supporting this with their Pitfall series.

The graphics do look a tad 2600-esque if I am honest.



Imagine obliged with a conversion of Arkanoid which looks and plays  really well.  My only gripe with this version is the lack of sound effects and music found in the other 8-bit conversions.

Green Beret was another conversion, although I don’t think it stands up to the excellent C64 version if am honest.

Some versions do look very similar to their C64 counterparts like the excellent International Karate.  The Title tune is well done here and a good re-creation of the C64 SID classic although sadly no tune during the game.

Codemasters were a UK publishing house who supported the Atari 8-bits with the occasional release.

This version looks a lot cleaner than the C64 version and again there isn’t a bad title tune which plays during the title screen showing off the sonic capabilities of the machine.

Virgin Mastertronic also supported the platform with their budget range and above we have the shoot-em-up Sidewinder 2

Later towards the end of its life, the machine found a welcome home in Eastern Europe and this home-brew effort Test Drive comes from Hungary.

In fact there are still games being released for it today in 2018 like this conversion of the classic Amiga and C64 game Stunt Car Racer from 1989.

I can’t rave enough about how good this version is. For a start its much quicker than the Commodore 64 version and it features a really good rendition of Yello’s The Race as a title track tune.  You really should download the game file and play this.

The emulation of Atari++ isn’t 100% perfect, for example when playing Desert Falcon, I did find some issues with the scrolling and the way the objects were displayed on-screen which didn’t appear authentic.  I do experienced corruption issues when playing International Karate when playing with a joystick which is a shame because IK is one of my favourites. Initial setup of the emulator is also confusing and the menu system is a bit of a mess with many things to configure at first, but once over the first configuration, it is then pretty easy to load new pieces of software.

From the list of games which I have covered in this post,  you will have noticed that I have missed out a whole host of titles for the Atari 8-bit like Ballblazer, Robotron 2084, The Ultima series, Rescue on Fractulus, Dropzone, Boulderdash, Star Raiders, The Eidolon and the Zork series.  Well personally I have left them out for a reason, because I think you should go and discover these great titles yourself.

I think it’s a real shame that here in the UK  we were perhaps a little too obsessed over our Spectrum, Amstrad and Commodore 64 machines to give the Atari 8-bit range any attention,  yet thanks to Atari++  I’ve re-discovered what a great little platform the 8-bit Atari really is. Delving into its world a little more has also inspired me to check out some SIO2SD hard drives which I will no doubt add to that Atari 800XL machine I have in my collection.  In the meantime though I think I may treat myself to another go of Food Fight!

Until next time, have fun with your Amigas!



Stunt Car Remake

Few games are as synonymous with the Classic Amiga than Geoff Crammond’s Stunt Car Racer which was released by Microprose way back in 1989.  Set on a stunt track, this game differed from other racing games of the time in that it had you racing in a rickety old stunt car around a track designed with turns and bumps that gave the rider the impression they were indeed on a roller-coaster.  Competing in a tournament style competition against computer opponents, this game  was an absolute smash to play. However this game really came into its own when you were able to network up your machines to other Amiga players for some link up action.

Whilst Stunt Car Racer runs on my X5000 under classic mode and RuninUAE, it was a nice surprise to uncover an AmigaOS 4 specific version of a remake of this game which comes to us from Finnish coder Capehill.  Originally released on both Windows and Linux platforms, Capehill has taken the time to ensure that AmigaOS 4 users don’t miss out on the fun, after all, this was one of the games which made the Amiga famous!

Now it is important to make you aware that Stunt Car Remake is exactly what it says in the title, it’s a remake of the game and not the full original version, so not all of the features of the original are going to be present. It is also a work in progress with new features being added to it every so often, however if you are a fan of the game series I suspect that many of you are, then you will be willing to try this out in its current format.

The current version which can be downloaded features full screen display and also new added joystick support which is very welcome as the last updated version limited you to viewing this in a small screen and playing with a keyboard.

Stunt Car Remake can be downloaded from Capehill’s website  and I suggest that when you download the game you also take the time out to make a small donation to Capehill in appreciation of his efforts. Please note that also in order to run this game you need to have the MiniGL library installed and also Warp3D so please ensure that your graphics card is compatible. If you are using a Radeon HD7750 like many other X5000 owners then this will not be a problem.

Once we have downloaded the binary game file which is compressed to a very small 1.4MB file it is just a case of unpacking the game to a partition of your choosing. There is a read me file which advises that in order to run the game in full-screen mode you will need to enter in a -f or –fullscreen command in the shell on startup, so this means if you start this up from the Workbench, you will be limited to a windowed mode.

To start this in full-screen mode, I recommend that you do a right-click on the Stunt Car Remake Icon with your mouse which will bring up the option to go into the Information tabs. Now under the Icon tab, you will need to amend the start from Workbench option to a start from shell option.

Then when you click on the Stunt Car Remake Icon, you will notice the following screen where you will need to add the command -f or –fullscreen with a space after the word Stuntcarremake and then you will find that the game opens up in full-screen mode.

Opening up this game for the first time, we are greeted with a menu giving you the option to select one of 8 tracks and a 3D rotation of each of the tracks. If we press the S button we are then taken into the sub menu where the further options are to display a different type of scenery or to increase or decrease the frame rate which in reality means slow down the game as it really does run at quite a speed.

Talking of speed this is much quicker than the original Commodore 64 and Classic Amiga versions I remember playing back in the day.  Above is a video of the original Classic Amiga game which I used to think ran quite well

However if we compare this to the new AmigaOS 4 version I think we can say there is quite a difference!   Is the speed of this new remake a tad too quick? For me Stunt Car Racer is about re-creating the experience of a small stunt car throwing itself around a stunt track at speed similar to a roller-coaster which is all about moving at speed, feeling that sense of speed and of being thrown about all over the place, so based on this, this remake and the speed it is running at on the X5000 ticks all the right boxes. If anything the speed of this game makes it much more of a challenge than the original as you really to have to concentrate and time when to use the accelerator here to ensure that you don’t bounce off the track. You can of course adjust the frame rate by pressing F10 to lower or if you really fancy some insane action press F9 and please wear a seatbelt.

As per the original game, you have access to a boost which will accelerate things along, although I find with the added frame rate at which this game moves you may want to be a tad careful as to which sections of track you use this on to gain an advantage. More often than not you find yourself hitting that boost, speeding along before hitting a tight bend and then falling off the track. Playing this at a lower frame rate you can control things better and use the turbo more although in reality you will probably be hitting Commodore 64 levels of gameplay action if you slow things down too much.

There is a damage status bar towards the top of the screen which will be affected if you have one too many rough bumps as you bounce around the track. If you end up dropping off the track then you will be crane lifted back on to the track, although one thing I did notice compared to the original is that any damage that you had incurred prior to that point is magically repaired which doesn’t happen in the original game.

Missing from this remake is the full tournament mode. although this game gives you the option to try out all the tracks regardless of if you have qualified for them or not which is a nice touch. Also missing from this option is the link up mode, although as I am guessing this is a work in progress we may see these features added to the game at a later date as I am sure many an Amiga owner would love to have this particular option available.

Longevity wise the game also has a Super League mode which involves running around the same tracks but the cars will move around the track even quicker so be warned before you have even had the chance to press boost, your opponent will have left you for dust.

Stunt Car Remake is a pretty welcome addition to the AmigaOS 4 gaming catalogue.  It is much faster than the original ever was and the thrill of bouncing around the tracks and flying around in the air is somewhat enhanced in this new version. The only negative to this current version?  Well for me the big one is the 640×480 resolution which gives a washed out look to the graphics, but in reality I am just nit-picking and you should really check this version out. Maybe we will see a full 1920×1080  HD display in the next update?

Until next time have fun with your Amigas!

Sim Coupé

Hands up all those who are familiar with the SAM Coupé?  In fact many of you reading this, particularly outside of Europe may on earth be wondering what was this little machine?   Well back in 1989, this British machine from Swansea based Miles Gordon Technology was released upon the public as a potential successor to another British computer classic the ZX Spectrum, as the SAM was marketed with the ability to run  48K ZX Spectrum games under emulation.

Based around the Z80 CPU, this 8-bit machine only had some interesting specifications which far surpassed the original ZX Spectrum by quite some distance from a 6 MHz processor to 256K of ram which was upgradeable internally to 512KB.  There were also external ram packs available to take this up to 4MB in total and the machine had the option to run 2 sets of 3.5″ inch disk drives which slotted in under the machine. The machine sold around 12,000 units before Miles Gordon Technology went under, however thanks to the Sim Coupé emulation package for AmigaOS 4 we get to discover a little more about this interesting little machine.

Sim Coupé can be downloaded from our friend Dr Hirudov who is responsible for the fantastic Hatari Atari ST/Falcon port to AmigaOS 4. Installation of the package is quite easy, simply unpack the file to a partition of your choosing and the program file contains a handy and useful read me file and the  Sim Coupé executable.

Thankfully there is no additional rom to source from elsewhere and the only other thing left to do here is source some games  and other software. For once I can point you to a website where it is possible to download some games legally for this system as they have obtained the copyright to do so.  World of SAM is also your bible for anything SAM Coupé related

The first thing we are greeted with upon opening up the emulator is a window display which tells us that our system has a nice 512K of memory.

Pressing F10 will bring up a menu of different options

Then on the display option we then need to click on the option for this to display in full-screen. Or you can toggle at any time by pressing the F8 key.

However this information will not update for each time that you open up the emulator so what you may want to consider updating here is the configuration file and scroll down to the full-screen option which should be marked as a 0.  Here change the value to 1 and the end result is that it will then open up in full screen mode.

Here below is Sim Coupé in full-screen mode:

A quick tour around first of your emulator options. In truth there is not much here that you are going to want to amend which is a good thing.

Here you have the option to run the machine with 256K or 512K internal RAM. You can also add the 4MB of external RAM here.

The sound settings are pretty much ticked by default here.

The Sam featured some MIDI ports which for the purposes of this post today I am going to leave alone.

As you can see from this picture of the back of the SAM.

The big white port on the back appears to be a parallel port and this is emulated also:

Under the Miscellaneous tab, I click on the option to have the drive LED’s switched on as this can be a handy way of letting you know if a game or a program is loading or accessing the disk.

Now for the keyboard input, you have the  choice to have the original SAM keyboard set up or revert to a ZX Spectrum keyboard.

The SAM Coupé keyboard was quite a unique design actually, the bottom half of the machine kind of acts as a natural wrist rest.


On the floppy disk screen there is the option to run from floppy or hard disk which is support in drive D2:

Talking of loading floppy disks, these are in either a .dsk or .sad format, so the way to load up any disks is to go into the disk menu and load the disk in the relevant drive. In this one I have a 5 in 1 disk which was released for the system and which I will be taking a look at in a minute.

So if you have a number of disks  stored on your hard drive it will be just a case of opening floppy drive 1 and selecting the disk you want to place into the emulated machine which is nice and easy,

First test today is that 5-in-1disk which was released which contains Pipe Mania, Escape from the Planet of Robot Monsters, Klax, Tetris and Defenders of The Earth.

Software support was quite limited on the SAM machine which was no surprise given that it only sold in low volumes.  Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters was released by Domark when it appeared on most other 8-bit and 16-bit formats, however as you can see from the screenshot below Enigma Variations were responsible for the SAM Coupé conversion.

The first thing that strikes me upon loading up this game is just how colourful the SAM Coupe appears to be.  Given that this machine was touted as a souped up ZXSpectrum, it is quite a surprise to see that games look similar to an Atari ST.


This game is probably one of the best 8-bit home conversions that I have played of this game and the in-game tune really does show off the power of the SAM’s music chip.

The controls do take a little getting used to and it is possible to play this game using a joy pad as well as via a keyboard.

Now to reset the machine you will just need to hit the F12 button and then F1 to load up another disk. Pipe Mania is a puzzle game where the object is to use the pieces to connect the various pipes within a certain time frame.

It’s not one of my favourite puzzle games, but it is a pretty good conversion none the less.

Now Klax is more my type of puzzle game and is fiendishly addictive. It is a pretty good conversion too.

Graphically I would probably say that out of the 8-bit versions the Amstrad CPC Plus/GX4000 is probably better, however this isn’t a bad conversion and with Klax it is the game play which really shines!

On the 5 in 1 disk there is also an unofficial version of Tetris which kind of reminds me of one of these Demo Scene versions that I used to see from time to time on both the Commodore 64 or the Amiga.


Defenders Of The Earth is another Enigma Variations conversion which looks really good, you can see from the screenshot below that some games on the SAM really do start to give their 16-bit conversions a run for their money.  I really like the tune that plays through this game too as it is an accurate representation of the famous cartoon.

Talking of 16-bit games, how about a game of Lemmings, which i have to say is a pretty good conversion here.

The title screen is quite colourful, although i did find loading up this game it did take a while in between the various bits of the disk that is was accessing.

However as you can see from within the game, this really does hold up well to the Amiga and Atari ST conversions and even more so considering the SAM is an 8-bit machine.  I was really impressed with this particular game.

The jewel in The SAM’s crown however has to be this stunning and colourful conversion of Prince of Persia.

It really does look fantastic and plays really well.

Aside from the games, there are loads of other pieces of Public Domain software and Demos which can be downloaded from World of Sam, which show off the power and capability of this powerful 8-bit machine.

Which begs the question, why on earth did this machine not take off in greater numbers?  Well I guess there were a number of reasons, but for me despite the nice graphics and potential of the machine, it was clear that like the ill-fated Commodore 64 Games System and the Amstrad CPC Plus range of machines, people were moving away from 8-bit machines at the end of 1989/ start of 1990 on to the Amiga and the Atari ST and this coupled with the low sales meant that  Miles Gordon Technology quickly went into receivership not long after the machine was released.

It’s a bit of a shame really that this machine didn’t really take off, as I have rather enjoyed using Sim Coupe and delving into the world of SAM computing.  Also getting hold of an actual machine nowadays can cost quite a bit in the 2nd hand market, so an emulator like Sim Coupe serves a really useful purpose here.  I suggest that you also take a look at this fun little machine.


Until next time have fun with your Amigas!