Amiga A570 CDROM drive

January 6, 2013

As far as strange business decisions go, Commodore was always capable of making the highlight reel. The Amiga A570 CDROM attachment was certainly right up there, for more than one reason. The A570 was compatible with the Amiga 500 and only the Amiga 500, a model of Amiga that was discontinued by the release of the external CDROM drive.  The base Amiga that was being sold at the time – the Amiga 600 – went without ever having a similar device released for it (in fact the 600 has the impressive reputation as one of the least expandable legacy Amiga models available).  The fact that an Amiga 500 with an A570 attached was also functionally identical to Commodore’s other CD based platform – the multi-media CDTV – and could run all CDTV software without issue hurt sales and confused the user community to no end.

 

So why talk about it then? Because that which failed at retail release often makes a fine and interesting retro collectible and the A570 is no exception.

If you have an Amiga 500 and have the chance to grab an A570 (uncommon though they are) then do so. It’s a cheap way to get into some great CDTV software and games like the CDTV release of Xenon, a game possessed of some of the most rocking soundtrack music ever. That’s right, ever.

The A570 simply bolts directly into the side of your Amiga 500 via the Zorro II expansion port on the left side of the Amiga, zero configuration required – true plug-and-play!

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My A570 is sadly bereft of its Commodore badge. I hope the neighbours don’t notice.

With the A570 attached, your humble A500 will boot to the CDTV animated logo screen. I’m willing to admit straight up that this is freaking awesome to see on screen. I remember as a kid seeing this logo on CDTV systems advertised in Amiga magazines and thinking how awesome it would be to own a CDTV. These days with the prohibitive price and scarcity of working CDTV systems, this is the closest I’ll likely ever come!

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Back when the image of a CD disc was the epitome of cool.

There are a few downsides to the A570 design. First up, it needs its own power supply to run, and not just any PSU, but the lovable Amiga ‘brick’. The exact same brick in fact, as the Amiga 500 itself. While this means you have to run both power supplies to keep an Amiga and A570 running, if you happen to find a CDROM drive without a power supply and have a spare A500 PSU, you can use that to power it.  The other downside, is the devices use of CDROM caddys.

“CDROM what now?” I hear you say. Believe it or not, in the early days of CD ROM media, some devices required that you put your CD into a plastic caddy before inserting it into the drive. Pain in the arse? Hell yes. Capable of driving you to madness when you can’t find a caddy anywhere? You better believe it.

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Why caddy, why?

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I’m looking forward to chasing down some ISO images of CDTV software to play around with and going through what will no doubt be the arduous task of finding the right media settings for burning said images to CD. For now though, I have a handful of original games and discs to muck around with. The gem of the bunch is the Assassin’s Ultimate Games CD compilation.  A disc packed with 600 MB of public domain games and programs for the Amiga (some made in AMOS, some not) the CD has hours of entertainment stuffed into its easy to navigate menus. Highly recommended if you end up with an A570.

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My games room – wide angle style.

December 26, 2012

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Updated collection pictures

November 18, 2012

Just took a fresh round of photos to add to the collection page here, so if you’ve got a few spare minutes, head in and check them out :). As usual, as soon as I looked over the pictures I realised I’d left plenty of things out, but these will have to do. One day I’ll be clever enough to get a comprehensive gallery in here of everything I own.


CD32 Toolkit Assistant

November 2, 2012

Just a short note to let everyone know that – yes – I’m aware the link is broken to download the CD32 Toolkit Assistant. It will likely remain that way pending a complete re-work of the app. Thanks to discussions with people in the know, and reading up, I think I need to re-do most of the UI and the way in which it builds files for CD32 ISOs. The next version will be easier to use, and compatible with a wider variety of WHDLoad style games (particularly those which have many files, rather than just disk and slave files).  So bear with me! As soon as I get some time, I’ll do another release :).


CD32 Toolkit Assistant around the web

April 10, 2012

Well, it looks like I’ll be delaying the next version of the Toolkit Assistant just a little. I’m not happy with the UI, and I think it should take more of a ‘bouncing ball’ approach than having every option and function on a single screen. It will be easier to follow if the program leads you through each game addition and gives you more of a sense of how it is building the structure of the compilation.  Part of this decision, is the fact that the Toolkit Assistant is starting to get a mention in Amiga fan circles, most recently on   http://www.amigapage.it and http://amiga.ikirsector.it.

These mentions have given me cause to believe that the tool will see a user base (small though it will be!) and therefore deserves some more thought about the interface and functionality. Will provide some screenshots etc when I’ve come up with the new UI.  A blog visitor also solved the issue of how to build compilations using games that don’t contain Disk.1, Disk.2 etc. images! Awesome stuff, thanks MarkOfWolves. I’ll be adding that feature to the next version.


Snippet review – [CD32] Risky Woods

April 9, 2012

It’s Gods all over again! At least that’s the feeling I got when taking Risky Woods by Dinamic Software and Zeus Software out for a spin.  Featuring a main character who leaps from platform to platform in a fantasy world hurling knives at monsters and collecting coins and other trinkets, I really did get Gods deja-vu as soon as I started playing. Risky Woods however, doesn’t have the finesse of the Bitmap Brothers classic. The music and graphics – while nice – aren’t as polished as Gods for one thing, and the action on-screen ranges from hectic to downright bizarre.  Beyond the fact that there are skeletons and flying whatsits assaulting you from all angles all the time, there are  objects your character can collect from treasure chests that do all kinds of whacky shit, from flipping the screen upside down to simply killing you.  Yup, that’s right – so far as I can tell one of the powerups just kills you on the spot.

It’s hard enough to combat creatures nipping at your heels from 8 directions, but when you’re trying to do it upside down and dodging ‘rewards’ from treasure chests that cost you a life, it gets frustrating fast. Risky Woods has got a little too much action for my tastes, but still manages to be an above average platformer to check out on the CD32.


Collection pictures & CD32 Toolkit Assistant 2.0.2.0

April 9, 2012

Greetings people! Just a couple of minor bits of news. Firstly, I’ve added some updated pictures of my personal retro gaming collection to the page, you can find them by clicking the ‘My Collection’ button at the top of this page. The other piece of news is that I’m putting the finishing touches to CD32 Toolkit Assistant version 2.0.2.0.  Not a major release in terms of functionality but there are some neat touches that have been (or are about to be) added, including

  • New menus allowing easy access to useful sites such as WinUAE, WHDLoad etc.
  • A re-design of the UI to make it a little simpler / less confusing. Some functions have been moved to menus as a result.
  • The tool can now check its version against the latest known version on the wordpress blog and notify you if there is an update you should download (requires internet connectivity)
  • Increased event logging in case there are issues with the tool.

Hope to have the new version up in the coming days.


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