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Would someone please make one of these for the the Atari 8-bit line?


gbennett0321
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The 'mini' craze continues. 'The C64 Mini' is to be released in March of this year with 60+ games *and* it works as a real C64 (but uses USB ports for keyboard and storage).

 

https://thec64.com/

https://culturedvultures.com/commodore-64-comeback-c64-mini-released-march-29th/

 

I hope that the C64 sells well enough to encourage someone to produce an Atari 8-bit version in the future. I know I'd buy one or two.

 

GB

 

 

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It's a shame The 64 is getting the kind of attention it is, as it's really just another type of Raspberry Pi-class setup, but so be it. The only challenge for any other computer brand to go this route is that there are still IP holders on the Atari, Apple, etc., sides, that wouldn't be willing to license out the name/branding like those who have what's left of say the IP of a Commodore or Sinclair. Otherwise, it would be relatively trivial to package something like this for any other brand as desired.

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You know the weird points?

 

It is no problem, this days, to mock every old computer. C64 can be done 100% by every emulation, due to the defined specs.

The Atari is "special" as it is that old, that in some respects analogue parts turn in. The definition isn't clear by far. So the emulation of the hardware allows ... somehow... to resemble the digital part easily, but ignores the analog part, which results in wrong graphics and sound.

If somewhen in time the analog part has been captured righteous , everyone can reproduce the A8 on any emulation...

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It's a shame The 64 is getting the kind of attention it is, as it's really just another type of Raspberry Pi-class setup, but so be it. The only challenge for any other computer brand to go this route is that there are still IP holders on the Atari, Apple, etc., sides, that wouldn't be willing to license out the name/branding like those who have what's left of say the IP of a Commodore or Sinclair. Otherwise, it would be relatively trivial to package something like this for any other brand as desired.

 

Actually, having a raspberry pi setup similar to this but with a working keyboard wouldn't be so bad for the Atari, particularly if they figured out a way to pin out the expansion/arduino socket on the Pi as a cart slot so it could read carts. I'm all for modern implementations of classic hardware. They may not be as durable or as good as the originals, but they keep the system in the public eye, and draw in new fans. The purists may hate them... but it's good for the hobby. We are not getting any younger, you know?

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Actually, having a raspberry pi setup similar to this but with a working keyboard wouldn't be so bad for the Atari, particularly if they figured out a way to pin out the expansion/arduino socket on the Pi as a cart slot so it could read carts. I'm all for modern implementations of classic hardware. They may not be as durable or as good as the originals, but they keep the system in the public eye, and draw in new fans. The purists may hate them... but it's good for the hobby. We are not getting any younger, you know?

 

I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. I was simply trying to point out that this type of project is nothing special. The challenge for doing something like this on the Atari side is that you wouldn't be able to do this in the same high profile manner since the current Atari rights holders likely wouldn't license the name/branding and look and feel. Of course, the Atari 8-bit is also not as popular as the Commodore 64, so that's another factor, but certainly not the same type of challenge the other issues are.

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The mini C64 *might* be a C64-on-a-chip and not emulation. In the past the C64DTV was sold (and now sells for more than a real C64). It is a true hardware version of the C64 and not emulation. It is desirable for hackers since the PCB included solder points to add a PS2 keyboard, additional joysticks, and even external drives to the board. If would even boot to basic with a hack. It's possible that it licensed the hardware design - I haven't seen anything to indicate whether it is an emulator or a hardware solution.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C64_Direct-to-TV

 

I'd prefer to see a real hardware implementation of the Atari. On the other hand, I have a SNES mini, NES minI, Famicom mini, several Atari Flashbacks and several Raspberry Pis, Even though I have the original hardware of each console emulated, I still enjoy the nostalgia and design of the emulated consoles with the added benefit of HDMI. The raspberry PI takes too long to boot, and ruins the hardware experience for me. At least a dedicated emulated machine performs like the original console and boots immediately. It is also much easier to carry and set up. I would use my Atari computers a lot more if I didn't have to unpack a large machine, connect the audio and video cables, pull out a hard drive or my SIO2PC cable (which requires I have a PC handy), and my Side2 or MyIDE-II cart.

 

Of course the Atari version should include a functional keyboard as well. Or possibly make it similar to the XEGS that uses a detached keyboard. If a USB keyboard with Atari keycaps could be manufactured, it would work for the 'min' version, and could be sold to the emulation market as well..

Edited by gbennett0321
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Except it's not.

 

Bummer!

 

Ok. let me rephrase - 'Would someone please make a hardware version of the Atari 8-bit line using modern hardware?'. Curt Vendel made an almost-perfect Atari 2600 on a chip for the Atari Flashback 2 that can be modded to add a cartridge port. What I would like to see is a complete recreation of the Atari computers and allow the Atari computers to live on for another generation or two. Who knows the longevity of the existing hardware. Pokey chips alone are getting harder and harder to come by, and it is doubtful new ones will ever be made again. The current machines will eventually break and fade to obscurity without a refresh.

Edited by gbennett0321
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Bummer!

 

Ok. let me rephrase - 'Would someone please make a hardware version of the Atari 8-bit line using modern hardware?'. Curt Vendel made an almost-perfect Atari 2600 on a chip for the Atari Flashback 2 that can be modded to add a cartridge port. What I would like to see is a complete recreation of the Atari computers and allow the Atari computers to live on for another generation or two. Who knows the longevity of the existing hardware. Pokey chips alone are getting harder and harder to come by, and it is doubtful new ones will ever be made again. the current machines will eventually break fade to obscurity without a refresh.

We already have this. There exists a damn fine Atari 8-bit core for Eclaire, Mist, and MistER FPGA boards.

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We already have this. There exists a damn fine Atari 8-bit core for Eclaire, Mist, and MistER FPGA boards.

FPGAs are currently way too expensive for the average consumer. To appeal to the mass market, it needs to look and behave like the original machine *and* do so at an attractive price. Granted, an FPGA can load multiple cores and simulate a variety of machines, but it is doubtful they will ever be attractive to anyone but hard core users.

Edited by gbennett0321
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I never have been or ever will be interested in remakes unless they are EXACT reproductions, and even then, if it's more than a used 2600, C64 or Atari I've still absolutely no interest. I'd rather have originals and in fact, if I couldn't get original equipment, I might even drop the entire hobby. I feel the same about emulators. I just don't care about mini-crap like this...yeah, come spend more money on what you already have, but smaller, more cheaply made, and re-pay for all the software you can get for free downloading today. Uhh...NO.

 

When the originals die, and I can't get replacement parts, then I'll just quit the hobby. It's all about, and only about the real stuff to me. I probably don't have more than a quarter century more to live myself anyway. I fully expect my equipment that I keep running like new to outlast me.

Edited by Gunstar
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Mini-Atari? Non-emulated? 100% compatible? Sure, no problem ... :)

 

attachicon.gifIMG_9613.JPG

​For everything else, there's Altirra on my PC.

Exactly. Except I never want to use a PC keyboard for an Atari keyboard. I love my Atari's original case look and original keyboard feel, blah, blah, blah. If I could just drop that into an 800 and use it's keyboard and an ST or Amiga mouse, then yes, otherise...just not for me.

 

I do think it's a 1000% better alternative to something like a mini-C64...

Edited by Gunstar
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It's a shame The 64 is getting the kind of attention it is, as it's really just another type of Raspberry Pi-class setup, but so be it. The only challenge for any other computer brand to go this route is that there are still IP holders on the Atari, Apple, etc., sides, that wouldn't be willing to license out the name/branding like those who have what's left of say the IP of a Commodore or Sinclair. Otherwise, it would be relatively trivial to package something like this for any other brand as desired.

 

I already set up a mini A8 like this with a Raspberry Pi Model A and atari800. I use it for PAL software since I'm in the US, but it doesn't "feel" right. I did replace the boot image with the 1200XL Atari image, and set it to boot straight into atari800. The hardware and software side is easy, it's the IP that makes an Atari 800 mini hard.

 

Pretty cool and small, but it's in a generic Pi case. The Model A doesn't have a lot of case choices.

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Bummer!

 

Ok. let me rephrase - 'Would someone please make a hardware version of the Atari 8-bit line using modern hardware?'. Curt Vendel made an almost-perfect Atari 2600 on a chip for the Atari Flashback 2 that can be modded to add a cartridge port. What I would like to see is a complete recreation of the Atari computers and allow the Atari computers to live on for another generation or two. Who knows the longevity of the existing hardware. Pokey chips alone are getting harder and harder to come by, and it is doubtful new ones will ever be made again. The current machines will eventually break and fade to obscurity without a refresh.

 

That's because Atari Inc back in the day created a 2600-on-a-chip design that Curt based his off of. Show me an A8-on-a-chip* that Atari Inc - or Corp - did and then it would be feasible. Otherwise, it would have to be an FPGA.

 

 

*I realize there were some designs of combining some of the A8 custom chips together but I'm not aware of one that also combined the 6502 together.

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The only challenge for any other computer brand to go this route is that there are still IP holders on the Atari, Apple, etc., sides, that wouldn't be willing to license out the name/branding like those who have what's left of say the IP of a Commodore or Sinclair.

I am not entirely up to date with various projects, but in the recent past I've gotten the feeling the current holders of the Commodore IP have been more interested in Cease & Desist than cooperation and finding ways to make a little money on old properties. By that way of reasoning, the Retro Games Ltd must have done something right, or perhaps the Commodore IP just recently shifted ownership once more to some party who see the potential rather than threat by exposing the Commodore brand.

 

I know that Atari wants to pretend they're far more alive, though nearly everything they touch these days (with the possible exception of AtGames Flashback units) seems to turn into dog poop. Given that they're already into the business and as far as I understand work with various manufacturers licensing their IP, it might not be any harder to use the Atari brand for a 8-bit product than it was to get the rights to use the Commodore brand. When it comes to games software to fill the unit, that indeed is a different matter and it also shows on THEC64 that beggars aren't choosers, they're putting decent titles they can obtain affordable licensing for while most customers will be asking for and missing some of the most popular games belonging to other IP holders they were unable to reach.

Edited by carlsson
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Why go small, what about big? 1450XLD big! That C64 can NOT easily be typed on! Where do you connect a usb with SD card replica 1541 to run utility programs? Or program a new killer app game in Forth?

I want something with some size, taking up some desk space, looking like it means some business! A 1450 case could hold everything from a 800(sideways), down to a 65XE, or XEGS, or to a 1088xel, to a mini pc runing Altira, to a rasberrypi running an emulation.

What I think is that some of us want some type of justification, from the general public, caused be a deeper pocket, recognizable entity, then us hobbyist, sold at major outlets (amazon, newegg, target, toy-r-us, etc), and covered by major news organizations on the 6 & 11 o'clock news, showing our 8-bit favorite is still as legitimate, better then?, a c64, nes, snes recently released. Tell me I'm 100% wrong, and I could show you someone metaphorically lining in a northeast Africa river delta. imop

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Even the premium consoles with AAA titles try to go smaller all the time. Either it is in order to fit more of them in the same space, or the fact that the world population is increasing and we need smaller living spaces to make room for everyone. Then again, we would cut down on our king size beds, futons, dinner tables, even the 50-100" TV:s although those tend to take more vertical than horizontal space, before cutting down on something in the size of a PS4 or Atari 800.

 

Shipping might be a matter too, as it probably as often is calculated per volume than weight, which makes shipping 1450XLD sized systems cost prohibitive compared to miniatyrized systems with the same interior capacity. But if the customers really want 1450XLD, they will likely also want to pay both the price for the product and the extra shipping it takes to obtain it.

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Yes shipping would be am major pain. But an empty 1450xls case, though big in size, would not be that heavy with today's plastics, or even with the 1088xel, or rasbberypi installed.

I would still want one.

PS. Here in US there is still a lot of room. There still some room in EU, but might have to cut down some wine grape vines. :)

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Remember, THE 64 Mini is exactly that as designed. A full-sized version is coming that will approximate the original breadbin design. It doesn't change the fact that internally it's not an FPGA or other non purely software-based implementation.

 

For my money, the ideal is something like the ZX Spectrum Next (which I was a supporter of): https://www.specnext.com/about/

 

It's an FPGA that does all the original stuff (both hardware and software) and then accommodates all the modern conveniences you'd want. It also has a slick new case and keyboard with designs that bring to mind the originals, while not being limited by them in any way. I'm keeping track of something similar on the C-64/65 side with the MEGA65: http://mega65.org/

 

I agree that if you want original hardware, only original hardware will do (and I have the original hardware that I want). If this is going to be done in a new way, it may as well be done with a good FPGA and equally good case/keyboard/enhancements. The problem, as has been pointed out, is that while there are plenty of solid FPGA implementations out there for various platforms, there's not always the extra step taken of putting a more end user friendly polish on the experience, a la what Analogue is doing with the Nintendo stuff: https://www.analogue.co/

 

So to me, that's the only disconnect we have at this point other than again, me not thinking present day Atari would take too kindly to a project like this.

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