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Not so happy with the mini


SS

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I don't know about you all but I am feeling extremely frustrated.  The joystick is overly sensitive to diagonals, the extra buttons are way too easy to hit by mistake, ATRs that I know are good on real hardware and Altirra refuse to run, and games resetting themselves while running.  

Maybe I will give it all another try tomorrow when I am not quite so grouchy but I am seriously thinking about returning the whole thing using the money to buy an Ultimate Cart for my real 400 instead.  

😕

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1 hour ago, SS said:

I don't know about you all but I am feeling extremely frustrated.  The joystick is overly sensitive to diagonals, the extra buttons are way too easy to hit by mistake, ATRs that I know are good on real hardware and Altirra refuse to run, and games resetting themselves while running.  

Maybe I will give it all another try tomorrow when I am not quite so grouchy but I am seriously thinking about returning the whole thing using the money to buy an Ultimate Cart for my real 400 instead.  

😕

I didn't have the problem with diagonals, apparently there is a fix if you look on the thread about it. If you have a problem with any ATRs, maybe try the same game in a different format, like a cartridge image or XEX - when running your own stuff you do need to make sure you press menu for the game settings in the file manager to choose the correct machine (400, 800, 800XL or 130XE) and if BASIC needs loading or not.  So far I've tried a LOT of stuff and only found one thing I can't get to work at all, everything else has worked with the right settings/config or using a different media format.  I hope you get things sorted, it's quite an enjoyable little machine and firmware updates should fix most problems.

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I'm experiencing all the same issues.  It's hard to hold the joystick when there are buttons spread out over every centimeter of it.  I've only tinkered with it for a couple hours, so I want to give it more time before making any final decisions.  The joystick is pretty depressing though.  Some games work, others do not work from USB, despite having extensions that are compatible.  I'm having no luck with any Atari 5200 .bin files so far, but maybe I'm missing something.  😏

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I'm, frustrated to for many of the same reasons as you.  As well, the two games I wanted to play, MULE and 7 Cities Of Gold do not seem to be the right/correct versions.
MULE is missing graphics (i.e. the MULEs in the Mule shop are missing) and the fire-button lag, while "7 Cities Of Gold" had the title screen removed as well as the option to create your own world, which was the best part of the game. 

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I gave my 400mini a try today, had a quick play of Lee, Bruce Lee...played until the floor opened and the only issue I had was mistakenly hitting the shoulder button(I'm left handed and played it n right mode).  Went on to try Chuckie Egg(my child hood favourite) and no issues there either.

 

The only problem I have is quality.  The base of the rubber stick has a couple of gouges on it.  The Home and Menu buttons are not aligned properly and the joystick body has marks on it like its had a light sanding.

 

Looks more 2nd hand than brand new.

Edited by deffroe
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13 hours ago, fultonbot said:


I'm, frustrated to for many of the same reasons as you.  As well, the two games I wanted to play, MULE and 7 Cities Of Gold do not seem to be the right/correct versions.
MULE is missing graphics (i.e. the MULEs in the Mule shop are missing) and the fire-button lag, while "7 Cities Of Gold" had the title screen removed as well as the option to create your own world, which was the best part of the game. 

I play both - but not off the carousel 🙂

 

I have good versions and dropped them on the USB stick and play from there instead...

 

sTeVE

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I was wondering how they'd handle Seven Cities of Gold given its multi-disk nature, the world generation etc. I had a suspicion that the answer would be "they wouldn't" -- the intent of the carousel games is to be plug and play, so they would want to avoid disk swapping or settings that might confuse new users. It's fully playable from the carousel with no glitches, at least (unlike M.U.L.E.), so it's a solid enough means of getting to know the game in its basic configuration, particularly if you're new to it; once you want to get a bit more adventurous with it, load up some disk images onto a USB stick and you're well away.

 

M.U.L.E. being borked is a bummer for the plug-and-play crew, but likewise that's an easy enough fix for most people who will be using this device. Hopefully it will get an "official" fix sooner rather than later. I suspect Seven Cities of Gold will remain how it is, however, just to minimise newbie user confusion.

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I wouldn't expect computer-savvy people to be happy.  We've had nearly perfect, customizable emulation for a long time.

 

I figured it was for collectors, casual gamers (those who bought the original 400 as a gaming console), and people who wanted an easy way to play on the big screen in the living room.

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57 minutes ago, Hawkeye68 said:

I wouldn't expect computer-savvy people to be happy.  We've had nearly perfect, customizable emulation for a long time.

 

I figured it was for collectors, casual gamers (those who bought the original 400 as a gaming console), and people who wanted an easy way to play on the big screen in the living room.

Exactly. This is important to remember. There is a surprising amount you can actually do with The400 Mini straight out the box (with a USB stick of Stuff) but at its core, this is a plug-and-play games console, just like TheC64 Mini and TheA500 Mini before it.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Hawkeye68 said:

I wouldn't expect computer-savvy people to be happy.  We've had nearly perfect, customizable emulation for a long time.

 

I figured it was for collectors, casual gamers (those who bought the original 400 as a gaming console), and people who wanted an easy way to play on the big screen in the living room.

This is a repost of my response to @Spanner's comment on Facebook :

 

Everything about THE400 just feels like a slight disappointment.  THECarousel was part of it; especially when it got to the USB port selection.  I thought that the ring buttons on THESTICK were going to be a cool feature but, because of the way that I hold a CX40, they were actually just in the way.  And the diagonal sensitivity was impossible to get past.  One of the first games that I tried was Donkey Kong and I found it almost unplayable with THESTICK.  I certainly have a bunch of other USB joypads that I could use instead but I was really excited about this device feeling like an *ATARI* and a joypad wouldn't hit this need.  In the end, I think that I am giving up and returning mine to Amazon.  The truth is that, to me, very little about this device actually feels like Atari, aside from its nice looking case.  If I want virtual Atari, I already have Altirra.  If I want real Atari, I own plenty of those.  What I don't want is to have to compromise.  I'm glad that some people are enjoying their minis, it's just not what I was hoping for.

Edited by SS
clarification
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Yeah, it's a bit of a stinker, sadly.  Love how it looks, but playing games on it... meh... it has the same problems as many other "mini' gadgets where it just makes good games seem like they were crap.  Probably gonna return it.

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My stick appears to be fine (thankfully), but the included games are really a mixed bag. Some nice surprises and some where the control is just wack. Anything that plays like Q-bert should have controls mapped to use diagonals - I don't get why they didn't do that and if I cannot remap the controls for the included games then I'm just not playing those. I found Yoomp actually easier to play using the CX Stick than with my DualSense on the Atari 50 collection, so that was a nice surprise; Lee was a  game I forgot I had back in the day so that was a pleasant surprise as well. The arcade ports are uninspired compared to the 2600 - especially Asteroids, which was a surprise. 

 

My biggest gripe has to be the lack of included instructions on loading your own software from USB (though that could be improved, frankly). It's not as big an ask as including manuals for the games, but some basic instructions; especially for the more complex ones like MULE really should have been in there too. Given the price I cannot see how a larger booklet would have added that much - print in black and white and lightweight stock if money is a factor for crying out loud! A QR code to a website is just LAME!

Edited by Sean_1970
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I've not had issues with the stick, beyond hitting buttons I don't mean to.  And the unit fired up immediately with the first USB PSU I plugged into it.

 

Overall, most of the experience has been positive (first 24 hours).

 

It is obviously not without issues, however.

 

For one thing, I'm not sure why they bothered including 5200 mode in its current state.

 

The way its controls are handled results in so much lag in response (just on the stick, not the fire buttons) that it renders 95% of games unplayable.  I get why, and that it is down to how the emulator tries to support analog-like stick behavior from a purely digital input (hopefully its possible to update the thing in a way that handles 5200 input like Atari800 or the Atari Gamestation Pro).  But regardless, it's not usable like this and it doesn't matter what settings I use for the 5200 stick, either.

 

Zaxxon was taking half a second to respond to changes in direction.  Pac-Man was just as bad.  The issue is a bit less visible in something like Centipede.

 

Maybe the 5200 mode works better with something like an Xbox controller ... I'll have to try that next (in the hope it actually reads the analog sticks rather than trying to map the pad).  I already tried fiddling with the config file directly, but that just stopped the game from running entirely (which surprised me).

 

This is purely a 5200 thing.  No lag anywhere else.  And not really a big deal for me as the stuff I want is all on the 400/800/XL/XE anyway.

 

The borked MULE image is a shame.  Easy to work around, but still disappointing.

 

I'm sure I'll find other issues.  I'm sure some of them will be fixable in software (or someone will come up with a workaround).  Overall, though, it's hitting the spot for what I bought it for, and I've already played through a number of games, end-to-end - albeit not necessarily with the version of the game that's including in the unit.

 

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1 hour ago, Marc Oberhäuser said:

Is it just me or is there something I can do to reduce the lag?

If you're getting input lag regular 400/800/XL/XE games, and NOT the 5200, then make sure your TV is in "Game Mode".  That'll defeat any additional image processing the TV does and give you the lowest display latency possible for your set.

 

If it's just in 5200 modethen I think (I'd like to be wrong) the issue is just with how the emulator tries to make a digital-only input work as an analog one.  There are settings to tweak for this, but for 95% of the games I've tried they really only get you from "LOL, WTF" to almost playable, but not worth bothering".  I suspect (again, I'd like to be wrong) that it'll require a change to the emulator to fix this - but some other emulators, including the one in the Atari Gamestation Pro, handle this digital->analog fakery in a "less clever, but much more effective for the task at hand" manner.

 

Put another way, I've played probably 20 hours in the 30 or so I've had the thing, and beyond hitting a button I don't mean to occasionally, I've got no complaints about performance or controls outside a) the 5200 side of things and b) being utterly unable to get the 400 Mini to recognize any Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S controller ...

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10 hours ago, Marc Oberhäuser said:

There are not many complains regarding input lag. For me almost all action games are barley playable (most prominent Millipede for me). Is it just me or is there something I can do to reduce the lag?

Some people arent sensitive to input lag and will say the lag is "fine".

Its not.

The 400 Mini is a piece os shit, returned.

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9 hours ago, Torq said:

If you're getting input lag regular 400/800/XL/XE games, and NOT the 5200, then make sure your TV is in "Game Mode".  That'll defeat any additional image processing the TV does and give you the lowest display latency possible for your set.

Ive been fighting the "put your TV in GAME MODE" reply for 20 years.

It reminds me of my son, who has dibilitating migraines. We have tried everything including brain MRIs, CBD oil, anything and everything for 15 years.

Then someone comes along ad says "dont drink milk" or somehting like they know more than anyone.

My systems and monitors are calibrated and I have specifically purchased monitors with the highest latency respionse times possible.

 

Every single one of these C64 minis and now the 400 mini have much more lag than simply playing an emulator on my high end PC.

Its because these $120 are basically molded nostalgia plastic with an emulator on a chip smartphone processor from 5 years ago.

 

But like I said some people arent sensitive to lag and say "its fine" lol.

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Oh man!   It's Bad!!

 

And I thought stock ColecoVision controllers were wrist manglers!  Took me a while to figure out the ring is actually buttons.  Then at certain points I kept thinking games were crashing, but I guess I was just leaning on the ring.  All my other minis are a joy compared to this one,  maybe with the exception of the First Atari Flashback,  but it's still more fun than this!!

 

You guys are all correct!  WTF were they thinking?  All the other Atari Flashbacks are just fine (give or take a few emulation problems compared to the real deal),  but they are very playable...I bet some of these games are pretty tight on the real thing...Couldn't they have at least got the joystick right?  The ones that come with Flashbacks are just fine,...The real Atari CX40s are just fine.  What is this?

 

 

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5 hours ago, donjn said:

Ive been fighting the "put your TV in GAME MODE" reply for 20 years.

 

It's frequently recommended because a) it usually makes a useful difference, b) it costs nothing but a few seconds to try and c) plenty of more casual AV and gaming enthusiasts don't know about it (hell, many of them have their TVs still setup in "store" or "demo" mode and think its awesome).

 

It's not intended as a universal panacea or a way to get no perceptible lag.  Nor is it meant as any kind of justification for poor performance.

 

And it's certainly not intended to come across as "I know more than anyone".

 

Just a quick, easy, costs-you-nothing and may help (enough) suggestion.

 

Since, as you say, people have different levels of sensitivity to input lag, then the difference in making such a simple change may be enough to address the issue well enough for them.  And in the case of the 400 Mini (and devices like it), then absent a software update that improves it (which may not be possible on the level of hardware involved) it is about all you can do.

 

If it helps enough, great; if not, you return it.

 

5 hours ago, donjn said:

Every single one of these C64 minis and now the 400 mini have much more lag than simply playing an emulator on my high end PC.

 

The alternative of "playing an emulator on my end PC" is only "simple" if you've got such a machine in the first place, and are capable of and willing to set up emulators there properly (I know it's not hard, but there are those that still can't manage it and/or that have no interest in doing it or learning how to).  And not that the PC in question needs to be remotely "high end", but it's a different proposition to plug-and-play devices.

 

For me, the way 5200 mode handles/translates input renders it completely unplayable.  For the 400/800/XL/XE stuff, I'm clearly not sensitive enough to the issue for it to be a problem.  There are other, bigger issues, for me, in this case.

 

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