Sunday, December 27, 2020

Nintendo Game and Watch Super Mario Bros 2020 for Xmas!

For Xmas this year my wife was kind enough to buy me a Nintendo Game & Watch specially released in 2020 by Nintendo to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Mario!

Back in the 1980's, like many other kids of that era, I had a couple of Nintendo Game & Watch games, specifically Oil Panic and Octopus.

Later on I picked up Mario Bros and Donkey Kong Game & Watch games.

I gave them all away when I got my first Nintendo Gameboy in 1992 and kind of forgot about Game & Watch until the Nintendo DS era, when Nintendo released two Game & Watch DS games for it, under the now closed Japanese and Australian Club Nintendo. You had to buy a lot of DS games to accumulate enough points in Club Nintendo to redeem for these special items.

Being able to play some favourite Game & Watch games again on the Nintendo DS like Octopus, Donkey Kong and Oil Panic was fantastic.

Club Nintendo Australia allowed you to redeem points for some special extras and titles not released outside Club Nintendo. I got these DS storage containers from Club Nintendo Australia before it shut down.

The cream of the crop of these redeemable items though was only available from Club Nintendo in Japan - a 2010 remake of the very first Game & Watch game, called Ball, originally released in 1980. 

Luckily for me, my wife and I had bought a number of DS games in Japan during my many years working there on various IT projects, and this allowed me to get this very special Game & Watch:

Here is the special edition Game & Watch game called Ball.

The unit itself was quite small compared to the later Game & Watch games like Octopus and the even larger dual screen games.

Here is Ball up and running on this special Game & Watch!

I still have this Game & Watch!

In recent times I was interested in getting Donkey Kong, Octopus and Oil Panic Game & Watch games back again, but the prices on Ebay have just got stupid in 2020. Maybe one day.

Nintendo seriously got my attention in 2020 with the announcement of the new limited release Super Mario Bros Game & Watch. Predictably the pre-orders for Australia sold out within hours and sadly I missed out.

I was very disappointed, but my wife tracked down a Japanese version of the Game & Watch Super Marios Bros released in Japan in 2020 and got it shipped to Australia in time for Xmas!

I was really happy to get this!

This Game & Watch is a little bit special. It has a full colour screen, and runs the NES versions of Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros 2. Like all Game & Watch games, it also has a Clock time functionality. It also has a special Mario themed version of the original Game & Watch game Ball (the original shown in the 2010 remake above)

Here is the case:

It has a clear cover with various Mario themed images, which can be removed from the gold coloured cardboard case:

When opening, it was a nice touch to see the "Special thanks to you" on the flap:

Here is the Game & Watch Super Mario Bros:

It is a beautiful system, and looks very similar to the original Game & Watch games of the Octopus era. It is a little bit wider on the right hand side to accommodate the A and B buttons to be located side by side rather than on top of each other as they were on most Game & Watches. This has been done presumably so it matches up to the NES controller button locations. Kinda makes sense since it is the NES version of Super Mario Bros.

Here is the rear of the system - disappointedly there is no built in stand so that the Game & Watch can sit up by itself when in Time mode (a common feature of the original single screen Game & Watches) - I will need something else to allow me to do that:

There is a power button and USB-C port on the side of the unit for power on/off and for USB-C charging. No pencil battery and battery cover to lose. Glad about that!

On first power on you get a nice Mario image - amazing to see a colour Game & Watch screen:

The Game & Watch switches to Time display mode, which has a great Game & Watch second tick sound, and nice Mario another enemies move around the screen and adjust the time as it changes. The screen backdrop changes from night to day depending on the time, which is another nice touch.

When you select Game option, you can choose Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 2, and the Mario themed Ball to play.

I couldn't wait to play Super Mario Bros, and jumped right in. It plays identically to the NES version, but it does remember where you are in the game if you decide to power off or switch to time mode later on. This is great!

My wife reckons the screen is a bit small, but Game & Watch screens were always small!

I recorded a quick video showing the Game & Watch Super Mario Bros in action:

You can access the video directly on YouTube here:

If you get the chance to get one of these Game & Watches while they are still available, and especially if you love Game & Watch games, I highly recommend grabbing one.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 on my AmigaOne X1000

 Overnight saw an unexpected update to AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1 to a new Update 2 version!

It is fantastic in 2020 to see a new update released for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition! I was keen to get this installed on my AmigaOne X1000. Update 2 is a free update available to all AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition licensed users who have registered their license on Hyperion Entertainment's website. It is available to download from their secure file area.

With the archive downloaded, it is great to see over 120 new changes to AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition, across a number of different areas. The changelog included in the archive covers these in detail:

An important note is a change to the kicklayout file on AmigaOS 4.1 final Edition, which requires the user to modify the Kicklayout file in Sys:Kickstart/Kicklayout to reference a new resource kickstart module, in order for the new Update 2 to boot successfully on the X1000. There is a similar instruction for the X5000, with a different file required for those systems.

Although I understand the requirement to do this, and no issues in doing it, I think this change really should have been handled by the installer. 

As mentioned there are a lot of changes in this update 2 release, and some of them are shown below:

Covered is the new pasemi_dma.resource.kmod file - the one you need to add to the kicklayout file before rebooting after the installation completes.

Interesting notes on the graphics.library changes, which shows that the onboard A1222 display interface is now supported. This means you don't have to have a PCI-e graphics card added to the A1222 to use have a display, although obviously a dedicated ATI Radeon PCI-e card will easily be better than the onboard display.

Actually, I have been using that support for some time as a Beta tester on the A1222, but until now it was not publicly communicated that this support exists.

Getting onto the installation, the Python version needs to be updated before it starts:

As virtually no one would actually know where that is installed, they just ask for the System drive location, which is defaulted to SYS, the correct location for most people:

The installer proper then launches:

The warnings about the kicklayout changes is included here too, just in case you didn't read the changelog first.

The installer defaults to updating AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1 installed on SYS:, which is fine for me, and should be very most people unless you customised your installation:

Last chance to back out:

The install then gets underway, with a lot of files installed, including the latest MUI 5 version released on 21st December!

Now you are reminded again to change the kicklayout, and it detects I am running on an AmigaOne X1000 and shows the correct lines to insert and where, and even a button to open Notepad:

Notepad then opens the Kicklayout file, ready to edit:

I added in the required line for my X1000 as requested by the installer:

I saved the file, closed Notepad and then got the installation complete screen. Note that it says you need to run FixFonts in the System drawer after the reboot is done:

After the reboot, The workbench opened as expected, but now with an unexpected Clock, which was replaced the A-Eon Enhancer clock I had running before.

This is easy enough to fix. I ran the A-Eon Updater program to update Clock to the A-Eon version. Of course you may not want to do that - I know a few people have strong opinions about A-Eon replacing System utilities and tools with custom versions. I am not getting involved in that one! Your choice.

Checking the About confirms I am now running AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 on my AmigaOne X1000.

As mentioned earlier, the latest MUI 5 release from 21/12/2020 is included on Update 2 as well. I updated some extra MUI classes from os4depot as I found there have been a few updates to important ones since I last played on my X1000.

I tried out AmiCygnix 1.6, which is also updated in 2020 (and a number of linux programs run well under it on the X1000 under AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2)

I found Spencer (Warp3D Nova game) works well, as does AmigaAmp 3, Schismtracker, AmiCygnix 1.6 (updated during 2020), Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and a few other games as well.

Game-wise I tried out Pacman Arena, Metal Slug and Sonic Riders which all worked well under Update 2:

I also fired up the very excellent Tower 57 for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2, and found there was some updates for this game as well! I haven't played it for a while and for some reason I was doing well playing it so here is a few screenshots:

The game is a lot of fun - I am so glad I supported the Kickstarter to make this game happen on AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition.

A few enemies around, about to get a lot busier:

Unlocking keys, doors and secret rooms in Tower 57 is a lot of fun and quite rewarding:

Being able to repair your battered body as you progress through the game is very handy - in this case an enemy removed my legs, but I can fix them here:

Can buy more ammo too:

Mind you, I still have a long way to go to get good at this game:

Moving onto to emulation, I ran the new release DosBox update for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 and it runs quite well indeed - I can now run PC DOS demos at full speed on the X1000:

Putting Robotnik through it's paces:

I had to have a go at the classic Commander Keen while in DOSBox:

Moving back to Amiga of course, I also tried out my E-UAE JIT emulation setup of the Amiga 4000 system user AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 and pleased to report it works well also:

My Amiga 2000 workbench 1.3 hard disk setup emulation under E-UAE also runs well on the X1000 with Update 2:

I played some videos using AmigaOS4 native Emotion player (Available to purchase on AmiStore), and MPlayer with Altivec support under Update 2:

I fired up Odyssey web browser, and really want to see the latest developments with Wayfarer on MorphOS ported to the AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition version sooner rather than later. The age of this browser is really showing now.

So there you have it - a quick look at AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 install process and things seem to be working ok after the installation. I am so glad to see a new update for AmigaOS in 2020, just in time for Xmas.

I am slowly exploring what works and what doesn't after the upgrade, and will report back with my findings as I explore our newest AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 installation!

I am having a few well deserved days off of Xmas after a tough year for everyone. I wish you and your family a safe and very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. 

I look forward to doing more blog entries for you all in 2021.