Two classic Amiga demos have been ported to the Chloe.

Sponsors on Patreon got an early look at Chloe ports of two classic Amiga demos (Boing and Juggler) late last year, but they are now available to download from Source Solutions, Inc. Two years ago when we first reported on the Chloe, firmware updates were roughly quarterly, but last year there was only one update. Development had stalled, and efforts were focused elsewhere, such as on expanding localization support.

There have been some new technical demos released during that time, including another 6-channel sound demo (showcasing Arkos Tracker 2), an on-system version of the teaser video, and three demos streaming sound and video from disk using the DMA. The older demos have been updated to run at a smooth 30 FPS. But now there’s a new SE Basic IV release with lots of new features that lays the groundwork for more updates later this year.

The changes bring this version of BASIC much more in line with Microsoft BASIC. It now has the same mathematical order of precedence. Boolean operators have been replaced with 16-bit signed bitwise operators (true = -1, false =0). Support has been added for long variable names. Existing string slicing is retained, but LEFT$, MID$ and RIGHT$ are now available. FIX and STRING$ functions are added. Operators now include backslash (\) for truncated division, MOD and bitwise NOT, AND, OR and XOR (~, & and | are available as shorthand for the first three, along with ? for PRINT).

But SE Basic IV isn’t beyond borrowing from other BASIC dialects. This release adds DPOKE and DPEEK (16-bit versions of POKE and PEEK). The OLD command restores a program previously erased with NEW. The STR$ function is extended to support conversion from base 2 to 36 (encompassing BIN$, HEX$ and OCT$). String multiplication is now supported. This can be used to fill a string with a character or even mirror a string.

There are also bugfixes, speed ups and other enhancements. For example, a unified detokenizer now gives the same results in listings and in the editor. Now that all the available calculator functions are assigned, the calculator code is considered complete. The work remaining to complete the firmware includes advanced file handling, advanced sound, and graphics commands. But even without these, the system is already very usable.

Darren Melbourne returns to the podcast – 5 years after, this time with Retro Games’ CTO Chris Smith, they are talking about the upcoming A500 Mini. I this episode, they talk about the rocky way of getting this onto the road and what it means for the Amiga scene and the Amiga competitive gaming scene, as well. Interview starts at 05:55 Minutes

listen to it at https://scene.world/a500mini

or watch its video version at:

In our new episode we welcome Gunnar Vonn Boehn from the one and only Apollo Team. They are known for their stellar Vampire cards which are a must for every Amiga fan. Interview starts at 37:38 Minutes

https://scene.world/vampire

Or watch its video version:

Recently, I was watching some old episodes of GamesMaster on Twitch, and one of the celebrity challenges involved Armadillo Racing. If you’ve not heard of it, it’s an odd Namco arcade game with trackball controls. It generated a bit of discussion, with the observation that the days of “being able to make a game of anything” didn’t end in the Eighties. Of course they didn’t – the game Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 exists, as I pointed out to the horror of fellow viewers. At that point the original commenter brought up Sensible Train-Spotting, the final Amiga game by Sensible Software.

Sensible Train-Spotting is a game about the highly regarded pastime of recording trains that travel through a station. If you feel like adding extra authenticity, you could imitate the game’s main character – just sit on a bench while wearing an anorak, and occasionally take a sip from your flask of weak lemon drink. Conceptually, it perhaps lacks the wide appeal of Sensible Soccer, Cannon Fodder or even Sensible Golf, but it does go to show that you really can make a game out of anything. Because you receive time penalties if a train isn’t on screen at the time you try to record its appearance, filling your cards becomes quite a tricky task when the numbers get longer and the trains become more frequent and start to obscure one another. It’s compelling, right up to the point that you remember that you are engaging in simulated anorak usage.

Unsurprisingly, Sensible Software didn’t try to turn this into a commercial product, instead releasing it on an Amiga Power cover disk – and that’s where these sorts of concepts tend to be realised. You’re never going to see a Call Of Duty or Assassin’s Creed budget allocated to a game about mowing the lawn, but there are plenty of oddities to be found whether you’re looking at cover disk jokes, bizarre budget PS2 games or today’s quirky indie favourites. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to play An Airport For Aliens Currently Run By Dogs. Yes, of course it actually exists.