Whether you’ve pre-ordered the A500 Mini or plan to buy it later, you already know that you can play Amiga games on it. But which ones? Amiga games were published between 1985 and the late 90s, although of course new games have been issued since that time. The A500 Mini games are based around that classic era, spanning around 10 years or so. These games are all available with the system, and represent 100s of hours of gameplay for a comparative bargain price.
Here is the full list of 25 A500 Mini games that you can play when you plug it in and switch it on, with a few thoughts and observations from this long-time Amiga lover.
1. Alien Breed 3D
If anything is going to showcase the depth of gaming styles available on the Amiga, it’s Alien Breed 3D. Sadly I never saw a copy of this in the wild in the mid-to-late 1990s, on several occasions splashing the cash on Aliens comics (UK reprints of the US originals from Dark Horse) when I couldn’t find the game they inspired.
I’m looking forward to this one!
2. Alien Breed: Special Edition 92
It’s difficult to appreciate how good this game was at the time. It didn’t do anything particularly revolutionary in terms of the top-down interface, but by combining a number of genres, styles, and influences, Team 17 made an Aliens-inspired title that was better than any of the official, licensed games (at least until Alien Trilogy on the Playstation).
3. Another World
I first encountered Another World in the mid 1990s, its existence having completely passed me by for years. It’s not the easiest game, but there is enough to challenge and discover, making it a worthy inclusion.
4. Arcade Pool
Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker was where the digital ball-potting took place on my Amiga 500. Arcade Pool is a title I’d never heard of until the A500 Mini was announced. Based on the video clip, the mechanics look good, so this should be fun.
5. ATR: All Terrain Racing
6. Battle Chess
Way back when, I had just a Commodore 64 and drooled over Amiga reviews and screenshots in Commodore User. One of the games that turned my head towards the possibilities of superior graphics and gaming was Battle Chess.
Somehow I never played Cadaver, despite it being 100% the sort of game I would have bought. Its inclusion as one of the pre-installed A500 Mini games is pretty exciting. This is a 3D isometric adventure game, think Monkey Island but in a box viewed from the side…
8. California Games
Absolutely not my cup of tea, I’ve never played California Games. A collection of events in the style of an Olympic competition, the games are street challenges, like skateboarding, and a bit of surfing. The events in the game are Half-pipe, Roller skating, Surfing, BMX, Footbag, Flying disc – the game also features competitive multiplayer modes.
9. Dragon’s Breath
Another title that passed me by at the time (I was probably playing Railroad Tycoon, and the lack of Sid Meier titles on the A500 Mini has not gone unnoticed by me), Dragon’s Breath requires you to breed dragons in order to find the components of a talisman that gives you command of an entire kingdom. It’s a long-play strategy that admittedly sounds like more fun than managing a Victorian train network.
10. F-16 Combat Pilot
A hell of a lot of simulators were released on the Amiga, and of them a sizeable portion were flight sims. F-16 Combat Pilot was released in 1989 and sports the type of isometric 3D graphics the Amiga would be called on to produce quite regularly, it not to great success.
I’m sure I have this knocking around somewhere, but it seemed less complete than the later F-15 Strike Eagle and F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter 2.0 (both 1991 remakes of earlier Microprose 8-bit titles). Of course, I could be completely wrong about that…
11. Kick Off 2
If there is any Amiga game I spent too much time playing, it’s this one. Released in a World Cup year, Kick Off 2 is not easy to play and won’t be among the top A500 Mini games for 50% of buyers, who would prefer Sensible Soccer to be included. But KO2 has a certain cachet. Difficult to master, the results and satisfaction when it all comes together is addictive.
12. Paradroid 90
An Andrew Braybrook game originally released on the Commodore 64, I’ve never been a fan of either version, although many consider the original superior. Paradroid 90 is a top-down shooter where the aim is to destroy rogue droids. You get the option to control some of the rogue droids too, for a short time, taking advantage of their superior weaponry to complete your aims. While colourful, the Amiga version doesn’t stretch the platform in the way the original did, but remains playable.
13. Pinball Dreams
A good old favourite that definitely got passed around the schoolyard, Pinball Dreams is basically a pinball game where all you have to do is keep the ball in play, with a pair of flippers (shift keys on the original, joypad shoulder buttons in this version). Good fun, with a choice of pinball machine themes.
14. Project-X: Special Edition 93
Arguably the ultimate side scrolling sci-fi shooter on the Amiga, Project-X is by Team 17, who you’ve probably heard of. With a ton of collecatble powerups throughout, this is a game that will challenge you again and again, if not to get to the next level, then to resist the temptation to admire the beautiful, atmospheric scenery.
Another Team 17 game, Qwak is a platform shooter/puzzler that is deceptively cute. Some of the levels are pretty tricky, but the main character’s “Qwakiness” might leave you thinking that this is a game for little girls. It is not.
16. Simon the Sorcerer
17. Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe
One of the key two player games on the Amiga, Speedball 2 also has a compelling single player mode, which challenges you to get your team through a series of matches to win the championship. But you cannot beat the two-player experience, although it is best attempted with Competition Pro (or similarly tough joysticks.
18. Stunt Car Racer
To be honest, I always found the Commodore 64 version to be a bit more playable than the Amiga release, despite it being slower. Revisiting Stunt Car Racer hasn’t changed my mind. The key to succeeding in this single-player stunt car game is to remember that the faster you go, the harder it is to break and turn.
19. Super Cars II
Another of the great two player games on the Amiga, this is one that could cause you to lose friends. With missiles, shields, and other purchasable power ups, Super Cars II features a simultaneous split screen mode for competitive racing. Watch those rear missiles as you come around the corner!
20. The Chaos Engine
A quirky game from the Bitmap Bros that I always wanted to do well with and never did, it is another two player title – co-op, rare on the Amiga – that is accompanied by some excellent music. I love the graphics, there is a real arcade feel to the game. The Chaos Engine was one of the first A500 Mini games I went for, which should tell you something.
21. The Lost Patrol
A bit of a depressing game, The Lost Patrol is a strategy title set during Vietnam. A conflict still pretty fresh when it came out, and part of popualr culture thanks to the various 80s and 90s movies set in the war, there is a bleak aspect to the game which is rarely lifted with optimism.
22. The Sentinel
A 1987 Firebird game that stared at me from the pages of Commodore User, The Sentinel is a title I’ve never played. A first person strategy unlike almost anything else available at the time, The Sentinel is a huge game where your aim is to dethrone a sentinel that controls 10,000 worlds, one level (world) at a time. I never found out if there are actually 10,000 levels in the game. In case there is, good luck.
23. Titus the Fox
I was completely unaware of this game until the late 1990s, by which time I had no interest in it. However, there is a curious background to the 1991 game. It was initially released in France, with the voice of comedian Lagaf as a tie in to a pop song. The original, Lagaf’: Les Aventures de Moktar — Vol 1: La Zoubida, was unsurprisingly renamed for the international market.
24. Worms: The Director’s Cut
You probably know of the Worms games, but did you know the series kicked off on the Amiga back in 1995? This is the 1997 release, one of the last big name games on the Amiga, and limited to 1200 and 4000 models.
When I first saw Worms, I was stuck in a funk of playing older games on the Amiga 1200. I had no idea a game like Worms was still possible on the system. I’ve been in love with it ever since, and while the Android version is probably my favourite of the later releases, nothing beats Worms on the Amiga.
25. Zool: Ninja Of The ”Nth” Dimension
Did anyone really think the Amiga needed a Sonic the Hedgehog or Mario? Outside of the games industry, I think the answer is no, but in the face of increasingly powerful console systems, someone thought it was a good idea. Various attempts were made before and since to create a character that could be tied to the Amiga in the same way Sonic is to Sega products, and while my preference would have been the star of Putty, Zool made a good attempt.
With that Chupa Chups sponsorship and the simple task of collecting sweets while not being killed, Zool is good fun. I’ve been playing it on my Evercade recently (as part of the Gremin Collection 1) and it is still a top game. In fact for anyone with children, it could prove to be the most fun of all the A500 Mini games.
Play These A500 Mini Games Today
Whether you played these games the first time around, they’re new to you, or the idea of playing 25 Amiga games on dedicated hardware 25 years after the last unit was produced is something that excites you, the selection is excellent. Spanning the Amiga’s halcyon years, mixing genres, publishers, and even controller options, this collection of Amiga games will keep you engaged for months.
Expected for release on April 8th 2022, you can order THEA500 Mini for the £119.99 RRP on Amazon now.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.