My new toy an Amiga 1200, but it wasn't an enjoyable ride!

Ever since I was a kid, I've always at some point had an Amiga 500 in storage. Sadly, my first Amiga 500 was dropped on the floor, thus with smashed keys I chucked every bit of it away, including the games. I've regretted that till this day, especially as the Amiga 500 gave me so much enjoyment with long term gaming sessions through the early 90's. Fast forward to now and it was time to go full pelt, and go back into the world of 32bit gaming, but this time with a vastly superior system, the Amiga 1200! Unlike the 500 this beauty of a system can be upgraded in so many ways, from 4GB cf cards to processor and huge memory upgrades. You thought the 1/2MB expansion was big on the Amiga 500, try 128MB on the 1200!

The 500 was also pretty limited in terms of latest hardware upgrades, try putting a 4GB CF in a 500, it just won't happen, at least not yet. With the Amiga 1200 not only can you have a 4GB CF card in, but you can have classicwb running with well over 2000 WHDload games. There are more upgrades out there but for now I'll focus on my woes and enjoyment.

My Amiga 1200 was purchased via Amibay and this system appealed to me because it was a cleaned out project, as there is nothing worse than getting an Amiga that looks like it's been through a dust storm. It arrived not long after, but even though it had workbench installed on the CF it didn't have any games nor classicwb. So along comes FitzSteve who put the offer forward to install ClassicWB and over 2000 games for me, and thus I accepted his offer, and went over to his place. Steve tried to install ClassicWB onto the CF but it wasn't playing ball as the CF card was slightly under the imaged size, so he gave me one of his in swap and within about 20mins, my system had all the game gubbins. Steve can do other peoples system's for them for a small fee, including the installation of hardware, so he comes highly recommended.

However the next problem came about, pretty much most of the games either didn't work or flickered like crazy and that was the limitation of the ram. So I needed more ram to play my games :(. Back to Amibay I went, this time I purchased an ACA1232 25MHZ/128MB accelerator, which took awhile to arrive because it was coming from France.

But things went down hill before that arrived as I couldn't use the VGA adaptor to see my Amiga working on any of my lcd monitors. Nor did I have any rgb or scart leads, I was a bit gutted. So straight to Amigakit I went and purchased a SCART TO AMIGA (RGB) CABLE WITH AUDIO. The delivery took longer than accepted and the order history was late to be updated, but my woes turned to sadness and frustration when the kit arrived.

I plugged my Amiga 1200 into the 14" LCD/TV screen and the quality was very poor, with shimmering and little waves running up the screen. I expected much more from this kit and trying to find the cause ended up with different power supplies being tested, but it was still the same.

I then tested the cable on a massive 42" LCD/TV and it was even worse, it looked like someone had smeared wallpaper paste all over the screen. It was far more noticeable between black loading screens, just check out the picture below, oh the horror!

No amount of PAL/NTSC changing made any difference, nor did talking to the Scart cable telling it to be a good boy (I Jest!). It started to become a real worry issue, as a number of forum comments pointed towards it being the PSU or a problem on the board it self.

The good news though, was that the ACA1232 25MHZ/128MB arrived but the bad news was, it was giving me a blank screen or grey screen, turned out that firstly it wasn't in properly and then, because my HD light doesn't show, I was rebooting while it was loading causing it to recheck.

Another issue cropped up which Steve did mention before during a conversation, that because I was using 3.0 roms, I needed to use the ACATune feature to bypass it and use 3.1 roms. Other wise it wouldn't use all my memory and my games wouldn't work as well. Thankfully through Steve's wisdom, he gave me a step by step guide and the accelerator was installed.

Back to the graphical/tv/scart issue, there was one last thing I hadn't tested which came to me very late in the afternoon. What if the problems of these lines were related to them being high end LCD/TV's and the fact I wasn't using an old school TV. Remember, Amiga's generally used about 15HZ or so, way below many LCD/TV or PC LCD monitors of today, even with a scart.

I plugged the Amiga 1200 into a rather old VHS/TV and BINGO! Lovely detail, no lines and no shimmering, it looked as good as it did many many years ago. What's more, all my games are working but the only thing I miss is a massive TV!

If I really wanted to be able to play with top end graphics of the Amiga and up scaled with proper HZ then I'd have to buy a Indivision AGA MKII . Then I can use my VGA out/input on any PC Monitor, though at the moment I'm just happy enough to have it all up and running!

So as you can see it's been fustrating with end rewards. However as I'm sure many of you will go through, why did I just spend over £200 on a system I'll probably not play very much of. I sometimes kick myself for spending the money, but then there is something nostalgic that takes over compared to any Emulator. It just doesn't feel the same without playing the original system. Most likely when I'm older and I have my own kids, I'll pass this down to them. It's my system now and also a collectors item.

For all those that want to buy a new Amiga or any retro based console/system, don't expect an easy ride, remember, technology has improved a lot and it doesn't always communicate well.

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