AMIGA alive

AMIGA alive

Sunday, September 8, 2019

APECAT making progress

You might have seen our little article, asking for support for APECAT, the "Amiga Processor Expansion Card for Application Transfer" - we have good news!

In case you haven't heard about APECAT before: Stian Søreng is developing a homegrown expansion device for the Amiga 500 (MC68000 CPU slot - probably Amiga 2000, too) that is designed to be able to directly upload code to the Amiga's memory, and execute it on boot.

Pretty cool, isn't it?

Stian has just reported via facebook that he's making progress, his prior problems seem to have been solved. 

In a new article on his website (see link below) published on Aug. 31st, he describes he had to fix timing issues both in hard- and software, and has started working on revision 2 of the APECAT. 

He also created a short video showing his strikingly simple and simply amazing invention doing a little work! Here it is:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJHgCr-Vl1Q


Yeah, it IS pretty cool.
In fact it's awesome.
:-D

Visit Stian's website for more information:
http://jmp.no/blog/apecat-writing-to-ram-running-code


Sources:
https://www.facebook.com/amigaalive/posts/781513535557774?comment_id=890311298011330
http://jmp.no/blog/apecat-writing-to-ram-running-code

Sunday, August 11, 2019

A501 coin-cell battery modification

The name "VARTA" strikes fear into the hearts of Amiga 500 plus, and A501 memory expansion owners: VARTA rechargeable batteries have been built into these devices, and with growing age are prone to leak green acid, damaging the printed circuit boards and other components.

Original rechargeable battery from an A501 memory expansion
So it's an absolute requirement to remove that rechargeable battery, and clean the PCB from all acid that might have spilled out, if you want to keep your device intact. Most Amigans seem to use vinegar and alcohol for cleaning, sometimes using a tooth-brush to rub off any damaged material. If you don't catch the "infection" in time, traces or components might be damaged, requiring repairs.

But still it would be nice to have a working backup battery installed to your machine. Coin-cells, type CR2032, are a good replacement, they're widely available, and do not leak. But keep in mind that these aren't rechargeable - the Amiga provides recharge-current to it's batteries, so when replacing the original rechargeable one, we need to take care of that to avoid (additional) damage.

Removing the rechargeable VARTA battery shouldn't be a problem, you just need a soldering iron. Next is the cleaning - and if you're unlucky - repair job.

When you're done so far you can install you coin-cell. The original VARTA batteries are 3.6V. CR2032 coin-cells are 3V, that's within range for the clock chips used in Amiga 500 pluses and A501 memory expansions (mostly OKI M6242 chips).

With some googling I found Daniel Schneller's nice article on how to do the replacement. He's done what's required, and added a few details, mainly putting the new battery on a separate board to avoid stress to the original PCB when exchanging the coin-cell in the future - an idea I like very much. I basically did the same, but wanted to keep my A501 in "one-piece", so I decided to put the extra board onto the A501 itself. According to one CR2032 manufacturer's docs, a diode and a 200 ohms (minimum) resistor are required to keep the Amiga's recharge-current away from the new, non-rechargeable battery. I'm using a 220 ohms resistor, just for a little bit of extra-safety.

Here's a schematic of the new battery board:
Battery board schematic (click to enlarge)

Nothing spectacular - have a piece of drilled board ready, the components as shown in the schematic, add a coin-cell holder, wires, and pin headers, and basically all that's left is the soldering.

New coin-cell battery on a separate drilled board
To fix the new board to my A501 I added several layers of duct-tape to the bottom side for padding, and a small piece of extra-strong double sided sticky tape as a (hopefully) removable glue.

The extra board is held in place by double-sided sticky tape

I'm quite pleased with the result! It doesn't look totally amateurish, there's close to zero modification to the original PCB, the sticky tape should keep the new board properly in place - and if I should ever want to do so, I could probably revert the modification completely.

And best of all: it works. :-)

Thank you very much, Daniel Schneller, for sharing your know-how and experience!


Sources:
http://www.danielschneller.com/2018/02/amiga-500-restoration-a501-memory.html 
http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1496885.pdf
http://thomas-rapp.homepage.t-online.de/index.html
http://thomas-rapp.homepage.t-online.de/download/RestartClock.lha

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Building the TerribleFire TF530 accelerator, part 6: Faster! Hotter!

With a little more experience and new information gained, there was something left to do...

Disclaimer: This is not an instruction. Use at your own risk. No responsibility taken for whatever you do. Safety first. Kids, dont try this at home. 

32MHz might not be too shabby, but then it's a weird number, and the TF530 is capable of more. It's been quite some time since I built my TF530. In the meantime Mr. Leary has released new firmware versions, improving the accelerator's compatibility with higher clock rates (among other things, probably). So the day had come to try a little tweaking.

First of all I had to test the latest firmware release. I fired up my laptop running Xilinx's CPLD programming software, connected the USB-cable to one, and TF530 5V power input to another USB port on the laptop. Surprise: The Amiga boots! It pulls enough power from the laptop's USB port to boot to Workbench! And of course the laptop (running Windows) complains about a USB device pulling way too much power! Ok, I'd better disconnect the power, remove the TF530 from the Amiga, reconnect, and try again...

Faster!


Without any changes to the TF530 I uploaded the latest software to the CPLDs. Hm, not bad! Worked flawlessly, and SysInfo shows a little speed increase of about... 3%! Not precisely earth-shattering, but a welcome improvement.

From ~5800 Dhrystones to ~6000 just by firmware update!

I had never thoroughly tested the memory chips, and the new firmware needed something to do, so I started Microbotic's excellent MBRTest-2 memory testing program, and ran a couple of tests. To my surprise there were no errors - my handling and soldering of the memory chips was fine from day zero!

No RAM errors, very good!
So far, so - very - good. I had seen some accelerator configurations where the 68030 had been overclocked by about 25%, and the FPU on my TF530 is a 40Mhz model anyway, so, yeah, why not try 40Mhz on the 33Mhz CPU?

33Mhz CPU and 40MHZ FPU - will they run fine at 40MHz?

Replacing the tiny SMD type 32Mhz oscillator with a 40Mhz one requires some fiddling if you don't have a heat-gun, but these oscillators seem to be quite tolerant to heat, and I managed to do it using a soldering-iron without any visible damage. After some cleaning it was time to switch the Amiga on, and see how she does...

~7500 Dhrystones!

Hotter!


Once again, to my surprise, this worked flawlessly! Wow, running at 40Mhz we get about 7500 Dhrystones in SysInfo! The 68030 is getting a bit hot - I'll be adding at least a small heatsink just to avoid unnecessary stress on the material.

TerribleFire 530 with CF card adaptor inside the "Amiga 530"

As a final touch to my "Amiga 530" I wanted to delete AmigaOS3.9 from the CF card, and reinstall OS3.1. With some little adjustments OS3.9 ran quite well on the machine, but it's still comparatively resource-hungry, and in some parts unnecessarily bloated, thus slow. Installation of OS3.1 - no surprise here - was quick and worked flawlessly, too. Another reset, and...

...the Amiga now boots to Workbench in about 9 seconds!

This is really good. I could try to get a 50Mhz CPU and install a 50Mhz oscillator - the 40Mhz FPU should be able to take that (the 33MHz CPU probably not so much...) - but for now I'm really perfectly satisfied with the performance. Firmware update, plus faster clock, plus operating system downgrade really make a difference. I'm assuming an added heat-sink will make the setup safe and stable in the long term.

Now will THIS be the last part of the series of articles about "Building the TerribleFire TF530 accelerator"? Who knows. Probably not! There's still so much to experiment with - we haven't even touched the SPI port yet!

Once again a huge Thank You! to Mr. Stephen Leary for developing and releasing this awesome accelerator!




Overview and back catalogue of the series:
http://amigaalive.blogspot.de/p/hardware-building-terribefire-tf530.html

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

retro GAMER special issue: AMIGA

"The Story of Commodore's second cult-computer": German printed magazine "retro GAMER" shows its love for the Amiga by releasing a special issue.

https://www.emedia.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/rgsh01_2019__cover_amiga_final_ea2.jpg

It's 196 pages strong, with more than 60 Amiga games reviews, and additional articles covering Amiga models, art on the Amiga, the public domain scene, the best Amiga 1200 games, and "outsider" games.


Being a special issue some of the articles have been published previously, but there are also many new articles, and the majority of pages has been reworked or newly created. New articles include reviews of Alien Breed, Another World, Dune 2, The Great Giana Sisters, The Secret of Monkey Island, Sensible Soccer, Stunt Car Racer, Wing Commander, Worms, and more.

Retro Gamer "Amiga" special issue costs 14.95EUR, and can be purchased at magazine stores, or online at Heise store.

Go to retro GAMER's website for more information:
https://www.emedia.de/magazin/retro-gamer-spezial-amiga-1-2019/

Monday, July 8, 2019

AmigaOS 3.1.4.1 update released

Hyperion Entertainment CVBA show their commitment to AmigaOS: Today an update for AmigaOS 3.1.4 has been released, fixing some bugs, and adding some new features.

http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/images/stories/OS3.1.4/005.png

According to Hyperion's press release (see "Sources" below) this update aims to improve user experience and adds more workarounds to improve compatibility with existing software.

It's mainly a bugfix update to AmigaOS 3.1.4, but there are also a couple of new features:
  • Danish and swedish translations
  • Setpatch updated
  • Audio.device compatibility improved
  • HDToolBox improved (default blocksize for large harddrives)
  • CrossDOS compatibility improved
The complete list of bug fixes is considerably longer, Hyperion says the change log is more than 260KB in size. Changes include: updates to CDFileSystem, intution support, audio device, Format, FastFileSystem, HDToolBox, Shell, several AmigaDOS commands, DiskDoctor, and more.

Go to Hyperion's download area for registered customers, and get your free update to AmigaOS 3.1.4.1:
http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/index.php/downloads?view=files&parent=39


Sources:
http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/index.php/news/1-latest-news/280
http://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2019-07-00016-DE.html

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Games galore: Reshoot R, Rygar, BioJet, Pong 4K, AirTaxi - and Trap Runner sourcecode

It very much looks like 2019 will surpass many previous years in number of new games released for the Amiga. In fact it becomes pretty hard to keep up with all the new developments.


RESHOOT R


"RESHOOT" from 2016 by Richard Loewenstein looked awesome, and was kind of something new on Amiga, but Richard isn't done with us yet: now he's given us "RESHOOT R" with more assembler coded action, more bullets, extra weapons, more outlandish looking enemies, more insane sound effects, and more awesome pounding, hypnotizing music. It runs on AGA Amigas (CD32 included), claims to put up to 100 objects on screen at the same time, more than 400 colors, with transparency effects, still parallax-scrolling at 50Hz - no accelerator required, yet runs on 68020 to 68060, taking advantage of additional RAM if present.

Hats off, RESHOOT R rivals "T-Zero" in being the most advanced shoot'em up on the Amiga ever. ESCALATION!

Here's a gameplay video - but beware: this might be a bit of a spoiler!
Better buy the game, start playing, and have your jaw drop as you progress though the levels! It's insanely good!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0FQrXxwtSs

RESHOOT R - additional info / download / purchase:
http://reshootr.richard-loewenstein.de
https://www.amigashop.org/product_info.php?products_id=294 (purchase "signature" edition)
https://www.amigashop.org/product_info.php?products_id=295 (purchase digital)

https://www.amigashop.org/product_info.php?products_id=293 (purchase "pure" edition)
https://amigastore.eu/627-reshoot.html (RESHOOT, predecessor)
https://www.patreon.com/loewenstein


Rygar


Not finished yet, but with preview videos out, we can pretty safely assume a 2019 release. "Rygar" is a fantasy themed game for AGA Amigas, a remake of the 1986 Tecmo arcade game. Jump, shoot, dodge, run - somewhere in between "Lionheart", "Shadow of the Beast", and "Ghosts'n'Goblins". It already looks very good, and has some above-average game mechanics. Expect some more improvements and bugfixes, this is gonna be an exciting game.

Here's the latest in-development video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0MwnJisMt4


Rygar - additional info / download / purchase:
http://www.seismicminds.com/downloads/RygarEAB0C.adf (demo beta version download)
https://www.facebook.com/RygarAmiga/
https://vintagecomputerssociety.blogspot.com/2019/05/rugar-aga-gets-playble-demo-version.html


BioJet


Inspired by the classic "H.E.R.O." game, "BioJet" is a variation of the fly/dodge/explore genre for all Amigas (with 512KB FastRAM). This looks like a smooth, fun game, and has some interesting technical details (see Aminet readme). Last but not least: it's freeware!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H1AqOaA2f8

BioJet - additional info / download / purchase:
http://aminet.net/package/game/misc/BioJet (download) 
http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=81083 (download) 
http://amiga-news.de/en/news/AN-2019-05-00014-EN.html
http://www.indieretronews.com/2019/04/biojet-flying-platformer-as-first.html


PONG 4K goes commercial


One of the oldest gaming ideas got a massive update with "PONG 4K". You still try to catch and reflect a ball, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. "PONG 4K" is the successor to "PoNG4" - for Amiga CD32 only, has an intro video, CD soundtrack, lots of bleeps and blurps, dark yet colorful graphics, giving it a "Speedball" like dystopian future atmosphere, with parallax scrolling, four players simultaneously, gravity effects, obstacles, ... you name it. Originally released in 2018 it's got a commercial release in 2019. Pong is dead, long live PONG!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfbcLjjoWBs


PONK 4K - additional info / download / purchase:
https://amiga.net.pl/index.php?lng=eng&kwt=10010&tms=427 (purchase physical)
http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=78586 (PONG 4K download)
https://vintagecomputerssociety.blogspot.com/2019/05/pong-4k-new-pong-genre-game-for-aga.html
http://www.indieretronews.com/2019/06/pong-4k-wicked-amiga-cd32-pong-stye.html
http://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2018-10-00034-DE.html
http://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2019-06-00010-DE.html
http://aminet.net/package/game/2play/PoNG4 (predecessor, all Amigas)


AirTaxi full version released


Dave May's "AirTaxi" is a 1994 game heavily-inspired by "SpaceTaxi", in fact it looks like a super-polished, enhanced version of the classic. A demo has long been on AmiNet, but recently the full version (.adf) has been released, and even an updated rework is considered by the author. "AirTaxi" can be played by up to 5 human players simultaneously (2 joysticks + 2 joysticks on parallel port + keyboard), and runs smoothly on any Amiga with 1MB ChipRAM and some acceleration (25Mhz). It's got speech, soundfx, obstacles, weather conditions, bad guys, nice little character animations, etc. - this looks very entertaining to play with a couple of friends!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7fHJtLUm1Y

AirTaxi - additional info / download / purchase:
http://airtaxigame.com
http://aminet.net/package/game/2play/airTaxi (demo version)


TrapRunner source code released


Frank Wille's "Trap Runner" had a "party release" in 2018, but is still going strong in 2019 with an updated "final release", and recently the sourcecode has been released. The game is a "Giana Sisters" type jump-and-run with super cute graphics and sounds, very classic, and it also has the best storyline ever: rescue girl from bad guy. Add playability, intro screens, and of course this irresistable marshmellow-smurf-kindof character - you just can't go wrong with "Trap Runner".

You can buy a physical edition of the game, and you can also try your hands on the sourcecode. It's designed to be portable to other platforms, but there's some assembler code involved.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wUDTTE5tgg

Trap Runner - additional info / download / purchase:
http://www.retroguru.com/trap-runner/
http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=78069 (download) 
https://www.amigashop.org/product_info.php?products_id=289 (purchase physical)
http://amiga-news.de/en/news/AN-2019-04-00046-EN.html (sourcecode announcement)
http://server.owl.de/%7Efrank/TrapRunner1_2.lha (sourcecode)
http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=94066


Bonus game: Cuba 1898


And we have one more that popped up recently: "Cuba 1898" by Irongate / José A. González P. is a neat sidescrolling jump'n'shoot that puts you right into the Spanish-American war of 1898. Well, kinda. Shoot enemies "Green Beret" style, collect boni - win a war!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbNghJFjZaY

Cuba 1898 - additional info / download / purchase:
http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=95734
http://www.indieretronews.com/2019/01/cuba-1898-new-amiga-game-in-development.html

- - - - -

In addition to the above, also make sure to check out these releases we've given coverage in individual articles:

SkillGrid
https://amigaalive.blogspot.com/2019/05/skillgrid-new-vertical-shootem-up-game.html

Shogo (digital download edition released)
https://amigaalive.blogspot.com/2019/03/shogo-mobile-armor-division-available.html

Yeah, and of course we're looking forward to the very promising "Scourge of the Underkind".

- - - - -


Fire up your joysticks!

Will 2019 go down in history as the year Amiga gaming returned from the underground?

Support Amiga game development!
Buy a game!

Friday, May 3, 2019

SkillGrid - new vertical shoot'em up game for Amiga!

Amiga games developers are pretty active these days - here's the latest release in Amiga shoot'em up games. And it's an impressive one.

"SkillGrid" is a new vertical shoot 'em up for AGA Amigas by Simone "RETREAM" Bevilacqua, who by the way is also responsible for the excellent BOH and Huenison games, among others, and has created a little gaming universe made of his creations.

So now he's released SkillGrid, which takes place in the same universe, and again has somehow to do with some Evil Masters - you can read the full saga on SkillGrid's homepage (see links below).

https://img.itch.zone/aW1hZ2UvMjc1ODAwLzE2OTU5ODgucG5n/original/i%2B3Q9L.png

Among SkillGrid's features are
  • original tactical gameplay mix of shooting and catching/dodging
  • endless game with procedurally generated stages
  • in-depth scoring system
  • sub-games and boss battles
  • parallax scrolling
  • transparency
  • pixel-perfect collision detection
  • hi-quality prog-rock music [Author's note: Yeah, baby!]
  • speech

...and many more.

https://img.itch.zone/aW1hZ2UvMjc1ODAwLzE3MDUyMjUucG5n/347x500/5YhmqE.png

A couple of different editions are available, including a physical "Deluxe Edition" with CD, floppy disks, 16-page booklet, postcards, badges, and even a A3 sized poster! Very nice.


Here you can see SkillGrid in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLLtD4nr5ck

Judging from the screenshots, the music, and the video, this is an awesome game. Gameplay looks above-average, the action is frenetic, graphics are good to stunning, smooth and stylish, and then there are these outstanding music tracks (some of which almost speak out "I love Iron Maiden!") and sound effects.

Bevilacqua's work is really impressive, he's applying minimalistic gaming ideas from the smartphone-generation to the Amiga, and does so with amazing technical skill. The boxed "Deluxe Edition" of SkillGrid (or any of RETREAM's games, for that matter) is just beautiful, a must-have for any serious Amiga gamer.


Find out more, listen to the music, and get your copy of "SkillGrid" at:
https://retream.itch.io/skillgrid

If you just want to order your physical edition you can go here directly:
https://rgcd.bigcartel.com/product/skillgrid-amiga

* * *


Have you played "SkillGrid" yet? Please leave a comment below!

* * *
Sources:

https://rgcd.bigcartel.com/product/skillgrid-amiga

https://retream.itch.io/skillgrid

https://www.retream.com/

https://www.facebook.com/R37R34M/

http://www.indieretronews.com/2019/04/skillgrid-wicked-aga-shoot-em-up.html

GoADF! - advanced ADF utility

Krzysztof "Bitplan" Donat from Poland has just released a nice tool to handle your ADF files, and do a bit more.

GoADF! is more than just your average ADF disk writing tool. It shows information about your ADF files, like filesystem type, used/free space on disk, and more, it can extract individual files from an ADF, it can mount ADFs as a logical drive to AmigaOS, of course it can write your ADF files to floppy disk, and it does a couple of other useful things.

It also has a nice Workbench GUI, and it's free. :-)

Get your copy of GoADF! at:
https://bitplan.pl/goadf/index.html

 

https://bitplan.pl/img/ss_splash.png

Sources:

facebook

https://bitplan.pl/goadf/contact.html

http://www.indieretronews.com/2019/05/goadf-fantastic-piece-of-amiga-software.html
 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

New facebook group for BlitzBasic/AmiBlitz coders

Yes, indeed, there used to be no facebook group specifically for Amiga BlitzBasic/AmiBlitz coders. This situation has just changed.



BlitzBasic, or AmiBlitz, is a BASIC dialect, originally developed specifically for the Amiga, keeping the Amiga hardware's special features in mind, allowing reasonably unexperienced coders to get great results, and quickly. Many games have been written in BlitzBasic, including the outstanding Lemmings-clone Blobz.

Surprisingly there wasn't a facebook group dedicated to Amiga BlitzBasic - until now. Amiga BlitzBasic coders now have a group on facebook to share, exchange, and chat about their BlitzBasic experiences.

The group's name is "Amiga BlitzBasic & AmiBlitz", it's a closed group, and as such of course you need to have a facebook account, and request to join the group.

C u there! Happy BlitzBasic coding!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"Shogo: Mobile Armor Division" available as digital download

Oh, that's a nice one: "Shogo: Mobile Armor Division", one of the best FPS games ever for the Amiga, originally released in 2001 (for the Amiga) can now be purchased as digital download.

http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/images/stories/shogocover.jpg
http://hol.abime.net/1912/screenshot
"Shogo: Mobile Armor Division" was initially released for Windows in 1998, and was one of a couple of ambitious ports to the Amiga platform done by Hyperion. The digital download is only 14.95EUR, and you need a next-gen Amiga running AmigaOS4.1 or some decent - in other words: PowerPC - AmigaOS3 hardware to run the game.

Click this link for more details:
http://www.hyperion-entertainment.com/index.php/news/37-games/278-shogo-mobile-armor-division-available-as-digital-download-for-amigaos-3-and-4


Sources:
http://hol.abime.net/1912
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shogo:_Mobile_Armor_Division
https://www.facebook.com/HyperionEntertainment/posts/2566146990278613

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Support the APECAT

An interesting little project by Norwegian developer Stian Søreng, the APECAT - short for "Amiga Processor Expansion Card for Application Transfer" - aims to enable you to upload data directly to your Amiga's memory.

The APECAT - a successor of the "68k Sandwich" (see "Sources" below) - is quite a simple circuit board, using an ATmega128 controller, that sits between the Amiga 500's mainboard and the MC68000 CPU. Being able to use a PC computer and this board to "inject" software directly to the Amiga's RAM would hugely simplify a software developer's work, and also has a lot of potential for retro gamers.

BUT! It doesn't work yet. So far things look promising, but there are still a few issues to iron out - so Stian Søreng asks for YOUR help!

If you're an Amiga hardware / assembler guru maybe you can contribute?

Go to his blog site and project page for more information:
http://jmp.no/blog/work-in-progress-apecat

Sources:
http://jmp.no/blog/a-68-sandwich
https://amiga-news.de/de/news/AN-2019-03-00035-DE.html

Thursday, March 14, 2019

71 new links in the AMIGA alive Web Directory

Another update to the AMIGA alive Web Directory - 71 links added, now 410 websites listed!

We also have a new section "Usergroups".

If you're looking for something specific, make sure to check the "Misc / Mixed" section, as some websites cover multiple different subjects, e.g. software authors may have created very different applications.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Does Muse's "Algorithm" steal from "The Last Ninja - Wilderness"?

Retro is hip. Calvin Harris and many other contemporary musicians openly state the influence the nowadays called "retro-scene" had and has on their work. Do Muse owe more than just a bit to "The Last Ninja"?

"The Last Ninja" is frequently listed among the best games ever for the Commodore 64 and the Amiga (as "Ninja Remix"), and on either platform it's blessed with an outstanding soundtrack. Among all of "Last Ninja"'s music tracks, composed by Ben Daglish and Anthony Lees, the best known is probably "Wilderness", of which many remakes can be found on the net, including live band renditions.

In 2018, Muse released their album "Simulation Theory", and on first sight you get the (semi-)retro idea they obviously had. The cover instantly reminds you of "Blade Runner" , "Strange Days", "Tron", and the likes, the whole bunch of 70s to 90s science fiction cinema classics. Equally does the music take you back a couple of decades. The opening track's drums almost speak out "eight-zero-eight", and it's classic analogue synth sounds all over the place.

So let's start at what could be the beginning:

Commodore 64, "The Last Ninja" - "Wilderness" by Ben Daglish & Anthony Lees, 1987

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbBENI8sHFE

A masterpiece of 3-channel SID composition. The only thing it lacks is a distinctive drum sound, but once you get it, it still has a strong underlying groove, and on top of that some beautifully crafted melodies, mostly in the pentatonic scale, along with lots of arpeggiated chords.

Three years later, Jochen Hippel creates a remix of the same composition for "Ninja Remix", with added drums, emphasizing the groove (and adding an uptempo section):

Amiga, "Ninja Remix" - "Wilderness" by Jochen Hippel (based on original C64 version), 1990

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjFO9VxTo-Y

Fast-forward to 2018, Muse's "Algorithm" from "Simulation Theory", listen especially to the chords after the drums have entered, and some of the melody sections:

Muse - "Algorithm", official music video, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8f5RgwY8CI

Isn't it staggering? There's even arpeggiated chords. Matt Bellamy from Muse has also openly stated his Amiga-roots, even that "...Muse wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the Amiga 500...", so it's no surprise we hear a lot of the then-common sounds and styles in Muse's music. Portions of "Algorithm" almost sound like a direct hommage to the Commodore 64 and Amiga game music composers at the time, and in this case even some of the chord progressions match.

Did Ben Daglish & Anthony Lees' "Wilderness" slip into "Algorithm"? Did Muse steal from the composers? Well, fortunately there's no copyright on chords and sounds alone. The overall composition of "Algorithm" is very different from "Wilderness", and especially the vocal sections evoke a very different mood, so there's probably no question "Algorithm" is a standalone creation. But still there is a huge "Oh yeah...!", as the similarities to 80s and 90s video game music are undeniable, and obviously intentional. Certainly not directly taken from "Wilderness", but at least on a subconscious level it is possible "The Last Ninja" has left a lasting impression in the back of the Muse's minds (or Bellamy's). And if it's not "Wilderness" specifically, then it's the blend of game music by composers like Martin Galway, Chris Huelsbeck, Rob Hubbard, Ben Daglish, Anthony Lees, and others, and the technical equipment available at the time - including an Amiga 500 - that certainly have contributed to "Algorithm". It's as if Muse are giving a friendly nod, maybe even taking a bow, to the generation of 8-bit musicians. Retro computer music has become a part of music history. Given Muse's popularity, one could say it has left it's niche existence somewhere between children's bedrooms and demoparties, and reached the open mainstream.

Ben Daglish passed away on Oct. 1st 2018.
Anthony Lees passed away in Aug. 2016.
R. I .P.

* * *

Additional sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Ninja
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_Theory_(album)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Bellamy
http://hol.abime.net/982
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB2gNA0cQYo
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/matt_bellamy_muse_wouldnt_exist_if_it_wasnt_for_video_games__my_amiga_500_pc.html
https://www.remix64.com/news/ben-daglish-is-no-longer-with-us.html
https://c64audio.com/blogs/news/anthony-lees-an-obituary 

All used names and material belong to the respective owners.

* * *

What's your opinion? Leave a comment in the comments section below!