Thirty years after its mostly-European heydey, the Commodore Amiga remains a cult favorite with a huge library of excellent and often weird games to discover. But what if emulation isn't your idea of fun? This guy went out and bought a real one.
The Amiga still has an active and faithful community, and it's thanks to them that it's possible to pick up an Amiga and get it upgraded and running all these years later. I also think it's a testament to how important the machine was in the UK and around Europe.
If you're looking to learn more about the booming home-brew game scene during 80's Britain then I can highly recommend "From Bedroom to Billions", it's a little low budget but seems to capture the time perfectly.
The follow-up documentary, "From Bedroom to Billions: the Amiga Years" is also a must watch if you have fond memories of the Amiga.
Interesting how buying a later, more powerful model, obliged him to further upgrade it before games were playable. The low-end 512Kb Amigas were invariably put to use as game consoles, booting right into games, the code given bare-metal access. But it seems fancier models more or less obliged users to launch games from the operating system's GUI, Workbench. And there even 2Mb wasn't enough.
No Man's Sky is a beautiful game of interstellar exploration: something about its epic psychedelic wonder stays with you even after you've internalized its procedural patterns. Blake Patterson wanted to see how well a classic Amiga 1000 would render some of its scenery. Granted, an Amiga isn't going to counting frames by the second, but it was the first machine to offer thousands of colors on-screen at once and its peculiar pallete trickery gives NMS an even weirder look.
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Investigating a reasonable way to convert the images, I discovered a fairly amazing Java-based application known, colorfully, as “ham_converter” which uses extremely optimized algorithms to get the most out of the Amiga’s bizarre HAM mode. The results, rendered in a 320×400 pixel interlace (and a 4:3 aspect ratio), are well beyond the quality that I recall seeing my Amiga 2000 generate with early, basic HAM converter programs, rendering MCGA images to the screen in HAM mode back in the early ’90s. In fact, they are so good that their shockingly high quality takes a bit of the “retro” out of this post; the images look a little too good! And, just to let you know this wasn’t just a click-and-drag process, the systems involved in the conversion were: a gaming PC [specs] able to run the Java app, an iMac [specs] not able to run the Java app (apparently) but also running an FTP server, an accelerated Amiga 2000 [specs] with a LAN connection and a floppy drive (and an FTP client), and the Amiga 1000 [specs] with a floppy drive, SCSI hard drives, and no LAN connection.
"Use a material for what it's capable of doing," Samia Halaby says. "You don't make something out of wood that should be made out of Iron."
She's not dinking around in Duluxe Paint either like that hamfisted hack from Pittsburgh did back in the 80s. Halaby is coding generative, animated art in AmigaBasic!
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The Guru Meditation: "Samia Halaby is a world renowned painter who purchased a Commodore Amiga 1000 in 1985 at the tender age of 50 years old. She taught herself the BASIC and C programming languages to create "kinetic paintings" with the Amiga and has been using the Amiga ever since. Samia has exhibited in prestigious venues such as The Guggenheim Museum, The British Museum, Lincoln Center, The Chicago Institute of Art, Arab World Institute, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Sakakini Art Center, and Ayyam Gallery just to name a few."
Games Nostalgia is a retrogame site with a useful difference: instead of simply providing files which then must be fed to the often-difficult gods of emulation, it packages the classics as ready-to-click apps for Mac and PC. Examples to eat your morning: seminal Atari/Amiga RPG Dungeon Master, DOS blaster Doom, and 1990's original RTS Dune II. Then there's Populous, Archon, Shadow of the Beast...
The Commodore Amiga, ahead of its time and murdered by corporate mismanagement, etc., remains in fairly common use thanks to an enthusiast community and sheer physical longevity. And now a documentary is here so everyone can know how totally awesome it is, reports Ars Technica's Jeremy Reimer.
Viva Amiga is a wonderful look at the the history of the platform, the people who built it, and the users who loved it. The opening title says it all: "One Amazing Computer. One chance to save the company. One chance to win the PC wars." This message sets the stage nicely for a dramatic and passionate tale.
The trailer's embedded above and you can watch the whole thing on Amazon and other platforms. It's just an hour long so there are no excuses. I'm hitting it right now and will begin reviewing retired engineers' haircuts and Hawaiian shirts forthwith. Read the rest
I'm a huge fan of the Commodore Amiga (the world's first psychedelic computer), but what sucked me in as a youngster were games for it made by the Liverpool game developer Psygnosis. In the late 1980s, they realized what this weird, powerful machine could do and created a distinctive aesthetic for their titles. They hired Roger Dean and other prog-rock geniuses to create game art, and adhered to a unique storytelling vibe: not quite gothic, not quite fantasy, not quite 1970s UK pastoral postapocalypse. Then they soaked it in moody tribal electronic music by the likes of David Whittaker and Tim Wright, years before Sadeness hit the charts.
The games were also brutally difficult, sadistic even, to the point that it made everything all the more mysterious. There were, simply put, not enough wonderful games with names like "Agony", "Leander" and "Shadow of the Beast."
Psygnosis is long defunct, absorbed into Sony and its legacy ascended to Brandhalla. So I hope no-one minds my Psygnosis Game Generator, which combines a random Psygnosisy game name (equal parts concise, literary and antideluvian) with a randomly-picked work of art by Roger Dean and the classic Psygnosis box art wrap. Click "generate" for another—and be sure to share your artifact from a parallel universe. (You can also fiddle with URL parameters if you want to manually pick a title, typeface,painting, etc.)
The Amiga Graphics Archive is where you can find a growing collection of artwork distinctive of the legendary 16-bit home computer. (i.e. 320x200 in 32 colors (64 with half-brite mode (or 4096 with some nasty attribute clash)) from a palette of 4096)
Launched in 1985 the Commodore Amiga boasted graphics capabilities that were unsurpassed for it's time. It featured an intricate collection of custom chips that enabled it to do things that, until then, had been impossible to achieve with other personal computers. This site is dedicated to graphics made with or for the Commodore Amiga home computer.
Philippe Lang is looking for $140,863 from fellow Amiga enthusiasts, which he'll spend producing a run of new cases for Amiga (and Amiga-alike) computers, in 12 colors of UV-resistant plastic. Read the rest
The world's first psychedelic computer is three decades old.
I love to hang out with online pal Cabel Sasser, founder of Portland software company Panic, whenever our paths cross in real life. But I only just realized that he was an early 90s tracker musician whose work I listened to in England as a kid, on my Commodore Amiga, decades before we met. Read the rest