The Amiga was a computer released by Commodore in the 1980s. To this day it is still the computer I remember most fondly. In its time it provided graphics, sound, and games unlike anything else available.
It was a great time to be interested in computers. There were several manufactures competing in the consumer marketplace and it seemed like every week some new innovation was appearing. Indeed it seemed like anything was possible with computers. You had Atari, Commodore, Apple, eventually IBM and several other small manufactures coming out with new machines constantly..
The original Amiga 1000 was introduced in 1985, and the best selling Amiga 500 in 1987. That was the model I purchased.
I got hooked on computers with the Commodore 64, so when the Amiga 500 was introduced at a fairly reasonable price I saved my pennies to buy one as soon as I could. The Amiga’s capabilities were far ahead of the competition at the time. I remember the only thing close was the Atari PC, but it was more expensive. IBM was far behind with only a few colors and very limited gaming or graphics possibilities.
The Amiga sold well for years, with lots of software, expansions, and publications available for its users. Unfortunately Commodore did not keep up with enough technical innovation in the 90s and shut down the Amiga and filed bankruptcy in 1994. I remember Commodore users being so sad at the poor management and marketing that led to the company’s demise.
All Amiga’s used a Motarola 68000 processor. It was capable of 4096 colors (or more on some models.) Four separate sound channels were available that allowed sound capabilities better than any other PC. Built-in firmware called Kickstart loaded the Amiga OS from a 3 ½ inch floppy drive.
What Made It Special
For its time the Amiga provided an experience at a price point nor available with any other computer. (This is my opinion but it is shared by many.) The graphics and sound capabilities were far ahead of its time.
The End of Commodore
While the Amiga was years ahead of its time initially Commodore failed to keep up with technological advances. This allowed companies like IBM and Apple to eventually catch up and pass Commodore. This, combined with management mistakes led to the bankruptcy of the company in 1994. While other companies bought up the assets they never really took off and are now long out of business.
As an Amiga fan I watched with interest several companies that tried to keep it alive after the demise of Commodore. Even today various emulators are available that allow you to relive the Amiga experience.
I purchased an inexpensive emulator that runs on Windows and does a pretty good job of emulating the Amiga experience. I especially enjoyed the Amiga 500 version that even replicated the clicking sound that the machine made when booting from the floppy disk drive mounted on the side. (I remembered it even decades later.) Quite a few games were included and even the “text to speech” accessory that was revolutionary at the time.
You can even buy a “mini Amiga” that is a small size replica that includes many of the popular games. I haven’t tried that yet!
I do miss the excitement of computer development in the 1980s that made it seem like anything was possible. Thanks for going down a little memory lane with me.
Photo by Super Snapper on Unsplash