Amiga: 25 Years Later

Let's hear it for the greatest cult computer of them all, which debuted a quarter-century ago today.

By  |  Friday, July 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

Twenty-five years ago today, a new personal computer was unveiled at a black-tie, celebrity-studded gala at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York’s Lincoln Center. It debuted to rave reviews and great expectations–heck, InfoWorld said it might be the “third milestone” in personal computing after the Apple II and the IBM PC.

The computer was Commodore’s Amiga. In an era in which the most common form of microcomputer was an IBM PC-compatible system with a text-only display and a tinny internal speaker, the Amiga had dazzling color graphics and stereo sound. Its Intuition user interface looked like the Mac, but offered an advanced feature known as “multitasking.” The machine was a stunner, especially given that it came from a company previously known for rinkydink home computers such as the VIC-20 and Commodore 64.

Over the next nine years, Commodore sold millions of Amigas. People who liked the system really liked it, and its graphical chops were so potent that it was the first PC widely used by TV broadcasters and movie studios. None of which was enough to keep Commodore from declaring bankruptcy and ceasing operations in 1994.

Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, and an Amiga, as shown in New York magazine in 1985.

The Amiga was one of the greatest computers ever made–and for my money, it was the greatest cult computer, period (Macintosh users would come to be accused of cultlike tendencies, but when the Mac arrived eighteen months before the Amiga, its whole marketing message was that other computers were cultish–its TV commercials carried the slogan “The computer for the rest of us” and showed IBM PC owners as zombie slaves.)

Amiga users were indomitable. They were outraged that obviously-inferior IBM PC clones dominated the market. They rejoiced when the computer hit major sales milestones. They petitioned major software companies to support the machine, and wrote angry letters to computer magazines that failed to give it its due. And they kept on using their Amigas for years after Commodore went kaput: The market for Amiga-specific magazines lasted into this century.

Other platforms and tech products would inspire similarly fanatical followings–most notably OS/2 and Linux, both of which developed Amigaesque reputations for technical superiority. But Amiga nuts of the 1980s and early 1990s–like, um, me–remain the ultimate fanboys, even though it hadn’t yet occurred to anyone to hurl that word at computer users.

When the Amiga was born, consumers and businesses were still figuring out what computers were and why anybody would want one. But you didn’t have to spend much time in the presence of an Amiga to get why it was cool–all you had to do was see and hear what it could do. I bought mine after walking by a computer retailer and spying an Amiga in the window, where it was displaying a full-motion video clip. And to this day, the system is synonymous with the “Boing” demo that its creators used to show off its capabilities even before it went on the market:

If you weren’t using computers in the 1980s, trust me: that bouncing ball was spectacular enough to sell Amigas by itself.

Amiga Origins

Even before it hit the market, the Amiga had an uncommonly checkered history. It began as the project of an independent startup called Amiga Corporation. (It was otherwise best known for the Joyboard, a game controller you stood on.) Amiga cofounder Jay Miner was the man behind the potent graphics capabilities of Atari’s 800 and 400 models; Atari advanced the fledging Amiga company money in return for rights to the chips it was developing.

There’s probably some alternate universe in which Amiga ended up being an Atari product. But in September 1984, it was Commodore that acquired Amiga Corporation and the computer it was developing (which was code-named “Lorraine”) for an estimated $30 million. Atari CEO and Commodore founder Jack Tramiel–who had acquired Atari from Warner Communications after Commodore had fired in January of 1984–sued. He also introduced the computer his company had been developing, the Atari ST, a low-rent Amiga rival that was known in the industry as the “Jackintosh.”

Commodore was a famously parsimonious outfit, but it splurged on the Amiga’s introduction. The highlight of that Lincoln Center product launch was a demo in which pop art legend Andy Warhol used an Amiga to “paint” Blondie’s Debbie Harry. The exercise didn’t prove much of anything other than that Warhol was able to use the paint program’s fill command, but it was heady stuff:

The company also ponied up for TV commercials that looked like outtakes from 2001: A Space Odyssey:

From the start, Commodore struggled mightily to position the Amiga in a way that made sense in the 1980s computer market. An Amiga A1000 with 256KB of RAM and one floppy disk went for $1295. Even after you added $500 for a color monitor, it offered vastly better bang for the buck than a $2795 black-and-white Macintosh. But as home computers go, the Amiga was pricey. The Atari 520ST, which started shipping a couple of weeks before the Amiga was announced, packed double the RAM and cost $999–with a color display.

Jay Miner and the Amiga make the cover of InfoWorld.

So even though Amiga Corp.’s original idea had been to build the ultimate home computer, Commodore spun the Amiga as a business machine, and talked up an option that let the system run IBM PC compatible software. It turned out to be a tough sell, especially few major business applications were available and most of the major computer retail chains refused to sell it. (The machine ended up being sold mostly by mom-and-pop stores such as The Memory Location, where I bought my Amiga in 1987.)

A Depressing, Exciting Machine

Why wouldn’t big computer retailers carry an impressive computer like the Amiga? Commodore itself was part of the problem. It was famous for selling undistinguished home computers at bargain-basement prices at stores such as Toys “R” Us.  The very idea of it launching a computer as slick and powerful as the Amiga was jarring–it was as if Yugo had bought out DeLorean. And without Jack Tramiel, Commodore lacked the ambition, heart, guerilla tactics, and raw nervous energy that hade made the Commodore 64 the best-selling computer of its time.

In July of 1985, computer magazines had talked about the Amiga overtaking the Mac; within a few months, they were questioning whether Commodore had a future. Like Mac owners of the mid-1990s, Amiga users had to deal with constant predictions of the imminent demise of their platform. Except in the case of Commodore, the naysayers turned out to be right.

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87 Comments For This Post

  1. Atle Iversen Says:

    Wow, thank you for this trip down memory lane…

    I started with a Commodore 64 (which I loved), and the power of the Amiga compared to the Commodore 64 was unbelievable….Moving from a Pentium4 to a Core2Duo today is *nothing* compared to what Amiga introduced…

    Kids today don’t know what amazing power they have access to ;-) ….

  2. F. Andy Seidl Says:

    Wow! This brings back some memories! Hard to believe its been that long… it only seems like two dozen years ago. ;-)

  3. Russ Jacobson Says:

    Yes this is sure a trip down memory lane. Had the 1000 and 2000 machines and helped start local user group here in Champaign and Urbana Il. Eventually as macs and pc's started to do si liar things and I used the mac emulator on my Amiga I drifted to the Mac. I sit here at my grandsons ball practice typing this on my Ipad. What a journey.

  4. Jim Says:

    Amiga 500 – good times, goooood times.

    *sniff*

  5. RevSpaminator Says:

    I had a 1000 until 1994. I remember all the years that people would laugh at the desktop computer with true multitasking, dedicated graphics processors and stereo sound. ("What do you need THAT for?!") Way ahead of its time.

  6. paul Says:

    Nice times,o'm still glad i use AmigaOs(4.1) :-D

  7. COBRASoft Says:

    Amiga 1200 – Blizzard 1260 expansion – Picasso IV…

    TVPaint, PageStream, LightWave, FinalWriter, ADPro, ImageFX, TurboPrint, Scala, YAM, MUI, MIRC, …

    All this software ran on my (by then) amazing 128MB of Fast RAM and 4MB of Graphic RAM. Try that on any PC or PDA today, with multitasking and nice GUI. I tell ya, you can't, except on an Amiga :). I still prefer an Amiga and its flexibility above any PC, Mac or whatever is out there, even with my i920 @ 3.78MHz and 12GB RAM I use everyday now.

  8. ShotgunB Says:

    Started with an Amiga 500 then graduated to the Amiga 3000T (tower)… bought my first hard drive… a 10 Meg (not Gig) drive with a FULL Meg of RAM for 'only' $1000. Had both the mac hardware (forget what that was called) and a Genlock for video… build 'videos' with my Genlock that I couldn't do with PC til about 5 years ago… what an awesome machine. Believe it or not, when I finally gave up on Amiga (years after it was 'dead') I sold it on EBay to a TV production studio for nearly what I paid for it 4 years earlier…

  9. Ami_junki Says:

    That`s a great article, I was using the Amiga up until 2001 when I had to get a Mac for university but I still kept my 030 A1200 and used it for music and graphics. Still have an A1200 around the house for playing around with, it was such a rush back in the day to use the Amiga and to do things that seemed impossible on any other computer. Real shame that the Amiga could not compete as I think the computing landscape would have been better if the Amiga would have survived but I am an Amiga nut and proud of it :D

  10. Activ8 Says:

    Went from a C64 to a C128 then an Amiga 500, then a 500A Aah then the 1200 with AGA how cool was that !!!!!!!!

  11. Barry Walker Says:

    I wrote this poem in 2005 to celebrate 20 years of the AMIGA……

    It is on AMINET as:-

    &lt ;http://aminet.net/docs/misc/A1000_POEM.txt>

    Enjoy…

  12. Sergei Says:

    Some of the best years of my life. Hand painted my a500 added a 68030 accelerator and 8 mb ram, before retiring it and buying an a4000. Spent countless hours in front of deluxe paint and later photon paint. Trackers, copiers and Elite 2:frontier

  13. Sergei Says:

    Oh yeah and had our group Omega V…part of ACU. And the alliance that spanned the globe. Long live The Ace Chas, Chick, The Phantom, Ratcat

  14. Sergei Says:

    How did you get 128mb of fast ram and 4mb of graphics ram..?…i thought memory addressing was limited to 16 mb fast ram and 2 mb chip or graphics ram for a maximum pool of 18 mb ram.

  15. amiganut Says:

    trapdoor accelerator cards like the blizzard, apollo etc could enable 128mb

  16. WaggyWow Says:

    Wow, that is like way cool dude, I love it.

    Lou http://www.post-anonymously.at.tc

  17. Brent J. Nordquist Says:

    Anybody remember the Fred Fish disks? That was one of the big attractions of an Amiga user's group or conference, making copies of the ones you didn't have, or letting others copy the ones you did. A lot of great freeware/shareware got around that way.

    Can't believe I did C and C++ programming with the Lattice compiler with my A1000 and two floppy disks and no hard drive, but I did. Later got a 3000. Great machines.

  18. Hilton Travis Says:

    My first PC was a Dick Smith System 80, followed by my Amiga 500 that ended up with 5MB RAM, 2x FDDs and 2x 32MB Epson 5.25″ HDDs. An *awesome* computer in it’s day (and for the next decade).

    I then bought Nic’s A3000 with his ‘040 card – the system used to develop Set 040. That was a right beast of a machine.

    My i7 is faster and has better graphics, but this *is* 25 years later. I still remember the Amiga fondly and Commodore with the disdain they deserve.

  19. AmigaDoc Says:

    Anyone remember the Genie service by GE with Amiga section… and a guy called AmigaDoc….

    That was ME! :-)

    Good times and I miss them….

  20. Kane Says:

    I had a A500, then A2000 an finally an A4000. They were all great machines, it wasn't until Windows 95 that I could even think of using a PC (Windows 3.x was terrible). Even Windows 7 or Mac OSX don't bring a smile to my face like the first time I used my Amiga. Good times. While I know the Amiga had its problems, I still wonder what computing would be like today if it was a success.

  21. Mr Wowtrousers Says:

    As far as I know, the Amiga OS is still the only OS I have used that had resolution independent windows. So, one window could be 1024×768 and you could run another one in 2560×1440. Still one of the best and most fun computers I have ever used. It just had personality.

  22. Geoff Says:

    Spent a lot of time re-creating TV-style graphics on our family's A500 with DeluxePaint II. My only beef with the hideous fonts it came with (I think I bought the Workbench 1.3 disks just to get Helvetica and Times New Roman).

  23. tim Says:

    i remember writing a PD game for the amiga called a sideway shootem up scroller called "hellzone".. sprites, the blitter, agnus, assembler, trying to get everything to run smooth in one frame.. it was definitiely ahead of its time.. and others have said "good days!"

  24. Shaun Says:

    The low-cost variants of the 68k processors shipped with the amiga (68EC020 in mine) only gave 24-bit addressing externally (32bit internally, but physically didn't have the pins to make this available to the board), limiting to 16Mb addressable. If you get an accelerator in there with a 'full' 68030-60, you get access to the full bus, and the OS caps out at 256Mb. As an easy rule of thumb, if your processor is square, it's breaking out enough pins for a full-width bus. If it's an old-school 'DIL' (two rows of legs), you're looking at a LC/EC low-cost variant, and hit a low memory cap

  25. bMan Says:

    My Amiga made me a lot of $$$ over the years. Around 1990 I bought an A2000 with a GVP 68030 @ 25MHz (incredibly fast, for the time!) I produced graphics & animations for TV and industrial videos that couldn't be made any other way. Then I bought a program that controlled a computer-cut vinyl sign making system and made signs & banners professionally with that same A2000+ system until 2005. One day it just wouldn't boot up, and that was that. But honestly, how many personal computers paid the bills every day for 15 years? Only Amiga made it possible!

  26. boomoonls7 Says:

    I still have my Amiga 500 and Amiga 2000. In the 80's and 90's, I developed software (mainly games) for the national & international market. Ah…good times. The sound and graphics were way superior in its day. I miss it. I still run the emulators, but nothing beats the real machine.

  27. Zig Says:

    Is still a great machine, even though still set up, I rarely power my A1200 on now (1240 @28mhz 8MB, 1GB HDD & 24xCDR). Spent hours being creative with it (music/videos/paint/blitz), and more hours installing non-installable older games on the harddrive, and then gaming (dune 2/champ manager/prem manager 3/SWOS/lotus 3/settlers 2).

    Must have read 100+ mags (ending with Amiga Active), still have them (though will soon have to rid them for space). Two huge tv boxes of original games.

    The best home computer ever made, so glad I have mine still.

  28. Yogib37 Says:

    yes this was a awsome computer. I stated with the C64, then I got a Amiga500, that was a great computer then they offer the Education discount for the Amiga 3000. I bought a amiga3000 then. I have still but in put away now. ( i hope i have it still)
    It is still a great computer.

  29. @_sandro Says:

    Went from a C64 to an Amiga 500 and then sold both to get myself the A1200 and up to this day i still have it (it even has a 1GB hd in it , but so i could fit it inside i had to remove the entire metalgrid that was layed over the motherboard to protect it).

    At heart i'll always stay true to amiga. Everything else just doesn't cut it.

  30. Philipp Grosswiler Says:

    I totally agree with you! and I owned an Amiga 4000 and my biggest project was porting Doom to the Amiga when Id Software first released the source code to the public. Those were great times!

  31. Scottgfx Says:

    I was on GEnie for a little while. Sorry I don't remember you.

    I do remember Harv Laser on Portal.

    Met Jay Miner once and also visited his BBS "The Mission" and chatted with him.

    Would dial the Studio Amiga BBS in texas and would be in contact with one of the developers of Lightwave.

    On The Amiga Echo on FidoNet, talked to Asha Develder and others.

    #sigh#

  32. Scottgfx Says:

    I agree with what your saying.

    It wasn't until after I started using Mac OS X that I caught a glimmer of that excitement I once had when using the Amiga.

    I literally would get chills when I would play MOD files on my Amiga and realize that this was my home computer that was making this amazing music.

  33. bagerklestein Says:

    I still have several 500's and 1200's (including and 030 and a blizzard 1260 with 64meg on it)

    godly machines of their time,

    I once heard a rumour that microsoft purchased intellectual rights in order to develop directX

  34. @viznut Says:

    The writer of the article mentions a parallel universe where Amiga might be an Atari computer, but the writer himself seems to live in a parallel universe where the world ends at the borders of the United States. Not a single mention of Amiga's immense popularity in Europe, not a single mention of the demoscene, which has always been a very important part of Amiga culture over here.

  35. dholyer Says:

    I recall back in the fall of 1984 after Atari has made some dumb investment deals in Japan. The quiet rumor was Jay Miner tried to get Amiga/Commodore to buy up Atari. It was said that he could get the Atari 8 bit part, but not the Atari 16bit ST section. So they passed. If I recall correctly the Amiga 500's used the 6809 and the Amiga 1200's used the 68000 CPU witch Apple MACs and Atari ST's used

    And I'm not sure but the Atari ST hold up may have been due to the Xerox Gem licensing problems just making the cost of things to pricey.

  36. dholyer Says:

    I recall back in the fall of 1984 after Atari has made some dumb investment deals in Japan. The quiet rumor was Jay Miner tried to get Amiga/Commodore to buy up Atari. It was said that he could get the Atari 8 bit part, but not the Atari 16bit ST section. So they passed. If I recall correctly the Amiga 500's used the 6809 and the Amiga 1200's used the 68000 CPU witch Apple MACs and Atari ST's used

  37. guevera Says:

    That amiga never caught on truly proves the world is not a just and decent place and the best man or microchip does not always win. I work in TV, and while I never owned an amiga my buddies old 1989-vintage amiga box only really became obsolete for doing basic TV graphics about say 5-6 years ago. That's about the same time your typical higher end PC was finally able to do basic graphics… before that you'd need something closer to a true workstation. That's just f***king AMAZING.

    At the first station I worked at — circa 2002 — they were still using an amiga to do the lower third (the ones that id the person talking or the location) and fullscreen graphics with an amiga box when i left. It was bought before I entered high school.

  38. Mike K Says:

    Thanks for an awesome retrospective! You inspired me to write my own, with a link back to you of course: http://www.kohary.com/blog/2010/07/25/oh-amiga-ho

    Thanks for the memories, Amiga – you were the best computer I ever owned.

  39. The Juggler Says:

    “The machine was a stunner, especially given that it came from a company previously known for rinkydink home computers such as the VIC-20 and Commodore 64.”

    This is just plain wrong, as Commodore *Business* Machines (CBM) was quite successfull with their line of business computers *before* the VIC20 and the C64.

  40. The Juggler Says:

    @dholer: If I recall correctly the Amiga 500’s used the 6809 and the Amiga 1200’s used the 68000 CPU witch Apple MACs and Atari ST’s used

    Your memory is failing you.

    The Amiga 500 used the 68000 like the Amiga 1000 and Amiga 2000. The Amiga 1200 used the 68020.

    6809 were used in the CoCo and alikes (including Dragon 32/64) and a rather unfortunate side-line of Commodore computers, the CBM610/710 line of machines.

  41. kimme Says:

    This was an nice little poem for the best Personal Computer ever made, namely Amiga….

  42. SSS Says:

    Thanks for a really good article!

    My kids are right now using my old A500 to play old games!

  43. David Alexander McDonald Says:

    Not to forget, incidentally, that the first wave of Babylon 5's VFX were done using Amigas and an early renderfarm, and that B%'s VFX needs helped drive the development of Lightwave amongst vother things. Also, I recall that Wil Wheaton was for a while closely involved with NewTek.

  44. doseas Says:

    Still use my Amiga 2000 to do anything having to do with video. You still can't come anywhere near it for under $10K. The Amiga's multitasking still beats the other guys — have you ever tried copying files under Windows while doing anything else???

  45. Floyd Dameron Says:

    Right now there are two groups that are promising the next Amiga. One is Natami at http://www.natami.net. The other is the Amiga X1000. The name on the latter is a take off of the A1000. I too had an Amiga 2000 first with an 030 and then later with an 040. Even though the PC I use now is 2.3 ghz quad core, I still miss the feel of the Amiga OS.

    – Floyd

  46. Wazoo Says:

    My Amiga 500 was my diversion from the law school grind in the late 80's. My FAVORITE gadget for it was a pair of LCD 3D shutter glasses. Came with a 3D game called Space Spuds or something like that. Made me fall in love with 3D and was WAY ahead of its time.

    Will always be one of my favorite computers of all time.

  47. Steve Ulrich Says:

    There will never be another pc like the Amiga that will capture the wonder of the computing community…its design and features were years ahead of what anyone else had, for a fantastic price point. This is what computing is really all about – new hardware, and software that blows your socks off. In the last 25 years I still havent seen anything that has been as amazing as the Amiga (I admit I was a teenager at the time) but all I can say it thanks for the awesome memories, Amiga. (and also thanks C64, you were great too!) :-)

  48. James B Says:

    Pretty sure the chip was called 'Denise' not Daphnie.

  49. Thomas Says:

    Actually several pieces of hardware have materialized in recent years.

    AmigaOS 4.1 runs on the following pieces of hardware:
    AmigaOne (EyeTech)
    µA1 (EyeTech)
    Sam440ep (Acube)
    Sam440 ep Flex (Acube)
    Pegasos II (bPlan)

    Add to that the Amiga-related MorphOS and supported machines include:
    Pegasos (bPlan)
    Pegasos II (bPlan)
    EFIKA (Genesi)
    Genesi Open Desktop Workstation (Genesi)
    – and MorphOS also runs on PPC Mac Minis and eMacs.

    AmigaOS 4 is owned and developed by Hyperion Entertainment CVBA.

  50. Barry Walker Says:

    Not only did I write "Ode to the AMIGA poem".

    I wrote this one also…

    Have a laugh, (note, some bad language :).
    http://main.aminet.net/docs/misc/A500_POEM.txt

    Enjoy again… ;o)

    73…

    Bazza, G0LCU…

    Team AMIGA…

  51. MattW Says:

    Anyone know where I can get a Zorro II ethernet card for my A4000T ? :)

  52. ZZzz.. Says:

    Amiga – True love
    or as close as you can get to that with a machine.

  53. @itsadamuk Says:

    I had an Amiga A500+, it was "Best Ever" hahaha.

    This is the reason I turned into a geek, mmmpft I should have sued Amiga, was so awesome :D

  54. Pete Fonte Says:

    Does anyone know where I can get a used Amiga 4000 / 040 with a Video Toaster 4000
    board installed in it that works ? I owned one for 17 years before it finally died. I still have
    use for it even among the current technology products available.

  55. Pete Fonte Says:

    Does anyone know where I can find a used Amiga 4000 / 040 with a Video Toaster 4000
    board installed in it that works ? I owned one for 17 years before it finally died. I still have
    use for it even among the current technology products available,

  56. VB Says:

    I still have my 2000 (upgraded to a 2500 via the 68030 board, and 320 MEG HD) and my original monitor, keyboard, mouse and external floppy. Everything works (though the mouse has seen better days. Boots up in under 20 seconds. I remember spending WEEKS optimizing the boot speed. I even made use of the recoverable ram disk and put the boot files on it to speed up soft reboots. What an absolutely amazing machine. Who knows how much more advanced computers would be today if the Amiga had caught fire instead of the PC?

  57. KC8KVA Says:

    I started out on a Vic 20 back in 1981, moved to a C-64 back in 1985. I got my A2000 back in 1991. I still have all three computers. I'm 37 now, and believe it or not, my 7 year old daughter loves the ease of the Amiga over the PC…that and one firebutton joysticks :). I still use the Amiga to write music for some projects and play some of those games from way back when. The spirit lives on.

  58. Bobsonsirjonny Says:

    Great article – however, some of your facts are a little wrong.. you've not mentioned Hi-Torro, or the million dollar bond.. the real reason why it was snatched from Atari's grasp.

    You've also not mentioned the MASSIVE European scene – I actually remember having physical fights when I was a kid over which machine was better. The demo scene was huge – the demo parties.. the failed attempts to reserect the platform. The contempt held by many for the most recent incarnation of amiga inc. The red blue war.. The legal battles where the OS was in limbo.. the shell games..

    The Amiga's history became most interesting when it was put on life support.. the frantic battle to save the platform lead to a war in which everything was lost.. and there is tragical comedy, or comical tragedy in this tale.. I for one had to bow out of the scene a few years ago once it finally set in that there was no coming back and I was banging my head against the wall.. I had given the course over 15 years.. which was at the time over half my life!

  59. Deep Spaceus Says:

    I learned the C language on my original Amiga 1000 with two floppies and Lattice C. I was also co-sysop on an Amiga bulletin board (remember those?). I owe my IT career to the Amiga because it showed me the possibilites that computers would achieve in the future. It was ten years before PCs and Macs caught up, and even though I worked with both Macs and PCs (and Solaris, Linux, etc.) I always felt that none of these had the elegance and excitment that the Amiga had. Definitely a computer ahead of its time.

  60. Clinton Gallagher Says:

    The $1295 initial price for the A1000 is incorrect. I bought the second Amiga sold in the Midwest from American TV the only retailer allowed to sell the Amiga in this part of the country and had to take out a $2000 school loan as I recall. I never did buy a harddrive as they were $1000!

    I also founded and operated the Amiga BitMappers for two years with the other guys who bought the first and third machines sold before going on to pursue my career as an architect but you all got one thing right THIS MACHINE WILL NOT DIE MY A1000 IS STILL RUNNING 24×7 USED FOR AUDIO RECORDING TO A COMBO VCR-TV that required a video signal to record from a boombox so voila! A1000 to the rescue.

    BTW — I need Kickstart 1.0 and Workbench 1.0 and miss playing my favorite games and music apps. Is there any way to obtain both on Amiga disks for csgallagher @ metromilwaukee.com?

  61. brock Says:

    it's all about Kara Fonts! :)

  62. BillyRave Says:

    'The computer that wouldn't – won't – die'. I sold Toaster systems in the early 90s, still hang out at the NewTek booth at every annual NAB and SIGGRAPH show to see where Lightwave is going (though long moved off the Amiga, LW3D 10 ships this year), and am still President (For Life?) of an Amiga group on Long Island, NY (LICA) whose members have continued to upgrade (to PPC processors, AmigaOne mobos, and OS4.x). WinD'ohs! machines are still not as much fun.

  63. Garrett Says:

    Loved my Amiga days…

    Can't imagine many electronics situations where abandoned software and failed hardware sold for more USED right after they stopped making them than what they had cost NEW!! Even stranger is my understanding that C= was forced into liquidation during one of their most profitable years ever, when momentum for the new AGA stuff was high, and they couldn't manufacture machines faster than they sold… too bad! So sad!

    For those that understand what this system could have brought to computer graphics, let me tell you a secret… HAM (Hold And Modify) graphics mode was designed when the chips ran on an HSV (Hue Saturation Value) color model, not RGB. This meant that it would be very easy to go from white to black or red to blue or green to white, without any of that wierd HAM "fringing" that occured after changed the chips to RGB. HAM still looked good, but if it had been implemented as intended, it could have revolutionised computer graphics and video compression routines all the way into blu-ray!! Hard to explain if you don't understand the mode and hardware, much less how videocentric the machine was already, but really awesome potential that would have impacted us today!

  64. mdelaorta Says:

    Amiga was more than a computer, it was an experience! I haven't lived such an experience again in the IT industry. Computing got boring after the Amiga, and nowdays PC's and Mac's are practically clones, no more innovation, that's why I got into filmmaking :)

    Mauricio

  65. Spudgun3000 Says:

    I had an A500 first, then went on to an A1200 which was hacked to bits to get those extra speed increases, added the 68060 cpu and 64mb, a 10 mb hard drive, then the CD drive which eventually changed to a CD writer. I had a video grabber, an audio mixer (which I used for voice activation of programs), then added a parrallel port hand scanner, Deluxe Paint is still my favourite art program even now after using Photoshop CS4. I remember my first 14K modem and connecting to the internet when it arrived. Games were brilliant (completed Gods and R-type). I still have my A1200 and also picked up an A600 and an A1000 (still boxed and was working last time I plugged it in, had the 256K mem add-on in the box as well). Now an I.T. manager but still I miss my Amiga days, great fun.

  66. dholyer Says:

    The Amiga claim to be the creator of modern computing was very interesting, the reason why it is suprised me because so because some MAChead did not claim it first. I started in the PC industry with an Atari 800 called its competitors the Carpintosh and the Amoeba. They did innovate many things that no one has herd of because they were never used in Advertising.

    In my eyes and feelings the ANTIC and POKEY chips that first started with the Atari video games and computers were the main creators of the PC World after the CPU. And started the alternate Processing devices that make PC's today so powerful. CPU's are getting so powerful today much of these of CPU computer functions can be run now days on the CPU it's self. And almost putting these co-processing function chips into extinction. How long until the CPU is replaced by the System on a chip idea.

    The ANTIC chip was for having the 6502 communicate with the I/O, i.e Disk drives, serial bus, joysticks, sounds and system ROM and RAM.

    The POKEY chip did video via Display lists (aka command codes to tell it how to convert memory data into video output) and it also did the object acquisition (or in Atari terms bump detection) that saved much memory because video overlapping was far better than creating 3D matrix's to hold the world envisioned in the game and needed far less memory and computing power. It did not give you a 3D world but 8 bit computing was almost maxed out in the 2D environment.

    Do you think if IBM was the ruler of the computing world many of these different ideas and functions would have came about?

  67. DPC Says:

    Great article.

    Except the Amiga was jam-packed with custom chips.

    The Atari ST essentially had the off-the-shelf CPU. How one would manage to sell a customer, in terms they understand, how much better the Amiga truly was is difficult – especially when consumers are trained to look solely at which $ is the lowest and not to be bothered with the content within the $.

  68. JohnN AKA Amigadude Says:

    Nope, The A500 (as well as A500+, CDTV, A600) used the 68000 (7.14Mhz IIRC) and the A1200 (and CD32) used the 68020 (14Mhz IIRC)

  69. JohnN AKA Amigadude Says:

    In order of release (hopefully been 10 years since I was a fully paid up Amiganut)
    A1000 – 68000
    A500 – 68000
    A2000 – 68000
    CDTV – 68000
    A500+ – 68000
    A600 – 68000
    A3000 – 68030
    A1200 – 68020
    A4000 – 68030/68040
    CD32 – 68020

  70. vivian gilsoul Says:

    I loved my old Amiga years and years ago and one day I looked inside and saw how simple it was to work in there and have been tearing apart computers ever since. It was a computer way ahead of it's time but management killed a beautiful idea. I now have a beautiful HP Pavilion and am 86 and counting.

  71. nostal-games Says:

    i have a blog about classic commodore c64 & amiga games.. visit me if you like nostalgia
    http://forums.myspace.com/t/3705562.aspx?fuseacti

  72. Leonard Banting Says:

    Stumbled on to this article while reading the Windows (The Ones That Didn't Make It), saw the link and just had to read it. I started out on a Commodore VIC 20, then the 64, 128 and then the A1000, A500 and now a O40 A4000. Yes, I still use it. In fact I am a card carrying member of AMUC (AMiga Users of Calgary)! I am actually saving a little money for a SAM 440 motherboard and AmigaOS 4.1 right now. I even got a Mac Mini with a G4 (Not Intel) and run MorphOS 2.5 on it. I guess you can sum me up as one of those crazy fans of the Amiga. Now those were the days of computing where everyone had their own unique system. It was a lot like having people argue what was the best car Ford, GM, Dodge. There was real passion for computing then.

  73. Leonard Banting Says:

    You can buy Amiga Forever 2010 quite a good emulation package for a Windows system. Or just do what a lot of people do, google "Kickstart ROM" or use isohunt.com to find a torrent. you should find a lot of images to download. You may also find your favorite games as .ADF images to download and play on an Amiga Emulator.

  74. iceman Says:

    Amiga is back again, and again :)
    http://www.a-eon.com is making a new brand of amiga PPC dual core RISC and XANA slot to up to 256 cores.

    I hope this time it back for true.

  75. Richard Maudsley Says:

    the price of $1295 is accurate. It's widely quoted everywhere, and can be seen in the episode of computer chronicles about the ST/amiga.

    You got ripped off a quarter of a century ago, sorry.

  76. Joe Cassara Says:

    I'd like to point out that some of us did respect Thomas J. Rattigan, who was successfully nursing Commodore back to financial health before Irving Gould vainly ejected him from his post. I consider that mistake second only to the initial ouster of Tramiel.

  77. ZenoArrow Says:

    @dhoyler
    Do you know who Jay Miner is? He was the main chip designer behind the Atari 8-bit custom chipsets you mention as well as the original Amiga. The Amiga was Jay Miner's chance to make the machine he wanted to make at Atari, but wasn't given the freedom to. It's counter-intuitive to like Atari 8-bit computers and dislike the Amiga, when the same guy was behind the important tech in both. Oh and using the term Amoeba gave you away as a Atari fan straight away, do try to keep your insults fresh. ; )

  78. C. DeWayne Fletcher Says:

    I still have my first Amiga 1000, but it shorted out … have three A2000's still working, two toasters and Lightwave 3-D animations, and got rid of my A500.
    My son, Eric and I did the 2-D computer graphics for Merit Software of Dallas for The Tom Landry Strategy Football game, when Tom was fired from the Cowboys.
    Now have advanced NewTek Lightwave 9.6 on PC with quad 4 screamer.
    C. DeWayne Fletcher http://fletchworks.com my history http://woodpenpal.com my hobby http://coloradomusicbuzz.com I help my son, Eric, with his music magazine
    I have retired three years ago, from The Denver Newspaper Agency after 14yrs, and prior 32yrs Dallas Times Herald … director of all operations, before it closed, then went to Denver.

  79. D-MAN Says:

    I still have The Queen! Amiga 500!

  80. Eric Claeyborn Says:

    (May 4, 2011)
    I still have my Amiga 2000, and getting ready to GIVE IT AWAY for FREE in a yard sale. I've been trying to boot up games, etc., but only a few booted up. I'm continuously getting disk error messages, that the floppy drive isn't able to read certain sectors on the disk. It's at the end of the road. I'm keeping the Commodore monitor that came with it, though, which still works perfect.

    If anyone lives in the Quad Cities ((lllinois) area, and is interested in this computer to tinker with, a ton of software, and lots of Amiga mags, keep an eye open for a yard sale/garage sale in Milan, Illinois in late May or in June. All of it goes together…

  81. Dan Dillon Says:

    I owned an Atari computer system growing up. I remember a kid down the street having the Commodore’s Amiga. Both systems had different advantages. I do recall the graphics on the Amiga were really good. It is amazing how the cost of computers have stayed about the same but at the same time computer capabilities have exponentially increased compared to these old dinosaur computers.

  82. Jsparco Says:

    Commodore was at the top of its game in the early stages! What happen!? I'm surprised they didn't last longer. Technology moves fast, and I'm surprised how quickly this 1985 machine became outdated. Orlando Roofing Contractors

  83. Seculis Says:

    Ehm… Friday 23 July? For us living in Norway, we are unfortunately too aware of the fact that it was 22.

  84. Hot Trout Says:

    I followed on from the C64 with the Amiga A500 and fell in love immediatly. The Amiga burnt brightly but not for long enough unfortunatly.

    You can relive those days by emulating your fav games/apps visit http://www.theoldcomputer.com/roms/index.php?fold

  85. regime Says:

    It appears your web-site doesnt load properly on a Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY. Are other visitors having the actual same trouble ?

  86. Internat College Says:

    Yes I do have the exact same problem with my iPad actually.

  87. Wood Venetian Blinds Says:

    Gotta Love those Old School Ads. AMiga was the best machine for games playing and still nowadays hasn't been properly replaced.