Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

A lot of history of the Amiga I was not aware of. I did not know they struggled so much in the US with the 500. I thought it was a success, and the struggles only came later after the 600, 1200, 4000, etc lost out to generic PCs.

Where I grew up in Norway, around 1990, everyone had or wanted an Amiga 500. Most of my mates had an Amiga, a few had a Nintendo NES. I did not know anyone who had an Atari ST. Nor a Spectrum which I think was more popular in the UK.

Ah the memories of "acquiring" a bunch of games, go to a mates house and hammer through them. The Secret of Monkey Island, Kick-Off 2 and its ilk was my early teenage years.

Later on, I progressed to the Amiga 1200 and started to use it more as a desktop, my first real ventures into programming and messing around with BBSes. Before I defected to a 486 PC...

Without the Amiga, I would not be the computer person I am today. With happy childhood memories.

I could have written the same comment. I bought a 486 PC after my Amiga 1200 but I've never really enjoyed the PC. Basically, I stopped playing video games and programming when I got the PC with Windows 95. What a boring machine compared to the Amiga. No joystick, no good programming environment (that I knew of), even the processor was hard to program compared to the 68000. Eventually I installed Linux and it got interesting again.

Edit: I also remember that so many demos and cracked games came from Norway and Sweden. I thought these guys were serious hackers, maybe because of the bad weather there!

For me it was kind of the opposite. I was a die-hard Amiga kid until around 1994 I think. Then I started to see all the cool games getting released on the PC. I would wish for games like Commander Keen and Duke Nukem. The VGA Sierra games. That was even before CD-ROMs took off.

It was a shame; the Amiga was so far behind by that point. It was so far behind that the PC could beat it using mostly software! Accelerator cards were crazily expensive for the Amiga ($1,500.00 AUD+ if I remember). The A1200 was too little, too late for me.

Getting my 486 sparked off probably one of the most exciting gaming times of my life.

Still insanely fond memories - I wrote a chunk of an adventure game engine in AMOS on the Amiga. It Came From The Desert II is one of my most fondly-remembered games.

Speaking of adventure games - the early Sierra games had their best engine implementations on the Amiga. AGI on the Amiga used the Tandy 3-voice version of the game music and I believe also supported a custom game palette (so for example Leisure Suit Larry 1 uses a better skin-tone colour on the Amiga than on the PC version). SCI0 games (think King's Quest 4. Police Quest 2) used instrument samples (which I believe were from the MT-32 version of the music for the game) to play probably the best music outside of the MT-32 PC versions.

SCI1 on the other hand, was a total mess. Slow to the point of barely playable and -- worst of all -- horrible graphics. I heard somewhere (can't remember where exactly) that SCI1 games did not take advantage of the Amiga's palette capability - the ENTIRE game was reduced to one colour palette shared across all rooms. The Amiga could do so much better, even if it couldn't keep up with the PC at that point; a good example being the port of King's Quest 6, which was done by Revolution Software and not Sierra. That port was praised. LucasArts games were also great - Monkey Island II was great on the Amiga (it's actually where I first played it).

It was frustrating. I loved the Amiga but when I saw Wing Commander featured in ACE magazine in 1990 I realised that the PC was where the innovative games were coming from. And I wanted to be a game dev so I had to follow where the industry was going. I hoped that Commodore would pull something out of the bag, but the A1200 wasn't enough. If they had done something like a Playstation 1 but with keyboard and OS for £5-£600 there might have been a chance.

What few people mention is how the price of computing suddenly shot up at the end of the home computer era. In my neck of the woods, the Amiga 500 was the "expensive one" - I had friends with £50 used ZX Spectrums. Suddenly we needed £1000 PCs if we wanted to stay relevant (and we absolutely needed to - "self-taught coder" was mine and my friends route out of the rural working class)

It was a very rough time for poorer nerds trying to make something of themselves. It coincided with the end of the "bedroom programmer" era; game developers started seeing themselves as media companies and demanding degrees. Then the web came along and swashbuckling expertise counted for something again, though I would have given anything to be an Amiga-era gamedev.

I had saved up 30000 Belgian Francs, just enough for an Amiga 500, when my father offered to add another 20000 on the condition that I'd buy an 8088-based PC with a whopping 30MB hard drive so that he could run Latex at home.(x)

I sold out and have regretted it ever since.

(x) Rendering speed was around 1 minute per page?

“Without the Amiga, I would not be the computer person i am today.”

Then this book is for you: https://fandrake.com/produkt/generation-500/ It tells the story of the Amiga and the people using it and how it shaped them. In Swedish but lots of Norwegians interviewed.

That's fantastic. I have Generation 64, but didn't know there was one about the Amiga. Thanks for mentioning it.

I wish this was available in English :(

There is an English version of Generation 64, about the C64 and people who used it: http://generation64.com/

Even in Italy (where I grew up), in the late 80s, pretty much everybody wanted the Amiga more than anything else.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact