Probably the defining
computer of the 90's
. The PC
was humming along in the background
, and the Mac
well, it was a DTP
machine, but the yawning gap
left in the middle for computer enthusiasts
was filled firstly by Atari
ST, and then much more stylishly
by the amazing Amiga 500
!. This machine was sex on the desktop
. It plugged into your tv
, and straight into the speakers
as well (if you had them). It had 512K RAM
built in!! (considering the Commodore 64
had, well, 64K
, this was a drastic improvement
. I mean imagine if your next computer instead of having 256MB has 5GB of RAM, then you get into the pants wetting
world that we were in back then...
The Amiga had really smooth graphics, a customs graphics chip was responsible for this it could do up to 4096 colours in HAM mode. Which was groundbreaking at the time. You could use it for desktop publishing, like a Mac, you could write code, or do spreadsheets like a PC, but where it truly excelled was the games department. These usually fitted onto one or two floppy disks and they ranged from okayish crap (Shinobi) to mind bogglingly excellent (Speedball2, Megalomania etc).
And there were thousands of them, you could copy, you could swap. A whole scene was built up for the underground exchanging of these games, the scene became a community, of sorts, with it's own electronic magazines, such as The Grapevine. The Amiga inspired such absolute devotion it is hard to imagine nowadays, in the age of easily replaced pcs, and almost disposal peripheral cards.
I had my Amiga from 1989 to 1997, and only got a PC when it became apparently that that was the platform of choice for the computer science degree that I had chosen. Sigh.
There was something about it and I wish I could put my finger on it. It felt like a real computer, it felt good in a way that most computers simply don't. The closest I ever got to the nice feeling of the Amiga was the Imac, but even that felt a little to smoothed out and curved for my tastes. The Amiga had real computer grit as well as style, you didn't feel like you were juggling razor blades like you did with a PC, or that you were shaving with a bowling ball, like the Mac. You felt like you got a good, clean shave. No blood, no mess, it felt good.