Restrospective: The Amiga 1200 Magic Pack

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Having recently celebrated its 30th birthday, for those who who owned and used (or still do use) a Commodore Amiga, it was an incredibly powerful and versatile computer. Dismissed by many as being little more than a glorified games machine, it only garnered popularity amongst the masses when the low-cost Amiga 500 was released, enhanced with the superb Batman Pack featuring the game based on the Michael Keaton movie of the same name.

Since that time, numerous bundles were released to help boost sales of the machine and drive sales to get Amigas into peoples homes but none were as impressive as the final package released shortly after the rights to the computer were acquired by Escom, before the Amiga’s demise as a mainstream home computer…

It all happened 21 years ago. I’d been working professionally as a freelance writer for a couple of years. Here at Infinite Frontiers we’d been releasing Amiga software for five years at this point. And a certain Japanese company made their console debut with the first incarnation of the PlayStation family in the UK…

29th September 1995 was a monumental day. Not only was the PlayStation launched in the UK (I actually still have my store receipt!), but we saw the release of a brand new Amiga… well, almost. After yet another turbulent takeover, Amiga Technologies was established as a subsidiary company to look after the Amiga’s interest by German PC giant Escom after they purchased Commodore. Amiga Technologies’ first move was to relaunch the two existing Amiga models at the time – the A1200 and the A4000 – with the latter being made available in a tower-only version for the first time. While neither offered any changes in terms of their hardware at the heart of the systems – using technology which was already three years old at that time – they were only intended as stop-gap machines while new developments were planned to kickstart the range and revitalise the Amiga brand.

In reality, the dependence on old designs were driven by financial constraints. Initial high costs following the buyout and establishment of the new company meant that the bulk of the Amiga Technologies’ budget was set aside establishing their new factory in Scotland to get the Amiga back into production. That meant that there were no new funds for new hardware designs. To make up for this, Amiga Technologies concentrated on producing a hardware / software bundle that would be appealing to consumers and that’s where the Amiga Magic Pack came in…

There have been impressive bundles released before that had helped to establish the Amiga as a successful home computer. The most notable was obviously the aforementioned Batman Pack that tied in with the 1989 movie containing the original Amiga A500 followed by the Simpsons / Lemmings inspired Cartoon Classics Pack but both had a strong bias towards the gaming side of Amiga computing. Despite the Amiga having incredible power as a creative tool, neither bundles demonstrated this despite the inclusion of the seminal art package Deluxe Paint in one of its many incarnations.

Moving onto the Amiga’s next generation of hardware and the Desktop Dynamite Pack was the first bundle for the A1200 that tried to change things and show that the Amiga could be used for more serious purposes other than games. Only a couple of games were included this time – the lacklustre Dennis and Oscar, the now-expected inclusion of Deluxe Paint which had progressed up to the latest version at the time – Deluxe Paint 4 AGA. Backing this up came the superb word processor Wordworth 2 from Digita along with their Print Manager package.

AmigaMagicPackBox

continues…

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About Simon Plumbe 140 Articles
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I'm an animal lover and vegetarian.Enjoyed this and my other articles? Why not buy me a coffee: http://ko-fi.com/simonplumbe