Friends, I have a question for you: Would it be fair to say that people of a certain age will likely always associate computers with the colour beige?
Computers throughout the ages may have always come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but throughout much of the 80s, 90s, and even the very early years of the new millennium, PC cases and monitors were all produced in delightfully boring grey cases. And the Commodore Amiga range of computers is no exception.
My beautifully beige Amiga 2000 here inspired this entire series of videos and articles here. Jamie’s Mystery Game Files (which from here on out I’ll call JMGF) is a place where I don’t just explore weird and obscure pieces of gaming history, but embrace them!
When I got my A2000 sent to me from a friend in Germany, it came with over 600 different floppy disks. Of course, they are all untested. And, as someone who’s hopelessly addicted to videos from the likes of Game Sack and Brutalmoose, I figured why not make a series based around exploring these untested disks a few at a time?
But what’s the point of exploring software if we don’t first understand the hardware, dear reader? I mean, to be fair, what’s the point of me asking rhetorical questions like this? For all I know, you’re an Amiga aficionado who’ll think of me as a mere dumbass after reading this piece.
The Amiga line was made by, well, Commodore, a company best known for the wildly popular Commodore 64 line of computers. In 1984, Commodore bossman Jack Tramiel got into an executive-level spat that led to him leaving the company for their main rival, Atari. This would begin a long disorganized spiral of events that would lead to Commodore going bankrupt in 1994.
Tramiel had best been known for his aggressive marketing tactics. Though many vendors that stocked Commodore products hated dealing with him, there was no denying that his tactics had helped propel his company to success. And, in 1984, a new generation of computers was in the works at Commodore. The Commodore 64 had only been an 8-bit computer. This new technology would be for a proper 16-bit computer system. Commodore’s new line of systems would be the Amiga range.
The first Amiga would be the Amiga 1000, and it would be released in 1985 for $1,300. It’d be unveiled at an event featuring Blondie, Andy Warhol, and keynote presentations that appeared straight out of the Apple playbook. It was truly something spectacular. And the A1000 itself was leaps and bounds ahead of what most computers and game consoles were capable of.
For a computer released both the same year the NES came out in the West and while the PC AT was at its peak popularity, the A1000 appears to be a technological marvel. With advanced graphics and sounds that make games for it appear reminiscent of later Sega Genesis titles, it’s truly a sight to behold. That’s not to mention its compact desktop design that even included a slot to store the keyboard!
And this was only the beginning, There would be numerous revisions over the coming years. These would include the Amiga 500, a cost-reduced Amiga put into an all-in-on wedge-shaped design that would become especially popular over in Europe, the Amiga 3000, a mildly upgraded A1000, the A1200 and A4000, which featured a new chipset called the “AGA Chipset” that upgraded the capabilities of the Amiga to make it fitter for use in the 90s, and even the Amiga CD32 games console, which was debatably a 32-bit game console and un-debatably a massive flop that helped sink the already floundering Commodore USA.