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Originally conceived by a start-up company as a games console, Amiga was bought by Commodore who, showing uncharacteristic business sense, decided to develop the technology as a GUI-based computer. More typically, Commodore completely overpriced the machine at launch – presumably in an attempt to muscle in on the Macintosh’s territory. Although the Amiga was a highly capable machine, it never had the same charisma as the Apple machine and it soon became clear that its chief rival would be Atari’s ST.

Features

Amiga 1000

16-bit Motorola MC 68000 processor
3 custom VLSI chips
4,096 colours (using ‘hold and modify’)
4 channel stereo sound

Amiga 500 and 500+

Entry-level Amiga
512K RAM, expandable to 1MB
Built-in 3.5″ floppy drive
Workbench 1.3
The 500+, released in 1991, featured ECS (Enhanced Chip Set), 1MB of RAM as standard and Workbench 2.0.

Amiga 2000/2500
High-end workstation
Built-in 3.5″ floppy drive
Bay for 5 1/4″ drive and second 3.5″ drive
Zorro II slots
A2500 came with a processor card to boost the speed of the computer

Amiga 600/600HD
16-bit Motorola MC 68000 processor
A500-style case, but much reduced in size
1MB RAM (expandable to 8MB)
PCMCIA slot
A600 HD came with an internal 20MB hard drive

Amiga 3000
High-end workstation
16-bit Motorola MC 68030 processor
Kickstart 2 and Workbench 2
Zorro III slots
As well as Workbench, the A3000 also included UNIX and X Windows

Amiga 4000
High-end workstation
AGA chipset, featuring a colour palette of 16.8 million (256,000 on screen)

Amiga 1200
A600-style case
2MB RAM
PCMCIA slot

The Games

The enormous success of the lower-cost A500 as a home computer led to a thriving market for videogames. Classic Amiga titles worth looking out for include Turrican, Speedball 2 and the brilliantly-titled Super Skid Marks.

People

Many developers for the computer moved on to produce highly successful games for later consoles. Significant developers and publishers of the time included Psygnosis (later bought by Sony and responsible for the Wipeout series), DMA Design (the team who later unleashed Grand Theft Auto), Core Design (Tomb Raider) and Bullfrog (later swallowed whole by Electronic Arts).

The Bitmap Brothers

The Bitmap Brothers released a number of huge hits for the Amiga.

Bullfrog Productions

Bullfrog didn’t only make strategy and god games. Besides their famous titles such as Populous, Theme Park and Syndicate, the company also wrote action games like Fusion and Flood for the Amiga.

Jeff Minter/Llamasoft

Jeff Minter released a number of top-notch Amiga titles, including Photon Storm, Defender ][ and Trip-A-Tron.

Trivia

Amiga A3000 workstations were used to power the Virtuality virtual reality arcade machines that were popular in the early 90s.

Major events

July 1985
US release of the Amiga 1000

1987
A500 released at £499 +vat, excluding the cost of the modulator required to connect the Amiga to a TV
January: A1000 discontinued
March: A2000 launched

1989
UK Amiga A500 Batman Pack, £399 inc. vat, which included a copy of Ocean’s Batman: the Movie licenced game, New Zealand Story, Interceptor, Duluxe Paint II and – finally included in the price – a modulator to allow use of the Amiga on a standard TV

1989
A2500 released

1990
UK Amiga A500 Flight of Fantasy Pack, £399 inc. vat, which included Rainbow Islands, Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, F-29 and Duluxe Paint II and the all important modulator.
A2000 discontinued
24 April: A3000 released

1991
A500+ launched

1992
March: A600 released. UK launch prices: £399.99 for the basic model, £499.99 for the 600 HD with a 20MB hard drive.
October: A1200 released
A4000 launched

Emulators

Mac OS X

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iOS

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OUYA/Android

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