4-One Retro Corner – Remembering the Amiga

amigaThe Amiga 1000, hailed as the first multimedia computer, was first introduced in July 1985, making this month its 30 year anniversary. Created in part by Jay Miner, the designer of the Atari 400 and Atari 800, it was originally designed to be a gaming machine, but the system was so powerful that it evolved in to a full computer.

The Amiga 1000 was massively more powerful than any other system out at the time. In fact it was far more superior not only to other gaming systems, but other PCs as well and boasted a 32-bit GUI (Graphic User Interface), 4 channel stereo sound, 880k 3-1/2 inch floppy disks, and video modes which provided up to 4096 colors at once. The Amiga 1000 can even display multiple screens at different resolutions on a single monitor at the same time. This made it a favourite for graphic artists and animators as it was a much more affordable option than the expensive workstations that would have been needed for more complicated jobs. The windows based GUI was also way ahead of its time as this released in 1985, 8 years before Windows 3.1 was first sold.

The Amiga and its successors undoubtedly had a big effect on multimedia computing and its one system I look back on fondly. There are just too many great Amiga games to mention, but in honor of its 30th anniversary I list five of the games I personally remember the Amiga for. In no particular order…

The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

Anyone who knows me knows that I have I have a bit of an obsession with the Monkey Island games. They were a big part of my childhood and I still go back and play them today. Filled with good humour and colourful graphics as well as a good story these games are sure to be fondly remembered by anyone who played them when they came out.  Lucasarts was huge in the early 90s with their graphic adventures being massively popular. The Secret Of Monkey Island is one that is probably their most beloved out of all of them. It worked great on the Amiga as well as it’s sequel. Those of you who think that a Final Fantasy game needing five discs was a big deal might not have played the sequel, LeChuck’s Revenge on the Amiga. It required a whopping 11 different disks to run that you needed to swap between.

Lemmings

Oh the many hours I sunk into Lemmings! Although I really didn’t like when I needed to sacrifice one by blowing it up. DMA Design was the company that gave us Lemmings and it was to become their first big hit. It boasted a heft 100 levels where you needed to guide the Lemmings to safety. An interesting fact, DMA Design is now what we know as Rockstar North, the creators of GTA. Sony now own the rights to Lemmings but don’t seem to be interested in doing anything with it. This seems like a waste and a bit of a shame to me. I’d love more Lemmings.

Worms

I couldn’t not mention Worms really could I? It’s a game that most of you would have played on some system at one stage or another, but it began its life on the Amiga. The genre of game that Worms was going for was not new or revolutionary, turn based, projectile type games had been around for a long time. Worms brought something different to the table and was a delight for any child (or adult for that matter) to play. It was a funny game, had lovely cartoonish graphics and was really addictive. Playing against a parent and hurling an exploding sheep at them up ending their worm’s life. “Bye, bye..”

Beneath a Steel Sky

The Amiga had a tonne of point-and-click titles, most of them coming from the American studios, Lucasarts or Sierra. Beneath a Steel Sky however, came from Brits Revolution Software. The game still looks fantastic to me today and had an amazing story, fantastic writing and a unique atmosphere. It had a sci-fi, dystopian setting, based in a futuristic version of 1984. This sounds like it might be a serious game, but there was plenty of funny moments in the game. There are comic book references throughout, which I didn’t quite get the first time I played it. This isn’t a surprise as Watchmen artist, Dave Gibbons helped out in the production of Beneath a Steel Sky. Not letting Monkey Island 2 beat it in the ridiculous amount of disks stakes, this game required a staggering 15 disks! Luckily you can get Beneath a Steel Sky digitally now with no disk changing needed. And best of all, you can pick it up on GOG.com absolutely free.

Sensible World of Soccer

I always loved football, I was a bit of a tomboy and both played and watched it as a child. This game however, was loved by people whether they liked soccer or not! It had amazing, addictive gameplay and pretty revolutionary for its time. It had expanded on the previous Sensible Soccer games and added in a career mode. The new managerial element of the game game allowed you to play as just a manager, transferring players, picking formations and watching your team wipe up the opposition. You could also be a player-manager though, and this was where the fun was to be had. A career lasted 20 game years and you could get better jobs depending on the performance of your teams and if you were could enough, become an international manager. The game was so good it was named by Amiga Power as the best game ever made on the platform’s history. It was also placed in a Stanford University list of The top ten most influential games of all time.

So there’s my most memorable Amiga games. There are plenty of other games that you may have played. Civilization, Populous, Speedball, Cannon Fodder and many many more. Any games you remember most from your Amiga days? Let us know!

 

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