It wasn’t till 1987 that I experienced my first (and worst) case of technolust ever. The object that inspired such raw feelings of lust, of course, was the Commodore Amiga.
As a lowly Commodore 128 owner, which was really just a glorified Commodore 64 in a beige case, I bought every issue of the Commodore magazines of the day.
These magazines started showing off these lush advertisements of the Commodore Amiga, boasting of its 4096 colors and 4-channel stereo sound.
I had to have it.
Looking back, I am shocked at how much my lust for the Amiga held sway over me. I purchased a copy of every Amiga magazine on the newstand, talked about it incessantly to anyone who would listen, and had vivid dreams of the Amiga’s amazing graphics capabilities.
And when I finally got my hands on it, it was every bit as good as I had hoped.
For many Amiga users at the time, the Amiga was true to its name (spanish for female friend) in that it was the closest thing to a girlfriend we had. Give me a break, I was only twelve at the time.
Like having a girlfriend, I spent countless hours with the computer, not to mention countless dollars on peripherals and upgrades. I remember hustling for tips at the local commissary in order to upgrade the beast from 512K to 1MB of ram (cost: $99).
The reason I bring this up is I came across a recent article on the Wired website entitled Top 10 Most Influential Amiga Games, which filled me with a rush of nostalgia.
I only had the pleasure to play two of the games listed, Defender of the Crown, in which catapulting castles was pure fun, and SpeedBall 2, which probably was responsible for the pile of broken joysticks I accumulated.
Personally though, I thought Lords of the Rising Sun (also made by Cinemaware) was even better than Defender of the Crown.
The game sequence in which you could snipe advancing siegers using a first-person bow and arrow with a little red laser point dot was exhilarating (sadly, I could not find a screenshot).
I also liked Speedball 1 (shown here) slightly better than 2 because the side scrolling in 2 always threw me off.
I still have my Amiga 500 gathering dust in a storage cabinet in the garage. I’ve been meaning to unpack it and see if it still works, but my home is small and there’s really no room to set it up. I figure there must be a better way to try out my old games.
Digging around, I discovered there’s an active project to create an Amiga emulator for *nix called UAE. There’s a Windows port called, not surprisingly, WinUAE (click for full size).
Unfortunately, these projects cannot distribute the Amiga ROM nor its operating system due to copyright issues. However they do provide instructions on how to transfer the ROM and operating system over to your PC on their FAQ.
An even easier approach is to simply purchase Amiga Forever for around forty bucks. This is an ISO image that contains a preconfigured WinUAE with the original ROM and operating system files. Amiga Forever is sold by Cloanto who currently own certain intellectual property rights to the Amiga.
Amiga Forever comes with several games for the Amiga as well that vary with the edition purchased. The site also has a games section in which they list places to download more games.
For example, the Cinemaware site has disk images for pretty much all of their games available for free, including Lords of the Rising Sun.
Play Defender of the Crown Immediately
All this talk of Amiga emulation sounds like fun and everything, but seriously, do I need yet another time sink? If you’re jonesing for some Amiga gaming now and don’t want to be bothered with emulation, head over to the Cinemaware website and satiate your Amiga gaming kick by playing the Flash version of Defender of the Crown. Now about that time sink...
Though I owned a couple computers prior to the Amiga, the Amiga is truly the computer that fueled my fire for computing.
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