SWAG Meeting #1 – Saturday 7th May 2016
The Makerspace, Swindon
The seeds of the first SWAG meeting were sewn back in January of this year when Amiga user Brian Hedley created a thread over on the English Amiga Board, asking if there was a group of Amiga users in the South West. If there wasn’t, would anyone be interested in forming one and helping to set up a meeting.
Fellow Amiga users Steve Netting and Rob Hazelby responded, and in February the three met in a Swindon pub to chat all things Amiga and to discuss the possibility/viability of organising a meeting.
By the end of the evening it was decided that the meeting idea was worth pursuing, with the thought that at the very worst three Amiga users would meet up later in the year for an afternoon of Amiga gaming, tinkering and repairing.
The other decision made that evening was to resurrect the old SWAG name. The South West Amiga Group held its last meeting way back in 2001, and sadly folded in 2004. In its active years the members held regular sessions, and each meeting was well attended.
After numerous enquiries a venue was chosen – the new Makerspace in Swindon, which was due to open the first weekend in May. The members there were happy to have us, and so, on Saturday 7th May the first meeting of the phoenix like SWAG took place.
The afternoon ran from noon until 4:00pm, and during that time approximately 12 Amiga users turned up. The majority of attendees brought kit with them, and as such we had an amazing collection of Amiga and other computer systems. The line-up included:
- Expanded Amiga 1200 (030 @ 50mhz, Indivision 2, 32megs RAM, Hard Drive, Network Card
- Expanded Amiga 600 (ACA620 and A604n)
- Amiga 500 with 512K RAM expansion and Gotek
- A laptop running UAE
- Raspberry Pi 3 running UAE for all
- 2008 MacBook used for streaming demos to the plasma screen and for storing an Amiga TOSEC
- AmigaOne 500
- Amiga 1200 for repairing
Gamers were well catered for, with some excellent 4-player sessions of Hudson’s Dynablaster Bomberman, Acid’s racer Skidmarks and Team 17’s platformer Superfrog. Numerous other titles from down the years were also fired-up, with one attendee completing Turrican from start to finish in what he declared was his fastest ever run.
The Raspberry Pi 3 did a fantastic job of emulating classic Amiga hardware, with a number of children present glued to Lemmings. The speed of the mouse took a little getting used to, though. It was rather twitchy!
The Macbook was mainly used for streaming a selection of Amiga demos from the recent Revision 2016 demo competition, along with a number of repeated showings of the forthcoming “Amiga Works” documentary by Paul Bridger. When it wasn’t streaming video it was used to transfer files from the Amiga TOSEC to pen drive and then on to an Amiga.
The AmigaOne 500 was undoubtedly the star of the afternoon when it came to hardware specs. Facebook user Amiga Richard had been kind enough to bring his prized posession along, and throughout the afternoon gave guided tours around the system, answering questions put to him by fellow attendees.
The final system was Amiga Richard’s faulty Amiga 1200, which initially failed to display a picture or boot. A dismantling later, the removal of a rogue screw which didn’t seem to actually belong to the system, and the 1200 was back up and running once more. Success!
By 4:00pm the computers had all been packed-up, and the last of those who’d attended were making their way home. What had started as a thread over on the English Amiga Board and a subsequent meeting in a pub, had turned into a fantastic afternoon of classic gaming, tech and general retro chit chat.
Feedback from those who came along was glowing, and as such a second SWAG meeting to take place one Saturday in September is already being planned. An exact date will follow.
In the meantime you can check out a selection of photos from the event by going to: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...hVVEl6Z1VfblhB
If you’d like to find out more you can find SWAG on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/southwestamiga/
and via their web site at