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Old 29 January 2019, 03:11   #1
005AGIMA
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Floppy disk Back to the Amiga 500 Batman Pack 30 years later

Back to the Amiga 500 Batman Pack 30 years later.

I, like many of you I'd assume, grew up in England in the 80's as one of those kids who would stand in the line at Boots or Curry's or WHSmiths, standing on my tip toes to just catch a glimpse of the latest "computer" on display. On a good day, I may even get to have a go if the bigger kids didn't push in first.

Being from a working class family, to actually own one felt beyond reach. Back then, if you wanted something you saved for it, for months or longer.

Thanks to my older Brother John, we eventually enjoyed owning an Acorn Electron, and later he brought me a Spectrum +3 for my birthday, which I cherished. But love it as I did, time and technology marches on and after a year or so, I was lusting after a new machine.

There I was again, older now, popping into Boots or WHSmith, on the walk home from Secondary School, perving with my friends at, not the top shelf magazines (well maybe sometimes) but at the "actual game play" screenshots on the back of game boxes or in computer magazines, of the graphics of the Commodore Amiga 500.

We couldn't possibly imagine graphics could ever get anymore realistic than this. They looked almost photo realistic.

Screenshots of driving games and flight simulators really grabbed my attention, and any game that had screen shots from the Spectrum AND an Amiga on the back of the same box really made a compelling case for an upgrade.

And so the quest began. I helped my friends with their paper rounds to earn money. I stopped buying new games. I saved. I worked with my Dad and my Brother in summer holidays (which I hated), usually reduced to the only tasks I was good at: Holding the ladder steady, and cleaning the paint brushes. It is no wonder I didn't follow the family footsteps. And any hint at the question "What would you like for your birthday or Christmas this year?" was met immediately with one simple answer: "Money towards my Amiga!"

Finally and hardest of all, I sold my beloved Spectrum +3 to one of my brothers friends, having written my own welcome disk and drawing program to go with the package as well.

November 1989. I have no idea how many magazine adverts I'd read but I knew all the prices out there, and the packs available and emerging.

It had to be the Amiga 500 Batman pack.

Batman looked amazing, and it came with the must have "F/A 18 Interceptor". My first flight sim. New Zealand Story I have to confess, had no draw for me at all.

The RRP was £399. I think I'd saved about £300-£320. Not enough. But there was hope.

Among the pages of magazine adverts for things like the Tenstar Games pack for £350, was an advert for the "Computer Shopper Show" at Alexandra palace at the end of November. It promised bargains and stores, and many of the computer shop adverts in the magazines were even stating which trade stand they'd be on at the show. And surely, being around my Birthday and Christmas, any shortfall would be met by the family?

And so the tickets were booked. Myself, mum and dad, my brother and I'm pretty sure one or two of my sisters, would all trek on the train from Kent into London, and go stall to stall at the show in the hunt for the best bargain. It is only now in my mid 40's that the thought occurs to me, that adding the show tickets and return train tickets for at least five people, must have negated any saving made on the day. I guess then that this further emphasizes how big a deal this was. The entire family was invested emotionally and financially in my day. In my Amiga.

Once at the show we moved like a mini swarm from stall to stall and before long at all, had it down to three main shops all competing for my business.

Again, looking back, I'd have to assume it was "Silica" who perhaps owned the final stall, due to the amazing package I ended up with. Because for the price of £350, I scored the Batman pack and all the games from the Silica Tenstar Games pack, and a Joystick and Amiga dust cover. I will never forget that deal.

Then my brother threw in a some extra money for a flight yoke/steering wheel controller, and a copy of the Star Wars Trilogy, and our day was done.

That night, we set the A500 up, and mostly played Batman, with a little Buggy Boy thrown in, and lots of Star Wars, until eventually being told it was time to go to bed.

A day, and a machine I will never forget.

I have so many great memories from that machine and that time. I used it to write homework. I used it to do graphic design and enter a magazine competition. I saved for a 512k upgrade. I used it to create music. But of course, more than anything, I used it to play games. An ever growing and expanding library of games. And for me, the bigger percentage were legally purchased rather than copied even though it would take me two to four weeks to save up for each one. Most purchased from Megabytes in Royal Tunbridge Wells. An independent shop that became like a second home to me on weekends, even though most of the time I didn't have the money to buy anything. I was just looking and talking, and dreaming of which game I'd save up for next.

It was my love of flight sims that eventually made me decide to sell the Amiga and my fine collection of games and joysticks, so that I could "upgrade" to a used 386 DX 33 PC. So the Amiga was sold and it must have held it's value as the lady who purchased it from me for her son, paid me over several months, in installments before finally taking delivery of it.

I'd heard of the Amiga 2000 but it was just too out of reach. The PC seemed the better choice. And perhaps it was. I have to thank my step into PCs for the IT career that followed, but equally I have to thank all the machines that went before, including the +3 and especially the Amiga.

But A PC doesn't get under your skin like an Amiga. And I've owned many PC's. Certain upgrades hold a special place I guess, like my SB16 Pro, or much later, my 3dfx Banshee card. But these were of course all just installed into faceless, nameless grey boxes for which I have no love or lasting memory.

November 2018. Middle age suddenly hit hard. I found myself pining for the past and looking up things from my childhood. Before I knew it, I'd allowed myself to be re-brainwashed by the likes of Nostalgia Nerd and Dan Wood on YouTube, and suddenly I now knew more about Commodore and Amiga than I ever needed to.

I needed an Amiga again. Badly.

Having only recently shelled out for birthday presents for my kids, a car club track day, and a Logitech G29 for my PS4, an upgrade I'd long put off due to the expense, I made a fatal mistake.

I checked ebay.

"Amiga 500 Batman Pack. Boxed."

And when I say Boxed, I mean, with sleeve and foam inserts and everything. Everything there. Everything accounted for. Registration card. Warranty sticker in place. F18 Code wheel in place. Workbench disks. Deluxe Paint. The works.

£399. The original RRP from when it was brand new. There is a symmetry to that.

An email to my old School friend Lee confirmed what I'd suspected. "They don't come up in that condition often mate. If it were my money I'd buy it!"

The ebay seller told me he'd purchased it off an old guy who had "brought it in his 40's. Didn't really use it much and it's never really been used by kids".

I rang the store I'd got the Logitech G29 from. They'd happily take it back so long as I still had the box and everything. They have a 7 day no questions asked returns policy so long as the product is still "as new".

So take it back I did. Sacrificing once again, for the hope of securing my Amiga 500 Batman pack.

The ebay seller was no where near where I live so we were arranging a skype call for the weekend so that I could see the package in detail. But I've missed out on deals before. If you want something, buy it! You snooze you loose. So even before the weekend or the skype call, I woke up one morning and said to the wife, "I'm buying it!" And that was that.

The day my new Batman Pack was delivered, I actually had it shipped to my parents house. I was watching the tracking information on my phone, using the map. Hell I can tell you where the van driver stopped at a pub for lunch (I'd guess). I even took a screen shot. Once delivery was confirmed, I rang my mum. A guy in his mid 40's ringing his mummy to check if his Amiga has really arrived safe and sound. Yes. Yes it had. I hung up the phone and I can't even describe the wave of emotion. I owned it. I owned an Amiga 500 Batman pack (again). I said it out loud to myself "Oh my God. I've got an Amiga! I've got an AMIGA!"

December 2019. That will be just over 30 years since I had my original Amiga. And I hope you can see from the journey above why so much emotion is attached to this purchase.

December 2019 is when I'll once again unbox my Amiga 500 Batman pack, and not a day before.

Why?

Because my parents live in England while I.....I live in Australia.

I wont get to see or use my "new" Batman Pack until December 2019, in my old bedroom, in the house I grew up in, with my parents watching on.

Again, there's a symmetry to that.

-------------------------------------------------------

Videos
I've decided to do a count down video blog that will take me from now until the day I go to the UK and unbox my Amiga.

Feel free to follow along.

Episode 1: Amiga Format issue 003 (really an introduction to the story and what the blog will cover).
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 2: ASUS TF101 Android Amiga (The backup Emulator Rig I'll take with me to the UK, why, and how)
[ Show youtube player ]


Tenstar Games Pack
Episode 3: Tenstar Games 01: Amegas
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 4: Tenstar Games 02: The Art of Chess
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 5: Tenstar Games 03: Barbarian
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 6: Tenstar Games 04: Buggy Boy
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 7: Tenstar Games 05: Ikari Warriors
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 8: Tenstar Games 06: Insanity Fight
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 9: Tenstar Games 07: Mercenary
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 10: Tenstar Games 08: Terrorpods
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 11: Tenstar Games 09: Thundercats
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 12: Tenstar Games 10: Wizball
[ Show youtube player ]

Star Wars Trilogy

Episode 13: Star Wars
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 14: Empire Strikes Back
[ Show youtube player ]

Episode 15: Return of the Jedi
[ Show youtube player ]

Other related
Episode 19 - Time to watch Batman....30 years TODAY (11/08/1989 UK)
[ Show youtube player ]

EP-028: Amiga Format Issue 3 is now 30 YEARS OLD!
[ Show youtube player ]

EP-030: Pentium 4....or is it?
[ Show youtube player ]

Playlist (all future eps will be put in here in order):
[ Show youtube player ]

Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk7...y7i5sz8poK2BJA

I will add additional Episodes as and when they occur.

Episodes are currently filmed AND posted every Saturday (mostly), but only those Amiga / Batman pack related will be put into this thread.

Last edited by 005AGIMA; 21 October 2019 at 05:31. Reason: Adding videos.
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Old 29 January 2019, 12:31   #2
solarmon
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Loved the story, and the feels! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 29 January 2019, 13:05   #3
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Did enjoy reading this, I felt transported to the time.

The train fare and event tickets would negate savings but you did get the Tenstar pack, dust cover and joystick thrown in complete with the experience! £350 for the time was a good price. We got our Cartoon Classic bundle for £399 a year or two later.

I kept our A500+ which I still have today, but glad you are reunited with the Amiga once again. Bit of a wait until December 2019! But will be worth it.
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Old 29 January 2019, 14:37   #4
deladrevoc
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Great story. I believe I remember seeing that eBay auction, if only I'd had the money...
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Old 29 January 2019, 18:15   #5
Anubis
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Really nice story... touching.

You should probably sue your carrier adviser, should probably go after language arts and writing.

Thank you for sharing!
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Old 29 January 2019, 19:23   #6
seuden
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Awesome story.
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Old 29 January 2019, 21:13   #7
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Great read Really enjoyed it
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Old 30 January 2019, 02:44   #8
005AGIMA
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Thanks guys. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Stories like this are very personal and sometimes it's only the writer who really likes them, so they can be hit and miss.

For anyone, including deladrevoc, who were watching the ebay item when it came up, rest assured it'll be well looked after.

If it's in the condition I think it's in, I'll treat it like a collectible car. Driven "just enough" to keep it in good working order, and garaged the rest of the time.

I'm actually half tempted to get a more "used" one as well, for regular thrashing, or a used A1200 as I never owned one.....or both.....see where the problem starts?

What I really want to try and get though, before I visit England later this year, is the games from the Tenstar pack, and possibly the SW trilogy, so that I truly have "my pack". But we'll see.

I have to let the bank and the wife recover first

Not just from the purchase of the A500, but from the four non-stop flights I just shelled out for.

Last time it was train tickets. This time....it's a little more expensive than that

Of course unboxing the Amiga isn't the only reason for the visit......honest
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Old 30 January 2019, 03:27   #9
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A fine story --- the only thing wrong with it was:

"upgrade" to a used 386 DX 33 PC.

I'm a bit older, so I had my own money and never had to let my Amiga go.
In fact it now has 5 play-mates

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Old 30 January 2019, 03:56   #10
005AGIMA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobby_UK View Post
A fine story --- the only thing wrong with it was:

"upgrade" to a used 386 DX 33 PC.

I'm a bit older, so I had my own money and never had to let my Amiga go.
In fact it now has 5 play-mates

Oh I hear you. Imagine my surprise when I had to "upgrade" the PC by way of a "game card" just to be able to plug in a joystick

And further surprise that I had to now save for a "Sound card" to produce anything even close to the wonderful sounds of the Amiga, rather than the internal speaker "beeps" I'd been reduced to.

In an alternative universe, I'd have upgraded to an A1200 perhaps. Sadly in THIS universe, all I could hear was Andy Cranes voice spouting on about "incompatibility issues".

To be fair, flight sims WERE much better on the PC. Oddly though, I dont actually recall playing many.

I had a TON of the them on the A500 by the time I sold it. let me see the "sims" I had........

A500
F18
Falcon
F16 Combat Pilot (an impulse buy in London one day, and this became my all time fave)
F29 Retaliator
F19 Stealth Fighter (or was it just "stealth fighter"? The one with the F19 and the F117)
Knights of the Sky
Birds of Prey (I think I actually got that....or was I saving for it? meh)
Gunship
Armour Geddon
Carrier Command
(We'll just allow those last 2)

PC
Gunship 2000
MS Flight Simulator (yawn)
A10 Tank Killer
TFX (Oddly I dont recall playing this much at all after buying it)

TBH My "simulator" time on the PC was spent mostly in space with:
X-Wing (now OMG that was good)
Elite II and III

But for a long time, and still to this day, the PC had to be accompanied by consoles.

That's why the Amiga stands out to me, and the whole "micro-computer" era.

They WERE "Computers". But they also had games written specifically for the hardware, just like a console.

They really were the best of both worlds.
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Old 30 January 2019, 12:54   #11
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Fantastic story, it was moving and emotional. I totally agree with your decision to purchase the classic Amiga 500 Batman Pack. Back in the day, I also wanted this badly. The pack was released near Christmas and became a must buy for boys everywhere. Including three great games (Batman The Movie, New Zealand Story and F/A-18 Interceptor) and a brilliant paint package Deluxe Paint III, was absolute genius. These showed off how powerful the A500 actually was. It was THE perfect kids Christmas present. If you got one of these you were extremely lucky...

Checkout this site for further info:

https://www.everythingamiga.com/2016...of-dreams.html
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Old 30 January 2019, 14:22   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solid Snake View Post
Fantastic story, it was moving and emotional. I totally agree with your decision to purchase the classic Amiga 500 Batman Pack. Back in the day, I also wanted this badly. The pack was released near Christmas and became a must buy for boys everywhere. Including three great games (Batman The Movie, New Zealand Story and F/A-18 Interceptor) and a brilliant paint package Deluxe Paint III, was absolute genius. These showed off how powerful the A500 actually was. It was THE perfect kids Christmas present. If you got one of these you were extremely lucky...

Checkout this site for further info:

https://www.everythingamiga.com/2016...of-dreams.html
Sure was and still is for me.

thanks for the link too.

Reminds me, I need to buy and stash a copy of Amiga Format issue 4.

I've purchased another issue, and am waiting for it to arrive from the UK. Should be here soon.

I'll reveal which issue and why when it arrives
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Old 30 January 2019, 22:41   #13
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great story , bits in there that we can all relate too
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Old 01 February 2019, 15:33   #14
gimbal
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That is one seriously awesome read. And you still have to wait almost one goshdarned year!
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Old 01 February 2019, 23:14   #15
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Great, just great.
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Old 03 February 2019, 20:07   #16
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I've got one of these for more or less the exact same reason and I love it!
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Old 04 February 2019, 04:06   #17
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Great story! I think I will feel the same when I see an A600HD Epic Pack again in the condition you describe!

Incidentally, there was a collection of Amigas (500, 600 and 1200) on sale not that long ago in the UK. The seller was living away and they were kept at his parents house! Wasn't you by any chance!?
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Old 04 February 2019, 09:48   #18
005AGIMA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesta_smsc View Post
Great story! I think I will feel the same when I see an A600HD Epic Pack again in the condition you describe!

Incidentally, there was a collection of Amigas (500, 600 and 1200) on sale not that long ago in the UK. The seller was living away and they were kept at his parents house! Wasn't you by any chance!?
haha maybe my parents are trying to sell it? lol

Na not me.

Funny though at the same time my pack came up, a GREAT bundle came up right here in Perth.

$750 (~£415) for:
A500 Starter Pack with box, cables, and books
2x Amiga HDD's
2x external floppy drives
2x Monitors
And a TON of boxed games, PD disks, and Magazines and some Joysticks.

But I wasnt even tempted as it wasn't the Batman Pack.

I'm literally buying memories, not just the computer.

The seller though is a top bloke. After Christmas he opted to break up the bundle due to demand. He's made MORE money than he would have.

I popped up to see him and that's where I picked up, what was probably my favorite Amiga game of all time TBH, all boxed, MINT condition.

Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge.
$25.
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Old 04 February 2019, 18:43   #19
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I remember how much I anticipated my Amiga 500 before christmas 1987. What a great time...
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Old 06 February 2019, 04:41   #20
005AGIMA
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I'm toying with an idea to accompany this story......

I've not seen anyone really cover the Tenstar Games pack on YouTube.

To kind of "count down" to me going to unbox my Amiga in the UK, I may do a quick YouTube series via emulation in which I.....

1) Begin with the story in brief, based around a recent magazine purchase that arrived yesterday from the UK

2) Emulation capture of some random gameplay of each of the games I got in my original pack, with me talking about, not the game, but the emotions and memories that re-playing it evokes,

3) Travelling to the UK and unboxing the Batman pack, again focusing on emotion and memories rather than the product itself.

Does that would even vaguely interesting?

I'm not after subs or hits. Just a way of covering the journey really. Nothing fancy. I've done video editing both professionally and personally, and that's not what I'm aiming for here. Just quick 1 take stuff.

What I'd do is set aside a day to "film" the games, and then drip feed them over the year as short sharp episodes. (much the same as how Top Gear would do car review filming at the track in 1 or 2 days, for an entire series of episodes worth).

For me, this is because I dont want to be playing via emulation much this year, as I dont want to soften the impact of receiving the original hardware. Once these are filmed, I'll "de-amiga" myself for a while.

Thoughts?
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