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Old 05 May 2017, 16:23   #121
matthey
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It is funny how long people tried to convince themselves the Amiga was a viable machine. I was reading a 1998 issue of Amiga Format last week and the writers were still using phrases like "multitasking" as if Mac and PCs couldn't do that by then. One of them was even trying to convince himself the Amiga was better than the 'new' iMac. We all know how that worked out.
The Amiga was and still is much more efficient at multitasking though. My Pentium M laptop fan broke a few years ago making it run at 800MHz. It was unusable with Windows XP. The latency was much worse than my 68060. The iMac in those years was probably low end PPC. The 68060 (and even fast 68040 is debatable) was better than those low end PPCs, especially with limited memory. This did start to change when the G3 was launched in August of 1998 (still slow to clock up) and as memory prices came down.

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I guess it was their job to try and stay positive, but let's be honest the Amiga was dead the minute CBM went bust. I got my A1200 in early 94 so really only caught the last year or so if it being a serious computer.
The Amiga was practically dead a couple of years before C= went bankrupt. The Amiga had already fallen behind competitive in the mainstream computer market. They started with the Amiga 1000 which was several years ahead of the competition and did only minor upgrades to it. The competition had several times faster processors by the time they went bankrupt while most of the computers C= sold didn't even have fast ram which would have doubled performance. The custom chip upgrades were so poor that they became a bottleneck. They were still trying to make the Amiga a C64 in the '90s .
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Old 28 June 2019, 19:28   #122
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Yes it was too underpowered to compete with Megadrive and SNES. Piece of cake for the consoles to destroy the Amiga. I think Commodore thought the CPU was enough to compensate with gpu weakness and the 1986 sprite engine. And they didn't have people like RJ.Mical or Dave Needle to upgrade the system, I guess they were working on 3DO at the time.

I was the original poster on this thread and I've had time to think about what the A1200 should have been.

I really think it should have been similar to the Atari Lynx - but in computer form.

The Lynx was designed by original Amiga designers : R J Mical and Dave Needle. It seems more like a design revolution - rather than a slight upgrade on the old product. It can scale and rotate(or tilt) 'sprites' - and also display a lot of them and it seems to use a bitmap/sprite/character based approach which makes it more flexible. It's hard to get exact technical information on the Lynx but it seems optimised for games while providing the flexibility a computer could also use.

Obviously it's a handheld and some of it's specs are compromised (like the cpu choice and lack of much DMA access) but in a computer version they wouldn't have to be.

I think any new Amiga should have been optimised for games first and then add some extra modes for advanced users too.
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Old 28 June 2019, 20:14   #123
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I think any new Amiga should have been optimised for games first and then add some extra modes for advanced users too.
Well that’s the route Commodore were headed with Hombre bringing a console out first then working on WB etc for a computer model after, of course we all know this was too late by then and it may well have just been ‘all talk’ in retrospect, we all know Commodore probably would have mucked up any new hardware launch anyway

But in reality with the A1200 Commodore massively mis-read where the market for their machines was at, despite having the gaming bundles being their best sellers, the MD and SNES were already out yet by 4 and 2 years respectively, they decided to launch the A1200 with poor sprite capabilities and other needed abilities despite it being a must to play the great arcade ports of the time in a reasonable standard, something every other manufacturer of the time even Atari! knew it needed too, forget Doom this was still a budget computer after all and that was still a year off in the future, but to have a gaming computer still not capable of pulling off what some areas of the 1988 Megadrive could do was a real reason why some killer games (that weren’t just a aga parallax layered ocs games) failed to appear people realised their A500 was still worth holding onto, heck they didn’t even bundle a joypad to standardise one of the main slagging points Commodore must have been aware of by that point of 1 button joysticks!
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Old 29 June 2019, 13:02   #124
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I remember the adverts when it was released. I already had an A500 and could not afford the 1200 as I was a student or on low pay until 1998. When I finally got a new 1200 that year from Power Computing the biggest difference was having a hard drive in my Amiga. That 1200 is still going strong beefed up somewhat and has a brother and sister.
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Old 29 June 2019, 18:15   #125
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Well even the Atari Falcon with its 030 and chunky mode didn't save it so we were doomed.
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Old 29 June 2019, 19:24   #126
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Well even the Atari Falcon with its 030 and chunky mode didn't save it so we were doomed.
Well Atari couldn't market decent hardware if it tried, look at the Lynx and Jaguar! The Falcon was aimed at the budget market and had more mistakes than the A1200! It was overpriced, R.R.P was raised at last minute to £599 (£200 more than the A1200), delayed 6 months to Mar 1993, base model only had 1mb ram! And had bugger all game support, 4 games supported 1mb from 1993-1995! Even if you had a more expensive 4mb model the game count would only raise to a awful 12! So despite Atari generally having the better hardware, in hindsight i would still wouldn't touch it with a ten foot bargepole!
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Old 30 June 2019, 13:16   #127
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Well Atari couldn't market decent hardware if it tried, look at the Lynx and Jaguar!

*cough*


Isn't the Amiga essentially Atari hardware??
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Old 30 June 2019, 13:52   #128
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*cough*


Isn't the Amiga essentially Atari hardware??
Nope its Amiga Inc design and Commodore manufacturing, Atari had zero to do with it bar trying to buy the tech using dirty tactics.
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Old 30 June 2019, 14:04   #129
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Atari HW? lol don't feed the Troll. Noooooooo
And yes on day one I was a bit disappointed with the 1200 since I got the low price version with no paint and games. Should have bought one of the bundles. Not much you can do with only the Workbench. Cheap me....
After a few days I got some games and DPaint. I had to admit it was indeed a huge upgrade from my C64. Oh and most of my friends had still a 500 and not all of the games I "borrowed" worked on my Amiga that was also a bit of a bummer....
On the long run I realized the system could have been much better, cause as a next gen 500 it was way too weak from the beginning. With a proper monitor and my good old blizzard 040(25MHz/16Mb) that I got later on it was a nice little device that I used for years. These days I just emulate the old stuff. Got so used to a gamepad that a joystick feels strange in my hands.

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Old 30 June 2019, 14:11   #130
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Nope its Amiga Inc design and Commodore manufacturing, Atari had zero to do with it bar trying to buy the tech using dirty tactics.
Seen a post on twitter recently about Atari roadmap and a computer based on Amiga chipset was planned IIRC they had a license.
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Old 30 June 2019, 14:35   #131
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Originally Posted by Amigajay
to have a gaming computer still not capable of pulling off what some areas of the 1988 Megadrive could do was a real reason why some killer games (that weren’t just a aga parallax layered ocs games) failed to appear people realised their A500 was still worth holding onto, heck they didn’t even bundle a joypad to standardise one of the main slagging points Commodore must have been aware of by that point of 1 button joysticks!
I sold Megadrives in my store alongside Amigas. Not for long though, since they weren't very popular. One reason - much harder to pirate the games! But apart from that most parents could more easily justify buying a computer than a games console, and they did use their Amigas for things other than games.

The Sega games I remember were all cutesy platformers that had no depth. In comparison the Amiga had a much better variety and genres to suit all tastes - strategy games, role playing, flight simulators, text and graphic adventures etc., and it wasn't just kids that played them.

Joypads suck, and any game that needs more than two buttons is too complicated. What matters is that it work well and be reliable. We mostly sold top-quality joysticks that had proper arcade micro switches and buttons. Expensive, but when you need to win...

The only disappointing thing about the A1200 is that they didn't release it earlier. But once it arrived it was a very good seller. Technically, even in its base configuration it was much more powerful than the A500, and the built-in IDE harddrive, PCMCIA and accelerator slots gave it enormous expansion capabilities. The only better spec machine was the A4000, which was much too expensive for most (and a shoddy design IMO).

At the time I already had an A3000 and A600 at home, but bought the A1200 for use in the shop. We used it for word processing, faxing, demonstrating software and general use. We also sold Commodore PCs. At one time we had an A1200 bundle and a Commodore 386SX-16 system with very similar specs (40MB hard drive, 2MB RAM) for the same price. The 386 came with Windows 3.0, which was a dog compared to Workbench 3.0. And the joys of trying to get DOS games working on it!

Then Commodore went bankrupt and I had to switch to selling only PC's. A few years later we got some Amiga Technologies A1200's, but by that time the market had died. If Commodore had brought out an update to the A1200 instead of betting the farm on a gaming console they might have lasted a bit longer.

IMO the A1200 was the best machine Commodore produced. Lovely form factor, right price, reliable, and enough expandability to suit most needs. In later years I used my A3000 in the office - now with a 50MHz 060 and RTG graphics, but compatibility was becoming an issue. I spent over $10,000 on that machine, and eventually sold it for $1,000. But I kept the A1200, and I'm glad I did!
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Old 30 June 2019, 15:34   #132
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Seen a post on twitter recently about Atari roadmap and a computer based on Amiga chipset was planned IIRC they had a license.
Well they probably did have plans before Commodore stepped in.

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The only disappointing thing about the A1200 is that they didn't release it earlier. But once it arrived it was a very good seller.
The first part i agree with, the second i don't, the A1200 was the worst selling budget Amiga ever produced! Even the A600 outsold it by 2-1 and that had less time on the market before being discontinued! I have ranted before in other threads, but the only reason people still have a soft spot of the A1200 was because it was the last small form factor Amiga produced, had their been another model after the A1200 would have quickly been forgotten about and people would hold it in the same regard as a A500+ or A600.
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Old 01 July 2019, 02:34   #133
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Joypads suck, and any game that needs more than two buttons is too complicated.
lol
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Old 01 July 2019, 03:06   #134
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https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1560985/

Budget:$750,000
Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $101,758,490
One of the worst movies I ever watched.
Out of 750k buget, I think they used 97-98% for the marketing, and the rest for the hand held camera movie.
-------------
Rise of the Robots game.
[ Show youtube player ]
I also heard it got huge earnings, no matter we all know it's one of the crappiest game ever.
----------------

If Commodore advertised like above, the A1200 would be huge success (even with the same hardware). They could join forces with Team 17, Psygnosis, and few other companies, so they can work on the some 10-15 exclusive AGA titles to be ready, when the machine is out.
And marketing all the time, Before release, and after release.
Even Commodore UK had some nice ideas to sell A500 in nice boxes, and were very successful. Commodore should at least listen and learn from them.
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Old 01 July 2019, 06:53   #135
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the A1200 was the worst selling budget Amiga ever produced! Even the A600 outsold it by 2-1 and that had less time on the market before being discontinued!
That certainly wasn't the case in NZ. The A600 was widely panned and we sold very few of them. Personally I thought it was a nice little machine, but not a sufficient advance on the A500 to make it a worthwhile upgrade (and even I was disappointed by the lack of hard drive support in the first batch). The other thing it got panned for was missing the numeric keypad. This didn't worry me because I never use those keys, but for people who did and for some games it was a problem.

Now imagine the A600 had a 32bit CPU, AGA chipset, accelerator slot, proper hard drive support and full size keyboard - everything that people were expecting to see in the 'next generation' A500 replacement. It should have sold like hot cakes - and down here it did.

But perhaps the market was different here. We had already had a strong market in clone PCs (largely consisting of 'DIY' machines built from parts imported from Taiwan) when the A500 and A2000 arrived, so NZers were expecting more from their machines.

Many of my friends had A2000's decked out with accelerator cards etc. For them the A600 was not appealing, but the A4000 was too much. The A1200 gave them AGA in a low cost compact sized Amiga that could potentially exceed the capabilities of their existing machine. It also gave people who had A500s (which by this time were getting a bit tired) a good upgrade path that was much cheaper and better than adding a hard drive/CPU to their existing machine (though many had already done so - the A590 and GVP A530 were very popular here).

One thing that surprised me about the UK Amiga market was the popularity of 'packs' with a base machine and bundled games etc. To me that seemed silly - paying for titles you probably didn't want, but no hard drive? And why would anyone buy an A1500? But again, that may reflect the different market down here - where everyone had been using PCs for years, and nobody bought a game unless they really wanted it.

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the only reason people still have a soft spot of the A1200 was because it was the last small form factor Amiga produced, had their been another model after the A1200 would have quickly been forgotten about and people would hold it in the same regard as a A500+ or A600.
Well technically there was another small form factor model after the A1200 - the CD32. And after Commodore's demise various other 'next-gen' machines were produced, with hardware similar to what Commodore would have settled on eventually. How are they doing today?

Commodore's 8 bit lines are an indication of how it could have gone for the Amiga. The Plus 4 was in some ways superior to the C64, but they stupidly took out the SID sound and sprites, and changed to incompatible connectors. The C128 was a boondoggle of extra hardware that didn't add anything worthwhile. The C65 might have gotten somewhere, but probably would have ended up spending 99% of its time in 'C64 mode' just like the C128 did. Why? Because the C64 was already everything it needed to be.

I think people have a 'soft spot' for the A1200 because it was the epitome of Commodore's 'computer in a keyboard' design concept. Just like the C64 was everything the VIC20 should have been, so the A1200 was in the Amiga line - only more so. The A1000 was originally supposed to be a games console, but (thankfully) they upgraded it to full computer status when the video game market crashed. Unfortunately Commodore couldn't see its potential and tried to market it as a PC alternative. With the A500 they got back on the right track, but it wasn't until the A1200 that they got everything right.

The CD32 was just a desperate effort to compete on price in a dying console market. Even if by some miracle that had worked, what was the next Amiga expected to be? Probably a 'big box' machine like the A4000, but with incompatible hardware, a nightmare OS, and an even sillier price. Even if Commodore (or whoever bought them out) had survived long enough to bring out a new design, I doubt that people would have forgotten about the A1200.

However I think that Commodore would have milked the A1200 for all it was worth, just like they did with the A500. We might have seen an A1200+ with the Akiko chip, bundled fastRAM or accelerator cards, bigger hard drives, updated OS etc. - little tweaks to make the machine even better - but still an A1200. Because it's hard to improve on perfection.
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Old 01 July 2019, 07:15   #136
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I honestly can't believe you claim the 1200 to be perfection. Even on the day it was released it was an underpowered piece of shit. Barely any 500 games worked on it. AGA sucked. It was nothing but a huge disappointment.
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Old 01 July 2019, 12:50   #137
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Barely any 500 games worked on it.
This is simply not true. Almost all the games, if not all, I ever borrowed from my friends (that owned A500s) worked. Just booted up in either OCS or ECS mode and all was well. I only starded having compatibility issues when trying to play games from hard drive. But then programs like "killaga" and such did the trick.
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Old 01 July 2019, 13:01   #138
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It is funny how long people tried to convince themselves the Amiga was a viable machine. I was reading a 1998 issue of Amiga Format last week and the writers were still using phrases like "multitasking" as if Mac and PCs couldn't do that by then. One of them was even trying to convince himself the Amiga was better than the 'new' iMac. We all know how that worked out.

I guess it was their job to try and stay positive, but let's be honest the Amiga was dead the minute CBM went bust. I got my A1200 in early 94 so really only caught the last year or so if it being a serious computer.
Windows 95 had preemptive multitasking, but the Mac didn't get that until Mac OS X came out in 2001. So multitasking was still a valid selling point in 1998.

Of course using an Amiga in 1998 still meant missing out on a lot of developments in gaming, the web and so on.
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Old 01 July 2019, 13:59   #139
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The A1200 would have been amazing and sold like hot cakes in 1990.

In 1993, the market split up into RPG/Strategy/Simulations on PC, and action games on consoles.

And the 1200 wasn't suited to be the leader in any of both, with the PC being graced with stuff like Doom and Ultima Underworld, and the SNES with a rather good street fighter port, Zelda Alttp, F-Zero, etc.
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Old 01 July 2019, 14:05   #140
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I liked the A1200 - was my first Amiga after using a PC/XT. And I remember it was received rather positively in the press at that time. And while it was not revolutionary, it was a quite well-rounded package. Really really nice OS for its time. Even AGA was quite ok, the productivity resolutions were usable, and HAM8 was really nice. I still think they did some rather stupid things that limited its success:
  • The 2.5" hard drive. Much more expensive for the same capacity than the 3.5" ones, making the HDD versions look unattractive. Could have been fixed at almost no cost, a bit more internal space and maybe a slightly stronger power supply. [My A1200 had an "external" 3.5" drive (well, just a longer cable and a wooden box) and later a turbo board, the stock power supply handled both without problems.] I think they tried to save some pennies for the HDD-less version, but shot themselves in the foot thereby.
  • No chunky mode with AGA. I think no one ever run Workbench in eight planes as it was so slow, even in 640*256 where bandwidth was plenty.
  • Fast ram or a simply expansion option (SIMM slot) would have been nice.
  • Developer relations and third party support. I can understand that Commodore did not want game developers to use AGA features directly, as they did not plan to make future chipsets to be compatible to AGA, but the fact was that almost no one wrote their games using the OS functions, and the lack of official hardware documentation slowed down game development.

BTW, game compatibility was a problem, but people remembering "barely any Amiga 500 games" working probably used mainly cracked copies. Those indeed failed at spectacular rates, mostly due to bad packers (unpacking to a fixed address is never a good idea) or badly written crack intros.
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