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Old 23 December 2015, 21:11   #1
quahappy
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Amiga cartridge games?!

This was posted on a FB group. I've done a thorough search of the 'net and came up with zilch. It certainly must had been a NCE exclusive otherwise I would had remembered it in a Amiga specific magazines back in the day.

Certainly an eye-opener but appeared to had been a dream that never took off.



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Old 23 December 2015, 21:15   #2
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Slightly off April Fools? Thanks for scans.
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Old 23 December 2015, 21:19   #3
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They had plans for A600/A1200 PCMCIA based cartridge games later iirc.
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Old 23 December 2015, 21:39   #4
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surely they'd already planned the CD32 at that point though? Wouldn't a CD version of the A1200 have made more sense?
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Old 23 December 2015, 21:40   #5
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I have to say that in hindsight going to cartridge games probably would have been a very good thing for the Amiga games market. 16 bit consoles demonstrated pretty clearly that even a poorer demographic target would be willing to spend money on games if there existed no way to pirate them cost effectively.

Piracy certainly helped the Amiga overtake the ST in terms of hardware sales but looking at software sales it is clear that it did severely reduce the lifespan of the ECS machines.
To illustrate that point, MegaDrive/Genesis games console and game sales were still going strong in 1994 when the Saturn was introduced while the Amiga OCS game sales had already been ridiculously low for at least two years (from what I recall reading).

This was a shame since that was the time when the coders had finally gained enough experience to produce really good games technically but the poor sales just did not justify the efforts anymore: gamers had easier access to cracked copies than original ones.
(And I got my share of cracked versions at the time even though I did my best to buy the games I liked.)

Cartridges would probably have given developers a good enough protection against piracy which might have prepped the market for a few more years.

This said, I think that they are even more interesting now with low ROM prices and given how easy/cheap it is to produce custom PCBs. Moreover they will probably survive for centuries which is very unlikely for floppies.
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Old 23 December 2015, 21:43   #6
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surely they'd already planned the CD32 at that point though? Wouldn't a CD version of the A1200 have made more sense?
Surely not. The CD32 was a last-ditch effort that took less than a year from idea to fruition. In 1991, not even the A1200 was planned.
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Old 23 December 2015, 22:37   #7
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surely they'd already planned the CD32 at that point though? Wouldn't a CD version of the A1200 have made more sense?
It says in the article Commodore weren't involved in this idea, something System 3 were doing, obviously memory costs knocked the idea on its head.
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Old 23 December 2015, 22:38   #8
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I recall reading a similar speculative news snippet in Amiga Power when I re-read them all about six months ago. I couldn't tell you which issue it was in, but a scan through copies around the same time frame wouldn't take long. I suppose it stands to reason that it would at least have been contemplated given that the Amiga's market share was being eroded away by consoles that were already running cartridge-based games.
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Old 23 December 2015, 22:50   #9
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I have to say that in hindsight going to cartridge games probably would have been a very good thing for the Amiga games market. 16 bit consoles demonstrated pretty clearly that even a poorer demographic target would be willing to spend money on games if there existed no way to pirate them cost effectively.

Piracy certainly helped the Amiga overtake the ST in terms of hardware sales but looking at software sales it is clear that it did severely reduce the lifespan of the ECS machines.
To illustrate that point, MegaDrive/Genesis games console and game sales were still going strong in 1994 when the Saturn was introduced while the Amiga OCS game sales had already been ridiculously low for at least two years (from what I recall reading).

This was a shame since that was the time when the coders had finally gained enough experience to produce really good games technically but the poor sales just did not justify the efforts anymore: gamers had easier access to cracked copies than original ones.
(And I got my share of cracked versions at the time even though I did my best to buy the games I liked.)

Cartridges would probably have given developers a good enough protection against piracy which might have prepped the market for a few more years.

This said, I think that they are even more interesting now with low ROM prices and given how easy/cheap it is to produce custom PCBs. Moreover they will probably survive for centuries which is very unlikely for floppies.
I dont...the Amiga was and is what it is because of being floppy based, like it or not piracy goes hand in hand in any industry but it also drives it along to a certain degree, the Nintendo DS was so successful because of piracy too.

A cartridge Amiga would have decreased the lifespan of the machine, putting in direct competition with the md and snes, plus who wants £50 games!? The same was true of the 8-bit market esp in europe where the Amiga had most its sales, computers outsold consoles many times over, a cartridge based Amiga would have fell flat on its face.

I found it funny that piracy on the md and snes copied games back on to floppy disks!
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Old 23 December 2015, 23:45   #10
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I have to say that in hindsight going to cartridge games probably would have been a very good thing for the Amiga games market. 16 bit consoles demonstrated pretty clearly that even a poorer demographic target would be willing to spend money on games if there existed no way to pirate them cost effectively.

Piracy certainly helped the Amiga overtake the ST in terms of hardware sales but looking at software sales it is clear that it did severely reduce the lifespan of the ECS machines.
To illustrate that point, MegaDrive/Genesis games console and game sales were still going strong in 1994 when the Saturn was introduced while the Amiga OCS game sales had already been ridiculously low for at least two years (from what I recall reading).

This was a shame since that was the time when the coders had finally gained enough experience to produce really good games technically but the poor sales just did not justify the efforts anymore: gamers had easier access to cracked copies than original ones.
(And I got my share of cracked versions at the time even though I did my best to buy the games I liked.)

Cartridges would probably have given developers a good enough protection against piracy which might have prepped the market for a few more years.

This said, I think that they are even more interesting now with low ROM prices and given how easy/cheap it is to produce custom PCBs. Moreover they will probably survive for centuries which is very unlikely for floppies.
There would have been no protection for cartridges on Amiga, i can assure you that the likes of Fairlight, Paradox, Prestige et al, would have gone all out to defeat a cartridge Amiga game, and would have wanted the kudos of being the first to do it as well.

MSX cartridges were successfully ripped to disk, Megadrive and SNES were succesfully ripped to disk, it wouldnt have stopped piracy, it would simply have set us all a new challenge
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Old 23 December 2015, 23:45   #11
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Slightly off April Fools? Thanks for scans.
That magazine was weekly, so no April fool
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Old 24 December 2015, 00:47   #12
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It would've been a very comfortable format for developers, especially with the Amiga's flat memory map. All code could just sit where it was, and you'd only have to copy video and audio data from the ROM to chipmem when needed. No disk-swapping or long loading sequences.
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Old 24 December 2015, 08:27   #13
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The profit margins for cartridge would have been alot lower than selling a floppy disks, even with piracy i think publishers would still pick floppys, they simply couldnt afford to sell on carts, and if they did the games would be £40-£50, double the floppy prices with no chance of budget releases.
Cartridges were already outdated by the size of the game, console games were cutting parts out esp on the music front to squeeze it in, esp if the publishers tell the dev the rom size, a 2meg cart is what 2.5 floppys? Imagine how many Amiga games wouldnt fit onto that!? Yes later rom games used compression hence loading, but still not big enough.
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Old 24 December 2015, 10:18   #14
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I found it funny that piracy on the md and snes copied games back on to floppy disks!
Haha yeah that also amused me too.
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Old 24 December 2015, 10:50   #15
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The fact that you can't map cartridge ROM into chip memory makes cartridges less appealing on the Amiga.
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Old 24 December 2015, 13:06   #16
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There would have been no protection for cartridges on Amiga, i can assure you that the likes of Fairlight, Paradox, Prestige et al, would have gone all out to defeat a cartridge Amiga game, and would have wanted the kudos of being the first to do it as well.

MSX cartridges were successfully ripped to disk, Megadrive and SNES were succesfully ripped to disk, it wouldnt have stopped piracy, it would simply have set us all a new challenge
yep... for as long as Amigas came with floppy drives, ripping a cartridge would be no harder than cracking a floppy-based game. Or for as long as they were still able to support an external drive, which were already commonplace.

It wasn't really piracy that did the Amiga in the end, this is discussed elsewhere, but if you just wanted to play games, Mega Drive, SNES et al, let's face it, they just had better games... Amiga was so much more than just a console though, that was its appeal to me.
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Old 24 December 2015, 13:22   #17
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Mega Drive, SNES et al, let's face it, they just had better games...
Not at all, they had more console style games, which gave us the best of both worlds, alot of Amiga games were ported to consoles don't forget, but certainly no machine was better than any other for games.
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Old 24 December 2015, 13:55   #18
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maybe a better way to put it... Amiga had worse games... we had a lot of bad budget titles because parents wouldn't shell out for full price titles very often. There was no quality control and even the big-box titles often had a sort of amateurish feel to them.

but hardware wise, A500 was no match for Megadrive hardware when it comes to fast scrolling games of the sort that were popular around that time. AND the consoles themselves were about half the price. Nevertheless Amiga game development, or at least quality Amiga game development, seems to have reached its peak in the mid '90s. Piracy didn't kill it. Eventually i think the PC killed it because everyone wanted to play games like Quake.
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Old 24 December 2015, 14:18   #19
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maybe a better way to put it... Amiga had worse games... we had a lot of bad budget titles because parents wouldn't shell out for full price titles very often. There was no quality control and even the big-box titles often had a sort of amateurish feel to them.

but hardware wise, A500 was no match for Megadrive hardware when it comes to fast scrolling games of the sort that were popular around that time. AND the consoles themselves were about half the price. Nevertheless Amiga game development, or at least quality Amiga game development, seems to have reached its peak in the mid '90s. Piracy didn't kill it. Eventually i think the PC killed it because everyone wanted to play games like Quake.
Well any market not confined to high production costs will attract more games and hence more bad games the PC was no different, though i have gone through the MD and SNES romset and believe me there are plenty of really bad PD quality games on both those platforms! At least budget games on the Amiga you expected the quality to not be as good!

The consoles may have been cheaper but the games were £40-£60 depending on console, which in today's money is crazy prices, i think Virtua Racing worked out at £105 in todays money!
I had a MD and loved it, used to rent games out because i couldn't afford many a year, but given all its good games i'd still rather the Amiga for its games, the variation and originality of its games, alot of multi-format games hit the Amiga before the consoles and that's not taking into account the other computer aspects of the Amiga.

If i could go back, i would picked an Amiga every-time over the other 16-bit consoles.

Finally no console or other computer killed the Amiga, only Commodore did that by itself...
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Old 24 December 2015, 14:42   #20
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Commodore certainly didn't help... they could have done a lot better. But the fact is the Amiga did have competition. One of the biggest failing, perhaps THE biggest failing, was not taking a hold of the US market, like the C64 before it. That's a big market for games. As is, of course, Japan. Popular console games shifted millions of copies, Amiga games were lucky if they got into 5 figures. It wasn't as much big money, so we had smaller, less qualified development teams vs the huge corporate machines of Sega and Nintendo. Maybe you need such sales volumes for cartridge-based games to make any sense.

Also i think there is a bit of rose-tinted spectacles going on. Early Amiga games were really not that good, when Amiga was competing only with 8-bit platforms and the Atari ST, even though the Amiga was light years ahead of the NES technically, Giana Sisters wasn't better than Mario Brothers. Add to that, the fact that the 8 bit home computers were still popular up until the early '90s, and in order to make business viable (or at least to maximise sales) games were often developed for all systems, so we got a lot of 1:1 ST ports and games with near-identical C64 and Amstrad versions. If there had been enough commercial interest in pure Amiga games from the beginning things could have been different, but there was not a big enough market for it. OCS was already 6 or 7 years old before the games developers found their feet, by then things had moved on, but at least having to compete with the 16-bit consoles improved the quality.

Cartridge-based games would have done nothing for the Amiga at all. Optical media was the obvious way to go, with vastly more storage for mere pennies to produce, and it was the way everybody else went in the end. We'd have been jumping on a sinking ship. CD32 was the right idea, just done badly.
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