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Old 06 April 2017, 21:48   #1
Gilbert
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Was anyone else disappointed with the A1200?

Was anyone else disappointed with the A1200?

Most Amiga users and magazines seemed to be very happy with the A1200 when it came out. I wasn't at all, and a look at the first games pretty much ended my association with Amiga gaming. I just saw the same games with more colours and a bit smoother. There was no wow factor. After that I stuck with the Amiga 500 (with half meg memory expansion) and my Super Famicom (Jap SNES).

Here's what Commodore got wrong in my opinion

1. Too much focus on creating higher-res screen modes with more colours (and also making the blitter work in these different screen modes) and not enough on enhancing gaming(8 or maybe 16 sprites when the comparitively old Megadrive and SNES could manage 64 and 128 respectively). It's a bit like the original Amiga - yes it can display 4096 colours on screen, but the majority of the games for the system were 16 colours (Albeit some had added some Copper magic) and most didn't even run at 50/60 fps. That was fine back in 1985 but 7 years(!) later you expect a significant upgrade.

2. There was a mild improvement to dual playfield mode. Great!... when the SNES had 5(?) playfields and could scale and rotate whole screens. Commodore seemed to have no sense they were competing here....

2. Sound chip needed 6 channels to get a decent track playing with sound effects. Again SNES and Megadrive have 6 channels each. Using the same sound chip from 1985 was ridiculous!

3. Like the original Amiga, if you wanted to get a good number of objects on screen with a lot of colours and scrolling, you had to spend ages using hardware tricks or specific techniques. Time = money and developers aren't going to want to spend 2 years making an arcade quality game on the A1200 when simpler systems exist....

I do have a CD32 now, but it's not very impressive from a technical point of view, even the mighty Banshee is bettered on both the SNES and Megadrive. The reason I like it is because it offers something a bit different and it's an Amiga It's fairly obvious it had no hope of competing long term. I just find it hard to see what Commodore was thinking with the AGA architecture??
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Old 06 April 2017, 22:12   #2
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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.
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Old 06 April 2017, 22:27   #3
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Disappointed with the A1200? No, absolutely not. Best Amiga ever, made even better by the Blizzard 1230MK4 that I bought for it. Don't care if consoles from that time had more sprites/layers/etc. Try programming on those consoles

Peecees? Peecees of that time still sucked major donkey butt, of course, even if they were faster.

If I had to do it all over, I'd still choose an A1200 over a Pentium 90, even if given away for free
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Old 06 April 2017, 22:36   #4
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I believe the Amiga 3000 was the best Amiga ever.
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Old 06 April 2017, 22:40   #5
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I was (at first) because some of my old software wouldn't work.

But then things like "killaga" and "relokick" (I think) fixed those probs

I think that the Amiga's strength was in it's userbase who provided fantastic and free support to it's users, something which has fallen by the wayside in the PC era.
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Old 06 April 2017, 23:13   #6
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I was disappointed they still marketed as a game machine. Might have kept them above water for a while but not long.

Then again, the battle may have been lost before it's release.
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Old 06 April 2017, 23:14   #7
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Originally Posted by Gilbert View Post
Was anyone else disappointed with the A1200?
...
I just find it hard to see what Commodore was thinking with the AGA architecture??
AGA was rushed out the door. Lots of missed opportunities. The A1200 in particular was a bit shoddy with its complete crap keyboard.

Back in the day I never thought much about it. I mostly watched all the demos, and going from the A500 to the A1200 and all the AGA demos felt like stepping into a whole new world.
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Old 06 April 2017, 23:16   #8
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I believe the Amiga 3000 was the best Amiga ever.
Agree, it was solid design and a great machine.

Here comes some AGA ranting..
Amiga 1200 and 4000 were steps backwards in design and quality. AGA was a joke and I wish it was never released. At the time it seemed to me like everyone was disappointed with AGA and Amiga 1200 especially. What AGA accomplished was piss of current users by splitting the platform and made me and all my friends abandon Amiga. People just started throwing their OCS/ECS Amigas in the bin, and there was no point expanding them either as Commodore had just effectively killed the whole OCS/ECS platform..

What they should have done is release official Commodore RTG-API and 16-bit music-card expansion for all OCS/ECS Amigas.
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Old 06 April 2017, 23:19   #9
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Yes, by the time I was due to upgrade, i jumped ship to the pc.
Best mate got a 1200, I still had my 1mb 500, and was looking at getting a 1200 with a 120mb hdd..
Think it was just over £500 for the amiga, and for the same sort of price I could get a 385 with monitor etc, so go a 386/40, 2mb ram and monitor, that get a 4mb upgrade and a 210mb hdd about 4 months later, then 6 months after that I got a dx2/66 motherboard and the perpetual upgrade cycle started. Still worked out loads cheaper than buying the dx2/66 at the time.
By this time the Amiga was basically dead, must of been less than 12 months from not getting a 1200 to the amigas death.
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Old 06 April 2017, 23:27   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilbert View Post
Was anyone else disappointed with the A1200?

Most Amiga users and magazines seemed to be very happy with the A1200 when it came out. I wasn't at all, and a look at the first games pretty much ended my association with Amiga gaming. I just saw the same games with more colours and a bit smoother. There was no wow factor. After that I stuck with the Amiga 500 (with half meg memory expansion) and my Super Famicom (Jap SNES).

Here's what Commodore got wrong in my opinion

1. Too much focus on creating higher-res screen modes with more colours (and also making the blitter work in these different screen modes) and not enough on enhancing gaming(8 or maybe 16 sprites when the comparitively old Megadrive and SNES could manage 64 and 128 respectively). It's a bit like the original Amiga - yes it can display 4096 colours on screen, but the majority of the games for the system were 16 colours (Albeit some had added some Copper magic) and most didn't even run at 50/60 fps. That was fine back in 1985 but 7 years(!) later you expect a significant upgrade.

2. There was a mild improvement to dual playfield mode. Great!... when the SNES had 5(?) playfields and could scale and rotate whole screens. Commodore seemed to have no sense they were competing here....

2. Sound chip needed 6 channels to get a decent track playing with sound effects. Again SNES and Megadrive have 6 channels each. Using the same sound chip from 1985 was ridiculous!

3. Like the original Amiga, if you wanted to get a good number of objects on screen with a lot of colours and scrolling, you had to spend ages using hardware tricks or specific techniques. Time = money and developers aren't going to want to spend 2 years making an arcade quality game on the A1200 when simpler systems exist....

I do have a CD32 now, but it's not very impressive from a technical point of view, even the mighty Banshee is bettered on both the SNES and Megadrive. The reason I like it is because it offers something a bit different and it's an Amiga It's fairly obvious it had no hope of competing long term. I just find it hard to see what Commodore was thinking with the AGA architecture??
nope
What was killing the Amigas were the PCs not the consoles
and the Commodore enhanced to AGA to make possible 256 colors on the screen , not for the sprites
this was to compete with the PC point and click adventures and RPG games which the Amiga versions were far inferior due the lack of colors
Those type of games were the most sold on the market in the era and forced the way the Commodore proceeded

Of course there was nothing to do because the PC hardware became cheaper every year and some of the best games of the era were exclusive PC titles

The SNES have 8 audio channels not 6, of course is better for games because can mix music + sound fx in a best way, but the AMiga music chip was still superior having only 4 channels
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Old 06 April 2017, 23:34   #11
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In a word, no. I wasn't disappointed with the A1200. Reading the previous comments, it could be that I was wearing rose-tinted specs, and I was just glad that there was something Amiga-esque to keep the spirit alive.... until the next Amiga....

But there was still something about it that made it different to the Megadrive and SNES. It seemed to be more 'real' and not just a games machine. Once I'd got it towered and added an accelerator card (040/25 603e ppc) it became SO much more. Maybe it was the fight to keep it alive - or just bloody-mindedness - but I couldn't be anything other than in love with it!

It may not have been as good as it could, but it was better than the rest!
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Old 07 April 2017, 00:07   #12
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No. Of course AGA was not in itself a very good architecture, but in 1992/1993, I was happy to get an Amiga that was so much better than my old A500.

I can't understand anyone who chose a PC over an A1200. You missed out on some of the best Amiga years.
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Old 07 April 2017, 00:21   #13
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Quote:
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aga was a joke and i wish it was never released.
-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by idrougge View Post
i can't understand anyone who chose a pc over an a1200. You missed out on some of the best amiga years.
+1
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Old 07 April 2017, 00:26   #14
Gilbert
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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.
Totally agree. Actually tbh even 8 sprites on the A500 was a bit low. Didn't the C64 have 8 sprites? Nevertheless the Amiga 500 was an amazing machine. I just wanted the same for the next big massmarket Amiga. It should have had at least 32 sprites and a kickass blitter, maybe some 3D hardware support too (for mathematics functions) and a 6 channel sound chip and a good chunk of memory.

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Disappointed with the A1200? No, absolutely not. Best Amiga ever, made even better by the Blizzard 1230MK4 that I bought for it. Don't care if consoles from that time had more sprites/layers/etc. Try programming on those consoles

Peecees? Peecees of that time still sucked major donkey butt, of course, even if they were faster.

If I had to do it all over, I'd still choose an A1200 over a Pentium 90, even if given away for free
I know developers preferred programming on the consoles It was much easier for them. But yes obviously the Amiga had all the advantages of being a flexible computer and users could program it themselves. But how much better would it have been for users to be programming for a more successful/powerful machine with a larger installed base? Gaming was a huge reason people got into the original Amiga. Some of us later got into programming/graphics etc. But gaming and the amazing looking games were what tempted most of us into buying an Amiga in the first place.

I have to say I don't get the accelerator/gfx card thing? That seems to make it less like an Amiga to me and more like a PC. I'd rather have a powerful base Amiga (that everyone and my friends also own) with a standard shared-spec. Any machine can be made faster by adding extra chips (32X anyone? and at least that was an *attempt* at a massmarket solution)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrz View Post
nope
What was killing the Amigas were the PCs not the consoles
and the Commodore enhanced to AGA to make possible 256 colors on the screen , not for the sprites
this was to compete with the PC point and click adventures and RPG games which the Amiga versions were far inferior due the lack of colors
Those type of games were the most sold on the market in the era and forced the way the Commodore proceeded

Of course there was nothing to do because the PC hardware became cheaper every year and some of the best games of the era were exclusive PC titles

The SNES have 8 audio channels not 6, of course is better for games because can mix music + sound fx in a best way, but the AMiga music chip was still superior having only 4 channels
Hmm maybe, were point and click adventures really driving sales of computers? They were popular back then I do remember. I think Doom did that more whenever that came out. PCs still sucked back then though. Installation was a nightmare and all the different graphics and audio standards...

I stand corrected on the SNES sound chip and I agree Amiga had better sound quality but a lot of games really suffer on the Amiga trying to manage sound effects and music with just 4 channels. You often get awesome title screen music and then a much-reduced soundtrack when playing the game. Sometimes I wonder if the SNES sound chip was so bad though?I think samples were compressed. (a lot) to save cartridge space. I'm sure the first SNES games like F-Zero and Final Fight came on 4 meg (512k) carts for cost reasons. F-Zero has great music actually but maybe not the sample quality you got on the Amiga.
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Old 07 April 2017, 00:43   #15
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At the time I too was slightly disappointed with the A1200 and, quite like the OP, it was the reason for never buying one back in the day. They were somewhat expensive, costing just about 25% cheaper than a 486 PC - which, with a good soundcard (the Sound Blaster 16, for instance) was a far more capable machine, even for gaming. I ended up jumping-ship to the PC in 1995 buying a 486DX2@66 instead of an A1200. It was the logical choice.

However, once an amigan, always an amigan. I always felt like a betrayer. I had PCs ever since, but I never loved any of them. The contemporary PCs lacked character, I came to learn. The A1200 that I never bought increasingly became my "holy grail". I ended up craving one so badly that I bought one back in 2015. Had it fitted with an expansion board and an 8GB CF HD with WHDLoad and now it's one of my most prized possessions (losing only to my original A500 due to emotional reasons) and it's the Amiga (and, indeed, the retro-machine) that I use the most (practically daily).

So yes: disappointed back in the day but an irredeemable fan now-a-days. I absolutely love my A1200.
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Old 07 April 2017, 00:49   #16
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Main disadvantage of the A500 was that it didn't have a HD controller. That was a major mistake, if it had a HD it would have had bigger games and more support from software companies. Then the A1200 wouldn't have been and probably would be something like the Falcon 030 for next Amiga. But too many "what if "

PS they tried to correct it with A600 but too late
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Old 07 April 2017, 01:18   #17
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Originally Posted by Gilbert View Post
I know developers preferred programming on the consoles It was much easier for them. But yes obviously the Amiga had all the advantages of being a flexible computer and users could program it themselves. But how much better would it have been for users to be programming for a more successful/powerful machine with a larger installed base? Gaming was a huge reason people got into the original Amiga. Some of us later got into programming/graphics etc. But gaming and the amazing looking games were what tempted most of us into buying an Amiga in the first place.
A low cost modern 68k Amiga could be made even more friendly, dirt cheap, standard like a console with the performance benefits, tiny footprint, highly compatible with OCS-AGA, etc. It's not going to happen with a PPC Amiga.

Quote:
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I have to say I don't get the accelerator/gfx card thing? That seems to make it less like an Amiga to me and more like a PC. I'd rather have a powerful base Amiga (that everyone and my friends also own) with a standard shared-spec. Any machine can be made faster by adding extra chips (32X anyone? and at least that was an *attempt* at a massmarket solution)
I had bought a 3000 and looked at the 4000 when it came out but it was a downgrade with a 68ec030 (no MMU) with no FPU or slow and expensive a3640, no SCSI, ugly limited box, etc. The AGA was ok. It looked gorgeous and the possibility to play AGA games was nice but I didn't want to have to buy an accelerator and SCSI card to get back to the capabilities of my 3000. I ended up buying a CV64/3D for my 3000 instead. Although it is incompatible with most AGA games, it is many times faster and has chunky. It blew AGA away for productivity and the RTG is pretty seamless. The few RTG games were faster with the gfx card. Yea, it would have been better if C= had made a better, faster, chunky, upgradeable integrated gfx solution with RTG but they didn't. I wasn't disappointed with the 1200 at the low end of the market as AGA had appropriate capabilities there. It was also fairly expandable although I thought the base processor should have been a low clocked 68030 CPU with memory socket (the CD32 too). I thought the 3000 and 1200 were right from a marketing perspective and the 4000 and 600 all wrong. The 3000 could have had AGA and the 1200 should have been more mass produced to lower costs instead of sharing production with the 600 so C= management even messed them up. All the big box Amigas from the 4000 on should have used the same motherboard, standard tower cases and standard power supplies.
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Old 07 April 2017, 05:14   #18
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I stand corrected on the SNES sound chip and I agree Amiga had better sound quality but a lot of games really suffer on the Amiga trying to manage sound effects and music with just 4 channels. You often get awesome title screen music and then a much-reduced soundtrack when playing the game..
yep that's right, 4 audio channels for music+sound fx , most games suffer from this
but please note some good developers like factor 5 and others invented a 7 voice audio technology

you can see the in the game BC kid there is music + sound fx + ambient noise ( wind, waterfalls, etc), that's was fantastic for only 4 channels
Turrican series also have 7 voice technology mixing fantastic music with fantastic sound fx very well

in the game Onescapee AGA also there is a mix of music+soundfx+ ambient noise

The problem was this was complicated to implement for most developers, most of them lacked the sufficient knowledge in Amiga hardware to implement this, then some games were inferior to the consoles related to music+soundfx together
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Old 07 April 2017, 07:37   #19
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Was I dissapointed in the A1200 when it was released? No. A friends older brother bought one and I would have liked to own one too. I bought his old A500+A590 setup instead.

Am I currently disappointed with the A1200? Yes. In retrospect Commodore could have probably released a far better machine in a similar time-frame for not that much higher price point but chose not too.

But as much as I am disappointed with the A1200 I am more unimpressed by the A4000, honestly I think I may prefer an A2000 to the A4000. Where I would definitely favour an A1200 over the A500.

Now this brings us to the A600. I was quite dissapointed with the A600 when it was current, but in retrospect there is a lot to like about this compact ECS machine.
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Old 07 April 2017, 08:18   #20
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I was disappointed with Commodore nuff said!
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