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Old 20 April 2017, 05:40   #101
b0lt-thrower
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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??
I was; I wanted an inexpensive productivity machine, not a games machine, and to see the games I did play actually run slower on the stock A1200 I bought versus the expanded A500 I'd sold to finance it (from a 14mhz (adspeed) A500 with 2mb Fast RAM and 1mb Chip RAM to 14mhz 020 with no Fast RAM).

It was only when I was gifted an 030 card and spent the princely sum of $189 on 4mb RAM that the machine really took off...and by then I was looking elsewhere to get my computing fix, as Commodore USA had gone bankrupt.

EDIT: the 1200 should've shipped with at least a megabyte of fast memory and some flavor of 030, not that borked-ass 020 that was in it. In retrospect, I really never should've bought it, I should've put that money back into the 500 - some kind of expansion box (maybe a Bodega Bay), video card (Retina, etc.), a better accelerator card, more RAM and a hard-drive.

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Old 23 April 2017, 23:34   #102
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I was over the moon with my A1200. My parents got it for me after my co-geeks said it was the way to go. I had a HDD but no accelerator, and yet I still managed to do homework on it and so forth. Games and so on, never had a real problem with.

Fast forward to today and being close to 40, I can buy accelerators and suchlike. In the late 90s I convinced my parents to get me a PC, which was only because of pressure from college (I was doing an IT course), but in hindsight I could have kept coding/wordprocessing/games etc. on the A1200 but I did eventually sell it. Silly really, that machine is retropectively sentimental (tm).

Anyway the 1200 was the only wedge Amiga with CPU lines on the internal expansion port, so you didn't need ugly sidecar type expansions for CPU upgrades or something piggybacked to the motherboard. Much more cilvilised way to upgrade.

The A1200 was made to a pricepoint with upgrades aplenty soon after release. Just like the A1000 only came with 256K but the 256K expansion was bought by almost everyone who needed to do anything beyond the most basic program/game.

Some of you made an informed decision to buy an A1200 and were probably more content with it than your memory allows. As the PC and consoles one the productivity and games markets respecively, its easier to look back and think you made the wrong choice, when until Windows 95 and the PS1 came out, it was still anyone's for the taking.

PS AGA is bad? Are you kidding me? Have you seen the difference between AGA and ECS/OCS demos? Night and day difference. Game developers just didn't have time to do anything with it before Commodore went belly up (plus many left for PC markets anyway).

Last edited by A1200; 23 April 2017 at 23:37. Reason: AGA comment
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Old 23 April 2017, 23:46   #103
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Come on guys, comparing the A1200 with consoles??? Really???
The consoles were great on games... yay!!
What about productivity???
It's like comparing a Sports club that has multiple sports (Football, Basketball, Hockey, etc) this was the amiga, with a single sport that was the consoles.
Amiga was born on 1985 and it's still going... where are the consoles from those eras?? I tell you where are my consoles from that era, inside boxes and next to my main PC i have my 1200, my 600 and my 500.
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Old 24 April 2017, 08:54   #104
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Tbh the scene for consoles like Nes/Snes are huge in popularity.. Just because you don't use them doesn't mean that others don't..
Just check out the speed running scene for Nes..

And Btw, so many keeps talking about "productivity" for the a500/600/1200, but how many actually used the small amigas for that?
Everyone I knew that had amiga/Atari St when growing up used them 90% as gaming machines..
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Old 24 April 2017, 11:21   #105
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Come on guys, comparing the A1200 with consoles??? Really???
Indeed.
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Old 24 April 2017, 11:53   #106
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I wonder if the opposite happens on console forums. User's lamenting how bad the console was for general computer use, and pointing out the Amiga was better at it?
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Old 24 April 2017, 12:05   #107
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Originally Posted by Thelemorf View Post
And Btw, so many keeps talking about "productivity" for the a500/600/1200, but how many actually used the small amigas for that?
Everyone I knew that had amiga/Atari St when growing up used them 90% as gaming machines..
IMHO there was a lot more productivity software use back in the day than you seem to think. If only because the companies involved kept making new versions of their productivity programs right up to the mid 1990's. Unless all companies involved where purely charity based of course

Knowing now that the big-box Amiga's where really rather uncommon it stands to reason a considerable fraction of the small Amiga's was also used at least in part for productivity software.

(And secondly, I definitely used my Amiga 500&1200 for way more than just games - though that is an anecdote and not statistical evidence...)


Quote:
Originally Posted by indigolemon View Post
I wonder if the opposite happens on console forums. User's lamenting how bad the console was for general computer use, and pointing out the Amiga was better at it?
Nope
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Old 24 April 2017, 13:33   #108
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I enjoyed my A1200 when I got it in 1993 but I bought an 68030 accelerator with extra Ram on day one when I got it. Of course there were things that could have been designed better like a faster 020 or even an 030 on the main board and it should have included more Fast RAM standard. And I was disappointed that the Paula chip received no upgrades in the AGA chipset. Gilbert you made some great points in your first post about what else could have been improved in the A1200. Before the A1200, like most people I had an A500 for many years. Great memories on that Amiga, my very first one. I had pretty much expanded the A500 as far as it could go.

Last edited by Pyromania; 24 April 2017 at 13:46. Reason: Update
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Old 24 April 2017, 13:46   #109
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Originally Posted by Thelemorf View Post
Everyone I knew that had amiga/Atari St when growing up used them 90% as gaming machines..
Yes but many folk who bought an A1200 to game on ended up preferring to boot up Protracker, DPaint, Wordsworth. I think this is why we're all so keen on the old machine, we grew up together ;-)
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Old 24 April 2017, 16:57   #110
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I definitely HAD to use my 1200 (and before that my 500) as productivity machines: an A2000 was two grand in 1980, and an A3000 (and later 4000) were insanely expensive. The 4000 and 4000t were (in my opinion) grossly overpriced for what you got anyway. Even if CUSA had held on a bit longer, there was no way I was going to be able to keep spending up like that. I mean a 4000t was what, four grand? Five? For a machine that the manufacturer considered an HD "optional" for.
:P
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Old 24 April 2017, 19:25   #111
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Originally Posted by b0lt-thrower View Post
I definitely HAD to use my 1200 (and before that my 500) as productivity machines: an A2000 was two grand in 1980, and an A3000 (and later 4000) were insanely expensive. The 4000 and 4000t were (in my opinion) grossly overpriced for what you got anyway. Even if CUSA had held on a bit longer, there was no way I was going to be able to keep spending up like that. I mean a 4000t was what, four grand? Five? For a machine that the manufacturer considered an HD "optional" for.
:P
Yep, the Amiga 3000 was top of the line and deluxe (still should have had AGA) while the 4000 was mid-level at best (downgrade compared to 3000 except for AGA). I wanted a 4000T but it had an outrageous price. C= should have mass produced the 4000T instead of bringing the 4000 to market. This would have provided proper Toaster systems earlier too.

600
1200
4000
4000T

Focus cost reductions and mass production on 2 products. This may have been enough to save C= until they had a single chip Amiga. C= was good at cost reducing hardware if they could figure out the market. They wanted to make the Amiga another C64 but didn't quite get it cheap enough where people didn't worry about how state of the art it was. At a certain price threshold there are impulse and gift buyers which greatly increase sales. They almost had it with the CD32 too.
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Old 03 May 2017, 22:34   #112
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i had a 1200 and a 2000 but when i walked past a shop running a 486dx33 running star wars rebel assault my amigas went up for sale and i then owned that shiny pc 486 goodness with its lovly doom and star wars games and 16bit sound it was a fantastic pc , thats when amiga died for me i relised it was old and tired and just wasnt able to do the things a pc could , and rendering in 3d was awesomely fast on my pc back then where the amiga took a day for one still image lol lol amigas are bad really .
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Old 04 May 2017, 17:07   #113
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lol lol amigas are bad really .
Well said.
Just kidding.
Seriously. Something like the A1200 should have come sooner (like 1990). And... it really could have been better. That machine had enough memory bandwidth to do very remarkable things, but the AGA chipset didn't do real justice to it. It was a last minute kludge. And that's dissapointing. But so many things were that way with Commodore... the more I learn about it through the years the more my facepalm feeling grows.
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Old 04 May 2017, 18:10   #114
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First i was, but then i got the Blizzard 1230 IV 50mhz with 64mb and i was in SCENE PARTY DEMO heaven The Base specs should have been higher IMO.

Funny, today i admire more the 16bit Demos
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Old 04 May 2017, 20:04   #115
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the more I learn about it through the years the more my facepalm feeling grows.
It's as if they wanted to go bankrupt.

My mate at school had an A1200 and I was insanely envious. I finally bought one for myself last year and I'm in no way disappointed but that's probably because now I have a B1230/50 mk4 and more fast memory than I can count.
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Old 04 May 2017, 21:08   #116
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Nope... but I did not pay much for mine
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Old 05 May 2017, 12:47   #117
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When I upgraded from my original 500 to 1200...

build quality wasn't as good as the earlier 500

preferred WB 1.3 to 3.0 and the KS screen is way cooler on 1.0 than 2.0 onwards...

some of my older game titles didn't work (expected that though)

exclusive AGA titles weren't that much in number or major leap over their OCS/ECS counterparts

I did like the fact though that the 1200/AGA machines in particular were much easier to upgrade and less costly (that was my prime reason for upgrading).


But I still miss my original 500 more than any 1200/AGA machine.
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Old 05 May 2017, 12:59   #118
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The 500 was revolutionary, and at the time there was nothing that could touch it for power - from hardware, or OS perspective, or hackability and sheer elegance of operation. I do look at the original Amiga design and still think it is outstandingly efficient, and an incredibly elegant approach. There's so many beautiful optimisations wherever you look in the design. It is a masterpiece. I'm gushing a bit here, but the deeper you go into it the more efficiency you see.

I remember seeing Juggler and the impact that had on me. This was absolutely astonishing for a home computer.

The 1200 was an evolution, too little, too late, and only just caught up with what was available elsewhere. Too many ugly kludges to try and retain compatibility with OCS whilst trying to compete in the marketplace in which OCS was not relevant. No revision to Paula.

No real innovation, just the same stuff faster and a bit more colourful. It was definitely a product of Commodore R&D. (Yes, I know the 500 was, but the genius was the chipset which was largely the same as the 1k, just cost reduced)
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Old 05 May 2017, 13:16   #119
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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.
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Old 05 May 2017, 14:10   #120
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Was I disappointed with the 1200?? At the time absolutely not. I thought it was a great machine. Great design update and it could do game graphics with 256 colours a.la the PC and snes.

At the time I didn't really understand or care about the hardware mechanics etc, so in retrospect I now think the machine was woefully under powered and Commodore should have upgraded all hardware aspects of the system. Sound, Blitter, copper etc. They should have also allowed space for a 3.5" HD and sold it as standard, instead of users hacking the insides.

I was far more disappointed with the CD32 in all honesty as it added practically nothing (except a CD drive and a tiny bit of hardware thanks to akiko).
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