Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th Apr 2016 22:05 UTC
Amiga & AROS

And yet, from our collective memories, we all believe there was some sort of Commodore product in nearly half of US households that owned a home computer, not to mention sales worldwide. The "other people" had various Atari computers or green monochrome Apple II or II+, Tandy or, ultimately DOS Frankensteins. We'll be nice and not mention the sad Coleco Adam, since most everyone has forgotten this lonely child.

But are our memories real? Was what we saw around us true, or were we living in a bubble?

I played games on a C64 when I was very young, but I don't think I've ever seen a real Amiga (aside from this stuff).

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I never saw one growing up...
by steampoweredlawn on Thu 7th Apr 2016 23:30 UTC
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Might be because I lived in a relatively rural area, but the only Commodore machines I ever saw were the PETs in the school library. Nobody I knew actually had one at home. Everyone had an IBM, PC clone or a Mac.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I never saw one growing up...
by bassbeast on Sat 9th Apr 2016 05:00 UTC in reply to "I never saw one growing up..."
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They are also only counting the C64 and Amiga and ignoring the MUCH more popular at the time VIC-20.

At the time the VIC was one of the cheapest PCs you could buy, had a large library, and wide availability.

Reply Score: 2

No love for the Vic-20?
by icicle on Thu 7th Apr 2016 23:41 UTC
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The Vic was my first computer. I loved that thing. Commodores and Atari 8 and 16/32 bit computers were the ones I loved the most. Things just aren't the same these days. Probably why I like Arduinos and Raspberry Pis to this day.

Edited 2016-04-07 23:42 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Fri 8th Apr 2016 02:54 UTC
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Okay, so this is entirely anecdotal, but the view from the UK doesn't get enough look-in.

I have to agree that the Amiga appeared rare at the time, at least from a child's perspective. It's kind of like the NES vs. Master System here in the UK -- I've seen two NES systems in my life, one when I was a kid, and one in a museum. The Master System, however, was fairly common, and if not that, something like a C64 or Speccy.

I do remember seeing Amigas in a shop at one point where they were sold as creative-media computers, particularly alongside musical keyboards.

Perhaps unlike America, the PC did not dominate to the deference of the Amiga; PCs were almost equally as uncommon (they were unbelievably expensive) and in my experience, typically owned by bussiness people.

What was common, in lieu of the PC was the Acorn Archemedies, our home-grown and idiosyncratic PC system.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Kroc
by kragil on Fri 8th Apr 2016 15:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
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I guess you have to be the right age.
If you were a teenager in the 80s or 90s you probably saw a Amiga in Europe, because some of your friends had one.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by henderson101 on Mon 11th Apr 2016 08:13 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
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You're too young. When I was 16/17, all of my friends had Amiga's or ST's. There were no other computers really being used by kids at home. A few had the Archimedes, but they were mainly school computers. I guess a few hung on to 8-bits (Spectrum, C64, Atari 800XL/35XE, Amstrad CPC, Acorn Electron), but Amiga was mostly what they all wanted.

I had a 500+, which had the newer kickstart ROM and 1MB of Chip RAM build in. It was a PITA as some older games didn't work, but there were ways to emulate Kickstart 1.3, so we mostly got around that.

By 1992/1993 the PC had started to take over - and that's probably why you don't remember much about Amiga, but from 1986 - 1991, Amiga was extremely popular.

Reply Score: 2

by Earl C Pottinger on Fri 8th Apr 2016 03:01 UTC
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Aside from the fact I owned a KIM-1, and PET-2001, VIC-20, C64, Amiga 1000 and Amiga 3000. My brother Ian had an Amiga 500 and my best friend had an Amiga 1000 with later a hard drive and 68020 accelerator designed and built at the Toronto Amiga Developer's Group which had about 40 members.

I was also a member of TPUG that had I don't know how many Amiga members in the Toronto area but I think had hundreds of Amiga users locally. And I spent plenty of times talking to Jim Butterfield.

I also ran the local (Oshawa) 68000 group that later split up and then ran the local Amiga group where we had over twenty to thirty people at each meeting. We kept and made copies of all the Fred Fish disks and our library of disks includes hundreds of other PD software.

In the later 1980's and early 1990's I saw and sold more Amiga's for home use than any other machine. Apple Macs took over the publishing industry locally, and IBMs vs Commodore PC-10 sold neck to neck to the businesses.

Edited 2016-04-08 03:11 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Well
by sergio on Fri 8th Apr 2016 04:12 UTC in reply to "Well"
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In the later 1980's and early 1990's I saw and sold more Amiga's for home use than any other machine. Apple Macs took over the publishing industry locally, and IBMs vs Commodore PC-10 sold neck to neck to the businesses.

Super interesting man, I didn't know Amiga was popular in Canada.

Sadly computer history is always focused in the USA but what happened in the USA is not always representative of the rest of the world (at least not during the 80s and very early 90s).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Well
by whartung on Fri 8th Apr 2016 17:10 UTC in reply to "Well"
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My path was a personal KIM-1, PET 2001 in high school, then on to college where I was introduced to Control Data. I bought an Atari-800, and from there moved on to a Mac and a NeXTStation.

Anecdotally, moving from a simple 8 Bit machine like the PET and on to a monster mainframe was formative in my world view of how computers worked. Cyber and NOS may be lost to the dust bin of history, but I'm grateful to have spent several years with them in college rather than the folks that went from Apples to PCs and missed large multi-user computers completely.

I had an early PC for a short time, but that didn't really last.

My friends in college all had Ataris, with a few C64 hold outs. Nobody had an Apple. Co-workers later had C-64s and one of them bought an Amiga 500. As much as I loved the Atari, the Amiga never impressed me. I know it was supposed to, but it just never did.

For some silly reason I was much impressed with the beautiful black and white square pixel majesty that was the Mac in contrast to the (at the time) fuzzy, color Amiga (and ST for that matter) with their huge mouse cursors.

The Atari hardware always impressed me over the C64.

In the end, in hindsight, I'm pretty happy that I didn't get the TRS-80 Model 3 vs the Atari 800. I pondered that seriously for a while, another college friend had one. I did get a Model-100 though. That was a marvel of a machine.

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IBM made things that attracted shame after 9 months.
The C=64 let you avoid that, was eminently rebuildable if you didn't like the way your JTAG interface was going, used 70W less than a PC used in a lab, and had emulation as a first-class citizen rather than a protected secret technology sauce. Almost from programming magazine one, you'd have a way to do C=64 without the C=64.

As opposed to the BSA (let's audit whether your machine has paper on every copyright needed to have a mouse or tablet etc.) Or a scene where pirates were vendor 1.

Reply Score: 0

Commodore == childhood :)
by sergio on Fri 8th Apr 2016 03:54 UTC
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Sales numbers are always flawed because the USA is so fucking big that it ruins any kind of real representation of (world) reality. xD

For example, Apple II seems popular if you look at global sales numbers... but it was popular in the USA and during a reduced period of time... in Europe or Latin America computers like the Spectrum and the C64 ruled and nobody gave a shit about Apple II.

For example in Italy and Argentina, C64s and C128s were most popular home computers ever... and if you look at the global numbers Commodore don't look so predominant as it really was.

Reply Score: 5

You were living in a bubble
by moondevil on Fri 8th Apr 2016 06:52 UTC
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Speaking from the countries from my youth, in Portugal, Spain and Germany, the Amiga, Atari, C64 and Spectrum were everywhere.

Reply Score: 3

RE: You were living in a bubble
by jal_ on Fri 8th Apr 2016 08:09 UTC in reply to "You were living in a bubble"
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Ditto in the Netherlands, with MSX added.

Reply Score: 3

Different when you are young
by Chrispynutt on Fri 8th Apr 2016 11:38 UTC
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When I was in my teens in the early 90s almost all of my friends has Amiga A1200s. This is the UK, pretty much the best run of the Commodore businesses. They had been very successful since the launch of A500 previously.

Only one of my friends didn't have one who still liked computers. He shared the family's PC to play Doom. That was it.

We all dabbled else where, I had a Master System between the family Spectrum and me getting my own Amiga. My mate had go at the SNES. Nothing stuck.

I can't say I had a huge crowd of friends, but Amiga was computing and gaming then to me. Not arcades, not PC (Win, Mac, Big box Amiga) and not consoles. The UK was locked into micro computers.

You have to remember that it was the peak of the UK gaming industry. Ocean could license some of the biggest names from Hollywood and the arcades. Our own home grown stuff was at its peak as well. Every month there were tons of games coming out and enough Amiga mags that publishers often had multiple titles for the variety of Amiga users.

Its very hard to explain how big Amiga was here. It essentially took over from all of the 8-bit machines. With the remains going to consoles and maybe the ST. I only saw an ST once in a person's home.

However this is a very localised view. This is pre-internet time when you could live in a hot spot for Amiga ownership and think that was the world.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by tonyyeb
by tonyyeb on Fri 8th Apr 2016 12:42 UTC
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In the UK, between 1992 and 1997 the Amiga is pretty much all I saw. As has been said it took over from the 8 bit scene (mostly Spectrum 128s +2, +2A, C=64 and Amstrad CPC 464s) and dominated the gaming scene. Atari's ST would occasionally pop up but the Amiga (A500, A600 and A1200 later) was the machine to have. You could get copied games very easily (local market stalls, friends) and the PD scene was very popular. Even full price games were cheaper than console versions.

There were more magazines about Amiga than any other platform (and possibly even more than are available today in general). Each month would be a fight between them to see who would have the best cover disks, best demos, free games and apps etc.

My friend got a PC, it too played Doom but most of the time his dad just used it for his accounts. Slowly afterwards the SNES, Megadrive and later the PlayStation and N64 killed the Amiga gaming scene forever.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by tonyyeb
by brostenen on Sat 9th Apr 2016 00:50 UTC in reply to "Comment by tonyyeb"
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Ahhh... That's why Amiga's felt like they were so big in the UK, after 1994. Basically speaking. 64's had a longer run in the UK compared to Denmark, and when Danes stopped using Amiga's in 1994/95, and switched to PC, the UK was just about finished converting from 64 to Amiga's. When Commodore died in 94, we Danes simply just gave the Amiga the finger. Besides a small group of hardcore follower, that are still around. The time just seemed right to change from Amiga to PC, in the wake of Commodores fall and the introduction of Win95. The two major factors as I recall, here in Denmark.

Reply Score: 1

Point of view: Norway
by NorthWay on Fri 8th Apr 2016 16:01 UTC
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Aroundabout 1984 I'd say 1/3rd of my class had C= 64s... (we were 30 and >10 had one).

Later when the Amiga came around it was more expensive and computers were no longer new and the future that you couldn't afford to miss out on, but us Amiga users had a knack of finding each other. I knew a bunch nearby that used to come around, and at university there was another group, several of whom I ended up joining, and together we registered as commercial developers with CATS.
Too bad C= died before we got anywhere.

Reply Score: 1

more anecdotal sharing
by roblearns on Fri 8th Apr 2016 17:07 UTC
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I'm at that age, and I bought my first computer just before the C64 release in the early 80s.

So before the C64 was released, people were buying, generally expensive it was an Apple II here, a TRS-80 (Model III or Coco) there...Atari's were popular.

After the C64 - but before the Amiga, there was this period of time where C64 dominated.

Still - so among my friends it was some Ti-99 4/A, some Tandy, some Apple II, some Atari, and then when the C64 hit, mostly people bought C64's for a while.

I'd say it dominated from 1983 to 1986 timeframe.

But in my area of the world, when the Atari ST, Amiga, Mac, PC-clone era hit the C64 was in rapid decline. It was sort of replaced by the Amiga for Commodore fans, but by no means did the Amiga ever dominate as the C64 did.

Generally speaking people had moved on by a range of options...

Edited 2016-04-08 17:08 UTC

Reply Score: 1

more anecdotal sharing
by bradmccormack on Fri 8th Apr 2016 21:44 UTC
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I don't recall the exact age that there was a computer in the house.

I vaguely remember some sort of switchboard contraption that had a few versions of pong. Eventually, we got a second-hand Apple. I don't know what model it was, but it had an orange and black screen.

A few years after that, we got a second hand Amiga 500. It changed my life and set up the path I was to embark upon.

At first, it was a glorified "gaming machine". However, I eventually started trying all of the software and reading all the manuals that came with it.

I'm eternally grateful that the guy my parents bought it from was a developer of some sort. I got to experiment with Amiga Basic , AMOS (Blitz Basic too later) , Lattice C and Devpac Assembler.

It came with The Amiga Rom Kernel reference manuals and all sorts of goodies. I was a teenager in my element!

No internet back then. Whatever was available I absorbed as much as I could :-)

I'm trying to remember how popular Amigas were in Australia at the time (the early to middle 90s). I'm pretty sure that most people had a combination of Sega Master systems, NES consoles, some C64s and quite a few PC's around running DOS and then Windows 3.1 etc.

I had a few mates that had Amigas but I don't think they were huge here.

I always wanted an Amiga 4000T and drooled over things like the A/box and that were supposed to come out.

However, I'm eternally grateful that my parents got a second hand Amiga 500 :-)

Honestly, I had a friend whose parents had money and they dropped 3k around 1994 on a PC. I saw Doom and my jaw dropped, but that thing still couldn't do half the things that the Amiga 500 could at the time.

Thanks OSnews, now I'm in nostalgic mode :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE: more anecdotal sharing
by brostenen on Sat 9th Apr 2016 00:43 UTC in reply to "more anecdotal sharing"
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As I recall, there are certain thing's you still can not do on a PC. It's just one or two things. I just don't recall what features that is.

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So I guess that I had that right age of having experienced the Amiga up front. Tell you all. When I was a teenager, everyone at my age that had a computer, were 64 users at first. Then they switched to Amiga. Those that kept holding on to their 64 a couple of years more, had to buy the 500+ in 1989(I think) and the last converts would have to settle with the 600. As the 500+ was only out for one year or so. I never ever saw anyone at my age, having PC's until around 1991/92. From 1985 to 1991, it was nearly 100% Amiga in those circles that I mooved around in. Yeah... Amiga was the number one platform for those in Denmark, that were born between 1976 and 1978.

I can only say, that most of the hardcore Amiga followers, had to have the 500. They did not like any other Amiga's untill the 1200 came along. Those were Commodore's best selling models. The original 500 and the 1200. Everything else just did not catch on that easy. They were none the less, the machines with the best GFX and Sound, for the price, in 1987 and 1992.

Edited 2016-04-09 00:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1

by MadRat on Sat 9th Apr 2016 15:38 UTC
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I used my Commodore128 in college because it supported better graphing tools for charts at the time and printing from it was far more reliable. The IBM PC for consumers was utter crap at the time. I had access to Apples, but the Commodore was much better software available to me when it came to school work

It wasn't until I had large hard drive (212 MB iirc) and decent scientific tools on the 286 PC that I retired the Commodore

Edited 2016-04-09 15:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Bobthearch
by Bobthearch on Sat 9th Apr 2016 18:12 UTC
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Maybe it's I that lived in a bubble, but here's what I recall about computing in 1982:

Aside from cartridge game consoles (Atari 2600), no one had a computer at home.
There was a single computer in the entire elementary school (grades K-8) in '81- '82-ish and it was an early TRS-80. It may have been the personal property of a particular technologically-inclined teacher.
Beginning high school in 1983, the school had Commodore Vic-20, and sometime around '84-'85 they upgraded to Commodore 64.

Reply Score: 2

mt your nerd friends
by ezraz on Mon 11th Apr 2016 13:29 UTC
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midwest america, lower-middle class, i'd say about half the computers in people's homes were C64's.

Edited 2016-04-11 13:30 UTC

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RE: mt your nerd friends
by ezraz on Mon 11th Apr 2016 15:39 UTC in reply to "mt your nerd friends"
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i tried to change the title --- some weird typo there.

you could mount your nerd friends if you want. volumize them.

Reply Score: 2

What was lost...
by transami on Tue 12th Apr 2016 21:30 UTC
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Got a C64 in Dec 82 and an Amiga 1000 in 86. I was fortunate as my father was computer programmer (Cobol).

My friends had a variety of computers, so I got to play with them all. The C64 did seem more popular than the rest for a while, it was cheaper and had lots and lots of software.

I feel sorry for kids today. They're stuck with iOS or Android phones/tablets, nonprogrammable and mobbed by endless commercialized crapware -- they aren't real computing devices at all.

Reply Score: 1