Friday, 27 April 2012

Computers in my Life - Nerd from Birth - Part 2

The Amiga 500 - and others.


So last time I quickly blogged about the pong computer console. My memories of it are that it has a certain chemical smell to it. The white plastic had yellowed quickly with time. And of course it was heavy. Very heavy.

Now other friends at primary school had computers. One had the ZX Spectrum, and another had an Amstrad. My cousins had of course an Atari 520 ST (or something of that brandfrom around that time). Another friend had the Commodore 64.

But one Christmas, I think 1991 as I was 7, my parents got for my sister and myself the Amiga 500 Screen Gems pack.

Holy shit.




It had games based on movies (Nightbreed, Back to the Future Part 2, Days of Thunder), another game called Shadow of the Beast 2. Fuck these were hard games to play. Even mroe so when you only have a mouse.

Other things included we Delux Paint 2 which was quite impressive for what it could do. To be able to create images on a colour screen was amazing.

Now of course it had attachements that would allow you to output to the TV and video. So in theory you could do video editing with it.

Of course it only had 512k of RAM, but we did get it an upgrade to a full meg of Ram (how fucking stupid does that sound in this day an age). But it did mean there were more games to play with it. Mortal Kombat was a favourite. So too was Worms, and even Dune 2, a legendary precusor to Command and Conquer.


At the time there were numerous Amiga magazines that came out, with freeware and demo games. Furthmore we also got books that let us program out own games for it. Yes I really did this. At the age of 8 I knew what a go to loop was. Amiga Basic was my first true foray into programming.

Now at school they did have a BBC Acorn computer. It of course ran off tapes and cartirdges. But compared to the Amiga it seemed dated.

Some fun facts about the Amiga 500 and the 500 + which a friend got a year later.

Some games would not run using a meg of RAM. You had to turn the Ram off... physically.

Also some games would not run on the 500 + because of this issue. More funny was that some games would not run on the 500 + because.... the 500 + had a real 1000 bits of ram. Yes, not 1024, but 1000. Hmmm...

We also got a printer for it. A dot matrix printer. Remember how those seemed to grind paper out. Almost like some small animal was chiselling it out of stone like it was the Flintstones.

I think some of the craziest things I remember about it was that I once did fully max out it's ram. I borrowed from school Delux Paint 3D. Yeah 3D mofos! And so tried to do some animating with it. Yeah. You see to do that you really need more RAM or some form of storage to write out to.

Now I think, at the time, the bundle my parents was around £500. That is a lot of money for the time.

In retrospect I have found memories of this machine. I think it taught me a lot, and got me into computer gaming. As far as device life time it last a good long while before my parents bought a PC. I know they still have the amiga packed away. I wonder how much it would go for? Fuck all it seems. Hmmm.... a quid for a Amiga plus extras, and £15 postage.... bargin!




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