There’s not a lot I can say about this that I haven’t already said. This was the year my life changed for the better. I got my Amiga 1200! I think I’ve rambled on about this now so much that all I can do is repeat myself, but… I think it’s worth going through again in case I missed something out. Plus, I’m sure my old readers have got bored of these and buggered off by now. This will be the last one, so months of silence will once again prevail, I’m sure.
So, 1993 was the year I’d made friends with a lad called Ste. He had an Amiga 600. At this point, I was either still beavering my way through the stack of C64 disks I had, or fumbling by way through my ageing ZX Spectrum tape collection. I was still stuck in the 8-bit era.
Ste had introduced me to the Amiga, and the greatness that lay within. There was, of course… ahem… “Dulux Paint 2” and its picture of Tutankhamun. It was more the games I was interested in, however. I was blown away with ‘Indianapolis 500’, and the fact the cars actually smashed when you hit them. Little polygon bits would fly about the screen. Also, the floppy disk load times were immeasureably quicker than the Commodore 64 that had a well-documented bug that slowed the loading times from disk.
Ste had the A600. Imagine my surprise and delight when Iripped open the wrapping paper on December 25th 1993 and found the model up, the A1200 staring back at me! This was everything I’d dreamed of, and more. More colours, mome memory. More keyboard! It looked, and felt like a proper computer.
If you can’t be arsed clicking, Oscar was a character with a weird shaped head, where you had to go around collecting film cannisters in a platformy universe. It was okay, I suppose. My favourite of the two. Dennis, however, was just a waste of two disks. It was based on the American version of “Dennis the Menace”. Some blond haired kid always getting up to mischief, trampling his neighbours flowers and inane stuff like that. It was not entertaining, and I’m pretty sure I formatted the disks shortly after, and used them for something else.
For me though, it wasn’t about the games, it was more about the utilities. The machine game with Dulux Paint 3 (yes, I know it’s Deluxe Paint, but that misnomer still makes me laugh to this day) which was a a step up from the previous version. My ‘expanded’ Amiga meant I had 256 colours to choose from. In fact, I’m pretty sure this was the first thing I loaded up on the machine. There was also Wordworth. A word procrssor. Not exactly exciting back in the day, but coupled with a printer I got much later, this became an essential application.
At the first opportunity, Daddykins and I went and got the ‘essentials’. My Christmas money went on 40 blanks disks from Argos, a copy of Amiga Format, issue 55, an Amiga guidebook, and a copy of “Now That’s What I Call Music! 1986” on cassette. I’d hazard a guess that this particular issue of Amiga Format was their biggest ever seller. For those of you who follow the blog on a regular basis, I buy batches of disks off ebay occasionally, and there’s always a copy of that coverdisk amongst them, namely Diskmaster II. A pretty basic file manager, used for copying files and stuff like that. Not the most exciting piece of software. The guidebook was also pretty useless. I don’t think it told me anything that I didn’t already know within 15 minutes of operating the machine on my own.
Another friend, also called Ste Ilet’s call him Ste 2), introduced me to the world of games a few days later. I remember being around his house when he slipped in some disks named “Cannon Fodder”. The disk drive clicked enthusiastically. He turned the speakers up… “WAR! Never been so much fun!”. If my mind was blown away by Flimbo’s Quest a couple of years prior, I think I’d just gone even more bong-eyed than I already was. Essentially, a full song played digitally from a floppy disk.
Ste 2 has, of course, moved on, but he lived on the main road through Hartlepool at the time. I still pass his old house on a daily basis, and think of that very moment.
Personally, I’d go so far as to say this was the best Xmas gift I ever received. It was unexpected, it got years worth of use. It certainly guided to where I am with computers today. As the years went on, I got a hard drive for it, and as you know, I’ve created an image of that hard drive which still exists to this day.
Sadly, the Amiga itself is not a well puppy.It’s got some type of graphics fault. I took these photos back in 2007, the last time I switched it on.
And that’s that. If you’re reading this on the day it was published, many thanks for taking the time away from your family to sift through my inane ramblings. I wish you and yours all the best for the rest of the festive season, and of course, 2024, where I’m sure I’ll bore you senseless with more inane crap!