The Amiga

WARNING! What follows here are my own personal, and no doubt emotional ramblings, so I want you to have this in mind when reading: I don't think the PC is a useless machine. Far from it, its a good and powerful machine these days. I just don't like the attitude I often see from it's users (and to a certain degree users of other platforms); Their own subjective opinions of the Amiga are preached as if they were facts, no matter what experience they've had with it. If any.

Aaahhhh! Good to have got that off my chest! Now, are you ready for some reading?

Why Amiga?

Well, why not? Amiga is a machine which is easy to use, easy to get started, and it is cheap. The A1200 at least, and you can just plug it straight into the TV-set. The operating system is a joy to use, it is efficient and it multitasks quite nicely, thank you. That's real multitasking, something the PC still can't cope with. The PCs can enjoy a new innovation called "Plug & Play". On the Amiga front this is nothing new, this has been possible from the beginning. Autoconfig doesn't sound as fun, but it works every time! The graphics on a standard Amiga isn't as good as todays PCs, but it is possible to upgrade, of course. And the sound chips, old as they are, still are good enough to make music made om the Amiga make it to the charts. The quality of the software doesn't stand back for anything you can find on the PC. There just happen to be a bit more of it on the PC.

Isn't it just a games machine?

That depends on your definition of a games machine:

In fact, even in it's heydays, the Amiga has never been just a games machine, just as the PC isn't just a games machine these days, no matter how popular it is for playing games on. Admittedly, when development of the Amiga started, it was supposed to become a games machine only. But even though it always has been a great machine for games, it also always have been a real computer. (Not too different from the PC situation today.)

And as a computer, it quickly gained popularity as a graphics and multimedia machine. And I still think it's unrivalled as such - I don't think it was without reason MicroSoft used an Amiga in their presentation of Windows 95... Think of it: How many movies and TV-productions (and ads and...) have you seen in which the Amiga has been used in the production? You might be surprised, I still am. (A couple of exampled downloaded from my memory: Babylon 5, James Bond, Jurassic Park,...)

But at least it isn't a serious machine!

I don't get it. This is often said about the Amiga, but why? The Amiga is capable of doing the same as the PC: Spreadsheets, DTP, DTV, games, running PC programs (such as Windows 95 - a bit slow with the software emulator PC-Task, but still). The users of both machines aren't that different either - well, maybe a greater percentage of Amiga users are serious users than on the PC (Hey, there are more PC games around than there are Amiga games!)
I honestly think that this is often said by envious PC users trying to justify their own choice of computer. (Did they buy a PC because it was best for their use, or because "everyone" else have one?) I remember reading in a PC magazine when the Amiga was new and PCs had either a monochrome graphics card, or the luxury of 16 (of 64) colours (and I'm not kidding):
It is all very nice with thousands of colours and stereo sound, but of no use. You do not need colours nor sound in your spreadsheet or wordprocessor.
Boy, has the world changed...

Anyway - it doesn't matter. The Amiga is dead!

So they said about the C64 too, some years before the production stopped. Seriously though, this is a valid objection, worth pointing out. Both Commodore and Amiga Technologies went bust, without having produced (for sale) a next generation Amiga. And as it stands, the Amiga is old, and the PCs today comes with graphics cards, processor power and sound capabilities better than the standard Amiga. But dead is a bit early to say, don't you think? After all, ther is still a large userbase, and new Amigas and clones(!) are still sold. And you can upgrade it with still produced third party hardware.

But there's no future for it. The PC is way more advanced now.

Ho hum. You're not comparing a bog standard (old) A1200 to a (new) powerful Pentium, are you? Let's upgrade the Amiga before we compare. It'll cost, but you'll have an powerful Amiga for a long time. (How long does an upgrade of the PC "last"? I have the impression that a PC which is not upgraded once each 1.5 - 2 years is lagging seriously behind...)

How come you've still got hope?

Simple, I can tell the future. No, not really, but I read about what's happening around. And what I read is really exciting. What made the PC popular and keep the prices down, is to a large extent all the compatibles (as in IBM compatible, you know). Well, there are Amiga compatibles around too, now. The DraCo (for system-friendly programs) has been around for a while, and lately, the Eagle computers.
Phase 5 are developing a RISC-accelerator for existing machines, based on the PowerPC chip, and also a PowerPC Amiga.Gateway 2000 is the new owner of the Amiga. They haven't been very vocal about their plans for the Amiga, but I suppose we will know soon. Yet another company, PIOS, want to produce their own two-in-one machine, with both MacOS and AmigaOS. With the PowerPC chip.
Do we stop there? Nah, don't think so. A TV producer (name unknown) will incorporate the ED set-top box in their TV-sets. Which means: Buy a TV, and get an Amiga too, ready to surf on the internet. Not to mention New Star in China & Taiwan, which are producing their clone of an (admittedly older OCS) Amiga with CD drive and OS 3.x. Like a beefed up CDTV (Remember those? The first(?) CD based multimedia computer.)
Do you still wonder why I think the future looks bright? And I suppose there is more to come yet.

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