Recently I found myself wandering around the web, trying to understand how to use a classic Amiga today.
I have a couple of Amiga 500 OCS, Kickstart 1.3, resting under piles of dust. One of them is in near mint conditions. So, is it possible to use a 1987 machine for something useful today, apart from playing retrogames in an original environment?
Of course not. The Amiga 500 didn’t have a built in hard drive, nor a network connection, not to mention wi-fi and other amenities we take for granted.
But recently, Apollo Accelerators told the world about the upcoming Vampire V4 expansion card, capable to deliver top notch performances to old machines like the glorious Amiga 500. So here’s the challenge: try to use an Amiga for daily tasks.
So a question came to me as a direct consequence. Where is Amiga going? Well, some of you could say “nowhere”, considering the Amiga scene. The new generation Amiga, running AmigaOS 4.1 or MorphOS, aren’t really up to speed, when compared to the top notch PCs or Macs.
Frankly, all these enthusiasts that keep continuing the legacy are truly remarkable people. But Amiga, when launched back in 1985, was a rad machine, well beyond the others. Today is an enthusiasts’ machine, capable to stand against the test of time, but not a contestant in the market.
So, where should or will Amiga go?
In my opinion, continuing the well paved road of GUIs is pointless. Amiga was a radical machine because introduced embarassing technology at an affordable price. Custom chips and point and click GUI were all the rage.
Today we already have three contestants like all the Linux flavors, Windows and Mac OS. Do we really need another player offering us a point and click GUI? Can we really do without well spread software packages like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop? I don’t think so.
An Amiga, today, risks to become a pointless alternative to well affirmed technologies.
A new Amiga has to be a revolution. Has to be a machine that defines new standards and imposes the others to follow. Think about a wearable technology, with manageable visors, where for example a new version of Turrican could be played in the real world, with the machine understanding where is and what’s around her and therefor using the environment as the game stage! That’s rad!
Or just think to build the house right in front of your customer, directly where the house will be, projecting a realistic shadow depending where the sun is in that moment.
This would be a giant leap forward and a technology that could deserve to be Amiga.
But this requires a huge load of money. Who would invest in a project so advanced with results so uncertain? Nobody.
So the Amiga, in my opinion, will remain an enthusiasts thing, that will survive until the last of us will pass. And this is intriguing: a technology that meant so much for us, that defined a couple of generations will survive thanks to a club of dedicated supporters. And could survive in the form of accelerator cards, add ons, moulding of new cases for the classic machines and new systems based on FPGA technology.
I don’t what will happen What I know is that I’m going to have fun trying to bring my Amiga 500 to be a machine I could use for useful tasks 31 years later it was launched. Which is by itself pretty much amazing!