ScuzzBlog: Diaries April 2022

Entry 14th April 2022: Post 1: The Amiga 500 is dead.

The Amiga 500 is dead.

The last few months have seen a surge in interest in the Amiga 500.
This has been due to the release of the A500 Mini, an Amiga 500
emulator packed into a miniaturised A500 cosmetic case. I will
not be reviewing the 'Mini' as neither do I have one to review
nor have any real intention of getting one. Being a purist when
it comes to my Amiga activities I am not even sure just how I feel
about a retro company mimicking a treasured Amiga. I am also not
a great fan of the current custodians of the technological rights
or the company that packages games and ships them out on mass.

The less said about this the better. I am not making judgment on
the products and services provided. I just feel very uncomfortable
about the way the Amiga is being peddled on the various markets
at this time. Just a feeling... nothing else.

Anyhoo, back to the purpose of this blog. Back in 1992 the pages
of the Amiga rags were shocked and dismayed at the news that the
Amiga 500 was suddenly to be discontinued. What is worse, was the
fact that the A500 Plus was going to be terminated early with all
the implications to development software and hardware.

The A500 Plus was sneakily launched onto an unsuspecting community
and then very quickly pulled from production. This at the very time
the A570 side expansion CD-ROM was being launched.

The A500 did not have the dignified end it deserved. Unlike other
platforms that were allowed to slowly die, the A500 was seen as a
hindrance to sales of the A600 and so was taken off the shelves.
Never forget that the A500 had a vast army of suppliers that had
served the platform well for several years with hardware, games
and software. The A500 differed greatly from the A600 being for
the most part socketed chips and having its own side expansion
port and trapdoor connector that would not be replicated on the
replacement Amiga 600. And so all those sidecars, RAM cards and
internal expansions were pretty much part of a soon to become
unwanted market. It was really a slap in the face.

The A500 was also a bedroom hobby for many and although we frown
upon piracy had become bread and butter to a quite massive PD and
copy disk based community. For many years these guys had supported
the A500 by producing so much of the demo, magazine, PD software,
trackers, players and bootleg games, that made the A500 what it
was. Suddenly they had to embrace a different and way less of an
adaptable beast in the form of the A600. I am sure a lot just
carried on with the 500 and or simply buggered off.

The A600 was not a success. The A1200 could have been a success,
had it not fallen at the first hurdle when Commodore went bust.
There is a lot said about the failure of Commodore, and just
what went wrong. But in hindsight I believe there was absolutely
no reason to kick the 500 to the gutter when they did. And more
important there was no need to introduce the A500 Plus or A600
at a time when all efforts should have been focussed on the A1200.
I know time and resources were against Commodore at the time but
the community was definitely always behind Amiga, and to have the
rug pulled out without it seems the slightest consideration was
to be Commodore's biggest mistake.

And so when today, some thirty years later we still have users
clambering to buy just an emulated version of the A500 so they
can again relive some of those memories, whilst it is heartening
to watch, it is also very sad to reflect on what could have been.

Just a shame it wasn't an actual Commodore computer being placed
back on the shelves today. I would be the first in line had that
been the case.... ' Give me love not a facsimile of '. 

More on the A500 tomorrow.

The Amiga 500 is dead.

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Last updated 14th April 2022

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