I have featured the Plus range and GX4000 previously but never I
guess all of the boxes. This period for Amstrad represents the
last throws of Mr Sugar to create a successful range of home computers
which included a purely console based machine... the GX4000. The
boxes as can be seen were high on graphical intent with their focus
on the dynamic flight theme. The computers also turned from simple
shape to white aerodynamically shaped fun machines with their curvy
lines and bold type face announcing the 464 and 6128. There was a
definite shift from the drab to the exciting.
For me this didn't work cus growing up I had been accustomed to the
toy feel of a product and these computers had all the feel of an
Air-fix model kit that I had assembled myself. I had a giant model of a
Superfortress hanging over my bed most of my later childhood and
the Air-fix box was pretty similar in terms of colour range. No
doubt the creators were trying to draw from their own childhood
memories of what kids would find exciting and the flavour of the
style was pretty stereotypical fighter pilot , star cruiser, zappy
type creations. Sadly doomed to failure as in truth the market for
computers was always your bedroom nerds first and these guys, whilst
definitely in the Star Wars bracket, were also dead keen on their
activities and this often had a serious edge. Being at the forefront
didn't mean being back in kindergarten.
So for me I tend to keep these units in the brightly coloured boxes
and use the basic 6128 and 464 of the older style, as for one they
are easier to sit out and use. For me the biggest problem with the
Amstrad was the monitor and the need for a dedicated monitor at that.
The Plus range didn't make it any easier as they again changed the
monitor required. So to use these machines you needed the monitor.
Had the Plus range been more versatile and used the TV say then I
think they may have become way more successful. The 6128 and 464Plus
are beasts of a shape being quite large and need a double sized
desk cus the arrangement of the cables require the monitor directly
behind. On the Amiga I always have the monitor to one side and leave
the rear free for all my add-ons and disks and the like, plus the
odd book on a stand for reference. The Amstrad locks you into one
desk arrangement and to be honest that pretty lame.
Anyway, I have one 6128Plus out and its OK. It also suffers from
having BASIC stuck on the cartridge and not loaded from an internal
ROM. It all seems a bit 'arse-about-face' to me and comes across
as slightly condescending toward a serious user. Especially when you
have been use to the original 6128. And sorry but comes across as
what it is. A desperate attempt by a grown up to whoo the kids. You
have to have a Japanese mindset to make that work, as Microsoft
discovered. Computers are and will always be an evolutionary process
and you are best sticking to a Dave Haynie philosophy of computer
evolution of 'Onward or be damned'. If you get my drift.
Anyway the very wonderful GX4000. Make of it what you will. It's a toy.