Yesterdays blog reminded me of my Amiga dilemma of November 1995.
I was completely lost and confused as to what to do. All those
around me were buying new PCs to surf the NET and use the all new
Windows 95 operating system. I had struggled all year trying to
reason with just what the hell Escom were up to and just like the
guy with one foot on the bank and the other in the boat, I seem
to have finished up in the water. Soaked with embarrassment.
I had spent many a lunchtime discussing the bright new future of
the Amiga given they had been purchased by Escom. With shops of
Escom appearing in the high street it was just a matter of time
before a new Amiga would surface and I could move on from the
A1200 to an internet ready machine, with CD and better graphics, so
I could play all the new CD based games. It didn't happen.
I had ventured that summer into Escom and instead of being greeted
and guided to the new Amiga section in their shop, I was offered
deals on new PCs. There was but a stack of Amiga Magic Packs on
display. This was no bright new future, this was a sad nightmare
that prolonged the Amiga agony I had suffered since the demise of
Commodore in early 1994.
My trips to the stores of the day had also struggled to support
my platform. Good games were few and the computer store was in the
throws of moving the Amiga section into a secluded area to make
way for the new platform games. The magazines were noticeably a lot
thinner and a number had started to close down. It did not feel
in any way good.
And so as I pondered my copy of Loaded that November and joying at
the silky curves of The Price is Right's Emma Noble I was so
determined not to give into the pressures of the PC. And so I
decided to install a much bigger hard drive on the A1200 and buy
a second Amiga 1200 to take my old hard drive. I also got a new
desk and monitor with A600 attached and set up the new Amiga as a
games machine. Escom were bound to come good in time and I just
didn't want to give up on the Amiga.
I didn't have long to wait... The next year Escom bailed and sold
Amiga Technologies to Viscorp. That was the final straw for me. I
had made the noble gesture to expand my Amiga stock for no reason.
I thought by hanging in and avoiding the PC tide I could ride the
storm and come out the other side bravely with a new Amiga model.
I so desired the CD and Internet and GPU out of the box and not
some third party bolt on. It was not going to happen.
Games for the Amiga became either Doom cloans requiring towered
060s or crappy pinball games. So many pinball games. Sensible gave
us a dreadful game in the form of Sensible Golf and the only bright
light had been Vulcan, though Hillsea Lido was decidedly crap.
All in all I felt that my noble gesture had kicked me in the teeth
and I needed to change tack altogether.
Time went on and I felt ever more lost and so in July 1996 I did
the unthinkable, I purchased an Intel 120 PC with graphics card,
sound card, big hard drive and CompuServe, Internet and modem. It
was all I could do. I have never regretted it cus whilst I did
retain my interest in the Amiga, I was able to progress my interest
in computers and carry on expanding my world with much more moddern
kit with real options. That journey hadn't stopped from my first
days of the ZX81. I have never stopped progressing and in the
November of 1995 I did make one last stand to defend the Amiga
but found myself stranded in nowhere land.
The men's lifestyle magazines of the nineties were filled with
joyous celebrations of the modern and the new. They gave an insight
into the trivial world of fun that most enjoyed. There was never
a mention of an Amiga and nothing that could even remotely be used
in conjunction with the dying platform. All that reading these
magazines did was reinforce a view that I needed to move on. The
PlayStation was on the horizon as was Tomb Raider. Video had become
a real possibility with CDs and I needed so badly the internet. So
many magazines were giving away CDs that i could not view on the Amiga.
I kinda felt bad about abandoning the Amiga as my main machine but
in truth nothing has changed. I sit here writing this on my Windows
based machine, and yet to me left is still an Amiga 1200. My world
never stopped enjoying the Amiga, but she had to step down from
the highest platform to let those more capable take the podium.
So who do I blame. Easy, I blame Commodore. I do not blame Escom
or Viscorp or Gateway or who ever. I blame Commodore. The real
problems started with the loss of Jack Tramiel and the ignorance
of those in charge at the time not to back the technology and
Jack was the only guy that knew how to make that pay. There was
not enough general focus from a powerful leader. Engineers at
Commodore needed that leadership and it was not there.
Anyhoo here is a year of the Escom saga. I seriously wouldn't
read any of it. Water under the bridge as they say. I also give
you Loaded from November 1995 just to give a taste of the world
in the UK during that period. I do feature the very lovely Emma
Noble who was very popular in the day. She was a hostess on the
Bruce Forsyth game Price is Right and went on to marry the
UK prime minister John Major's son. And lived happily ever after.
Kinda happy days.... Could have been better.