ScuzzBlog: Diaries October 2021

Entry 20th October 2021: Post 1: 3.5 and the death of the Amiga.

3.5 and the death of the Amiga.

I can imagine that it must have been a pretty demoralising time
working at Amiga Format at the dawn of the new millennium. For
here we are at the beginning of a new era and the Amiga has been
gifted a new OS to move forward and yet sadly there were no new
Amigas. Worse to come as within less than six months the last of
the Amiga publication giants closed its doors.

There is a saying about fooling some of the people some of the
time, and I guess the editorial staff at Amiga Format had laboured
the promise of a new and exciting future for the platform with
almost every month since the demise of Commodore in 1994. The
truth of the matter is that it was the community that did their
utmost to keep the platform alive, and had been incredibly hard
working, imaginative, industrious in creating an illusion of a
computer with a future. Sadly though there really had not been a
new computer released since the days of Commodore. Amiga Format
even resorted to promoting the idea of buying second hand machines.

Most of the Amiga users post 1995 were towering their computers
in a bid to provide much needed CD drives and graphics cards. The
Internet needed better hardware than had been shipped with the
original computers. Most were stretching the boundaries of what
an Amiga could do to the limit.

And so poor Amiga Format lasted to the new millennium and was
witness to the launch of OS3.5 but unable to tread the water for
the release in December of that final year of OS3.9. It really
was the final curtain call for the old kit. There was no chance
any more of any great strides to providing much needed new kit
as the platform had lost its last main champion of its cause.

The years that followed saw the community move to Bulletin Boards
and emailing groups. Magazines like Amiga Active came and went.
Ebay soaked up all the unwanted kit and the platform moved into a
niche special interest group. MicroMart valiantly carried a few
pages for the Amiga for several more years but even they finally
threw in the towel.

The last Workbench, simply renamed as an OS was only half of what
made the Amiga special. Memories of Commodore and the almost endless
stream of computer models and support hardware are so vivid to all
those that were using their product pre 1994, and to survive for so
long on the scraps of the defunct company was a credit to all those
that tried to still make it work.

There will be no second coming of the Amiga. For those that cobble
together old motherboards with new fangled gizmo, I wish you all
the very best. For my part I have one simple rule when it comes to
accepting that a product is genuinely new and that is whether it
was sold in a main stream high street shop and is it covered by
a one years guarantee warranty. No Amiga has attained those simple
credentials since 1994 and been a truly new product never before
released. Interestingly I did buy a new A1200 Magic Pack in 2003
but it really was an Amiga 1200 no different to the ones released
by Commodore in 1993.

Personally I was never under any illusion about the future of the
Amiga. I had long since given up on there being any brave new
future for the computer way back in 1995 with the failure of Escom
to deliver. I knew what it was like before Commodore went bust and
appreciate what a leading edge platform feels like. Nothing that
happened after 1994 compares with how it felt back in the busy days.
You only have to watch Dave Haynie's Deathbed Vigil to see what a
multinational organisation looked like that was capable of taking
on Microsoft and Apple in the day.

I am sure that when those guys at Amiga Format reflected on the
era of the Amiga they would have concluded the writing had been
on the wall for half a decade. Their efforts should not ever be
diminished as they stood their ground and supported a very active
and dedicated community. None of what I say here takes away any
of their commitment to the platform, but when history writes its
truth, I sense that the guys at Amiga Format will be cast as knights
of valour, trying to save a crippled and wounded beast that finally
died six months before their own product perished. OS3.5 was the
last gasp of this downed tragic computer. It must have been heart
breaking watching it die.

3.5 and the death of the Amiga.

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Last updated 20th October 2021

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