Amiga Flame - News - Ten Years of Amiga Flame

Ten Years of Amiga Flame

The adventure began ten years ago on the 12th October 1996 when Amiga Flame was officially launched. Before I celebrate the occasion with a party of my own it is time to deliver the birthday speech.

The launch of AmigaOS 4 has moved closer than ever before over the past few months as the last hurdles are overcome. In a statement issued by Evert Carton of Hyperion Entertainment in September he made it quite clear that they anticipate “an initial "final release candidate" by the end of 2006 provided suitable hardware is available for sale at that time”. A few weeks later a consortium of Italian companies (Alternative Holding Group, Soft3, and Virtual Works) revealed the Samantha, which is based on the PowerPC 440. At the upcoming AmiWest show, a high-end desktop product from another hardware group will be announced and a prototype unveiled to the public. As these hardware companies have already obtained licences for AmigaOS 4 it is simply a matter of time before the official launch takes place.

It could be claimed that the Amiga cannot possibly reclaim a place in the computing market but new opportunities have emerged. An intriguing development over the past couple of years has been the growth in the retro market as gamers both young and old look back to the glory days of gaming. The Commodore64 Joystick that enabled gamers to play thirty classic games was well received by reviewers and sales figures were impressive. Developers and more recently publishers have made strides to cater for the interests of retro gamers re-opening their back catalogue to release old favourites. Electronic Arts will soon release a package of classic games on the PSP, which includes Syndicate, Jungle Strike, and Wing Commander. Some companies have gone one step further to re-design classic games in an attempt to deliver compelling gameplay which takes advantage of new technological advances. Successors to Cannon Fodder, Speedball 2, and The Chaos Engine may capture the imagination of a new generation of gamers.

For some retro gamers it is not enough to simply play classic games through emulation or to rely on PC versions. These gamers want the complete experience and are quite willing to pick up the classic hardware from ebay or one of the few dealers. But as the life cycle of these classic machines reaches its end there is every reason to believe that new hardware and an AmigaOS with backward compatibility could become a viable and popular alternative. If retro gamers are to become one target market it will be important to preserve and make available classic games for everyone to enjoy. Gamers and interested companies will need to support websites like AmiSector One and Amiga Emulation for Beginners, especially after the sudden closure of Back 2 The Roots. We cannot afford to lose any more websites; their webmasters have spent so much time and effort encouraging authors to allow their games to be distributed freely.

Retro gamers can expect a great deal from the Amiga Community as websites have sprung up to cater for everyone's tastes. Amiga Addicts Sanctuary is a favourite hunt, hosting projects like the Hall of Light which provides a comprehensive database of games for those users looking for a specific title, and their gaming magazine Amiga Point of View is a welcome read. The recent opening of websites such as Amiga Games That Weren't and Amiga Ending has also generated a great deal of interest. The latter website offers gamers the opportunity to see the ending of Amiga games, which could be quite elaborate.

The years of waiting for the arrival of a new Amiga Operating System and hardware to run it on have been difficult. It wasn't long before the frustration boiled over in the forums as users and interested parties clashed over the future direction of the platform, while the merchants of doom and gloom fanned the flames and launched personal attacks. The development team behind AmigaOS 4 and the different companies seeking to produce new hardware have had to endure a tremendous amount of unwarranted abuse. It has been disappointing to watch over these events in the forums especially when the development teams have worked so hard to advance the platform.

The appalling behaviour of a few in the forums is not representative of the views of the Amiga Community. In fact it is clear that the Amiga spirit lives on in the organisers of Amiga events, the staff running magazines, the bedroom coders, and in those users who still anxiously await the arrival of the new Amiga Operating System. There is a great need for users to get involved in community projects, whether it is simply offering a donation to a developer, creating a website to cater for a niche interest, or organising an event. The future of the platform is in the hands of the Amiga Community.

Long live the Amiga Community

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