From Bedrooms to Billions:
The Amiga Years

A little over a year ago, in February 2015, I pledged my support to a Kickstarter campaign that had the production of a documentary film as its goal to tell the story of "how the Commodore Amiga helped influence a generation of developers to take video gaming to a whole new level".

The digital version of that documentary film's standard edition has been released today. In case you are not a backer of the Kickstarter campaign you can buy (or even just rent) it on Vimeo.

I am so happy that I backed this campaign because the result is worth it. Nicola and Anthony Caulfield did an amazing job telling the history of the Amiga computer starting with the inception of the platform, the design of the hardware, and the development of the operating system. All this is put into perspective by contrasting the abilities that made the Amiga unique with the capabilities of the machines that came immediately before it. The film uses an ensemble approach to tell these stories around the Amiga through a series of interviews with the designers of the hardware as well as the developers of iconic games.

Now I am waiting for Nicola and Anthony to complete their work on this documentary film's special edition, which, I am sure, will be even more amazing.

Amiga: 30 Jahre

Last weekend I attended the Amiga: 30 Jahre event in Neuss, Germany.

Richard Löwenstein, working on Reshoot

Richard Löwenstein, known to many German fans of the Amiga as one of the writers and editors of the "Amiga Joker" magazine back in the day, is working on a new bullet hell shooter for the Amiga 1200, Amiga 4000 and CD32. At his table one could not only talk to him about Reshoot, as the game is called, but also watch him work on the game.

I was especially fascinated by the development environment that he set up to work on the game: he is using Xcode on MacOS X as his IDE to edit the game's assembly code which is automagically (thanks to shared folders) executed in FS-UAE on an emulated Amiga. I need to figure out if I can get a similar environment set up under Linux.

Jens Schönfeld, talking about Amiga Reloaded

The only presentation that I got a chance to listen to was by Jens Schönfeld, who creates new hardware for classic Amiga computers such as the ACA1233 accelerator card and the Indivision AGA MK2 flickerfixer, for instance. He is currently working on a new Amiga 1200 mainboard, the Amiga Reloaded which I plan to buy as soon as it's available. Dinner

My highlight of the day was the dinner event where I ended up sitting at a table with RJ Mical, who helped invent the Amiga platform and Dave Haynie, who co-designed the Amiga 3000, Amiga 4000, and Amiga 1200 computers as well as the organizers of the event.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making this event so amazing: the organizers, the special guests, and all attendees.

Photos can be found here.

Amiga 1200 Repair Bundle

Amiga 1200 Repair Bundle

I really hope that the Kickstarter campaign to create brand new Amiga 1200 cases from new molds using UV-resistant (not yellowing) plastic succeeds.

When Petro Tyschtschenko announced, though, that he found original (never opened, sealed) Amiga 1200 repair kits consisting of top and bottom case, keyboard, and power supply unit, I could not resist and bought one of these kits. Just in case.

You may wonder why I need I need a new Amiga 1200 case and keyboard. At the Amiga 30 Years event in Amsterdam earlier this year, Jens Schönfeld of individual Computers announced that he is working on a new Amiga 1200 mainboard, the Amiga Reloaded. And I would like to build a new Amiga 1200 using this new mainboard, ideally in a new (transparent) case that I will hopefully get through the aforementioned Kickstarter campaign.

gamescom 2015

Amiga booth in the Retro Computing area at gamescom 2015

Today I visited the gamescom fair in Cologne. The retro computing area had a booth that exhibited all classic Amiga models.

Photos can be found here.

Chris Huelsbeck Piano Dinner

Patrick Nevian performing music by Chris Huelsbeck

Last year I backed Chris Huelsbeck's Kickstarter campaign to create an album with piano renditions of his greatest hits. Tonight I attended the backer's dinner in Cologne during which Patrick Nevian performed selected tracks from the album live. At the dinner I also received my copy of the album. Chris and Patrick were kind enough to sign my copy's booklet.

"The Piano Collection" CD booklet signed by Chris Huelsbeck

The Piano Dinner was a nice event, the people I shared the table with were nice and the food was good. Unfortunately, though, the attendees of the Games Köpfe Dinner, a business mixer event colocated with our dinner, did not really show respect for the music and were quite loud.

Photos can be found here.