Forget PCs and Macs – in the 1980s, there was one computer that every kid wanted: the Amiga. Having already released the hugely successful Commodore 64 earlier in the decade, Commodore made another massive step forward in affordable home computing with the Amiga, giving people access to word processing, music creation, video editing and, of course, gaming at very reasonable price.
1: Amiga’s weird controller
Before it made computers, Amiga created peripherals and controllers for Atari consoles. Its oddest creation was the Joyboard, a flat board players stood and leaned on to control games instead of a joystick. Now we know where Nintendo got his idea from for it’s Wii Balance Board.
2: Amiga and the B-52s
Someone at Amiga was a fan of American new wave band The B-52s. Each computer’s motherboard had the name of a B-52s song inscribed on it. The A500 was ‘Rock Lobster’, the A600 was ‘Junebug’, the A1200 was ‘Channel Z’ and the A590 was ‘Party Mix’. This theme ended with the CD32’s motherboard, which instead read ‘Spellbound’.
3: Microsoft worked for Amiga
AmigaBASIC was an early programming language which was installed as part of early Amiga operating systems. It was written by Microsoft, years before it started making its own Windows operating system.
4: Amiga created Disco
Being a home computer, the Amiga was capable of all sorts of tasks other than playing games, including making gold-selling albums. Calvin Harris’ 2007 debut album I Created Disco, which included the hit Acceptable In The 80s, was made entirely in his home studio using a then 15-year-old Amiga 1200.
5: Mary Poppins and the Amiga have in common?
What do Mary Poppins and the Amiga have in common? The answer: Dick Van Dyke. Believe it or not, the veteran actor is a massive fan of 3D computer animation and has appeared at tech conventions to show off the short animated films he makes on his Amiga.
6: Amiga sponsored Chelsea
In 1987, Commodore and Chelsea Football Club agreed on a shirt sponsorship deal worth £1.25 million. At the time, the deal – which saw ‘Amiga’ emblazoned on the front of Chelsea’s home and away shirts – was the largest sponsorship deal in UK football history.
7: The Star Trek actor who developed Amiga software
Andy Warhol and Dick Van Dyke may have been Amiga fans, but actor Wil Wheaton went one step further by helping develop software for it. After finishing his role as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Wheaton went to work for NewTek to help develop the Video Toaster 4000, an enhanced version of the Amiga video editing software and hardware used to produce special effects for the likes of Babylon 5 and seaQuest DSV.
main image by WalentyWalewski