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Question - How did the Amiga shape up against the SNES/MD?


SqueakyG
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I recall being impressed by the Slipstream tech demo when it was released (not now obviously). It runs smoothly on my 68040 A1200, but looks glitchy on every Youtube video I can find (there's also some terrible game play skills on show). Pity it wasn't developed into a full game.

 

 

It's a shame the Amiga technology was never licensed to a Japanese manufacturer for sale in their market. We might have some amazing titles for the machine if Sharp had manufactured Amiga compatible hardware instead of their own X68000 systems.

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3 hours ago, matt0 said:

 

It's not standard Amiga hardware running Wipeout 2097. It's a machine with a replacement processor and entirely new graphics hardware.

 

I don't think there were many in existance, but if you were going to pay through the nose to build a crazy Frankenstein's Monster of a computer I can't think of ANY better uses for it then playing Wipeout 2097.

FTFY :D

 

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11 hours ago, knightbeat said:

I recall being impressed by the Slipstream tech demo when it was released (not now obviously). It runs smoothly on my 68040 A1200, but looks glitchy on every Youtube video I can find (there's also some terrible game play skills on show). Pity it wasn't developed into a full game.

 

 

It's a shame the Amiga technology was never licensed to a Japanese manufacturer for sale in their market. We might have some amazing titles for the machine if Sharp had manufactured Amiga compatible hardware instead of their own X68000 systems.

 

 

I think by the real end of the Amiga's life (like after 95/96), it was showing how there had been no "professional" hardware research and development. The Amiga 4000 was released in 1992 so by the time of that demo (maybe 97?) it was clear that enthusiasts were trying to make the Amiga compete on a hardware level, but the reality of no real R&D for 5 years was making it look pretty ropey. Not only that but with the whole 32bit console generation, games were becoming increasingly polished with significant teams. A group of half a dozen mates putting a game together, like in the early days of the Amiga, just would never come close to Wipeout, Quake or any other games they were trying to emulate.

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If you want to see what Wipeout might look like on an Amiga, have a look at either Powerdrome, or Matrix Marauders - the latter game being another Psygnosis racer that Wipeout actually took its ship design from.

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59 minutes ago, K said:

If you want to see what Wipeout might look like on an Amiga, have a look at either Powerdrome, or Matrix Marauders - the latter game being another Psygnosis racer that Wipeout actually took its ship design from.


this is more like the Amiga could achieve, nowhere near wipeout 2097

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Interesting topic. Think the Amigas main success as a game machine back in the day was due to pirated games.

 

Had an Amiga back in the day (when the 500 released) and it wasn't just bought to play games I did a ton other things on it - it was a diverse bit of kit. Had a friend at Uni that had a SNES so got to play on that - which was great but think the games were fairly limited on it. I used to like stuff like flight sims, Elite 2 and adventure type games as well as the odd arcade game. So for me the Amiga was a perfect fit. I did get a SNES in the end to play mainly R-Type, Parodius and a few other arcade games though. But also had a PC to do my course work on and play the deeper games. 

 

It easy looking back I guess but glad I stuck with the Amiga. Learnt lots about coding, Unix type OS and it played games too. I even typed up my reports and assingments on Kindwords (remember that!!!). Also. Well some of the best gaming experiences I had on that were had back then. In particular two player split screen Lotus Turbo Challenge... :) 

 

So yeah consoles were all well and good but in terms of value to me? Not a patch on the Amiga.....

 

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21 hours ago, gone fishin' said:

I think by the real end of the Amiga's life (like after 95/96), it was showing how there had been no "professional" hardware research and development. The Amiga 4000 was released in 1992 so by the time of that demo (maybe 97?) it was clear that enthusiasts were trying to make the Amiga compete on a hardware level, but the reality of no real R&D for 5 years was making it look pretty ropey. Not only that but with the whole 32bit console generation, games were becoming increasingly polished with significant teams. A group of half a dozen mates putting a game together, like in the early days of the Amiga, just would never come close to Wipeout, Quake or any other games they were trying to emulate.

 

Well considering Commodore went bankrupt in '94, the lack of hardware R&D after that may be understandable 

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I think it was more the way Commodore rested on its laurels and also invested in utter insanity. Instead of proper investment in R&D of new chipsets they sat back on the A500 and milked it dry as they produced white elephants endlessly. In '89 they had AAA and AGA chipsets pretty much developed but kept leaning on the A500 as it was making them more and more money, not having the foresight to see that you had to keep up with the market. Even worse they invested in dead products like CDTV - the A500 cd drive - the c65! Then the a600 was a horrible misstep in 1992. Kim Justice explains it far better than I can so I linked her video below.

 

The A1200 machine was great but could have been much better - it should have been released earlier or had better specs.

 

 

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The other issue was that, yes, Commodore went tits up in 1994 but it wasn’t really over for the Amiga, well, the loyal supporters didn’t think that. You had Escom owning it for a while (I’m the back of significant sized companies like Dell bidding for it) and Escom promising to invest in R&D and then when they went belly up there was the promise of Commodore UK’s ex management buying it up, but that didn’t happen. Instead iirc it was Gateway 2000 who bought it and again promised some investment, but by this point it was too late. 
 

But from 1994 onwards I think there was a general belief that the Amiga was just in a bit of a lull and someone would buy it out and invest heavily in it (I remember the pseudo black tower Amiga that was previewed in the late 90s that never materialised) but it never happened. It slowly died a death (although I do remember an hilarious article in one of the later Amiga magazines in around 96/97 that there would be more commercial games released that year than for the Saturn. Just because something was commercial didn’t mean it was particularly good quality or even compared to a 32bit console game)

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14 hours ago, gone fishin' said:

The other issue was that, yes, Commodore went tits up in 1994 but it wasn’t really over for the Amiga, well, the loyal supporters didn’t think that. You had Escom owning it for a while (I’m the back of significant sized companies like Dell bidding for it) and Escom promising to invest in R&D and then when they went belly up there was the promise of Commodore UK’s ex management buying it up, but that didn’t happen. Instead iirc it was Gateway 2000 who bought it and again promised some investment, but by this point it was too late. 
 

But from 1994 onwards I think there was a general belief that the Amiga was just in a bit of a lull and someone would buy it out and invest heavily in it (I remember the pseudo black tower Amiga that was previewed in the late 90s that never materialised) but it never happened. It slowly died a death (although I do remember an hilarious article in one of the later Amiga magazines in around 96/97 that there would be more commercial games released that year than for the Saturn. Just because something was commercial didn’t mean it was particularly good quality or even compared to a 32bit console game)

The video I linked to covers the post-94 Commodore UK and Escom stuff (they wqere both in running to buy it after  Commodore's collapse)) - and it covers all the death throes after that.

 

It is well worth a watch

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Having recently acquired a couple of new Amiga ports for the Mega Drive (Magic Pockets and Switch Blade) it seems a bit out of order to compare them with slick, ultra-stylish, incredible sounding, looking & playing gems such as Xeno Crisis and Tanzer (games I've been fairly obsessed with recently) even though they all fall into the same category of New Unlicensed MD Games.

 

Anyway, I remember quite enjoying this video about the Amiga's history when it first came out and made a mental note to rewatch it some time:

 

 

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  • 2 years later...

Got an ST in 88, was more than happy with it for gaming and general computing tinkering (eventually upgrading to a 4mb STE with 235mb hard drive) now by 91 I could see that many Amiga games were now slightly better than their ST versions and being an avid gamer started looking at an upgrade path but felt no need to 'upgrade' for the marginal difference the Amiga would offer so instead was planning to get a megadrive so borrowed a mates Megadrive for a couple of weeks and loved the quality of shooters on it but equally felt the library was a bit one dimensional and beyond lots more parallax didn't feel compelled enough to choose it especially given cart prices.

 

Most of my friends had Amigas so did continue to see it's library in the 90s but as you say very little lasting legacy, the early forays into 3d were pioneered and delivered better on my ST in the 80s and early 90s the Amiga when it finally emerged from the STs shadow seemed to offer a confused library of sub console quality console type games.

I eventually went on to own a snes and jaguar (doh!) before everything went 3d in the late 90s.

 

The trouble with the Amiga I feel was it was a bit better than the ST making it able to try and compete (poorly) with consoles so Amiga owners remained invested in gaming on it for far too long so there was a market to sustain a library which looked back upon now seems very poor.  As you mention most of the good games were better on other platforms its exclusives / killer apps feel like weird curios now that offer little to those interested in actual gaming and gameplay.

 

Even its once vaunted sonic abilities when you listen back to much of its audio today seem amateurish with tons of poor quality sampling used that has dated badly in a way that in contrast the raw chip tune output from the ST seems to stand up to better. Nostalgia plays a big part here but playing audio to those that have no experience of either machine often results in non invested listeners  stating the Amiga output isn't the one they prefer. 

 

Its legacy for gaming is probably more to do with fostering a generation in Europe that learnt to code on the platform but then again that is heavily shared with the ST and 8 bit platforms. So in summary if you didn't own one very little reason to go back to its library today (I tried for a bit via emulation but quickly realised it was much more fun exploring games on other platforms)

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52 minutes ago, mwaawm said:

Got an ST in 88, was more than happy with it for gaming and general computing tinkering (eventually upgrading to a 4mb STE with 235mb hard drive) now by 91 I could see that many Amiga games were now slightly better than their ST versions and being an avid gamer started looking at an upgrade path but felt no need to 'upgrade' for the marginal difference the Amiga would offer so instead was planning to get a megadrive so borrowed a mates Megadrive for a couple of weeks and loved the quality of shooters on it but equally felt the library was a bit one dimensional and beyond lots more parallax didn't feel compelled enough to choose it especially given cart prices.

 

Most of my friends had Amigas so did continue to see it's library in the 90s but as you say very little lasting legacy, the early forays into 3d were pioneered and delivered better on my ST in the 80s and early 90s the Amiga when it finally emerged from the STs shadow seemed to offer a confused library of sub console quality console type games.

I eventually went on to own a snes and jaguar (doh!) before everything went 3d in the late 90s.

 

The trouble with the Amiga I feel was it was a bit better than the ST making it able to try and compete (poorly) with consoles so Amiga owners remained invested in gaming on it for far too long so there was a market to sustain a library which looked back upon now seems very poor.  As you mention most of the good games were better on other platforms its exclusives / killer apps feel like weird curios now that offer little to those interested in actual gaming and gameplay.

 

Even its once vaunted sonic abilities when you listen back to much of its audio today seem amateurish with tons of poor quality sampling used that has dated badly in a way that in contrast the raw chip tune output from the ST seems to stand up to better. Nostalgia plays a big part here but playing audio to those that have no experience of either machine often results in non invested listeners  stating the Amiga output isn't the one they prefer. 

 

Its legacy for gaming is probably more to do with fostering a generation in Europe that learnt to code on the platform but then again that is heavily shared with the ST and 8 bit platforms. So in summary if you didn't own one very little reason to go back to its library today (I tried for a bit via emulation but quickly realised it was much more fun exploring games on other platforms)


Yes! 👏 

…I’m sure it’s also just a coincidence that I very much agree and was also an ST owner 😬

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A really interesting read, this thread. My opinions haven't changed since 2013, but I'd like to make one clarification. There are a number of posts that say the Amiga blows the consoles of the time out of the water, and make comparisons with the NES and the Master Systems, which to be fair were around at the same time. However, for me and most of the people I knew the Amiga only became remotely affordable in the era of the Batman Pack and subsequent bundles. The Batman Pack came with a £100 reduction to £399, and this forced Atari to drop to £299 with the ludicrous bundle of about 30 games.  Retailers hated it because people bought the hardware alone and didn't come back for ages, and in our store we kind of gave up on the ST and promoted Amiga all the way.  This was in 1989, the same year the Megadrive launched so I think it's a much fairer comparison to say Amiga was part of that generation.  Sure it was around for years before but I didn't know anyone who owned one before 1989.

 

I loved the Amiga era.  Ended up with a Megadrive as well, but Amiga with Dpaint, Amos, Protracker etc was such a fun machine to mess around with and be creative. I don't think that will ever come back.

 

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This thread has certainly been a read, hasn't it? :lol:

 

I wonder how many people in the early 90s were in the position of choosing between an Amiga/SNES/MD versus their parents having the choice (and picking a computer)?

 

As has been mentioned by many people, the Amiga & SNES libraries in particular were very different. Sure, there was overlap, and in general the Amiga would fare worse when in direct comparison, but it also had a lot of stuff that the SNES didn't - which largely correlates to WRPGs, simulation games, strategy titles etc. And if you liked that sort of stuff, it was great. If you preferred platformers, scrolling shooters, fighters etc then sure, the SNES was a better bet.

 

My brother had all of the machines around those years at one point or another - an Amiga, SNES, Megadrive, CD32 and an Atari ST - and I found joy in all of them for different reasons. Hell, I was still playing on a Spectrum (which was the only thing *I* owned) as late as 91 I think and loved that too. Whilst the SNES offered much more precise controls, a better 'look' and faster loading, I don't recall us every having many games for it (SF2 & Link to the Past are the only I can bring to mind), so the Amiga was the main gaming machine for me.

 

Going back to it now, via emulation, and I'm still enjoying stuff on it - but they don't look great, the UI and controls are generally pretty bad and some of them really run quite poorly. And yet, given that I've never liked Nintendo's output, nor platformers, racers or scrolling shoot-em-ups, it means that whilst I've got an entire SNES romset, I've barely ever played stuff on it - so it doesn't really matter how much 'better' it may have been.

 

Horses for courses, c'est la vie and other clichés, eh?

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9 hours ago, mwaawm said:

Even its once vaunted sonic abilities when you listen back to much of its audio today seem amateurish with tons of poor quality sampling used that has dated badly in a way that in contrast the raw chip tune output from the ST seems to stand up to better. Nostalgia plays a big part here but playing audio to those that have no experience of either machine often results in non invested listeners  stating the Amiga output isn't the one they prefer. 

 

That's definitely a take. As an ST owner in '91 when I heard Amiga game music I was BLOWN AWAY. Specifcally Lemmings, a Myth demo (yeah, I know...) and the Tracker Track 'Take A Trip From Me'. I couldn't believe such a sound was possible on a home computer. I still think 8-bit tracker music has an incredible warmth to it due to the frequency limitations.

 

Weirdly, I have one specific example though of what you describe. I had Dragon's Breath for the ST and loved the music. Years later I saw a YouTube video of the Amiga version and I was like "Wow! I wonder how much more amazing the Amiga music was!". And, yeah, as you say, it's less good and certainly has aged worse than the ST chip music.

 

Direct comparison.

 

ST

 

Amiga

 

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3 hours ago, Festoon said:

I have thoughts on the SNES/MD/Amiga stuff but I need to think about how to articulate them. There was a weird 'stiffness'? to Mega Drive games, particularly platform game main characters I find hard to explain but I found very odd as an Amiga/ST owner.


you have that the wrong way around 

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3 hours ago, Festoon said:

Weirdly, I have one specific example though of what you describe. I had Dragon's Breath for the ST and loved the music. Years later I saw a YouTube video of the Amiga version and I was like "Wow! I wonder how much more amazing the Amiga music was!". And, yeah, as you say, it's less good and certainly has aged worse than the ST chip music.

 

 

The Amiga guys sure loved their pan pipes.

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the problem with pcm is that it sounded like low-quality samples.

 

because that's what it was. and the way it achieved pitch was to speed up or slow down the sample, which meant nothing with any sustain, because by the time you went an octave the note was half the length, and real obvious about it too.

 

so pan pipes: plenty of attack, no sustain.

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25 minutes ago, SeanR said:

the problem with pcm is that it sounded like low-quality samples.

 

because that's what it was. and the way it achieved pitch was to speed up or slow down the sample, which meant nothing with any sustain, because by the time you went an octave the note was half the length, and real obvious about it too.

 

so pan pipes: plenty of attack, no sustain.

 

Lots of samplers and romplers still use speed to pitch up a few semitones, to save space.

 

I think it's charming now.

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