I want my Amiga!

So I’m in the late stages of “Vegetation Day”.  Today, I have been spending time with my Amiga computer emulator and the games I have for it.  The emulator, WinUAE, is the most complicated emulator I have.  It took me damn near forever to figure out just how to use it properly.

And you can’t really use it to its full potential unless you know a little bit about the hardware of the Amiga computer.  I did read up on the Amiga a while ago.  Both on Wikipedia and on Ars Technica.  The article on that latter site is a 7-part motherfucker, to use the precise term.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

And it’s a fascinating read.  And it makes me want to buy an Amiga.

But I’ll settle for the emulator.  WinUAE’s full name is the Windows Unix Amiga Emulator.  I think that’s fucking hilarious.  It’s a Windows port of what started as software for Unix.  I hear the Unix version is more stable than the Windows version… but the Win version works fine for me.  Oddly enough, I’ve never bothered to try any emulator of any kind on my Linux machines.  Windows handles them great and I know their ins and outs rather well, so I don’t need to switch.

Here’s a curve ball.  “Amiga” is Spanish for “female friend”.  Take that as you will.

I have noticed a pattern of computer makers naming their projects after women.  The Apple Lisa.  The Atari Stella, Pam, and others.  There are more that I’ve heard of.  Some of them are the actual names the product got and some are just code names while things were in development.

What am I insinuating?  That computer makers harbour desires to build women out of electronic parts?  Perhaps.

Moving right along…. I’ve always wanted to own an Amiga computer.  Ever since the original model came out I’ve wanted one.  Even now, when everything Amiga is thoroughly obsolete, I want to own whatever incarnation of it still exists.  There’s a confused and messy history to the Amiga story, and at any given moment in its lifespan, it was either being mis-promoted by someone or sold off as a name by someone else.

In the meantime it managed to become a niche product in video production.  All I ever wanted it for was for playing games and maybe doing things with a printer later.  I also wanted it just for the experience of having it and using it.  I’m funny that way with computers.  If I ever get really rich, I mean STUPID rich, I’m going to make sure my house serves as some sort of museum for old and obsolete computer hardware.

A very interesting blog comes to mind.  Byte Cellar has all kinds of great posts about all kinds of great old computer hardware.  It’s not updated very frequently, but as I see now, the latest post is about… you guessed it… Amiga!  I will have to catch up on the posts I’ve missed since I checked in last.  The site’s operator, Blake Patterson, has quite the collection of old computers and hardware.  Pics of his actual cellar filled with these things are just awesome to behold.

At least they are for a nerd like me.  Thus, I can forgive him for being an Apple fanboy. :P

I kid.  I have fond memories of the old Apple ][ computers I used in elementary school.  I have an emulator for that too.  I also own a genuine Apple computer.  It’s a vintage 1989 Mac IIci.  I do believe it’s been a very long time since I used it for anything.  But with it, I can claim to own a Mac.

While I’m rambling on seemingly at random, I will now list out some of the other computers and video game consoles that I have dearly wanted and drooled over in my lifetime:

  • Atari VCS
  • Commodore VIC20
  • Intellevision
  • Colecovision
  • Commodore 128
  • Amiga
  • IBM Compatible PC
  • Super Nintendo
  • Sega Saturn
  • Sega Dreamcast

Not on the list are the Odyssey² and the Commodore 64.  I had both when I was a kid.  And kids tend not to want and drool over the Odyssey².  And that IBM Compatible PC I wanted was probably something like the Tandy computer a friend of mine had.  He told me that “Rogue” was the best game ever.  I’ve played it.  Meh.

Also, I eventually got that Sega Saturn.  I bought it off of some guy on ebay with about 30 games.  I think I did that just to see why I had originally wanted it.  At least Myst and Mahjongg are fun on it.  Some of the games suck extreme amounts of ass though.

Do I have anything else to say about the Amiga?  Not really.  Other than I’m going through all of the games I have and saving “configuration files” for the emulator, so that they can be loaded with the necessary tweaks they need.  Some need the AGA chipset, while most need the ECS chipset.  Some need a faster CPU or more memory.  Some need to have the ultra-fast disk drive emulation turned off.

I should be doing some of that work I never got around to doing last weekend.  I have Monday off as a day of vacation, so I think I can get away with more vegetation than usual today.