graafen: (Default)
[personal profile] graafen
On Christmas Day 1990 my passion for computers was born. I was a wee seven year old, and under the tree was a rather large box, wrapped up in festive paper, with my name written on it.

I at once knew what it was. I don't recall whether my father announced that we were getting a computer, specifically an Amiga, or whether I had begged him for one, but I had foresight that under the tree, wrapped up in Christmas cheer and proof that my working-class parents had elevated themselves to the middle-class, was a brand new computer.

It was an Amiga 500 Screen Gems Pack, which also came with the Astra Pack, and I loved that beast. I loved it so much that I'd spend hours in my room playing the games that came with it, so much so that my mother would berate me for spending so much time inside.

My father enjoyed it too, often playing the more challenging simulator games such as F-19 Stealth Fighter, Megafortress: Flight of the Old Dog and Microprose Formula One Grand Prix. He had a subscription to Amiga Format, but sometimes bought CU Amiga. I'm sad to say that I didn't read the articles, but I was always excited to see what new game demos were on the cover disks.

Ten years later and I was still using my good old Amiga 500 along with a PC. When I ran away fromleft home at the age of 17 I took my Amiga with me to Sheffield, but when I moved back in with my parents, my Amiga stayed in Sheffield. I do miss it.

LAN Party 2001 - A500 on the floor

When I moved away from my parents I got myself an A1200, a machine I'd wanted ever since they were released, from eBay. I loved that machine too, but it oddly stopped loading from floppies and, in a moment of stupidity and anger at having too much stuff, threw it in a skip. I regret doing that a lot.

So, for the last few years I've been without an Amiga. That was until a couple of months ago when [ profile] darac and [ profile] dsw gave me two A1200s! Both of them had problems, but with the aid of another A1200 from eBay I was able to construct a fully working machine.
I love this A1200, do not intend to ever let it go. I've already put a hard drive inside of it and have also added this:

Yes, that's right, USB and PS/2 mouse ports along with the standard DE-9 joystick ports. I hope to see more interesting hardware upgrades like this. :D

In finishing it's quite obvious (to me, at least) that the Amiga had a huge impact on my life. I feel lucky to have experienced such an incredible line of machines.

Date: 2011-09-03 02:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The A1200 does seem like a neat machine, even though my experience with it has been mostly limited to playing Lemmings. (And probably annoying you with excessive cursing when I can't figure out a level. XD)

I already knew you had lived in Sheffield for a while, but above you say you had "[run] away from home"? o.o

Date: 2011-09-03 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah okay :)

Date: 2011-09-03 02:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Current project:-

29 years old I believe, still going strong, just ordered logotron rom for it to try and work my ebay Turtle robot! :)
From: [identity profile]
Its only Now, 10 years later, that PCs have caught up & surpassed to the capabilities of what the Amigas had back then. Amigas were the Only consumer-level machine at the time which rivalled the basic capabilities of the more expensive SGI workstations.

Am glad to have gotten an early glimpse into what computers were going to be like.

Date: 2011-09-03 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
USB ports on an Amiga 1200? Sweet. :)

Aww, and that story of how you received your first Amiga there... that's really sweet. ^.^ The mental image of an excited little wolf finding a big package with his name under the christmas tree, opening it in utter delight and finding that it does indeed contain exactly what he wanted so much, with his parents sitting there smiling at how happy their little one is... that's almost enough to make me cry.

Date: 2011-09-03 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've still got a couple of these + associated bits stashed in Avon's loft, I should fix one up someday... tho one I think had terminal problems. My own squee-moment was when my dad bought me a Speccy +2A lightgun pack (probably around 1988), but I still loved the A500 I played with a friend a few years later and felt a soft spot for Amiga ever since.

My other friend had an Atari ST, but that never quite had the wow-factor the Amiga had! (Then again I expect the zillions of pirated Amiga discs had something to do with that too).

Date: 2011-09-03 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I remember using something like that when I was in grade school, early or middle 80s I think.

Date: 2011-09-03 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Heheh, I was 7 when my dad got a computer too! It wasn't for me, though (although I ended up using it rather a lot more than anyone else after a while), it was an 8-bit Atari, and the year was 1981.

Around 1990 or so I actually sold a new Amiga to a school friend. I (well, my dad) had somehow ended up with a trader account with Silica Shop, the friend wanted an Amiga, so I ordered one and (with parents' driving help) dropped it off at his house one day. He'd previously paid in instalments, which got us a lot of "wheeler-dealer" type comments as we counted £100+ in cash in the 6th-form common room. :)

I have never actually used an Amiga; my only experience, until university, was of 8- and 16-bit Ataris, and of BBC and Archimedes machines at school. A friend-of-a-friend had a Spectrum and I think I visited once and we all played games on it for an afternoon, but I never really got to use Spectrums (Spectra?) as such.

I was basically a strict Atari-only-ite until about 1996 when I bought my first PC during the first year of my PhD course. I played with Windows for a few days, then wiped it and put Slackware on it... which eventually morphed into Debian, which I still use today. For someone who's as much of a computerholic as I am, I've used a surprisingly limited range of models and OSes.

Date: 2011-09-05 12:30 pm (UTC)
enteirah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] enteirah
I picked up another A1200 myself off ebay last year, after having had a 500 for years (also still at the parents place to this day). I don't end up using it anywhere near as much as I'd like to though, but it is one of those machines I definitely want to do some work on as a project at some point (add new hardware, update the ROMs to 3.1 if I can get hold of the chips etc).

One of these days I need to get hold of a 5.25 inch floppy drive for the PC too. Just so I can see if the one remaining big floppy I have containing my BBC Master 'masterpiece' from 2000 still works.

It's actually the Amiga that really got me started in my love of programming, for all the horrible slatings the shipped AmigaBASIC used to get. Indeed I still have most of that guff online now on a really old website of mine:-
(Oh and if you want to see some of Deluxe Paint III/A500 masterpieces from the turn of the millenium :P)

Indeed on the subject of sites, you should check out [ profile] eliki's site sometime too. He used to do all his furry art on a fairly bog standard A1200 right up until about 2006 when he finally cracked and went to PC use however still remains a massive fan of the machine to this day.
Edited Date: 2011-09-05 12:50 pm (UTC)


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