Let’s Backtrack: The Amiga 1000 at 35

The Commodore Amiga 1000 was released on July 23rd, 1985, thirty five years ago.  Imagine how different computing might be if Commodore had had good leadership and the Amiga had become a dominant platform.  At a time when both DOS/Intel machines and Macintoshes had beeping speakers and four colour CGA or four grey scale black and white, the Amiga had full eight bit sound and 4096 colours.  They were far ahead of the market with a competitive price (US$1800 in 1985, including a monitor).

While Commodore no longer exists as it originally did, that doesn’t mean the Amiga is dead.  Third party companies still manufacture and sell hardware and software.  The Amiga OS continues to receive periodic updates within the community.  I had an Amiga 500 myself.  It wasn’t the best computer I’ve ever had, and hated the countless “Guru Meditations” I suffered (Commodore’s version of the Blue Screen of Death), it was an eye opener.  In the “regular” computing world, only the MSX architecture could compete for sound and graphics performance.

The Amiga series were powered by the Original Chip Set: the Agnus (control system), Denise (video), and Paula (audio).  Jay Miner designed and oversaw the Amiga project (as well as previously creating the Atari 2600 and Atari 800).   Glenn Keller (youtube interview) helped design the Paula.

Here is a demo of an original Amiga 1000.  The sound and graphics were astounding for the day, when 16 bit audio and 256 colours were unheard of on DOS or Mac machines.

The 8bit Guy: Adding composite video to the Amiga 1000

Jan Beta restored an Amiga 1000 in a pair of videos, the first part and the second part.

Artist Samia Halaby used and still uses the Amiga 1000 to create artwork.



  1. brucegee1962 says

    I had a series of Kaypros back in those days, which were fairly dependable machines for word processing and had decent games like Ladder. Another brand lost in the fog of the past.