Amiga 500 Retro Special: my girlfriend has a screen

Because of his lack of contact with real women, our author escaped late puberty with an Amiga 500. He loved the computer, named after the Spanish word for ‘girlfriend’. Although he is now celebrating his 35th birthday, new games are still coming out.

When I look at a very old graduate work from the Hochschule für Municipal Economics and Mathematics and Natural Sciences in Bayreuth, which as a salaried writer paid by the number of characters I certainly don’t reduce to WWG, I read in it about a certain Harald Frenkel: “If you want to meet him outside school, then you have no chance in his house during the day, because he is either sitting in front of his Amiga or sleeping with his teddy bear dreamer”. OK, that was my goal in life. You know?

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When the A500 Mini, the modern Amiga baby (see review ), recently arrived, I fell back into nostalgia with tears in my eyes and pulled my old friend out of the wardrobe. Instead of playing old camels, I looked up some new games for the antique box – and was amazed! Before I shed some light on the nerdy community behind this phenomenon and introduce you to some of their titles, I’d like to take a trip back in time to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Amiga 500 in style. We live in an era when nerds were still referred to as “freaks”, Twix as “raiders”, the Euro as a “German brand” and Netflix as “VCRs”.

All the men smoked everything except the so-called piñata. Even the women looked like professional footballers because of their shoulder pads. “Geil” was still a youth word, which was even highlighted by the Bruce & Bongo group anthem and topped the German charts.

About eleven months later, in May 1987 to be precise, the wonder years began for me: During the CeBIT computer fair in Hannover, an Amiga 500 with CD-ROM was introduced, and then it was on sale in shops in Europe and in my youth room. With this model alone, the Commodore 64’s quasi-successor conquered the world masstamilan.

The Amiga 1000 has been around since 1985. However, according to ’64’er magazine (3/86), the list price with the monitor was 5,900 marks net. If you take into account 14 per cent VAT, normal inflation and FCK PTN, the calculator would cost €6,600 today. Its little brother, on the other hand, appeared on the market for 1,200 marks (source: Wikipedia). If you indulge in a Commodore 1084 monitor for 800 marks (source: my brain), you get a purchase price of just over 1900 euros. That’s how the Amiga turned out to be a fairly affordable toy, clearly needed by a youngster “rushing to school”. ahem expotab.

By the way, my favourite game was definitely Speedball 2. But you also had to have an Amiga because of the action-strategy Defender of the Crown, amongst other things. Journalist Uwe Knirim was impressed by the graphics, which are considered photorealistic, and stated in the current edition of Software Market 3/87 as follows: “It doesn’t exist. There’s a VCR involved!”

For me, the calculator was also an experience because it came with a mouse. But even if the former C64 players now finally had their hands free: obscene games such as Hollywood Poker Pro, which even offered a magnifying glass function in 1989, were certainly never played. I certainly didn’t. I held my own, despite a difficult sleepless period of late puberty. Again, ahem.

Several Amiga games are among the best games ever made. These include Mystery of Monkey Island (1990), Lemmings (1991) or Dune 2: Battle of Arrakis (1992). The latter title is considered a groundbreaking real-time strategy game. Many German developers celebrated successes, such as in 1987 and 1989 with Ports of Call and Bundesliga Manager Professional respectively. Breakers a la The Settlers, Turrican 1 and 2, Ambermoon, Lionheart, The Dark Eye: The Destiny Blade, Battle Isle and Apidya followed in the 90s.

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