The Commodore Amiga was a computer of many firsts. It was the first personal computer to sell one million units, the first home computer to offer color graphics, the first home computer with a built-in disk drive and operating system, and the first to integrate stereo sound and pro-quality video output as standard features. The Amiga also had numerous pioneering game titles. Did you know, for example, that it was: The list below details amazing facts about the Amiga Computer, including several you may not have known. Read on…
It wasn’t the first 16 bit computer
The Amiga 1000 computer, launched in 1985, was marketed as being a 16 bit computer, with a 16 bit processor. However, the architecture of this chip was really more akin to 16-and-a-half bits. The central processing unit (CPU) of the Amiga 1000, called the “Central Processing Unit” (or “CPU”) was in fact 32-bit, having 16 addressable registers. The Amiga’s “32-bit” designation was due to the fact that the CPU’s data path was 32 bits wide. However, the processor was 16-bit internally, with 8-bit instructions. This means the computer was faster with 16-bit addressing, but the chip could not access more than 64 kilobytes of memory, the common computing standard at the time.
Its name was inspired by a Mexican restaurant
The Amiga was named after one of the founders’ favorite restaurants. The name of the restaurant was “Amiga”, a Spanish word meaning “female friend”. The name was also a homonym of “amicable”, as the founders wished their computers to be. However, “Amiga” also has a second meaning – “female enemy”. This could be a nod to the intense rivalry between Commodore and Apple, whose computers were a close competitor to the Amiga.
It had an innovative operating system
The Amiga was one of the first computers on the market to ship with an operating system pre-installed. This included a number of features that were innovative and became industry standard in future operating systems. It offered preemptive multitasking, virtual memory, device-independent graphics, a graphical user interface (GUI), and support for networked computers.
The graphics were ultra-smooth by 1990 standards
The Amiga’s graphics were state-of-the-art in the late 1980s, with standard visual resolutions at 512×342 pixels, 16 colors, and 60 frames per second. This was far higher than competing computers on the market at the time, such as the Apple II and IBM PC, which offered resolutions of 160×100 pixels. The Amiga’s graphics capabilities even surpassed those of the later Macintosh computers. Back in 1990, the Mac IIcx had a graphics resolution of 640×480 pixels with 16 colors at 60 frames per second, which was above and beyond the capabilities of most Amiga models by that time.
It was backwards compatible with PCs
The Amiga came standard with a built-in parallel port, which was compatible with the standard PC parallel port. Thus, you could plug your Amiga into a PC and use it as an external drive, or plug a PC into your Amiga and use the Amiga as an external drive. The Amiga could also emulate the PC’s CGA graphics mode, meaning that you could run PC software on your Amiga. It could even emulate the PC’s sound blaster. You could also run PC software on an Amiga using the AmigaDOS program.
There were several revisions of the Amiga 500
In total, there were four revisions of the Amiga 500, the first of which was the Amiga 500 (1985). This was followed by the Amiga 500 Plus (1989), the Amiga 500 Classic (1990), and the Amiga 500T (1990). These were not different computers, but rather different editions of the same computer model. The first revision was the Amiga 500, which came with 1 Megabytes of RAM and a single disk drive. This was followed by the Amiga 500 Plus, which came with 2 Megabytes of RAM and a single disk drive. The Amiga 500 Classic came with 512K of RAM, a single disk drive, and the ability to add a second disk drive. The Amiga 500T was a more streamlined version of the Classic model, with both the keyboard and the rear of the computer merged into the same machine. The T-model also featured a built-in MIDI port.
It had great games, including exclusive hits
The Amiga was the first computer system to have a dedicated games console built in. In addition to being an all-in-one home computer, it was also a games console. The built-in games console let you play games without having to buy an additional console or plug any controllers into the computer. Several top games were exclusive to the Amiga, including “BLiP”, “Blood Money”, “Alone in the Dark”, and “Defender of the Crown”. The graphics of most Amiga games were far more advanced than their contemporaries on other platforms. A number of Amiga games also featured stereo sound, making them the first computer games to do so.
One of the most impressive Amiga games was “Sketch”. It was a 3D modeling and animation program, allowing artists to create photorealistic renderings. It was widely used in the animation industry, including to create the original Pokemon film. It was also the first Amiga program to use up all the computer’s memory, meaning that it could not run on any other computer. “Sketch” was truly state-of-the-art in its day, and it still impresses and challenges today’s 3D modeling programs. Sketch was also the first computer program to use the concept of ray tracing for rendering. This technique is used in modern computer rendering programs to this day.
The Commodore Amiga was a revolutionary computer that will probably never be repeated. It was the first computer to receive a graphical operating system, the first to offer standard color graphics, the first to support stereo sound, and the first to use an innovative graphics chip. While the Amiga 500 was a huge success in its day, it has since been surpassed by numerous more modern machines. Today, it is remembered as a pioneer, a computer that was years ahead of its time.