I decided to have a dig around in the loft as I couldn’t remember exactly what was up there computer wise, I knew there was an Amiga 1200 and a CD32 but I was also surprised to find an Amiga 500 and a barely used Sony Playstation. I retrieved the A1200 and the A500, the first is in great shape, in fact it looks like new and it works, the hard drive even booting into Workbench on initial power up. The A500 is pretty grubby, very yellow and not working, giving only a flashing power LED and green screen. There was also an A590 external hard disk unit with it, I’d forgotten I had that.
The A1200 cost me a small fortune back in 1993, I ordered it with an 80mb drive and a Microbotics MX1230A accelerator board featuring a 68030 CPU, 68882 FPU and 4 Mb of additional RAM. It was and still is a gorgeous system, probably my second favourite retro system, pipped to the post only by the C64.
Thinking back to how much I used to dream about upgrading the RAM which was devilishly expensive in those days, it was odd to find a 128 Mbyte SIM in one of my piles of junk and simply plug it in. For some reason, in my mind, the A1200 still seems really powerful.
There were a couple of games on the drive, Sim City 2000 and Frontier, Elite II. Many, many hours were spent playing the latter which is one of my all time favourite games, despite the bugs. On researching the game I noticed you can download an OpenGL version here and play the game in high resolution under Windows or Linux which is pretty cool.
I also discovered there’s still a thriving community surrounding the A1200 with much ‘pimping’ of the original machines still going on. The most common upgrade seems to be a compact flash internal drive which I’m hoping to attempt. Others have added USB ports and even internal CD ROM drives.
During my Amiga years I still had delusions of becoming a digital graphic artist, I used to dream of ending up at somewhere like Pixar. With the 1200 I found a box of disks including Sculpt 3D and 4D and Deluxe Paint III and IV. I managed to recover some saved files from DPaint but no luck so far with the Sculpt files.
Dpaint produced .lbm bitmap files and after hunting around I found this site that allowed me to convert them to GIF’s. The second image was copied from a 1985 Tolkien calendar and the first from a book lent to me by Urbancamo called Space Wars, Worlds and Weapons. Very odd to see these again after all those years.