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Amiga Hardware

Top 10 'Most Influential' Amiga Games 192

stacybro writes "There is an article on Wired about the Top 10 most influential Amiga games. As someone who actually programmed on the Amiga way back when, I can attest to how far they were ahead of the clones when it came to graphics and audio hardware. I often wonder where the PC world would be if Amiga or Apple had had the marketing smarts (or maybe it was cut throat attitude) of Microsoft. 'Defender of the Crown (Cinemaware, 1986): Way before the Hollywood-ization of the game industry, Cinemaware evoked the era of classic movies with this game and others, such as Wings and the classic B-movie tribute It Came From the Desert. Cinemaware titles were definitely precursors of the CD-ROM era of flashy titles such as Myst and The 7th Guest. More importantly, they brought strong and realistic characterization and depiction to the world of computer games. Cinemaware is still alive today and currently working on an update of Defender of the Crown.'"
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Top 10 'Most Influential' Amiga Games

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  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @03:54PM (#18708559)
    and may even took them over when Amiga when down.
    • You know what the really sad thing is? All of the games listed there that I've played, save two (Pinball Dreams and Lemmings), I played on other platforms (NES, SNES, Genesis, PC).

      Oh, and where the hell is Populous/Populous 2? Those games alone would have made me run out and get an Amiga if I'd had the cash. Talk about addictive.
      • Oh, and where the hell is Populous/Populous 2? Those games alone would have made me run out and get an Amiga if I'd had the cash. Talk about addictive.

        I was going to raise the same objection, but then I looked it up and Wikipedia claims that it was out for Atari ST and PC before Amiga.

        I don't think that's true, exactly; I think it was out for Atari ST, then Amiga, then PC. But I don't have a cite, and I could well be wrong.

        Certainly the game was best on the Amiga.

    • Are you kidding? Apple thought users only needed two colors and one mouse button. The only similarities between an Amiga and a Mac were the CPU.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jddj ( 1085169 )
      No. No, no, no.

      I say this as a former Amiga owner/lover, and someone currently sitting at a desk with a Powerbook, a W2K, an XP and an Etch machine cranking away (very hot in here right now...). I coded multimedia apps on Amiga, recorded 3D to my PVR hard-disk-recorder, was heavily invested in my Amiga stuff.

      But it became all-too-clear to me what was wrong when I showed the Amiga's NTSC-TV-resolution picture to a PC-using colleague and heard him go "oooh - gross!".

      The standard Amigoid response is to explain
      • by GreggBz ( 777373 )
        I've heard every obscure theory under the sun as to why the Amiga failed. Folks, it's simple really. Commodore went bankrupt because the ran a bad business. No fundamental change to the technology of the platform, nor a sweeping OSS movement of the operating system was needed. Jezz, they sold millions of A1200's and the 1200 was long after Amiga's heyday. I don't think beige cases, 15Khz video signals or the lack of business applications killed the golden goose that was the Amiga platform. The potato hea
    • I just realized how hilarious a statement this is. Not because it doesn't make sense - it does! In fact, an Amiga 2500 (Amiga 2000 with, typically, a 25MHz 68030 accelerator board installed, but sometimes a 68020 IIRC, but I'm talking about the '030 version) with an Emplant board is faster at being a Macintosh IIci than the real thing - and the IIci has, guess what, a 25 MHz 68030. But mostly because Apple didn't have accelerated graphics of any sort until the Macintosh II line, and the 8*24 GC display card
    • What great Amiga games, I remember every one. So my reply is here:

      Top 10 Most Influential Linux Games []

      Yes linux does really have ten games :-)
  • Nothing beat the breathtaking brutality of blowing up a worm with a rocket launcher!
  • Datastorm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Threni ( 635302 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @03:58PM (#18708665)
    I got an emulator only the other day, just to play this. It's like no-ones heard of it. Everyone knows all the crap Ocean conversions and movie licenses, but Datastorm is pure gameplay. It's basically Defender 10 (or so) years on. One hard, fun game. And it's legally downloadable from the author's website here: []
  • by caffeinatedOnline ( 926067 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @04:00PM (#18708697) Homepage
    Ah, the memories that title just invoked. I had forgotten about this game. Trying to shoot the antenni off the ants, trying to bed the girl, driving from point a to point b dodging more ants, and that damn mine!! I owned my Amiga for years, and I think that I may have beaten this game once out of the millions of times I tried. They should make a repeat of this game!
    • by jamesh ( 87723 )

      They should make a repeat of this game!

      There was 'It Came From The Desert II'. I think it was really just more of the same, but that wasn't a bad thing!
    • That game always reminds me of the scene in Space Quest IV where you look through the "Bargain Bin" at Radio Schock and a bunch of spoof titles were sitting in there. "It Came for Dessert" was my fave...
  • Wings (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @04:00PM (#18708703)
    I liked Wings on the Amiga. My Cinemaware favorite. I even hacked a joystick adapter to use a 15-pin analog joystick on my Amiga to use with it.

    And holy crap! Wings is available again -- on the GBA! [] Now can I had a flight stick for a Game Boy?

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @04:00PM (#18708709)
    Where the hell is Turrican? And where is Wing Commander?
    • And where is Wing Commander?

      Wing Commander was developed for the PC and later ported to the Amiga. Not the other way around. At the time of its release, I remember Roberts saying that he made Wing Commander just because everyone was telling him how impossible it was to do on the PC. Of course he kind of cheated seeing as how Wing Commander required a high-end 286. Not that it was a big issue in the long run. The Wing Commander series would push hardware requirements for many years to come, and was a driving

      • When Wing Commander was released in 1990, the 386 was the current CPU and the 486 had just been released. The 286 was old hat.
        • The 286 was far from "old hat". Many folks still had XTs or 286s. I had a high-end Turbo XT at the time, and wouldn't upgrade for another year and a half. The 486 was available, but only the richest of rich had them. They were expensive.

          You need to remember that there was nothing driving the upgrade cycle at the time. Many people were happy with their Commodore 64s. It wasn't until games like Wing Commander that the upgrade cycle really started. Especially when you consider that a high-end 286 was the minim
          • by kabz ( 770151 )
            In 1988, a 12 MHz 80286 Dell was the biz.
            Eight whole years later, I was on a 80386SX25, no floating point, though that was kinda crappy. Still better than the MCA crap floating around about then.

        • I had a 1mb 286 when wing commander was released, and bought a sound blaster especially to hear the music and speech in it. Of course you had to spend hours fscking around with EMS/XMS to get that working.
      • by xero314 ( 722674 )

        Of course he kind of cheated seeing as how Wing Commander required a high-end 286.
        I first played Wing Commander on an 8086, so I wouldn't say that Wing Commander required a high-end anything let alone a 286. You couldn't run it with all graphical options on but it would run smoothly otherwise.
        • You couldn't run it with all graphical options on but it would run smoothly otherwise.

          I sincerely doubt that. The only "graphical options" it had (other than the extra graphics if you had EMS) was EGA or VGA. I ran (or at least tried to run) Wing Commander on an 8MHz XT with an EGA adapter. It was anything but smooth. Unless you count about 5-10 FPS as "smooth". I did, however, run it on a 486. Which I only realized many years later (and after beating the game) was WAY too fast. :P

          • by xero314 ( 722674 )

            I sincerely doubt that.

            Doubt it all you want, but trust me, the first system I ever ran it on were the CAD machines in the computer lab at the college an associate of mine worked at. I was a pretty dedicated Commodore user at the time so didn't have a PC available and my buddy had a copy of Wing Commander. So we would play it at his work, a blatant abuse of university equipment that nearly got him canned, but that is beside the point. I can't remember the full statistics on the machines but I do recall they were 8086 (because

            • other than a slight pause during explosions the game actually ran quite well.

              I'm thinking that you're remembering the game through rose tinted glasses. At the time, quite a lot of games were PAINFULLY slow. (I remember Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego being oddly faster on a CGA PCjr than it was on a beefy EGA XT! Of course, that had everything to do with fill-rates.) So Wing Commander running at 5-10 FPS probably didn't seem so bad. It really was supposed to run faster than that. :)

              • by xero314 ( 722674 )

                I'm thinking that you're remembering the game through rose tinted glasses.

                I'd call it relative, not rose colored. And I will agree it certainly wasn't optimal, like running WC off of floppy, I was just saying it was playable and enjoyable on a 8086, and didn't require a 80286 or higher. The box claimed 286 12 mhz or better with Dual Floppy or a Hard Disk. Never tried it with dual floppy but if it was anything like one floppy it would have been far less enjoyable than the frame rate on an 8086. And since most sci fi movies are 24 frames per second, I can't see playing a game a

    • Wasn't Wing Commander a PC game first? Regardless of the answer, I absolutely agree WRT Turrican, which is STILL the most-mentioned Amiga game. BTW you can get a 32kB knockoff of the first level of Turrican [] for windows (I believe it works on the latest wine as well.)
    • by antime ( 739998 )
      Turrican was a C64 game and Wing Commander a PC game.
      • although there was a turrican c64 port (quite amazing in its own right) turrican was an amiga/atari st game.
        • by antime ( 739998 )
          Both Turrican 1 and 2 were originally developed on the C64, then ported to other platforms. Turrican 3 was originally released on the Megadrive (as Mega Turrican) and later ported to the Amiga.
          • you are right, I googled around and that is correct, funnily enough way back I had turrican on my atari st before my c64 friends got it, I guess they didn't know it existed before or something...
    • Where's Marble Madness??
      • Marble Madness was a (near perfect) port of the arcade game, so not really an "Amiga" game, per-se. And I don't think it was really all that influential, either. There are a few maze games out there these days, but it's a pretty anemic genre.
  • Populous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tsu-na-mi ( 88576 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @04:08PM (#18708847) Homepage
    Rather than Syndicate, I think Bullfrog's Populous was more influential. It ushered in the era of the 'god' sim. Most of the rest I can agree with, but I had never even heard of Another World, and I consider myself an avid Amiga gamer back in the day.

    I think the author may have a bit of tunnel vision, insofar as the games are rather limited to a few publishers (Psygnosis & Sensible Software make up half the titles).

    Notably missing are Blood Money, Arkanoid (maybe because it's a port), and Battle Squadron.
    • Another World [] was known as "Out of this World" in the US.
      It was one of the most famous adventure games of the era (at least in France), with Alone in the Dark [].
    • Never hearing of Another World is possibly because it was never an Amiga game in the US (and then it would have been called Out Of This World instead)...atleast according to Moby Games [].
    • Another World was in all the Ami mags, and it was pretty popular. I remember playing it, and getting almost nowhere near through it. (Same with all of the SotBs). Actually, a Windows XP version was released recently, and you can download the demo here [].
    • I'm forgoing mod points to reply and get a bit of perspective on this, because I'm suprised I missed/don't recall
      some of the things that the article talks about.

      Rather intriguing to find out Syndicate got its start on Amiga (tunnel vision, or not).

      Lest you think me a heathen/n00b, I got my start on the Atari2600 (Asteroids, Atlantis, Subterrania, Tanks), then
      a Classic Nintendo (Rolling Thunder, Metroid, Double Dragon--to the point me and roommate almost got murdered by our 3rd roomie). Mid to late 80's

  • by SirBruce ( 679714 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @04:10PM (#18708887) Homepage
    The update to Defender of the Crown already came out a few years ago. IMHO, it largely sucked. I only played it a couple of times before putting it back into the box. I never did get the hang of the 'cinematic' swordfighting controls.

    Virtually all of Cinemaware's games could have been listed, but DotC and Wings are probably two of the best examples. Rocket Ranger and It Came From the Desert are also heartily recommended.

    The list in the quoted article does have some glaring ommissions. Dungeon Master was the first 3D realtime action CRPG, and I think the Amiga version was superior to both the ST and PC versions. Also woth mentioning are Populus and Artic Fox, which I think really shined in the Amiga versions. Finally, there is Faery Tale Adventure, which I think was one of the best isometic action CRPGs ever, irrespective of platform.
    • IIRC Dungeon Master was the first Amiga game to require 1Mb of RAM and actually increased memory upgrade sales.
      • by bri2000 ( 931484 )
        I seem to recall that as well (and that was at a time when the 512KB Amiga upgrade was costing about £150). I think the reason DM isn't on the list is that it was released for the ST about a year ahead of the Amiga version. I certainly remember all the ST fanboys at school using the availability of DM as one of the principal arguments in favour of the ST (that and the MIDI port).
    • by snuf23 ( 182335 )
      I think the first update was "Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown". There was also a "digitally remastered version". The latest is Defender of the Crown: Heroes Live Forever [], which looks like it has some cards thing going on in it.
      I think Faery Tale Adventure was great for the huge world that streamed in seamlessly off the disk. Admittedly the world was fairly sparse but at the time there was nothing else like it. It also had some pretty good music. Getting the turtle and later the golden swan to ride was
  • Missing Games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wyrd01 ( 761346 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @04:15PM (#18708955)
    Everyone's going to have their own take on what was influential to them. I grew up playing games on my dad's Amiga (500 through 4000 over the years). My shoddy descriptions won't do them justice, but two games that were very important to me are missing:

    Faery Tale Adventure: []
    A giant, continuous world full of quests and tasks to run. Like most old games it was very unforgiving... you could die quickly and easily if you weren't careful. I spent hours exploring that world. I remember finding a flying goose and being able to fly across the land. Ah the memories.

    Dungeon Master: ter_game) []
    The first real-time, first person dungeon crawling game. Casting spells involved clicking a series of runes in a particular order, Fireball was Fire then Wing. On the 13th level of the dungeon was the boss, whom you had to capture in a forcecage, a very challenging battle. You could also go down to the 14th level whose only resident was a huge dragon. Food was a big issue in the game, you had to manage your food stocks carefully. The dragon at the bottom of the dungeon could be killed for a heaping pile of Dragon Steaks. To me this was the most influential game on the Amiga, it is my favorite Amiga game of all time.
    • I still hear the music from the Faery Tale Adventure in my head from time to time. Not that it was particularily good, it's just the game was very long and it played over and over and over. By that logic I'm sure I'll remember some Slashdot stories forever.
      • by fbjon ( 692006 )
        Man, that is a game I had completely forgotten. Damn you, now I had to go download the music!
    • by GreggBz ( 777373 )
      Dungeon Master originally appeared on the Atari ST. :-p
      Not to diminish it's brilliance though. The stereo sound on the Amiga really made it creepy.

    • by jdigriz ( 676802 )
      Never got by the darned switch puzzles in DM. DM2 was fun too. I also liked picking up items and holding them at chest height to throw them. Ninja level gained, sweet! Throwing a falchion into a bad guy was just evil.
  • ...also known as Out of this World is one of my most favorite games of all time. I played the MSDOS version at a time when graphics were getting fairly decent. Even though Another World used very simple vector graphics, the motion capture that went into making the character animations was absolutely amazing. The art was beautiful and the original music fit really well into the bizarre fantasy/scifi world envisioned in the game. It was the first time the visuals, music, and story of a game really came togeth
  • by cca93014 ( 466820 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @04:30PM (#18709235) Homepage
    Dungeon Master, Carrier Command, Kick Off 2, Xenon 2, F/18 Interceptor

    Dungeon Master was way, way out there. You could even carry your characters over to the sequel title!

    There was so much originality in the Amiga gaming scene that is sadly, sadly lacking in modern gaming. Looking back at the Amiga it was so far ahead of its time in so many for thought...
    • You could even carry your characters over to the sequel title!

      The Bard's Tale games on my Apple IIe when I was a kid let you do the same thing. In fact, at least one of them (III) let you carry over your characters from other series entirely - e.g. Wizardry.

      The obscure and unfinished Star Saga trilogy let you migrate your characters from the first game to the second.

      I believe Might & Magic II let you bring your characters from the first game over as well.

      Nothing against the Amiga - it was an awesome pla
    • Dungeon Master, yeah, now that was something. I'll add to the list

      - ArmourGeddon - switch between piloting one of several combat machines (heavy tank, light tank, helicopter, strike fighter, stealth bomber, and armored hovercraft) combat against the computer or another player via serial. All the simulators were quite fun to control. Sure with the BZFlag guys would get ideas from it.

      - Gauntlet I and II - FOUR Players at the same time with all the good sound and graphics! Sure did the arcade version justi
    • Not just gaming.. Remember demos []?
    • Carrier Command. Now that was an underrated gem. Not certain if it was an Amiga game first, though. There was certainly a (not as good looking) PC version, and I played both at various times.

      Sad to say, I seem to recall some bugs in the Amiga version that weren't in the PC version. Your inventory would get screwed, and you'd have to restart your game to get it working right again. And on the PC you could send a set of walruses with a set of mantas way off on expeditions to capture other islands, as long as
  • SpeedBall (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SheldonYoung ( 25077 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @04:34PM (#18709313)
    SpeedBall II: Brutal Deluxe is still the most adrenaline-pumping game I have played, though the original Half Life came close. The balance and playability of SBII was spot on, the sounds complemented the atmosphere and two-player mode was immensely fun.
  • F18 Interceptor! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @04:38PM (#18709375) Journal
    I think it might've been as late as 1988 when my brother and I had F18 interceptor [] networked on our amigas: head-to-head networked air combat flightsim, with excellent color, speed, and stereo sound, when a lot of people were still using black-and-white Macs that went 'beep'. My friends in college were literally unable to believe such things existed until they saw it.
    • Wow, after finding these screenshots []... well... that is insane. This game was released in 1988?! Very impressive graphics... :)
      • In close-up dogfighting it didn't refresh often enough and got a bit blocky and clunky-feeling. But, y'know, everyone else was playing 2d things like castle wolfenstein.
    • I think it might've been as late as 1988 when my brother and I had F18 interceptor [] networked on our amigas: head-to-head networked air combat flightsim, with excellent color, speed, and stereo sound, when a lot of people were still using black-and-white Macs that went 'beep'. My friends in college were literally unable to believe such things existed until they saw it.

      Oh yes! That game was cracking good fun. Used to take it in turns with a mate to see who could pull off the most outragous stunts, like touching the plane's belly in the sea without crashing, flying inverted under the bridges, or just taxiing it over a bridge. :)

      Very well designed game for the time, and impressive to play.

  • by dougsha ( 247714 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @04:47PM (#18709523) Homepage
    I'm still enormously proud of my Cinemaware game "King of Chicago". It was Cinemaware's 2nd best-seller in its first 2 years - waaaaay behind sales of Defender of the Crown by Kellyn Beeck (250k units DoC - amazing in '85, 50k KoC - nice in sales in '86). King was definitely not one of the 10 most influential Amiga games, however, because I rolled my own interactive narrative system - Dramaton ( GDC talk on Dramaton: [] ) - which was just a little too out there for anyone to replicate.

    I did the first version of King on the Mac in '86 and then ported it to the Amiga and the Apple IIGS. I did my own art on the Mac (using digitized clay heads) but C-ware wisely redid the art for the Amiga, which had a lot to do with the big sales. Rob Landeros (who later formed Trilobyte and did 7th Guest) did the art.

    Coding on the Amiga was a blast. The main online hangout for developers was BIX, the Byte Information Exchange. Simple things like screen-flipping for animation were poorly documented and there was little agreement in the first years about the best way to code them. You had to get down and dirty writing little fragments of code executed by "the copper" - the video coprocessor system.

    "Cinemaware is still alive today and currently working on an update of Defender of the Crown.'" - And screwing the original game devs royally. They stripped any mention of Kellyn Beeck from their current version of Defender of the Crown and left my name off the King of Chicago credits on their website. Here's a little discussion with a current Cinemaware employee on the Indie Gamer's forum about their current version of Defender of the Crown &highlight=King/ [].

    At least they'll never butcher King of Chicago because they'll never figure out Dramaton.

    Self-horntoot warning - I am also very proud of the game I did before King of Chicago - ChipWits - which I am reviving at [] .
    • by NullProg ( 70833 )
      I have most of the cinemaware titles on my IIgs. My kids play the crap out of DOTC and Zany Golf from EA. Never played King of Chicago. I think Cinemaware hit its peak with the release of the three Stooges :)

      +10 Retro.
    • Hey I actually remeber that game, it was kinda good! Spent a fair few nights playing it on my old A500!

      I think they should also have stated devpac was one of the most influential games. The amiga was responsible for getting many people into programming, for me that's when programming really made sence.
      • I think they should also have stated devpac was one of the most influential games.
        You do realise that Devpac was an assembler and NOT A GAME, right?!
    • I spent hours and hours playing the ibm port on my dad's 8088 when I was a kid - loads of fun. Definitely one of the best of their titles.
  • The only Amiga game that interested me back in the 90's that wasn't on the PC or SNES/Genesis is Alien Breed.
    There is a freeware remake available for Windows: []

  • I loved Black Crypt. []
  • It's probably not one of the "most influential" Amiga games, but I have a fondness for a game called Wanderer. It was a Boulderdash clone, but with many extra features such as flying arrows and a few others traps. I really should track it down and use an emulator - good times.

    The death-scream when your avatar is killed is pretty funny too.

    *walk underneath boulder*

  • In middle school back when I was playing Trade Wars like it was my job my bud had an Amiga 2000 I think and promised to show me some gaming graphics that would blow my PC away. Surely I thought nothing could top Kings Quest. He showed me one of the games on this list, Shadow of the Beast- making sure to point out the parallax insanity going on. Then I thought surely if a game comes out for the PC thats ALSO on the Amiga that they will be the same.

    And then I witnessed Ocean's F29 Retaliator - released on bot
  • obviously they couldn't mention every game in the 'top 10', but some others that i distinctly remember:

    - Shadow of the Beast: first time I ever saw parallax scrolling!
    - The Killing Game Show: most awesome intro animation ever.
  • Am I wrong in thinking that Maxis's original SimCity was first launched on Amiga? I ran it on my Tandy 1000 RL (with Hard Drive) in the early nineties (same computer is currently my monitor stand). SimCity has even had a modern release.

    Populous I can get onboard with. That game rocked. The second was pretty good as well. And surprisingly the third one is one of my all time favorite games - I've even played it in the past year.
    • That is correct, I had it and played it a lot. It was similar to Sim City 2000, Had no sewer system or arcologies etc. I remember reading That Sim city 2000 was what the designer had wanted the original Sim city to be. I threw my A500 away a few years ago, just didn't have space for it and I could buy one on EBay for under $10. But I think I still have the Sim City floppies around somewhere.
  • Hack & Slash, an RPG door game for the CNet Amiga BBS system. One of my favorite online games of all time!

The trouble with a lot of self-made men is that they worship their creator.