I bought a ticket to the world, but now I’ve come back again

If I did subtitles this would be followed with, “xx Amiga facts you probably weren’t aware of”, or something equally dull. But I don’t, so I won’t. On with the trivia – has anyone got an appropriate jingle?

(A) In December 1996, David Pleasance, through his newly formed company, Tangent Music, released an album to commemorate 10 years of Amiga music.

Titled ‘Everybody’s Girlfriend’, it’s a diverse blend of blues ballads, fusion and pop, and even includes a flamenco guitar track written and performed by the multi-talented former Commodore UK boss himself.

All the music is inspired by the Amiga, which appropriately is responsible for the midi interfacing, and was employed in the composition and sequencing of the album.

(A) If I don’t mention David Pleasance at least three times in each article, somewhere in the world a defenceless, fluffy A500 dies, alone and unloved. …David Pleasance …David Pleasance.

(A) As a result of a deal forged between Renegade and Triton Interactive Games, Sensible Soccer and Chaos Engine were to be adapted for use as dial-in phone challenges to be played via live TV transmissions.

Whilst the same premise was adopted for use in other tweaked Amiga games for various kid’s Saturday morning TV shows, these specific titles fell by the wayside, because, well, for reasons and stuff. Don’t look at me like that.

(A) The 20 second ‘Data Blast’ shown at the end of each episode of Bad Influence was made using an Amiga 600 and a copy of Europress Software’s programming language, Easy AMOS.

The post-show sequence consisted of 50 static screens cram-packed with information, tips, cheats and so on, displayed in rapid succession, much like a digital flipbook. To playback the pages at a speed fit for human consumption, you’d record it on a VCR and navigate your way around using the pause or jog function. It was a lot like Teletext only the graphics didn’t look like they were designed for an Atari 2600.

(A) In 1991 when The Bitmap Brother’s Magic Pockets was dumbed down to be used as a voice-activated phone-in game on the kid’s Saturday morning TV show, Motormouth, the Bitmap Kid was rechristened ‘Mighty Mo’.

(A) The first ‘Federation Against Software Theft’ (FAST) logo was designed by Psygnosis. It featured a red circle with a line crossed through it to evoke a sense of prohibition. The emblem was imbued with hypnotic properties which manipulated pirates into ‘going straight’ and piracy was eliminated overnight.

Part of this fact might not be as 100% technically accurate as the other. It’s your call.

(A) The Amiga 2000 can be used to make soap! Well, not quite directly. When the new Lever Brothers £12m soap plant opened in Port Sunlight, Merseyside in 1988, Amiga computers were used to orchestrate the flow of raw materials through 8 miles of pipes by interacting with 1500 sensors. More impressive still, it was a fully automated system.

(A) When Mirrorsoft published Falcon and Xenon II they included human-readable details of the copyright protection system on the key disk, including the source code and link routines.

(A) Due to “changes in tolerances of a small number of disk drives fitted to the new A500s”, some people who purchased the ‘Flight of Fantasy’ pack in 1990 noticed that one of the bundled games, F29 Retaliator, was totally unplayable.

Part of the copyright protection system devised by Ocean entailed sabotaging your plane with a severe engine fire almost immediately after take off if it detected the use of a pirate copy. Ocean agreed to replace any disks that reported false positives, branding law-abiding citizens as crooks.

(A) In 1992 it was reported that Commodore were planning to release an A800 all-in-one computer like the Apple Mac Classic to bridge the gap between the A500 and A1500. It was to include a hard drive and 16 channel audio. This ‘halfway house’ never saw the light of day, though it’s believed the concept eventually morphed into the A1200 we all know and love.

(A) Magic Bytes released their licensed Tom & Jerry game in 1989… three times, with a different name on each occasion; Tom & Jerry, Tom & Jerry 2 and Tom & Jerry: Hunting High And Low. They’re virtually identical, and equally horrific!

(A) Audiogenic’s UK-centric, celeb-endorsed Graham Gooch World Class Cricket sim was rebadged as Allan Border’s Cricket, and flogged in Australia by publisher, HES.

Remember the great Aussie/POHM war of 1993? This is how it began!

(A) The Simpsons spin-off title, Krusty’s Super Fun House, is actually a re-skinned interpretation of Rat Trap developed by Fox Williams. Acclaim didn’t nick it, they bought the rights from publishers, Audiogenic, in the hope that no one would spot their double-dealing dupery and think they were cheapskate vultures. We did, and they are. It had already featured on an ST-Amiga Format coverdisk by this stage so that didn’t help (issue 4, September 1988).

(A) When Atreid Concept’s 1993 puzzle-platformer, Fury of the Furries, was ported to the PC, Mac and Game Boy, it became ‘Pac-in-Time’ developed by Kalisto. Guess which famous pill-munching mascot starred in the retooled edition?

(A) Following the announcement of Commodore’s impending doom, Psygnosis made a compensation claim against the company for their contribution towards the CD32 design.

(A) Upon securing the license to produce a tie-in game based on the Japanese cartoon centred around a team of alien hominid cat people (Thundercats in case there is more than one to choose from), Elite commissioned Paradise Software to develop it for them.

Showing no faith in their ability to deliver the goods in time for Chrimbo 1987, they also commenced work on their own version.

Neither game was on track to meet the deadline, so Elite took the only sensible course of action available to them; they bought the almost-complete Samurai Dawn from Faster Than Light, sprinkled some catified graphics over the top, and called it Thundercats.

Development of each of the tardy games continued regardless. Paradise’s efforts became Beyond the Ice Palace (another Amiga title), while Elite’s interpretation was turned into Bomb Jack II, which was released for the 8-bit platforms, but not the Amiga. We got Mighty Bomb Jack instead.

We have Guru Larry to thank for this exclusive gem of a story.

(A) When Commodore were forced into liquidation in 1994, a slew of assets including trademarks, patents and licenses were made available to the highest bidder. Curiously, the UK trademark for ‘Maggot Mania’, an old Commodore 64 pack-in game (a Space Invaders-Centipede mash-up of sorts), was withheld from the auctions. As of 2004 it’s once again up for grabs!

It was actually coded by 16-year-old Jason Perkins on Commodore’s behalf. Maybe the deal was that he would retain the rights to the IP?

(A) In January 1993 Commodore were quizzed with regards to the possibility of releasing a CD-based games console. MD, Kelly Sumner, vehemently denied the rumours, proclaiming, “We’ve said for a long time that we can sell as many Amiga’s as we can get, so why bastardise our price point to go into that market?” He went on to dismiss the proposal as an impractical “dream machine”.

The CD32 was released in September 1993. Commodore had a track record for denying the existence of products right before the very much real and ready hardware was unveiled to the public. They did the same thing with the ‘A300’, which became the A600 upon release… another design and marketing fiasco according to David Pleasance (that’s another vulnerable, fluffy A500 saved!).

(A) The Bitmap Brothers in 1990 assisted in creating a pop video for the band, Oh Well, to promote their single, ‘Radar Love’. Over the course of four days they used an accelerated and memory-expanded Amiga 2000 to produce a series of onscreen ripple effects.

I imagine the Bitmaps had convinced them to sign a contract ensuring they’d be paid by the hour! I’ve known builders who swear by that approach. 😉

(A) Software developers, Rainbird, and the kid’s Saturday morning TV show, Motormouth, collaborated in 1989 to adapt the Amiga cinematic platformer, Weird Dreams, to be used as a phone-in quiz game.

The game was supplied with a 64-page novella, and David ‘Shadow of the Beast’ Whittaker composed the music for the Amiga version.

(A) Syndicate co-developer, Mike Diskett, won his job at Bullfrog by entering a game design competition in Amiga Power magazine (see page 93 of issue 2, June 1991). His winning entry as announced in issue 16 (pages 65-67, August 1992) was ‘Mr Wobbly Leg Versus The Invaders From Space’, and the game was featured on AP cover disk 10.

Demis Hassabis was acknowledged as a runner up thanks to the promise shown by his ‘Chess Invaders’ submission. He was also taken on by Bullfrog as a developer and went on to write Theme Park.

(A) Millennium’s Kid Gloves II: The Journey Back wasn’t really. It was developed by Digital Magic Software in 1991, when it was scheduled for release as ‘Little Beau’. The publisher fell into receivership, Millennium purchased the IP, tweaked it a bit and it was released as a sequel to Kid Gloves the following year. That explains why the protagonist in the follow-up looks naff-all like he did two years beforehand.

(A) All the animation sequences in the TV quiz show, Catchphrase, were executed using a bank of networked Amiga 2000s. They were drawn and brought to life with Deluxe Paint and ran at a staggering 15 frames per second!

(A) The 3D modelling and morphing techniques employed in the sci-fi TV show, Babylon 5, were creating using an Amiga in conjunction with NewTek’s Video Toaster and Lightwave ray-tracing software.

6 thoughts on “I bought a ticket to the world, but now I’ve come back again

  • June 23, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Back in the day, we used to believe that "AMIGA" stood for "Advanced Machine In Graphical (something)"

    Turned out to be b.s..

  • June 24, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    It wasn't 'Advanced Multitasking Integrated Graphic Architecture' was it? I found that on an abbreviations site, but don't recall it ever being used in connection with our Miggy.

    Cheers Aaron. I've never seen B5 so will have to take your word for it. I gather it's like a slicker Star Trek. That's the extent of my knowledge on the subject.

  • June 24, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    "It wasn't 'Advanced Multitasking Integrated Graphic Architecture' was it?"

    No, my friends back then didn't even know what "multitasking" was to integrate it into their completely-made-up acronym.

    They're the same ones that tld me the Amiga was used to make some "Sonic the Hedgehog" graphics, and that its sound capabilities were the equivalent of 6 cd players together (still not sure about that last one's validity)..

    Hey we were 15, making stuff up was required.

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