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The Amiga 500.

It's 30 years to the day since Commodore unleashed the first in a long line of its Amiga machines onto the market, and while the initial Amiga 1000 made a fair technological splash of its own, it was the chronologically awkward Amiga 500 that was to cement the hardware maker's place in the annals of gaming history, shifting around six million units.

Much has changed since the Amiga's more innocent pre-internet days, not least in the way that games are bought, sold and marketed. Here's a quick look in video and pictures at the Amiga's finest hour.

To the delight of children everywhere, Commodore championed the Amiga 500 as a serious machine for serious business, every bit as much as it did for its gaming capabilities. Thus the foundations for the most crucial lie of childhood gaming in the 80s were laid.

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Such was the significance of the Amiga 500 that even stars like Buzz Aldrin and Little Richard - every inch the Taylor Swift of his day - were brought on board to herald the arrival of the machine. In this age of innocence, neighbours knew each other by name, policemen could still hit children misbehaving in public, and we were forever having to shoo the Pointer Sisters away during the mixing phase of their new album.

In an age before environmentalism, the Amiga came with pages and pages of door-stopping documentation, and its games were shipped in inexplicably large boxes that all but demanded a room of their own in your home.

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For our younger readers, those are manuals and floppy disks.
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Image courtesy of amigaguru.com

The Amiga was popular enough to fuel magazines devoted to the machine. Here's an issue of Amiga Power from 1994, with the wonderful Cannon Fodder 2 starring on the front cover.

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A magazine with attitude.

Come the early 90s, Commodore was still rolling out iterations of its flagship computer. Hair was floppier, pop was diluting into itself, yet the Amiga continued to be an object of desire.

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The Amiga 500+ was, as its name suggests, an enhanced version of the original Amiga 500.

The Amiga's final hours may have been approaching, but you'd never have guessed from the spirit of optimism in Commodore's marketing of the machine (£400 - no monitor).

While the subsequent Amiga 1200 had its loyal fans, it failed to launch with the same kind of technological impact in an increasingly competitive market. Amidst the sound and fury of the blossoming console wars - not to mention the thriving PC gaming market - Commodore instead turned its focus towards new projects such as its CD-ROM format console, the Amiga CD32 - a machine that was in many ways ahead of its time.

It was a case of too little, too late however. The company was declared bankrupt a year after the launch of this new kind of computer, yet the significance of Commodore's contribution to gaming history will forever be assured thanks to its most popular machine.

Happy Birthday Amiga, and thanks for all the memories.

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About the author

John Bedford

John Bedford

Editor in Chief, Metabomb

John is Metabomb's Editor in Chief, and is responsible for all of the Hearthstone news, features and guides content on the site.

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