It’s Christmas and mid-summer in New Zealand and as we come to the end of another year it’s pleasing to see the return of multiple Amiga shows around the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few of them following the relaxation of New Zealand covid-19 travel restrictions. Although some Amiga events like Amiwest in Sacramento and AmiParty in Poland continued throughout the pandemic most in-person shows were cancelled over the previous 3 years.
Last year Amiga 37 in Germany signalled the resurgence of international Amiga gatherings as the world opened up again after enforced international travel bans and lock-downs. The trend continued during 2023 and, for me, began with a visit to Ireland in January to sample some Irish charm and whisky at Amiga Ireland 2023. 😉
Iarla Ó’Riada – Amiga Ireland 2023
During the northern-hemisphere summer I travelled to the UK to attend two successful but very different Retro Amiga computer events: Retcon 2023 in London and Kickstart 01 in Nottingham. You can read my personal impressions of both shows in Amiga Future magazine. Suffice to say both events were very enjoyable and typified the resurgent Amiga spirit. Even better, the organisers of both events are planning even bigger shows in June next year and I am pleased to sponsor both events of behalf of A-EON Technology. Check out the Retcon24 and Kickstart 02 websites for more details.
I ended the year by attending Amiga 38 Germany in Monchengladbach followed by a welcome return to Amiwest in Sacramento. Amiga 38 was reduced to a one day show this year but still attracted around 800 registrations. I had the honour of delivering the opening address to welcome visitors to the show. This was followed by my presentation in which I gave a potted history of the evolution of the soon to be released A1222 Plus. It’s been a long and difficult journey. If you want to hear my opening address or learn more about the convoluted development of the A1222 please check out the official Amiga38 video link. And if you are into podcasts you can listen to all of the Amiga38 presentations on Patrick Becher’s Retrokompott.de
If you missed Amiga38 there are plenty of show reports on the web. Check out AmigaGuru’s blog for quick overview of the event.
It was real pleasure to be able to attend Amiwest 2023 after a three-year hiatus imposed by the global pandemic. Once again, I had the honour of opening the show and delivered a presentation about hardware and software advancements at A-EON Technology, which also included a potted history of the A1222 Plus’ development journey. As usual, prior to the main Amiwest show Steven Solie ran an AmigaOS DevCon with contributions from developers both in-person and online.
Amiwest 2023 DevCon – Steven Solie
The traditional Saturday night banquet speech featured a captivating presentation by Gary Hare, a former CEO of Amiga, Inc. during Pentti Kouri’s reign. Gary revealed hitherto undisclosed behind-the-scenes stories from his time at Amiga, Inc. for our ‘From Vultures to Vampires’ trilogy. His talk was both entertaining and amusing but tinged with a poignant undercurrent of unfulfilled possibilities.
Gary Hare – ex CEO of Amiga, Inc. (under Pentti Kouri’s ownership)
Again, there are plenty of show reports and videos available on the web. Check out Doug Compton’s 10 Minute Amiga Retro Cast video and, if you want to watch all the presentations, including Gary Hare’s banquet speech, links to Robert Bernardo’s official Amiwest 2023 videos can be found on amiga.org. Robert’s videos from the Devcon are also available here.
Amiga Good stuff
While I was revealing details of the AmigaOne A1222 Plus development at Amiwest 2023, Matthew Leaman gave a presentation of AmigaKit’s A600GS project which has been in development for over a year and is nearing commercial release.
The A600GS is a low cost games system for running classic Amiga games and applications. It features a very small lightweight compact box that connects to a TV or monitor with an HDMI cable and is powered by USB-C.
Unlike some other games systems the A600GS includes wireless internet support for downloading software and updates. It also supports bluetooth and includes a USB port and analogue audio out plus standard ports for Amiga joysticks and mice.
A600GS retail packaging
For Amiga game-players the A600GS has ADF and HDF support with game save states and includes AmiSphere login in for system updates and software download from A-EON’s AMIstore server.
What does the ‘GS’ stand you might ask? Cast your mind back to the days of Commodore in 1990 when the company released the Commodore 64 Games System in Europe, its attempt to enter the booming console market dominated by Nintento and Sega. The name was often abbreviated to C64GS. So the ‘GS’ in the A600GS name obviously refers to Game System. However, Matthew has another reason for using the ‘GS’ label. Following in the footsteps of Commodore’s tradition of naming its motherboards after B-52’s song titles, the A600GS includes the name ‘Good Stuff’ on the motherboard silkscreen, which is a B52’s song and album released by the band in 1992.
Prototype A600GS system with mouse displayed at Amiwest 2023
Two versions of the A600GS are planned. The standard version with 2Gb ram and 64Gb of internal storage which will suit most game players and a A600GS Plus version which has 4Gb ram and 128GB of storage aimed at both game players and Amiga productivity software enthusiasts. The A600GS is bundled with Personal Paint v7.3 and OctaMed, both from A-EON, and Directory Opus. It also supplied with a CD32 layout joypad and optional mouse which will be useful for the applications software. A USB keyboard can also be attached. At present the A600GS uses a modified AROS ROM but other ROMs, supplied by the user, are also supported. It includes full AGA, OCS/ECS and will launch with RTG support and completely new icon set created by Stefan Be. It is not supplied with any games but users can install their own ADF or HDF files using the USB port.
A600GS running Amibench Release v46
According to Matthew, he is planning to release his Good Stuff Gaming System in the first quarter of 2024 at a retail price under $150. For full details check out Matthew’s Amiwest presentation.
Amiga Alliance for the next-generation
The recent news that ACube Systems, A-EON Technology and AAA Technology were collaborating to deliver the long awaited A1222 Plus was welcome news to next-generation AmigaOS enthusiasts. This dynamic partnership will hopefully usher in a new era of collaboration among Amiga technology companies.
The A1222 Plus features a Mini-ITX PowerPC architecture motherboard built around the QorIQ P1022 32-bit, 1.2GHz embedded Dual Core e500v2 microprocessor (utilizing one core under AmigaOS 4.1 and both cores under Linux).
● Embedded SPE FPU
● SODIMM DDR3 1600MHz memory slot (up to a maximum of 8GB)
● MicroSD card slot for UBoot software
● PCI Express x16 slot for Radeon RX5xx graphic card
● DVI port video output (not recommended for OS4)
● Gigabit Ethernet LAN port (X2)
● Sata controller (x2)
● Audio output port
● RS232 Serial output port (for debugging)
● Four USB2 ports (2 on backpanel and 2 internal)
● Full AmigaOS 4.1 license supplied by Hyperion Entertainment
● Full Enhancer Software v2.2 license supplied by A-EON Technology
● System Recovery USB stick created by Steven Solie
A1222 Workbench booting from Recovery USB stick
The A1222 Plus is supplied with the latest AmigaOS 4.1 updates from Hyperion Entertainment including updated ExecSG and uBoot firmware from Steven Solie. The A1222 Plus boots from the recovery USB stick in under twenty seconds and under 30 seconds when booting from an installed hard drive which includes the RadeonRX card initialisation time.
The Enhancer v2.2 software supplies 3D and 2D gfx drivers and power management for supported RadeonRX5xx cards and a whole host of other updated applications and utilities. Also included with the A1222 Plus is an updated version of DvPlayer (v54.11) which support A-EON’s video acceleration library allowing smooth playback coupled with clear DMA powered audio.
DvPlayer (v54.11) playing a 4K video on the A1222
Gone but not forgotten
A few months back I was contacted out of the blue by Rifka Rouxhet, the widow of Philippe “Torajaboy” Rouxhet. I had to admit I did not know Philippe had passed away in February 2019. Philippe was an avid Commodore and Amiga collector from Belgium and always supported A-EON’s hardware efforts. He was an beta tester for the AmigaONE X1000 and also purchased an X5000/40 motherboard even though he did not really need one. I last met Phillipe in Neuss at Amiga Germany 32 in 2017 when he presented me with some Commodore memorabilia including a Commodore tie. He brought along his young son William, who happily played Tower57 on the A1222 beta system we had on the A-EON display stand.
William playing Tower57 on an A1222 beta system at Amiga 32
Her reason for contacting me was to ask whether there was anyone who would be interested in buying her late husband’s extensive Commodore and Amiga collections which, since his passing, was stored away gathering dust. Neither she nor her sons knew anything about the collection and she was afraid it was silently rotting away. She sent me a video of the storage room which was jam packed with both hardware and software.
I told her I knew someone in who lived in the Netherlands who frequently purchased whole computer collections and asked if I could put him in touch with her. She agreed and I immediately sent an email introducing her to Marvin Droogsma, the convivial MC of Amiga30 in Amsterdam and trader in all things Amiga and pinball machines. I then left it to Marvin to make contact. I’m pleased to report that Marvin eventually purchased the whole collection.
A very small part of Philippe’s collection
I recently received a message from Rifka thanking me for introducing her to Marvin. She included a photo of some special case labels that Marvin created to honour Philippe’s collection, which I thought was a very nice touch indeed. “Philippe will be very pleased”, she wrote.
That’s all for this update, all that remains is for me to wish you all