Happy Birthday Amiga

In the days before the consoles of today such as the Playstation, the Xbox and even the NES that was still in its early days, we had Commodore and their home computer output. Two years previous had seen the release of the famous Commodore 64, that is still highly revered to this day but in 1985 they released the Commodore Amiga. The A1000 came with 256 KB ram that could be upgraded to 512 KB with a cartridge. It’s amazing how far things have come since then. In the eighties, 256 kb seemed quite a lot of power. Thirty years later and 256kb seems minimal as does 512 KB. It was a good spec but it lasted around two years before coming obsolete.

It was the Amiga 500 (A500) that saw Commodore hit success. It saw the release of many hit games that Amiga owners would enjoy, games such as Worms, Cannon Fodder, Sensible Soccer, Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker, Speedball 2, Kick Off and Kick Off 2, Populous, Eye of The Beholder, Settlers, Elite 2:Frontier,  the Monkey Island series, Civilization and Championship Manager to name but a few. It is amazing when you look back then to see how far things have come. Some games have survived in the 21st century spreading on to consoles. Take for example the Monkey Island games. A classic game which will live on for many years to come. It was fun and entertaining and kept you hooked. Worms and civilization another couple of cult games that have lived on in various formats.

Generally the versions on other formats like the PC and consoles have worked. The Monkey Island series transferred well.Sensible Soccer mind you had some issues. On the PC, Sensible Soccer could find itself being a bit faster speed on game play. It was still fun to play. That was until some smart alec decided that If it aint broke, well break it anyway. Sensible Soccer was released on the Playstation 2. Whats wrong with that you might ask? Well they decided that the main essence of the game i.e the looking down on the pitch idea, was no longer to continue, it was brought down to the same as other football games. That’s in no way taking a certain look at Sensible Soccer and the rest of the football related games. The point of Sensible Soccer was the from above view with the pitch vertical. If that wasnt enough, some idiot thought it would be fun to give them bobble heads…Yes that’s right bloody bobble heads. It was enough to bring a tear to Sensible Soccer lovers eye. Fear not though, Microsoft introduced it onto the XBox 360 in its original format. Owners of the 360 who were also fans of the game, would find themselves being able to enjoy the game as it was meant to be.

For the lovers of the Football Manager series, many of whom will remember the early days when it was Championship Manager. The game has come a long long way since its release in 1992. I remember the first version, the game had no real footballer names due to licensing, but never fear, the next version to come out had real names. You could find the names of Paul and Oliver Collyer who both received MBE’s for services to the computer games industries. From this creation saw the founding of Sports Interactive. The Development Company allowed them to continue to grow and grow. In 2003 though Sports Interactive and Eidos split. Collyer and the Sports Interactive team retained the games database and engine. Eidos the name and interface. Sports Interactive teamed up with Sega to produce Football Manager. Football Manager flows more closely to the original Championship Manager. The CM that continued under Eidos, struggled to live up to or even compete with the FM series, The last full release of Championship Manager was in 2010. Since then it has found its way on to Apple and android formats. It is a shame to see the name of Championship Manager reduced to Champ Man 14 and Champ Man 15. Having played the Champ Man versions, it is very much the case that the spirit of the original Championship Manager lives on in the FM franchise.

Commodore followed the release of the A500 with the A500 plus. The A600 came next and what proved to be not the best idea. They took off the keypad and in the process made it difficult to play certain games that had been playable on the 500 requiring a keypad. It lasted a year before the next model was released. The Amiga 1200 was out, I had one of these and it faired better in tech ways compared to previous models. It came with 2MB of ram (as standard), graphics had improved and expansion of memory was possible. That though is where the good things ended. Some of the 500 games couldnt be played on the 1200 unless certain hardware components were changed, It was a shame Speedball 2 was one of those games that would require settings changes compared to previously.

It would all come to an in 1994 as Commodore struggled both financially and competitively. The rise of IBM and Apple Macs, together with its hostile reputation meant that the game was up. The home computer as we knew it would continue to evolve over the years. For Commodore the C64 and Amiga names live on with some what affection. It appears like many things that get replaced, they often carry the memories of growing up.

The Caboose Cafe – Ramsgate

Last Saturday, along with some delightful company, I paid a second visit to The Caboose Cafe and Bar. You can certainly do no wrong in visiting this place. It is intimate and very unimposing, the atmosphere is pleasant with music playing in the background. The staff are great and always will come over and ask if you would like a drink before choosing the food. There are of course many of us who always find it difficult to choose from such lovely choices and there is no pressure to order straight away.

There are various meals and you wont be disappointed to hear that the breakfast is served till five, you can get various sandwiches, wraps and the like. They also have various things that happen in the evening. On my second visit I had a BLT sandwich. By no exaggeration, the BLT prepared at the Caboose, is one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever had. The bacon is freshly cooked to order and the aroma that comes from the kitchen is just so enjoyable. Next time I’m in there though it’s got to be the full on bacon sandwich. Whilst in the day you can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere with a bite to eat, from Wednesday evening to Friday evening you can find yourself immersed in the taste of Mexico. On a Friday and Saturday evening you can find yourself there till 11 with a mixture of entertainment.

They have a website Caboose Cafe, you can find their page on facebook Caboose Facebook. Be sure to visit, you wont regret it.

Mike, Georgia and the staff will be very happy to see you.