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.

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It’s only a game…isn’t it?

As many of you will know, I am a football fan and of course as part of that, will come the various football orientated games. My favourite PC game is the Football Manager game and the favourite console game is FIFA. Anyway I love to play the game but recently I have been having a few issues. Not with the game as such but the merging of gaming and reality, I tend to always play as Liverpool F.C naturally of course with me being a Liverpool F.C fan. Up until recently Liverpool had a run of bad form and certain players were not (and some may still not) be playing as they should. That’s fine as in reality they will be dropped, rested, evenually sold. Unfortunately for me ,when it comes to playing the game, I have taken these real life issues and taken them to the game instead of just playing it as is.

Whilst in reality, Simon Mignolet has turned a corner in form and kept 5 clean sheets away from home, I still find myself wanting to drop him, This though means I have to buy another goalkeeper. I would have to sign another goalkeeper before doing that as I really don’t wish to be left with Brad Jones as my number one. The Australian goalkeeper has also fallen foul of my real life thoughts being transferred into the game. Unfortunately for me I am playing FM14. This means that I really dont have the opportunity to sell Mignolet if I wanted to as he has scarcely been at the club long enough to ship him out, but I do try and ship out Brad Jones as soon as possible,  I am also playing with the latest patch which means I have Mario Ballotelli This is another problem as because the Italian enigma has not been at the club long enough, selling him is impossible as he would have barely been there long. I try not to play him as much and sign another striker. It doesn’t help that even in game Ballotelli is as useless as the real version (although lately he started to find the back of the net) I don’t even think highly of Lambert either, based on their real life performances, but yet again there is not much I can do.

Joe Allen on the other hand, I find myself trying to offload as soon as possible, yet again I find myself basing my in game opinions on real life. I just cant fit him into my team how ever much I try because my mind is already blinkered ha ha. I have to say though I am able to make exceptions, Jordan Henderson who has this season picked up from last seasons increase in form, has found himself bench warming, In one game, I think it was on FIFA though, I shipped the midfielder out as part of a swap deal. I still dont end there as I have been known to ship out the Brazilian Lucas Leiva.

Im not sure if these decisions would have had any bearing on the performance of the team as in one season I had progressed well only to get sacked after losing the FA Cup final to Chelsea. It was literally win or bust, no matter whether I lost on penalties or by cruel luck in the last minute, they were giving me the boot. The most amusing of it all was the fact that they would appoint Andre Villas Boas as a replacement. One game I played, he took over and made more of a cock up than I ever did, so when he got the sack, I applied for the job again…..safe to say they didn’t accept my application.

Maybe one game I will keep them all and sell other players and see where it gets me, maybe I might make it to a second season….Do any other FM players out there have the same method of madness?

Did he really decide to do that?

Happy New Year everyone. So 2014 went out discreetly attempting to make too much disruption. I saw in the new year with old friends and the fantastic Funkle Pie. A band very much worth going to see. I recommend checking them out when you can. You can find them on Facebook along with upcoming gigs.

I thought I would take a break from blogging over the festive period. It’s always nice to take a break and relax when you can. I spent most of it when not out and about, playing Football Manager 14. Become quite addicted to it. Don’t think I’ve played the game so much since I had the Championship Manager 93 back in the early days when I had an Amiga 1200. Now that’s going back a while, back to the age of Sensible Soccer, Cannon Fodder, Lemmings , Populous, Operation Stealth.

Anyway, back to the main focus. As I lie in bed attempting to get to sleep and failing miserably, out of the blue an idea pinged in my mind. I’ll give up eating chocolate, not permanently mind you, god no, that would be a painfully horrible idea. I couldn’t give up chocolate permanent. That would never do. Then though as if that wasn’t enough, I decided to stop drinking coke. Double strike on a Monday, nothing like diving in at the deep end at the start of the year.

Thing is that I gave up chocolate for the period of lent a couple of years ago and said to myself that I would never do that again, so why am I doing it again. The chocolate lover is casting his favourite thing to one side for a period of time…I haven’t quite got to that bit yet. It will definitely be longer than a month, I wonder if I can do it until Easter. I mean come on, do you really think its possible to go without chocolate through the Easter period? nope I’m not that stupid….that’s one best not left open.

Of course I tend not to do things by halves, so not only giving up chocolate for a period of time, I decide I’m going to stop drinking coke, I haven’t decided how long for, but that one will be easier. I gave it up last year for a while, so I can easily do it again. Typically though, the day I decide to give up chocolate, one of my lovely colleagues brings in some chocolate that they have been told to get rid of. Sadly I will not be able to partake in this usual delight of cleaning up on the sweet side of things. I did think about cakes too, but there are likely to be birthdays and cakes brought in. There is of course only so much a man can give up before he starts to wonder about his own sanity….and Ive been wondering about that for quite a while.  One other thing I wont be giving up just yet is alcohol. I know it’s that time of year and I commend all those who are doing it for the January. I know a few of my friends are doing and one who is not just doing it for one month, but two. To be honest, it wouldn’t be worth my trying to do it as to be honest I can take or leave drinking alcohol. It’s nice to have a beer or glass of wine, but I could go a while without drinking. In fact I had one of those small one glass bottles of Jacob’s Creek and you know what? I wasn’t really fussed and although I finished it, I’m glad it wasn’t a whole bottle I had bought as I could have left it.Maybe it was because it was Jacob’s Creek? who knows but I certainly wasn’t fussed about it that’s for sure.

Something I did do though today and that was buy a bag of bananas and apples. Had bought bananas the other week, but havent had an apple for ages. Who knows, at this rate I might get a new pair of trainers and take up running…maybe one step at a time (no pun intended).

Anyway, that’s that for now and I shall be back soon with more musings. Till then, feel free to check out some blogs that my good friends write.