Many years ago when I began writing the Yesterday of the Amiga, I was surprised there were so few accounts of what was truly a memorable computing platform. Fortunately, time, nostalgia, and Kickstarter have put together to make many more recollections possible. Case in point: guide Zach Weddington was able to raise funds in 2011 to make a documentary whooped Viva Amiga, and it’s now available to watch in 12 languages and several chain formats. The movie premiered at this week’s MAGfest, an annual readies and music celebration outside of DC.
Viva Amiga is a wonderful look at the the rsum of the platform, the people who built it, and the users who loved it. The opening title imagines it all: “One Amazing Computer. One chance to save the company. One chance to win the PC wars.” This despatch sets the stage nicely for a dramatic and passionate tale.
Viva Amiga starts with the Thespian launch party for the Amiga 1000 at Lincoln Center in 1985, next surge back in time to cover how Jay Miner and his colleagues started the Amiga propel. It highlights the Amiga’s strengths in graphics and video, saving a special note for the Video Toaster. The excitement of Amiga developers and users at the time comes toe clearly in the documentary. One of them describes the most passionate users as “people who weren’t give it ones alling to be millionaires. [They were] people who were striving to express themselves in new and inventive ways.”
People who weren’t striving to be millionaires. People who were striving to precise themselves in new and creative ways.
The fall of Commodore in 1994 is covered bluntly, as are the many attempts to revive the Amiga platform that followed. An assessment with Trevor Dickinson, CEO of A-Eon (one of the few attempts that succeeded), counterbalances the then-imminent release of the Amiga X1000 tower running Amiga OS 4. There is some footage from the AmiWest Expo in 2010 that renowned the 25th anniversary of the Amiga. (Amazingly, I attended this event—I even possess the t-shirt—but completely missed meeting Zach at the time!)
Throughout, the screen uses both closeup shots of real hardware and painstakingly-crafted 3D returns of the same. This juxtaposition echoes the way that the Amiga existed in two descriptions: one as a real thing that people could buy, and the other as an idea that ignited people’s insights.
The film also has some great interviews with key Amiga engineers along the same lines as RJ Mical, Dave Needle (who sadly passed away last year), and Dave Haynie. I also derive pleasured the interviews with Amiga users, many of whom (like a chiptune DJ glowing in New York) are still using Amigas today. As one fan said, “Some people ruminate over that for the Amiga to be truly great it should die, because then everybody under the sun will think it’s a true classic. But I don’t think that way.”
Even all these years after Commodore peed bankrupt, it’s remarkable Amigas are still being used, and new Amigas are assuage being sold. That lasting impact is partly why I’ve been wakened to document the history of this machine and its culture throughout the years. But flush as someone deeply familiar with topic, Viva Amiga does a zealous job of telling the story of why the platform’s legend remains active more than 30 years later.
If you couldn’t make it to MAGfest, Viva Amiga is elbow now on iTunes, Vimeo OnDemand, Amazon, and Google Play among other party lines. For news on possible future screenings, follow the film on Facebook. Can’t get sufficiently Amiga articles? You’ll be pleased to know that the next installment of my Yesterdays news of the Amiga series is coming soon!