As I’ve mentioned a few times in passing, my day job for the back end of the 1980s and half the 1990s was selling home computers; for a lot of that time it was primarily the Amiga range since the indie company I worked for called Computerworld was a specialist, but we shifted a fair few Commodore 64s, Atari STs, DOS and later Windows PCs and games consoles as well during that time. But today’s ramble is about the Amiga and more specifically an event which occurred after original manufacturers Commodore rather unceremoniously disappeared beneath the waves.
Some machinations followed, with the rights eventually being sold to ESCOM and, after what was a quite frankly agonising wait whilst assorted ducks were organised, eager Amiga dealers in the south of the UK were invited to a presentation about the re-launch of the A1200 under the new Amiga Technologies brand. This took place at the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel in London with the dealer event happening on the 17th August 1995; I was there and during the event they handed folders of promotional materials… and my copy has somehow survived the intervening years pretty much intact, which is how I’m “remembering” so much detail. The folder itself is a bit battered but looks like this…
…and the contents can be viewed as a PDF (11.2Mb). The enclosed literature includes transcripts of a couple of speeches which were delivered during the event, a potted history of the Amiga and a couple of double sided, glossy information sheets about the Amiga 1200 and the M1438S – a multisync monitor with stereo speakers – which are somewhat reminiscent of the ones that Commodore used to supply dealers with. One thing worth noting is that, although the paperwork all sports the new Amiga logo with the red square, that isn’t present on the hardware in any of the cheesecake shots.
So there you go, a teensy slice of Amiga history that possibly won’t be archived online already; the text is rather dry, but that’s pretty much how I remember the presentation being overally, despite what the Amiga was capable of. And for any Amiga fans or archivists who might be reading, if you’d like to host a copy of the PDF please feel free.
Released into the arcades in 1995 by the… interestingly named Fuuki, Go Go! Mile Smile – sometimes known as Sasume! Mile Smile depending on the territory – is an endearingly cute, maze based action game. The player controls a cyan egg which can only be moved around the tracks surrounding the play area; these spaces are completely safe because the patrolling enemies can’t actually move into them but, in order to complete each stage, the contents of the egg must literally come out of their shell and gather all of the items which are dotted around the screen.
Contents plural because the egg is almost TARDIS-like and crammed impossibly full with yellow, fluffy chicks; as they head out into the playfield these avians form a delightful little Conga line and, if an enemy breaks their chain in some way, a life is lost and the round restarts. The fire button can retract everything back into the egg at lightning speed if used early enough and there’s also a friendly fairy who drifts past occasionally, pausing on her way to drop off items which are either a score bonus or there to help, for example temporarily allowing the chicks to deal with their pursuers.
So with the bonus items, fast retract button and the egg being safe from contact with the nasties it might sound like an easy game, but Go Go! Mile Smile really isn’t; keeping a constant, watchful eye on the entire line of birds and making sure they’re not about to make contact with anything is an acquired skill and it’s incredibly easy to miss potential collisions when concentrating on where the lead one with a piece of shell on it’s head is going. There’s not much time to hesitate or strategise either since each level has a time limit, this can sometimes be topped up by items from the fairy but it’s best to play like the seconds dished out at the start of the stage are all you’re getting.
I stumbled across Go Go! Mile Smile over a decade ago, randomly downloading it whilst picking up ROM images for MAME in part because it looked bright and colourful and I wanted something that wasn’t a hardcore scrolling shoot ’em up so that my Beloved and I would sit down and play together; we did but, ironically, she spent far longer playing Parodius rather than anything else! The gameplay shares a few features of the 1982 coin-op Anteater except with more potential entry points into the maze-like playfield and, despite all the jolly colours and music, things get seriously intense as the seconds tick down whilst trying to gather those final, hard to reach items on a stage.