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      /  10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
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agami 
10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 10-Jan-2022 3:13:26
#1 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 722
From: Melbourne, Australia

Hi everyone.
During the holiday season break I spent a chunk of time researching the classic Amiga gaming releases from 1985 to 1995. I'm an INTP, it's part of my nature.

There were games released for the Amiga platform after 1995, though increasingly they were unofficial ports of PC titles, and games that required the very top specs of upgraded 68k and/or PPC accelerators, and graphics cards supporting Warp3D.
There's no clear separation between these two eras, but I decided to round it up to 10 years, ending in 1995.

Whilst I learned many things, there's one thing I felt compelled to share and would like to see the views of others.

It's no secret that for a sizable portion of video game history, licensed properties made for very crappy games. Largely due to the initial cost of the license, and the timing pressure of release to correlate with the movie release, games based on licensed properties tended to be quick grafts of movie characters onto simple platformers, or shooters, with very little thought given to actual gameplay.

In Amiga's rich and sizeable library of games, the above is not exclusive to games based on licensed properties. In the many hours of watching gameplay videos on YouTube, I would see other games which offer no thought given to gameplay (gamification), and would be simple re-hashes of other games but with a different coat of paint.

It's like taking the classic board game Snakes and Ladders, and then changing it to a prison-break theme and calling it Lights and Tunnels.

An interesting thing I noticed, is the marked rise in unique and thought-out gameplay mechanics from about 1991. A side-note interesting observation is that prior to 1991 the majority of Amiga games where joystick based, despite every Amiga computer shipping with a keyboard and mouse.

Which leads me to the lost opportunity for games based on pre-1991 often simple gameplay and how they might've benefited from post-1991 examples of thought-out gameplay, e.g.:

- 1990 Total Recall would've been much better if it could've used 1992 Flashback gameplay.
- 1988/1989 Ghostbusters/II would've been much better if it could've used 1992 Lost Vikings gameplay.
- 1990 Navy Seals would've been much better if it could've used 1993 Syndicate gameplay.
- 1990 Gremlins would've been much better if it could've used 1993 Lemmings 2 gameplay.

Anyway, that's just a few.
Keen to see what you guys think.


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ppcamiga1 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 10-Jan-2022 15:21:02
#2 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 23-Aug-2015
Posts: 407
From: Unknown

@agami

It was seven years 1985-1992. It was only OCS/ECS.
AGA games were mostly truncated versions of pc games.

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BigD 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 10-Jan-2022 19:57:07
#3 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6043
From: UK

@ppcamiga1

Please shut up... seriously! A lot of the killer app games were released 1993-1995. The Settlers, Lemmings 2, Syndicate, Cannon Fodder heck even Sensible World of Soccer and the mighty Worms came later! Not many fully took advantage of AGA though I think Slam Tilt, Napalm, Xtreme Racing and T-Zero all belong in the Amiga classics line up and there all AGA!

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BigD 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 10-Jan-2022 19:58:31
#4 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6043
From: UK

.... and Alien Breed 3D That was 1995

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newlight 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 10-Jan-2022 20:50:13
#5 ]
Super Member
Joined: 10-Sep-2007
Posts: 1758
From: Somewhere in Spain

@BigD

Out Run despite the usual criticism is a great conversion,Golden Axe that is awesome,Dracula that I've been playing this afternoon,Gloom Deluxe on AGA camp,Payback...there are lots of great Amiga titles out there that I don't remember

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BigD 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 10-Jan-2022 22:48:42
#6 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6043
From: UK

@newlight

The best coin up with the worst Amiga conversion (beside Final Fight) was Chase HQ. If only they'd had access to the Batman the Movie batmobile engine! So glad I've got the PS2 version on Japanese import!

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matthey 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 10-Jan-2022 23:33:36
#7 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1289
From: Kansas

agami Quote:

An interesting thing I noticed, is the marked rise in unique and thought-out gameplay mechanics from about 1991. A side-note interesting observation is that prior to 1991 the majority of Amiga games where joystick based, despite every Amiga computer shipping with a keyboard and mouse.


Most games 1991+ also used a joystick. Maybe the percentage of mouse and keyboard driven games increased though. Point and click adventure games were popular before 1991 and there are other genres as well.

1985
American History Adventure, Hacker

1986
Ports of Call, Balance of Power, Bard's Tale, Chessmaster 2000, Defender of the Crown, Ogre, Shanghai

1987
Little Robots, All About America, Arkanoid, Art of Chess, Blockbuster, Deep Space, Dungeon Master, Heroes of the Lance, The Faery Tale Adventure, The Hunt For Red October, Puppy Love, Quiwi, RoadWar 2000, RoadWar Europa, Silent Service, Stock Market: The Game, Super Brickout, TeleGames, TeleWar, The Wonders of The Animal Kingdom

1988
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh, Balance of Power, Bards Tale II The Destiny Knight, Battle Chess, D&D Pool of Radiance, Frontier Elite, Gettysburg: The Turning Point, MechForce/BattleForce, Pirates!, Rocket Ranger, Star Trek the Rebel Universe, The Fidelity Chessmaster 2000, Ultima IV, Wasteland

1989
B.A.T., Chaos Strikes Back, D&D Curse of the Azure Bonds, D&D Dragons of Flame, D&D Pool of Radiance, Joan of Arc: Siege & the Sword, Ghengis Khan, Gold of the Americas: The Conquest of the New World, Harpoon, It Came From the Desert, Keef the Thief, North & South, Populous, SimCity, Ultima V, J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth

1990
688 Attack Sub, Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday, Champions of Krynn, Das Boot, DragonStrike, Powermonger, Warlords

I deliberately skipped text and point and click adventure games. I expect I'm missing some popular titles too.

agami Quote:

Which leads me to the lost opportunity for games based on pre-1991 often simple gameplay and how they might've benefited from post-1991 examples of thought-out gameplay, e.g.:

- 1990 Total Recall would've been much better if it could've used 1992 Flashback gameplay.
- 1988/1989 Ghostbusters/II would've been much better if it could've used 1992 Lost Vikings gameplay.
- 1990 Navy Seals would've been much better if it could've used 1993 Syndicate gameplay.
- 1990 Gremlins would've been much better if it could've used 1993 Lemmings 2 gameplay.


I see what you mean. The atmosphere of the games you named was better for the movie than the licensed game. Your replacement games are good games with atmosphere. It would have been nice if licensed games were held to higher standards instead of low quality quick to market products. The poor quality movie games often resulted in later movie inspired games from the same source having reduced sales. Quick poor quality opportunistic profits were chosen over quality reputation building profits for the longer term. It was a low quality movie game, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, that is sometimes credited with the 1983 video game crash.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_crash_of_1983
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.T._the_Extra-Terrestrial_(video_game)



A former Atari manager admitted to burying 728,000 cartridges at the landfill. It's kind of the same problem as THEA500 Mini hardware being a quick to market quick return on investment rather than a higher quality market and reputation building sustainable product.

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amigang 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 11-Jan-2022 7:49:49
#8 ]
Super Member
Joined: 12-Jan-2005
Posts: 1729
From: Cheshire, England

Movie tie in can be pretty bad, but I always thought the Amiga up to 95 usually got the best version.

Batman game helped shift thousands of A500, all thanks to them graphically impressive driving sections (even though it was pretty bad control) but I think at the time Amiga was the only version to have them.

Also robocop 3 I feel gets overlooked, all in 3D had a pretty good driving section and great 3D shoot out.

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amigang 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 11-Jan-2022 7:59:14
#9 ]
Super Member
Joined: 12-Jan-2005
Posts: 1729
From: Cheshire, England

@amigang

Further thinking for me I always liked mouse based games over joypad ones on the Amiga and I think it what got me into gaming as I always felt a mouse gave you more control, lemmings, syndicate, cannon fodder, ufo energy unknown, dune 1 & 2, space quest, monkey island, theme park, sim city, settlers, worms there just the one off the top of my head that a mouse really did help with the gameplay.

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Bugala 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 13-Jan-2022 18:13:41
#10 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Posts: 640
From: Finland

@amigang

was thinking the same about Robocop 3 that it is a bit overlooked game. It wasnt that bad game at all when it was released, but it didn't stand the test of time well, but suffered a bit similar fate as Microcosm in CD32 which originally was reviewed high, but only half a year later it's then great graphics weren't so great anymore and it didn't have much else in it.

Batman the movie game was overall pretty good game actually, not just the driving scene. I actually never liked that driving scene myself since I generally speaking didn't like driving games, yet I liked playing that game anyway for the rest of it.

Also Robocop, not sure was it first or second I remember liking playing too when it was released, but it is similar to C64s Cobra game, which I remember was great when we played it as kids, and we didn't even know it was a movie, but is utter crap nowadays with absolutely horrible controls, but back then in its time of release, we kids loved it here.

Rolling Thunder also reminds me of similar to Cobra in that it was a real fantastic game, one of the best games there was at time we played and played and played it, but when I tried it some years ago, I was wondering how on earth could we have liked this game with such a horrible controls.

Good thing about movie games at one point was that many of them filled one neglected game category, the category of having several minigames in one game.

There used to be games like Lazy Jones, but then at some point they pretty much disappeared, except basically Movie games would use that same format of mixing different game styles to games, like Batman the movie had driving, flying, side scroller, puzzle in it, and Terminator 2 the arcade game (not the shoot em up game) had beat em up and up view driving game it.

Basically those movie games using this mix of different genres tied to a story could have worked pretty well even and filled a market gap had they just been done better. And yeah, they did work well enough that since you were able to play as Arnold Schwarznegger, despite them being quite horrible, I did play quite several times for example Red Heat in hopes to see it further and in hopes it would somehow magically turn out to be a good game in the end, which it didn't, nor did I get there even.

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matthey 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 15-Jan-2022 6:59:11
#11 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1289
From: Kansas

Ocean Software licensed many of the Amiga movie games. There is a list of licensed games at the following link.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_Software#Licensed_games

The majority of the Amiga movie games from them were not horrible but rarely great. Many had potential but often seemed hurried instead of polished. The Amiga certainly didn't have anything like the Nintendo Seal of Quality which helped bring back the video game industry with the NES console after the 1983 collapse partially from poor quality games. Nintendo kept games from being released and their decisions may be arbitrary so there is a downside to this as well. It's nice to encourage amateur and indy games and concepts even if not complete. The Nintendo philosophy seems closed and oppressive which was and is common with most consoles while the Amiga philosophy was more open and free as a games PC and even with the CD32 console. Is there a way to introduce an Amiga seal of quality without being oppressive and arbitrary? An Amiga seal of quality could be optional (not required) but how could it be kept from being arbitrary? Check for bugs and conformance requirements while having a, perhaps independent, committee/panel vote on it having acceptable quality? 1/5 star average review from panel means no seal of quality for example?

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BigD 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 15-Jan-2022 13:01:25
#12 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6043
From: UK

@matthey

The Nintendo seal of approval was oppressive and a knee jerk reaction to the N American Video Games crash which didn't affect Europe's Computer Game market anyway. Trusting the market is a better way to go unless companies like EA and Electronics Boutique get gready. EB used to copy their own shareware grade games in-shop onto floppy disk including such dross as Ed the Duck etc! The simple solution was not to buy them and to buy The Settlers, Sim City 2000 or The Acid Collection instead!

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matthey 
Re: 10 Years of Amiga Games and Gameplay (1985 - 1995)
Posted on 15-Jan-2022 22:13:17
#13 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1289
From: Kansas

@BigD
The 1983 video game crash hurt consoles much more than PCs and was most significant in North America. I expect PC video game sales dropped, likely including in Europe, but PC sales were taking market share from consoles and I believe PCs were already more popular than consoles in Europe. Some people thought consoles would disappear. Home video game revenues dropped 97% (from $3.2 billion in 1983 to $100 million in 1985). Some retailers in the U.S. refused to stock video games resulting in Nintendo being creative in naming to get them in stores with a buyback guarantee if NES products didn't sale. Low quality games were part of the problem and the result was devastating to the industry. In 1986, Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi noted that "Atari collapsed because they gave too much freedom to third-party developers and the market was swamped with rubbish games". The NES was successful in Japan which was also partially insulated from the North American market disaster but the Japanese have also become know for producing quality products. The Japanese stuck to the video game, console and gaming device markets taking market share with improved products while much of the rest of the world rotated to PCs.

1976 Fairchild Channel F
1977 Atari 2600/VCS
1977 RCA Studio II
1978 Bally Astrocade
1978 Magnavox Odyssey (Dutch Philips bought Magnavox in 1974 so European)
1978 Audiosonic 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System (European perhaps German?)
1978 Interton VC 4000 (German)
1978 APF-MP1000
1979 Mattel Intellivision
1981 Epoch Cassette Vision (Japanese)
1981 VTech CreatiVision
1982 Emerson Arcadia 2001
1982 ColecoVision
1982 Atari 5200
1982 GCE & Milton Bradley Vectrex
1982 SHG Black Point (German)
1983 Philips Videopac+ G7400 (Dutch)
1983 Compact Vision TV Boy (Japanese)
1983 Sega SG-1000 (Japanese)
1983 Nintendo Famicom/NES (Japanese)
1983 Nichibutsu My Vision (Japanese)
1983 Casio PV-1000 (Japanese)
1984 Epoch Super Cassette Vision (Japanese)
1985 BBC Bridge Companion (UK)
1985 Sega Master System (Japanese)
1985 Daewoo Zemix (South Korean)
1986 Atari 7800
1986 Bit Dina (Taiwan)

Before the 1983 video game crash, the video game and console global market leaders looked something like the following.

1 Atari (U.S.)
2 Mattel (U.S.)
3 Coleco (U.S.)
4 Philips (Dutch)

After the crash the global market leaders became something like the following.

1 Nintendo (Japan)
2 Sega (Japan)
3 Atari (U.S.)
4 Epoch (Japan)

Nintendo had made handheld video game devices before entering the console market near the time of the crash. Japan still dominates the video game console market today with those "oppressive" tactics. I wish there was a more open competitor like the Amiga was attempting with the CD32 but just too late. It would have been better if compatibility between the Amiga 1200 (PC that could be converted to a console) and Amiga CD32 (console which could be converted to a PC) was better from the start as well.

Perhaps a seal of quality would be unnecessary today with better online rating systems. The online ratings could be user ratings from a shop as often seen today. Maybe a seal of quality could still serve a purpose to inform users and protect against poor quality and counterfeit products without being oppressive and mandatory though. Maybe the Amiga IP trademarks would be adequate if discrimination was used to avoid licensing for poor quality products that tarnish the name. Then again, the Amiga reputation is likely at all time lows often seen as a joke if even recognized in association with computers. At least at the bottom, the only way is up.

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