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In mid-August, Amiga Convention '95 was held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Hundreds of Amiga users came from all over Canada and the US to gather for
great Amiga deals and the chance to meet other Amiga users and luminaries.
The two-day event was anchored by Canadian dealer/distributor Wonder
Computers, who occupied one of the short sides of the rectangular show
floor. Along the long wall were various dealers and manufacturers,
including Oby's Amigo Computing Shop, Pre'Spect Technologies, National
Amiga, GfxBase, and AsimWare Innoventions. Phantom Development occupied a
table more centrally in the room, and IAM had their section in the Wonder
The organizers put much of the focus of the show's organization into a
competition for demos, music, graphics and 3D objects. While I was unable
to attend any of the competitions, the organizers plan to release the
winning entries to Aminet shortly.
Speakers gave presentations to the crowd as well. Dale Larson gave a
lengthy keynote speech in a tuxedo and sneakers, sharing his outlook on the
Amiga market including sketchy details of his interview with ISE, the
company contracted to do Amiga development for Amiga Technologies.
I gave an even longer (nearly an hour and a half) talk on emulators,
featuring the game Giana Sisters for the Frodo C-64 emulator. Nearly
everything went smoothly, a welcome change of pace.
Al Mackey, Amiga artist, gave a stunning presentation with Brilliance.
Within 5 minutes, Al created a cartoon-quality character. After that, the
audience was stunned into silence.
The International Amiga Society project, outlined in AR 3.15's feature
M-PLAN, held a small IRC conference with a short list of invited Amiga
users including Dave Haynie, as well as an assembly of AC '95 attendees, in
an international attempt to drum up support for the Amiga marketing
paradigm outlined by Giorgio Gomelsky.
Nearly every presenter there had an eye-catching display or two. Wonder's
sheer volume as well as the V-Lab Motion display set up by Rick Sulpizio,
Canadian distributor, drew attention. In addition, Dale Larson and myself
set up shop behind the Wonder tables to sign autographs. Phantom
Development kept busy showing off the demo of Hell Pigs, a new
action-adventure game designed by Classica, roughly authored in the
Sierra/LucasArts style. In addition, "release version, non-boxed" copies
of the editor Digital Quill were available for sale. Oby's sold a number
of copies of Gloom thanks to their networked game setup where passerby
could blow blood and guts all over the floor. AsimWare's Paul Reeves
played a seemingly endless round of Super Stardust CD32 on an A4000 to
demonstrate the CD32 emulation of AsimCDFS 3.x to shoppers. National Amiga
had the distinction of being the only dealer with the foresight to have a
catalog onhand, as well as being the only dealer with an online HTML
catalog available to attendees thanks to the two A1200s on their table. In
addition, some attendees brought systems that got notice, namely John
Paden's A3000, which sported a CyberVision card.
Peter Cherna, former Commodore OS engineer and presently employed in PC
development at Scala showed up for the final hours of Amiga Convention.
After Dave Haynie's videotaped greeting to the crowd in which he outlined
his "must-do" list for a new Amiga line, Cherna, Dale Larson, myself, and
Greg Scott from National Amiga participated in a panel discussion. The
bulk of the questions were directed at Larson and Cherna as ex-Commodore
employees, asking questions about the future relevant to developments of
the past (such as OS upgrades and development). Needless to say, Greg and
I got annoyed in a good-humored sort of way.
Attendance was paid and, as such, measured exactly. The final turnout
numbers were not pleasing to the show organizers, who blamed a lethargic
marketplace. However, since the attendance almost certainly was less than
AmiJAM '95, a show in a smaller marketplace that had better promotion, the
answer is more likely to rest in the work done to bring in users.
Still, the end result was that a lot of dealers and users went home
happy-and that's what bringing the Amiga community together is all about.