AMOS is back
It’s 2019 so a good time to think about programming the Commodore Amiga. Right?
This video about AMOS popped up in my Youtube recommendations list, and seeing the AMOS logo in the video thumbnail hit me with a wave of nostalgia. Whilst I didn’t start programming in AMOS, its release back in the early ’90s was a direct response to those who started on the BASIC machines of the ’80s by bringing the language to the 16 Bit machines.
I myself spent some time with AMOS on the Amiga 500. After testing the waters with a free copy of a simplified version from a magazine cover disk, I got desperate to see the full potential and wanted the ability to compile my code into bootable disks in order to release and share my own games.
I began badgering my parents until they eventually caved and got me a copy as a Christmas gift, and whilst they were set on getting me to wait until the big day to open it I had other ideas. I managed to convince them to let me test the disks in case they were damaged. This was simply a ploy, what I was really doing was copying them before putting them back in the box to be wrapped so I could spend the next few weeks coding.
Whilst I did create some basic (excuse the pun) programs, I never did crack the goal of making and releasing a full game and becoming one of those teenage bedroom stars. It certainly kicked up my drive for design, and I spent a lot of time designing level layouts, UI’s and gameplay systems when I perhaps should have been focusing on my school work. So AMOS still had a very critical role to play in the journey of me learning the craft of game design.
Fast forward to 2019 and its original creator Francois Lionet is working on bringing AMOS to modern hardware in the form of AMOS2. His hope is to inspire people who want to learn how to code in an easy and fun way, just as it was in the 16bit days, even resurrect their old STOS/AMOS code and run it on modern hardware.
Whether he’ll find success in this or not, who knows, but I like his motivation, and much like tools such as the RaspberryPi it’s always great to see people try to figure out a way to remove the complexities that form a barrier between the desire to learn and the doing. Coming from the days (as echoed in the video) when switching on your computer thrusted a programmable interface right in front of you, it certainly feels different now where we have to seek out where to even begin typing commands in order to make the machine do things.
Enjoy the video.
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