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Home Computing Audio Reading

Welcome to PCWorld 1985 (part 2)

Published 16 March 2019

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The PC World conference in 1985 was a stunning milestone in the age of retro computing, also known as the vintage computer age. 8-bit microcomputers had established the market for home computers and now the 16-but multitasking powerhouses started to knock on the door. Watch Jack Tramiel talk up the Atart ST, Amiga developers demonstrate true multitasking and basic programming. We see signs of MetaComCo, a light that shone so bright, so quickly.

Database TV Show (June 1985)

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MetaComCo displays the Commodore Amiga 1000

One intriguing aspect of shows like this is not just the public face of the stand. This is MetaComCo. Not on the face of it a frightfully interesting stand. But if you are among the privileged few you might be invited into one of the hospitality suites. And if you're with us you are amongst the privileged few. So let's go.

Introducing the Commodore Amiga

Curse of Commodore

Behind closed doors, the Commodore Amiga is being shown. Drilling Guy Kewney, "Why can't I see this machine on the manufacturer's stand at this show?" Remember from the first part of the episode we saw over 50 developers actively writing code for the Atari ST. The UK public has not even had a chance to see the Amiga in the flesh. Guy cuts back, "well it's a bit too wonderful for Commodore and they are a bit embarrassed by it. Commodore only has the C128 for sale in the U.K. at the moment."

Signs of the Curse of Commodore are coming through. Guy confirms that the computer didn't have an operating system becuase Commodore burnt the origincal developers. A quick name drop by mentioning Andy Warhol drawing live at the Amiga launch Stateside. But apart from that it is quite a special machine. It is more powerful than any home computer at that time, it does lots of things other computers can't do and it can do them all at once. Cue the most famous demo of them all. Shadow and the noise.

Amiga Bouncing ball demo

Allen Sugar promotes a Typewriter

In rolls Sir Alan with the new Amstrad PCW8256 running CP/M. Enter the death knell. They have produced a word processing computer for less than the price of an electronic typewriter... £399. The presenter pleasantly raises the prospect of the new CPC218 which was a marketing success in the United States. Drawing in Sir Alan, the presenter blind-sides him with tough questions about the CPC664 being withdrawn after only six months on the market. Sir Alan's eyes were flickering like crazy in response.

Sales approach

Next up is the resident gamer talking about something, something. OK after getting smacked in the face with his 80's fashion statement, we lost track of what he was talking about. For all we know he was giving out KFC's secret recipe but nobody bothered to listen. He calls himself Ben Knox but there's no way to tell if he is operating under an alias.

Bad fashion

And on that bombshell...

❮ Part 1 Part 3 ❯

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