Commodore declared bankruptcy 25 years ago today

Commodore International declared bankruptcy on April 29, 1994, and pretty much sealed the fate of the Amiga. I couldn’t care less about Commodore, but I think we lost something special when Amiga died.

My parents bought an Amiga 1000 shortly after it launched (and then, begrudgingly, a 256KB RAM expansion a month later because otherwise you couldn’t do much with it). It was a magical machine with true preemptive multitasking at a time when DOS was normal, and years before Macs could decently run multiple programs at once. I exclusively used it and its successors into the late 90s, until it became obvious to me — probably years after it was obvious to everyone else — that I was past the end of the road and well off into the weeds. The most frustrating thing about owning one of those clearly superior machines was the bragging of PC and Mac owners when their clearly inferior systems added features I’d enjoyed for years. High-res color graphics! Speech synthesis! Sampled sound! A usable GUI! Shared libraries! An object-oriented plugin system! Cross-application scripting! And most importantly, that gorgeous multitasking! Yes, yes, that’s great; I’d had those for a decade before they became popular on other personal computers.

Other people have written better than I possibly could, and at great length, about the many ways that Commodore managed to screw up their golden child. I was only peripherally aware of all that at the time. But I know that they had something amazingly special that earned a fiercely loyal cult following, and I truly believe we lost something good when they died.

RIP, Amiga. You were loved.