Saturday, 19 October 2013

Who says Computers Cannot be works of art?

                                                             

So as some of you will be aware of, Crazy Horse Gaming took a quick trip down to Manchester recently to check out the Play Expo and while I was down there I saw loads of pretty cool stuff. One of the Exhibits at the expo that caught my attention was a Little known Computer called the Amiga Walker. Now many of you out there Especially some of the older generation of Gamers like myself will be very familiar with the Amiga brand of home computers and the Hours of awesome gaming that came with them. Sadly Amiga are not around any more to continue with the awesome line of  computers they  produced back in the 80S/90s. However there is one awesome person who has done his absolute best to keep the legacy of Amiga alive and Kicking and he has done a great job. Allow me to introduce you to Justin, Justin has made it a personnel goal to painstakingly build a working model of the last ever hpme computer Amiga planned on releasing which never made it to the general public the Amiga Walker,  Not only has he succeeded in his goal of  building what I consider to be a home computer that is a work of art but Justin is now on a mission to ensure as many Amiga enthusiasts get to see this true piece of Home computer and gaming history by heading to expos up and down the UK displaying the Amiga. Now enough rambling from me I will let Justin tell you more about Amiga and the Amiga Walker as he is the true expert here and can explain it to you guys far better than I ever could so Justin it is over to you.

"The Commodore Amiga was a late 1980s/early 1990s home computer. It featured 16 million on-screen colours; stereo sound and full multi-tasking. This was at a time when the PC was monochrome and the “sound system” was a series of beeps.
The Amiga proved to be a very popular machine throughout Europe, particularly in the UK. The original machine was the A1000 which was followed by the “home version” being the A500. The other machines released over the years were A2000; A3000; A1200; A4000 and the CD32. (There were other models including CDTV but the above were the internationally recognised “Amigas”.
"In the early 1990s Commodore realised, too late, that the A1200 had become too slow and so sought a more powerful user-friendly successor.
The planned successor, the Amiga walker was a prototype machine which was released in late 1995 early 1996 and was to feature the AAA chip set (64 bit; larger sprites; a chunky graphics mode – plus much, much more) and O3O Motorola processor.
Commodore/Escom asked the talented designer Daniel Gilgen to come up with some initial case designs. The design finally approved initially received a very poor public reception, being likened to Darth Vader’s helmet, a vacuum cleaner, or Dr Who’s K9."


"The case design was revolutionary and a few years ahead of its time (think of the I-Mac that was released a few years later to popular acclaim).
The Walker case was designed with the option for future upgrades. There was a tower system designed, which the Walker would sit upon thus giving access to a wide range of add-on cards.
Unfortunately Escom/Commodore went bankrupt before the Walker went on general release.
It is generally believed that there are three Walker cases in existence - two are in private collections and one in the public domain. As I thought that it was a shame that no-one would ever get the chance to see or use one of these machines....... I decided there needed to be a fourth.........
So I embarked on 'Project Amiga Walker'.
The Project took approximately seven months and was designed using the original specifications. The curvature of the case proved very difficult to replicate. It was decided to use aluminium as it is strong and quite easy to work with.
The complicated feet and front and rear panels were made on a CNC machine (with many thanks to Brian Ferguson).
The upper parts of the case were manufactured from 1mm aluminium sheeting and welded together then dressed back by hand (with thanks to Jerry Roe).


The final preparation of the case was carried out by an automotive body-shop as black shows every defect."



Early stages of the Amiga Walkers creation.





"The machine is powered by an Intel dual core E6600 on a Fujitsu motherboard with a custom PSU.
The system boots using the original Amiga Walker Kickstart ROM and the original hard drive images and to finally see an Amiga Walker booting as originally intended was a great feeling."



Shots of the internal make up of the walker and the boot up screen.





"When I later discovered that the Walker design rights are still owned by Klaus Schwagerl I realised I needed to contact him to obtain his permission in respect of the intellectual property rights.
After lengthy email correspondence and upon providing detailed specifications and photographs Klaus very kindly allowed this Amiga Walker to be officially licensed for private use and shows only.
At the Retro Replay 2013 Manchester Event I finally unveiled the Amiga Walker. It received an excellent reception generating a great deal of interest. To see the smiles on the faces of Amiga enthusiasts made the seven months of hard work seem all worthwhile."

   


More shots of the unit powered up and running and final shots of the finished unit.



  












"This licensed Amiga Walker will now go to as many shows as I am able to attend in order that as many enthusiasts as possible get to experience the Amiga Walker in the flesh. 
If you would like to learn more about this project and follow the original build please go to:


So folks that is the Amiga Walker in my opinion one of the coolest looking Home Computer I have ever seen and Justin has done a great job building this working piece of gaming and computing history.

I would like to give a big Thank you to Justin and his wife for taking the time out to spend with Crazy Horse Gaming and for taking the time to send all the photos and Info regarding the creation of the Amiga Walker so Thank you so much to the both of you .
Please Visit www.amibay.com and show your support for the Amiga Walker and its continuous journey from expo to expo its a great project and a real pleasure to see out there keep up the good work guys.  

8 comments:

  1. well what is there not to like? :)

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    1. I know it looks great and I would love to have one of these in my collection

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    2. I know a guy who would sell it for £50,000 ;)

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    3. no you don't :P

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  2. it looks great, nice work there justin thanks for keeping the amiga alive

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    1. thank you very much for the kind words :)

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  3. Justin's projects are excellent and this tops the lot. Saw it in the flesh as it were in Manchester too and it's just fabulous! Well done old friend!

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    1. ah John, you are too kind

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