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5 best Amiga games and how to play them now

The Commodore Amiga was a ground-breaking computer, and the games took the industry forward. Here are our five favourites.

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When the Commodore Amiga came along, we were all used to having affordable, accessible computers in our homes. However, the Amiga – and specifically the Amiga 500 that was released in 1987 – blew our minds.

The 16-bit graphics were a huge step up in comparison with what had gone on before, presenting greater details and more colours than the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and, specifically, the ZX Spectrum.

That allowed developers far greater scope in what could be achieved when it came to game design. And, it must be said, that there are 100 retro games or even more we could recommend from the early 1990s. We’ve managed to whittle it down to just five though.

Here then are the 5 best Amiga games, plus some tips on how to play them right now.

Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe

Released: 1990

Almost the entire Bitmap Brothers’ Amiga catalogue could have made this list, such was the high standard of the development team’s output. However, Speedball 2 is quite simply one of the best top-down sports games ever made (another is lower down on this list).

Set in the future, the game pits two teams of nine players against each other in a mix of football and handball. The big difference is that the ball is made of metal and fairly deadly when thrown at pace, while opponents can bash into each other as they like. Power-ups abound, and there’s a simulation element outside of matches that we thought was a great touch.

Lemmings

  • Released: 1991

This is the best puzzle game, full stop. There have been plenty of games inspired by it, plus several sequels release across multiple platforms – even iOS and Android – but it’s the original that’s truly groundbreaking and therefore our favourite.

You must guide the eponymous Lemmings from one portal to another, while navigating traps and assigning tasks to individuals in order to ascend or navigate the obstacles. It’s fun and, at times, fairly frantic. And, there’s no better feeling of satisfaction in games than correctly judging a diagonal dig to lead out into the right spot.

Formula One Grand Prix

  • Released: 1991

Developer Geoff Crammond had made something of himself during the 80s – not least for the extraordinary The Sentinel and Stunt Car Racer, but it is Formula One Grand Prix that is surely his greatest game to date.

It shouldn’t have been possible, but the F1 racer was even more impressive back in 1991 than Codemasters’ latest outing is today. The only caveat is that it wasn’t exactly easy to play – being more simulation than arcade. That only made it more addictive for us though, as we spent hours mastering each of the 16 world GP tracks.

Cannon Fodder

  • Released: 1993

Sensible Software was of such importance to the Amiga gaming market that it has two games on this list. The first is Cannon Fodder, a real-time strategy game released long before that sort of thing became standard.

You had to guide a troop of soldiers through missions by clicking on the screen and either shooting enemies or trying to avoid them. The sequel might be better remembered, but the original and its 24 levels resonates more with us – not least thanks to Sensible founder Jon Hare’s haunting theme song at the beginning.

Sensible World of Soccer

  • Released: 1994

It was hard not to include Dino Dini’s Kick Off on this list, but no matter how many hours we poured into it, neither it nor its sequel ever quite matched the Sensible Soccer games. And, Sensible World of Soccer was undoubtedly the pinnacle of that particular series. I’m not even saying that because I’m in the game… twice (once in the GamesMaster team and again in the Games World team as The Violet Blade).

Nor am I saying it because I got to the semi-final of the Sensible Soccer World Cup (as Cameroon). Just have a play of this awesome footy game and you’ll still fall in love with it today. Just make sure you play with a Konix Speedking joystick – there’s no better.


How to play Amiga games today

Naturally, playing Amiga games on an actual Amiga 500 is the best way, but if that’s not an option for you, there are a couple of other things you can try.

For starters, there are emulators available that will run Amiga games on numerous different platforms – WinUAE is a particularly good one for Windows, while FS-UAE is decent for macOS. However, Amiga emulators also need what is called a Kickstart ROM to operate, and these are harder to source.

That’s because Kickstart ROMs are still heavily copyrighted by Commodore and therefore only legally available via licensed sellers – such as Amiga Forever, which bundles them with its different emulator packages.

This is also an easier way to start off as you’ll need a different Kickstart ROM depending on the model of Amiga you are emulating.

Another option is to buy The A500 Mini – a retro games console that comes with 25 classic games pre-installed. That includes Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe from our list above. What’s also cool is that you can play Amiga games stored on a USB stick, too. And without needing the separate Kickstart ROM first.


The A500 Mini

This miniature replica of the Amiga A500 from the 80s contains 25 classic games to play using the included joypad or mouse.


It’s worth noting that, whether you are playing through an emulator or The A500 Mini, you should own a game already if you download a digital build from the internet.

If so, there are plenty of resources for Amiga games online. LemonAmiga is a particularly good site to visit. It has details on thousands of Amiga games, and while it doesn’t host downloads itself, it gives you links on where to get them – including the WHDLoad files recognised by The A500 Mini.

Here are the direct links to our best Amiga games (as above):

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Rik Henderson
Rik Hendersonhttp://gameslifer.com
Rik is a professional journalist with more than 35 years experience across online, magazines and television broadcasting. As well as the creator of GamesLifer, he is the News Editor of T3.com, while his previous work includes stints as editor and group editor on several monthlies and weeklies covering video games and technology. He has also been a series producer on daily and weekly TV shows, and has presented and guested on multiple TV series too, including GamesMaster, Games World, Game Over, Virtual World of Sport, Live TV, Greatest Christmas TV Ads, and The Apprentice.
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