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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
All Rights reserved

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First issue release date: January 1988 Final issue release date: October 1997
Publisher: Europress and IDG Media Coverage: A main focus upon serious software but also covered games.
Country published: UK & USA No. of issues: 117
Medium: Paper Status: Dead
Web Address:
Unofficial AC Reviews Index
Unofficial AC Reviews
Past Amiga Computing articles by Ben Vost

Amiga Computing Vol 3 Issue 6

Amiga Computing was one of the first magazines in the UK that solely covered the Amiga. Launched at the beginning of 1988, it outlived several magazines launched at the same time. It established a reputation for its technical coverage, featuring articles that explained how to use the machine as a work tool, as opposed to a games machine or a religious artifact.

The magazine underwent its first redesign in 1990, increasing the page count and expanding their games coverage. However, the game coverage was always considered to be secondary to the serious aspects of the magazine. In contrast to Amiga Format and CU Amiga, Amiga Computing relegated game coverage to the back of the magazine. The changes were well received and circulation rose - sales figures indicate the magazine peaked at 60,177 for the July- December 1991 period (ABC).

Amiga Computing 46

Amiga Computing was rebranded a second time in mid-1992. To compete with Amiga Shopper, the magazine began to cover specialist subjects, such as education, digitization and publishing. They also introduced regular round-ups of application software intended for a specific purpose (e.g. word processing, text editing, and video editing). In addition to specialist areas, the magazine also featured regular tutorials - more than any other Amiga magazine of the time. The Amiga Almanac section of 1992 explained how to use ARexx, DTV, Music, AMOS, DTP and communication technologies. The Amiga Mart buyers guide also educated the reader in potential purchases, and the Amiga Computing Advice Service (ACAS) aimed to cure readers computer woes. In contrast, Amiga Format featured only two tutorials on extremely basic subjects.

Amiga Computing 68

By 1994, Amiga Computing had increased its already huge page count from 148 to 180 pages. The headline on the cover of the January 1994 edition proudly proclaimed a 'new world' of computing was just around the corner. However, The collapse of Commodore forced the magazine to sideline technical aspects, to examine the current state of the Amiga market. The cover of the April 1995 issue questioned if the Amiga could be resurrected from the corpse of Commodore, examining the available options in meticulous detail. Although Commodore's liquidation would eventually result in the collapse of the Amiga market, the Amiga Computing staff had hit their stride and produced several amazing issues. The magazines success continued during 1995 when it included a CD-ROM with the May issue. The 'Weird Science Multimedia Toolkit' was an early at shoveling a large number of platform-generic data to fill the disc capacity, but it was a welcome introduction to the opportunities offered by CD-ROM. For the first time Amiga owners could buy a magazine and CD-ROM that featured hundreds of photos, modules, fonts, and sound samples. The July '95 coverdisk also had the first and only fully registered version of Magic User Interface (v2.2) to appear on a magazine coverdisk. Although the Amiga Computing staff were optimistic that the Amiga would be resurrected, the publisher (Europress) were desperate to leave the magazine business. Many employees and readers were concerned that the magazine would be canceled. However, these concerns were unjustified when IDG offered to buy Europress' entire catalogue as a going concern - Amiga Computing would stay on the shelves.

Amiga Computing 81 Amiga Computing 94 Amiga Computing 100 Amiga Computing 107 Amiga Computing 109

The magazine had been saved by IDG. However, the publisher could not resurrect the Amiga platform. The page count dropped steadily during 1996, followed by a reduction in page size to A4. By the beginning of 1997 the magazine had shrunk to 108 pages, followed by a steady drop to 100, 84, and finally 68 pages. To reduce costs, only one coverdisk was given away with the magazine - a far cry from the CD-ROM of 1995. The quality of writing also dropped and it became clear that the writers considered the once great magazine to be a part-time job. In contrast to the decrease in value, the cover price rose from $4.50 to £4.99. The final issue, dated October 1997, may have been confused for a pamphlet. The contents page briefly lamented the state of the Amiga market and indicated the writers would drown their sorrows in the pub. The final circulation figures showed the magazine sold just 7,000 issues.

Amiga Computing 115 Amiga Computing 117


International Edition

Amiga Computing issue 7 US edition

Europress launched a short lived international edition in 1995 to be sold to the American and Greek markets. However, sales were poor and the magazines were cancelled after a few months.


Games section

The games section of Amiga Computing underwent several redesigns that changed its title and layout. The first incarnation of the games section was simply called 'Gamer'. Reviews were surprisingly critical at the time. Gamers were spoilt for choice and a game had to contain a unique quality to receive a high score. Reviews were given a a rating out of 5 for 'Vision' (the look of the game), 'Audio', 'Playability' (how easy it is to get into), and 'Addiction' (do you want to keep on playing), and a final percentage rating.

The Gamer section was redesigned in 1994 and renamed 'System'. The layout was altered dramatically, allowing the reader to read reviews in a non-linear fashion, jumping to particular aspects that interested them. Graphics of circuit diagrams, showing lines and gates, linked the various sections of a review. The final rating could be found in a coloured 'opinion' box at the bottom of the page. Reviews were shorter and games were generally awarded a higher score in comparison to the previous iteration. Similar to Amiga Power, 'System' indicated that 50% was an average game. However, anything above was worth playing. A 'Bronze Award' was awarded to games rated 56-66%; 'Silver Award' to games of 66-77%; and 78-99% earned a 'Gold Award'. Games rated from 90-100% were considered the best of the best, setting a benchmark for others and worthy of the 'Platinum Award'. View Image of Award scheme.

It is likely the 'System' section would have continued to be an integral part of the magazine for many years. However, the collapse of the Amiga games market resulted in it being replaced by 'Amiga Action' in December 1996 (issue 107). Until that point in time, Amiga Action had been a games magazine produced by the same publishing house. The Amiga Action supplement adopted a poor imitation of the game magazines writing style, using lame jokes to disguise the lack of Amiga games. Game reviews returned to a linear design, but were poor in comparison to previous gaming supplements. Games became drastically overrated, disgusting even the remaining Amiga Action readers. By the final issue (October 1997), the Amiga Action section was just eight pages.


The end of Amiga Computing

It would be simple to say that the Amiga market could no longer support so many magazine published every month, but this would only be telling half the story. Although the market could no longer sustain dedicated games magazines, Amiga Format and CU Amiga magazine were enjoying a circulation four times higher than Amiga Computing. Amiga History Guide believes the market could have supported it, but the publisher wished to move their resources to the growing PC magazine market. IDG may have purchased Amiga Computing, but they were not willing to finance the jump to CD-ROM coverdiscs. A conscious decision was made to cut costs by reducing the number of pages and dropping a coverdisk. Amiga Computing could not compete with magazines bundled with CD-ROM discs and one of the longest running Amiga magazines was closed. However, the web site provided a glimmer of hope that it would return, in the event that the market improved. The epitaph on the Amiga Computing web site read:

For almost ten years Amiga Computing published some of the most informative articles for the Amiga computer. Alas the Amiga did slip into obscurity with just a handful of users fighting off the Wintel tyranny.
But perhaps one day it will return to former glory...

Press Releases

Amiga Computing Greek Edition

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Last Update: 24/6/2006

 

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