As someone who's been a gamer for 30 years now, I must say things have come a long way from those distant, humble beginnings.

A few crude black and white blocks turned into somewhat less crude color blocks, which became much nicer looking high-palette pixel art and -- flash forward 20 years -- we've got expansive 3D worlds rendered sharper than a high-definition feature film. Technology marches ever on and, along the way, has brought gamers a vast array of computers and consoles, each a step forward from the one that came before. And the largest single step forward along these lines that ever took place was unquestionably the arrival of the Amiga from Commodore.

At half the price of the Macintosh and a quarter the price of IBM's meatiest desktop, the Amiga, which PC World called the seventh greatest computer of all time, delivered vastly more capable hardware than either, along with a fully preemptive multitasking UNIX-like operating system. Nothing of the likes of its graphics and audio capabilities had ever been seen before. It excelled in gaming and this new sort of thing called "multimedia" that, at the time, people really didn't know what to make of. It really was 10 years before its time.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Amiga and a number of tech sites are taking the opportunity to pay tribute to this infulential platform with retrospectives and historical pieces. And, we're happy to report that Amiga and iPhone developer Rabah Shihab is honoring the occasion by dropping the price of Babylonian Twins for the iPhone [App Store] by 75% this weekend.

We took a close look at this reimagining of his 17-year old Amiga title back in April and found it to be one of the very best iPhone games out there (we gave it 4.5 stars). An iPad version is also available [App Store].

Babylonian Twins is s a puzzle-platformer with two-character tag-team type play. You control brothers Nasir and Blasir in order to solve each levels. Each character has some special abilities, but only one can be active at once. Switching between the two is as simple as tapping on a button — leaving the unplayed character as a statue. You'll find you need to tag team to make your way past puzzles and obstacles, and even use the other character as a springboard to jump higher. Blasir can jump higher, and dash into walls, while Nasir spin to break through weakened floors. The game is a collaborative effort between the two characters.

The game has been entirely revamped since the original Amiga version and includes all new graphics and audio.

And, while Babylonian Twins is a truly excellent title, it's not the only quality Amiga conversion in the App store. Not by a long shot. And, thanks to Manomio, among others, we're in for a lot more Amiga game goodness in the App Store later this year.

Related Amiga links:

  • http://www.battleduel.com BattleDuel

    BattleDuel started it's life on the Amiga too. It's been available in the App Store for a few weeks now. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/battleduel/id377659956?mt=8

  • Lukeb

    Imagine how bad the Amiga game situation would have been if no game had been able to give the OS the boot. It's unlikely that most developers of iApps would ever figure out how to optimize anything, which is probably why Apple won't play favorites and delegate absolute device control to the most developed game makers.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    Indeed, total control was needed to wring the most out of the hardware, but it's not a perfect analog of today's systems. The early Amiga models sported a 7.14MHz 68000 processor. Yes, they had assisting co-processors and blitter, but the CPU itself -- to put things in perspective -- is the same core, but at half the clockspeed, of the CPU in the original Palm Pilot PDA. Heavy assembly coding and full OS lockout was needed to get things done.

    And, while spot assembly is used today even still here and there, OS lockout is not really needed. In fact, modern games rely on OS services unlike they did in the past.

    • lukeb

      If it could be shown that a game app optimized for OS lockout could run nearly as well, or better, on 2nd gen device than on a 3rd or higher (of course individual results would vary), then one would have a strong case for it being approved as an OS-lockout title, appropriately designated so as to alert the mobilly upward and/or those prioritizing OS services over performance.

      Most modern games may rely on OS services, but if certain developers were given the go-ahead to start a project with the express knowledge that their application would never be rejected for reasons of OS lockout (e.g. a well-known XBL port that would load from the cold boot-up of a 1st or 2nd-gen device in order to achieve grid distortions at a higher framerate), then much could be gained by tapping into the the vast pool of idevice owners who have no plans to upgrade.

  • Advancedcaveman

    Why can't they put the iPad version on sale too. I already bought the iPhone version.

    • Eng

      Yeah, same...it really is a disappointment, i'd love to buy the iPad one, but it just costs too much when i consider i've already bought it once...

    • http://www.ringtail.com/ Porsupah

      Agreed - bit of a pity, but I suppose even at normal price, it's hardly a huge chunk of change. Just would be nice to have the best resolution version on my iPad, rather than scaling up the iPhone version's graphics.

      • cosmos

        iPad on Sale now based on popular demand.

  • Kira

    they made it free for about a week last few weeks. and now giving 75% off. apparently nothing is special about their anniversary.

    • Hakan

      Hey, I wanted to write the same!

      I'm glad that I got it for free then. :)

  • dyscode

    Amiga my first Love. Trackers, Samplitude, DeLuxe Paint, clariSSA, Light Wave... and The Bitmap Brothers oh what heavens... I still have some 100+ original Games for it.

  • Diz

    Amiga??? What the hell, did you people not have access to Nintendo or Sega or Atari? Not a single game from Amiga is memorable.

    • Advancedcaveman

      Maybe Amiga games aren't memorable to you, but they are to a lot of people. We don't all share the same gaming history.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      From the 'Shadow of the 16-bit Beast' article I linked at the end:

      Even though the computer game scene was—then as now—much smaller than the market for home video game consoles, it had an effect on the larger world. Michael Crick, author of the game WordZap, recalled a story where the then-CEO of Nintendo (whose daughter was friends with Michael's daughter) walked in on Michael playing Defender of the Crown on his Amiga. The Nintendo chief, whose company was at the time bestriding the video game world like a colossus, could do nothing but stare, dumbstruck, at the machine while muttering "great graphics" over and over.

      . . .

      • Diz

        Ahhh yes, even back then, the quest for almighty graphics was more important than creating worlds and games that provided replayability on a meta-scale of accessibility.

        I recall a lot more memorable computer games on IBMs and Apples than the Amiga. Maybe it's because I'm American and the Amiga never had a chance here, but straight up, it was not a groundbreaking system for gaming or the culture.

      • Joel

        Diz, that is truly a WTF comment if I ever heard one.

    • Eric5h5

      You're quite wrong, Diz. Psygnosis, Bitmap Brothers, Cinemaware, Bullfrog are just some companies that made memorable and influential games for the Amiga. Many of them had versions for other computers of course, but the Amiga versions were generally the first and best. Even in the U.S., you would have had to have been hiding in a cave from the mid '80s-early '90s to avoid being at least vaguely aware of it. Sega Genesis hardware was very similar to the Amiga and a number of its games were ports from the Amiga (yes: from, not to).

      • g

        Nintendo or Sega or Atari, and IBM and Apples ? WTF ? Are you too young Diz or too old (Alzheimer might be treated in the future) ? Or maybe just stupid for having a DOS machine when AmigaOS was availabe ?

      • Diz

        Like I said, I played on a Commo and an Amiga as a kid, as well as other non-mainstream systems, obscure systems wasn't my original point. My point was that none of the games are particularly memorable and I associate the Amigas more with a nostalgic form of geekery rather than a gaming system. It just wasn't a classic gaming system, for various reasons, and "disliking it" or being a "fanboy" of other systems at the time is not a reason I'm citing. Besides, my trump card here is that all of these touch games are very casual-oriented whereas Amiga games are almost the exact opposite. However I think it's wonderful that some are being ported, emulated, and still supported. That's always a good thing and for that I tip my hat to the Amiga.

      • Eric5h5

        You're still just plain factually wrong, Diz. Lemmings, Worms, Frontier (Elite 2), Sensible Soccer, Cannon Fodder, Speedball, Populous, etc. There were loads of memorable and influential Amiga games, and it wasn't obscure at the time. (This is actually terribly ironic, since a lot of Amiga users back then would have been happier if it didn't have such a strong image as a game machine.)

  • nizy

    Just bought it. Surprising I hadn't done so before actually but rectified that now. And thanks fro the links Blake, it was great reading. I still remember the first time I saw my brothers Amiga 500 and being astounded by what it was capable of. Really a truly amazing computer, probably just too far ahead of its time.

    Is there any more news from Manomio on their emulator and what games it'll support? Please tell me they'll get Cannon Fodder, Striker and some of the Psygnosis games too!

  • rich_952000

    Babylonian Twins has truly been getting most of my gaming attention for the past couple of days. It's most likely the best platformer you'll play on the iDevice.

  • Diz

    Eric the only game worth playing out of that list in 2010 is Worms. And that's a bit of a stretch. Also it's sort of difficult to be factually wrong about an opinion. :(?

    And it's never been considered, by history, culture, or industry standards, as much of a classic gaming machine.

    Seriously; Populous?

  • g

    You are out of your mind Diz. Seriously, under what stone have you been living ? Amiga was the golden child of the golden era of home computing. It sold millions, something very difficult for an "expensive" and never well-advertised home platform. It is considered, by history, culture, or industry standards, as a classic gaming machine. Many of these classical and influencial games were also available in other platforms (sometimes before the Amiga launch), it's just that the Amiga versions were the more interesting and most remembered.

    • Diz

      Guess we'll have to disagree. I'll still play Amiga games once in a while, but I'm more likely to bust out any of the other platforms that I find to be more engaging with more solid titles.

      I understand a lot of people are still infatuated with their old systems, but really, it is not a classic system. If anything it's a cult system. Just look at Bab Twins and the story behind it. Decent game, btw, but I won't be posting about it or the Amiga a couple decades from now.