The Amiga 500 was one of the very popular “non-IBM” choices back in the day thanks to its great selection of games powered by then-cutting-edge graphics chips and incredible stereo sound processors. If you long for the days of the Amiga and have a desire to build a project, this open-source hardware design might just what you need!
We’ve come a long way since 1987, which was the year the incredible Commodore Amiga was introduced. The Amiga was literally ahead of its time with 4096 color graphics, stereo sound, built-in speech synthesis and of course, a graphical user interface. Remember that back then, the IBM PC compatibles had mono or four-color CGA graphics, a PC speaker that still to this day only goes “beeeep!” and a pricetag that was at least 5X the Amiga. Yeah, I’m one of “those guys” who hated IBM clones back then and frankly, I still stand by that – they sucked back then – admit it 😉
Anyway, there’s a GPL open-source hardware project out there called the Minimig which incorporates a fully Amiga 500 compatible design onto a Xilinx Spartan3 FPGA housed on a 12cm x 12cm board. The board includes PS2 keyboard and mouse connectors as well as the obvious video-out and sound. Being an open-source project, you are free to take the design and hack it however you see fit, and several people have done exactly that and created a board that fits into a standard ATX case, a board you can buy that’s pre-built, and more. Pretty cool in my opinion!
Check-out more about the Minimig Amiga 500 project and if you are up to it, build your own or even contribute to the project to help fix the remaining minor bugs. After that, you can get back to your game of Lemmings!