Hi there, welcome to the world of AmigaGuru, here you will find game reviews, development logs, and much more, we are old game developers that live and breathe everything gaming related and while this site is mainly about the Amiga platform there will surely be something for everyone here as long as it is gaming related.
Hello, my name is Tony Aksnes and I am one of those crazy retro gamers (read Old boys) freaks who collect and play games older than most people out there.
I am not as old as a Dinosaur but in terms of the gamer society/community, I would have to say that I am one of the lucky ones who got to “be there” when it all went from “the shit” to “bankruptcy’s” to “multi-billion” dollar companies…
Yes, I am that old, 48 this year…
The odd thing about me is that I have an insane collection of games and gizmos but I ain’t one of those collector guys who never open the games or whatever. I use my stuff and 99% of the games I have was and have been bought for one reason, to play them!
Opening a sealed game is something I try to stay away from, but I open them if I have to, especially so if it is for preservation reasons.
EDIT: These pictures of my collection are quite old now. 9+ years old and it has grown a lot over the last few years when I did these pictures I was still far from unpacking everything, I will do new photos soon.
I started quite early with games and it didn’t take long before I was in it more than most others at the time. People recall me killing high scores in various Olympic and competitive games, I was 5-6 years old and I won fair and square, the grown-up kids tried to beat me (they did!) but I kept on winning.
Decathlon is the one I remember the best from that era. It wasn’t before Summer Games, World Games, and California Games came out that I really appreciated these wins as those games saved the high scores.
I started early by looking into how games worked and together with a couple of friends we somehow managed to get out a title (SOMMER MINI-OL 88), it was never sold in shops but via magazines only, a nice feat nonetheless, since I was so young (13 years old). After that, I went back and forth doing stuff for either the gaming scene (PD mostly) or Demoscene stuff for some years before it got serious…
The demoscene was the first proper productive stuff I went into, I swapped, did gfx and eventually coded. fun times and one of the main reasons I still sit around computers today.
I stopped doing demos and other Demoscene activities in 2004 or so…
I have met so many good people over the last 30 years, 30 years with many good friendships still going strong. Demosceners, game developers, and whatnot have been very friendly over the years and most of the period has been absolutely fantastic.
I started with Amiga game and program testing/QA and such in the mid-nineties and helped on many major and not-so-major products of the next few years, I helped studios like Vulcan, Blittersoft, Clickboom, Crystal Interactive, Sadness, Hyperion, and so on up until we started working on our own games again.
My last Amiga original project was the game title – Wild Flying -, a game we worked very hard on. It was meant to be the next killer app for the Amiga and the release window was planned between 2002 and 2004 but we had major problems getting enough people on board, notably a graphics artist as I didn’t have enough experience in that field to do all of it myself and neither did anyone else in the team. The project died off but we eventually released a playable demo preview to the community (which was originally only meant to be a proof of concept for publishers).
We still get emails, PMs, and so on a weekly/monthly basis from fans asking us to finish the game and release it, so yes it seems we did something right at least.
After the end of the Wild Flying (2004 or so) project as well as the best demo I have ever been involved in (Push-Entertainment’s MENTAL) was the time we also left the demoscene, but instead of putting my head into the ground I decided to invest time and money into AmigaOS4.
AmigaOS4 at that moment was in the alpha stages and the community started to split up into various formats (UAE, AROS,68k, MorpOS, and OS4) this was a crucial time to attract people to not leave OS4. My contributions for many years to come were that i somehow managed to port games, both free and commercial titles over to OS4 from Linux, Mac, and so on. By the end of my career, I did at least 300 or so, various quality since them being ports and all but by the time I had done all these other people also started to port and sometimes fix my old ones with updates and such.
If you want to know more about Amiga OS 4, then check out this link.
I have to mention that one of the reasons I stopped doing ports was because of a hard drive failure, I didn’t lose everything but I lost the thing I had worked the most on and that was a proper app/tool for printing and scanning.
I know I backed up everything and yet I still managed to lose several months of work, most if not all my motivation to work on that application stopped at that very moment… I never picked it up again and the last time I looked at it was in late 2010.
In the early 2000’s or so I also decided to help other developers with everything from testing to promoting and maybe most of all sharing my experience from all the years in the industry so that the developers wouldn’t get burnt by how the Amiga market in general worked.
I did game testing for Hyperion and I eventually helped on the OS4 version of Crossfire 2 before it all kicked off with lots of both PD and commercial titles (for about 6 years or so).
I then more or less dropped out of most Amiga activities (except for running this blog and sticking around in social media) until the Classic Amiga market all of a sudden woke up again after half a decade of silence, that was in 2015 or so.
I have since then (2015) been using a lot of time and energy on helping everyone out there that I could, the whole RETRO BOOM also helped on motivation as well and getting old friends back on Amiga was a huge factor for me using so much time on classic Amiga after all these years.
I have no idea how many games I have worked on for the last 6 years but it is probably something like 30+ games just on Amiga by now, some are not published/released yet but a lot of them are already out and I am still being headhunted for new projects as they have heard about my skills as a game designer, Quality Control, Alpha and Beta tester that takes stuff seriously.
These days I am first and foremost an Amiga Classic guy but I still use my Next Gen Amiga with OS4 and MorphOS for my daily work and the Classic only for game dev/helping others.
I am still part of the OS4 team, I still do stuff but most of it is support and minor tests and such, not much compared to before really. Beta testing on various apps stopped too due to the projects stagnating. I have tried many times to revive projects (Pagestream, IBrowse, etc.) but with no luck.
All looked grand and yes it was a nice period but I would have done it differently today. The PS4/5 needs themes, and dynamic themes and I have thought about doing a few but the API has changed which means I have to invest a lot of time into it and I am not so sure I would want to do that anymore due to family and such.
I never did enter PSVita development, and never went and got a devkit although I did get a signed account and access to tidbits and some cool projects, sadly the required motivation was never there for me.
In 2022 i entered the world of Virtual Reality development for the PSVR1/2. Got a liscense and signed NDA’s with developers in a matter of weeks after that, in December 2021 i saw the first project released, a tiny game but still a milestone where I helped with some QA stuff, after that I got a few more contracts, nothing big but general QA.
More about this venture eventually.
People from all over the world have asked me to set up a website for years, these requests go back as far as 1997 but it wasn’t before 2008 that I finally did it. I set up a minor website just showing my collection and eventually, the site got fairly popular (as far as such a site can get it) and then I decided to expand it into a proper site.
Two years or so passed until I started fiddling with the idea of doing a blog. In June 2012 the first blog was ready, it was crude, and it had bugs, many bugs.
I wrote it at work and hiding the stuff did it no favors. In November 2012 I re-opened the blog, a new blog, a new host, and new domain, and of course a better interface.
500.000 or so views later (November 2014) I decided to make a better blog and this is the blog you are visiting today (opened in early February 2015).
The blog has had its ups and downs as I write when I have something to say but only if time allows it. Thanks to a friend in Italy named Gianluca Girelli the blog managed to get through a very rough summer (13) when I moved into a new house, a house we built where the builders were idiots and clueless….a MESS!.
With that said, Gianluca stuck around and joined the blog officially 5 years ago or so and has proved to be a solid choice, a great co-writer who is greatly appreciated.
What will the future bring? well, new blog, twitch, YouTube, Twitter, and such, everything is up and running so it is looking bright and let’s hope the visitor numbers stay good and that the blog runs as it should.
And now over to my co-editor and good friend:
Gianluca Girelli / g0blin
Hello, I am Gianluca Girelli, and, like Tony, I am one of those people that were there when everything in the gaming industry started. Actually, being already 49, I am older than Tony and I was there before he did. Nonetheless, we share a similar experience.
Unlike Tony though, life didn’t make a collector out of me, at least not until the PS3 era came along. Yet, I do have a certain number of old games on my shelves and, most of all, I do have a significant number of retro hardware in my basement. Now, on the verge of 50, this hardware is about to be used again, but let’s do things in the right order.
When I was a kid computers were not actually present in everyday life, but you could see them every day on TV or in movies. The first significant memory I have of them is the big mainframe in “Space 1999” TV show, a British/Italian co-production that made me decide two things: 1, I wanted to be a pilot (an astronaut was daring too much); 2, I wanted to learn how to code. At that time I was only 6 years old so you may expect those decisions to fade once I grew up, but they didn’t. Today I am a pilot and I
am a coder, and computers are a big part of my life.
I was there when asteroids came out in arcades, and I was there when black-and-white turned into colors with Donkey Kong. I was there when my friends got their Commodore Vic20s, their Sinclair Spectrums, or their first 8088-based PCs. My parents were struggling too much to make ends meet (we were a family of six, working in the shoe business, and, in the early 80ies, that industry was crumbling into pieces), so they could never afford to buy me a computer.
I dreamt of a computer every night, crying because I could not have one. It was not a matter of not having something my friends had: it was because they only used their computers to play, while I literally wanted to hack those systems, even before knowing what “hacking” meant.
Back in the day, bookstores and magazine shops were full of products that taught you how to code together with insights into the Operating System of your choice: definitely a Stargate to a new Universe to me.
At a certain point, after a long summer spent working 9 hours a day, I bought my first computer. I was 16 years old.
The first-ever Amiga was already out, but it was still too expensive to get close to it, so I reverted to a Commodore 128, a machine that I coded every single day for the next 3 years. I was attending a computer science school, so my “desire number 2” was quickly becoming a reality.
At the same time, my friends did basically abandon their computers, moving on to consoles like the Super Nintendo. With its 16bits motherboard and endless choice of colors (for the time), it boosted my imagination even more. Yet, I didn’t want to play. Rather, I wanted to code games.
At the end of high school my “desire number 1” was still present and since it definitely was “#1”, I enrolled in the Air Force Academy. It was a great period but, like all the Academies of those times, it severed every contact with the outer world: no more playing, coding, or reading books, besides the ones you needed to study to pass the required courses. I bought my Amiga 2000 during my last year at the Academy since it was necessary to work on the final Thesis and stuff. Then, I was sent abroad (to the US) for pilot training.
The US was the land of the Amiga, but at the beginning of 1993, it was already over. Europe was still strong on Amiga computing, but everything overseas was already PCs and Macs.
Due to a million different reasons, I didn’t have almost anything to do with computing and/or gaming until the end of ’97, when I got my first console: the magnificent Grey Goddess, the PlayStation 1.
Everything started to come back again, although very slowly. I got back to computing, which obviously had moved on a lot, so I struggled to fill the gaps and get back on track. Eventually, I did, posing also the basis for something I always wanted to do: game coding.
Little by little I took my first steps into such a stimulating world, touching the sky when Sony started to sell the PS2 Linux Kit, which allowed for a whole bunch of experiments. I wrote an article about it a while back, have a look.
Yet, the Amiga (and the opportunity that I missed during the Academy years), had left a vacuum in my heart that needed to be filled, so I started to look out for it, learning that you can’t kill a legend: the community, despite the lack of hardware, was alive and kicking. I started to localize new software for the Amiga (both games and utility software) and joined the staff at Bitplane, the only Italian-printed magazine for Amigas and alternative OSs. One day, on a thread that did go way off-topic, I met Tony. I did have spotted him before (he was the AmigaGuru, after all) and I don’t know if it was the same on his part (I was indeed a very small fish) but when I modded a PacMan port (made with Hollywood)
turning PacMan into Dr. Who and the ghosts into Daleks, the puzzle was finally complete.
That was the start of a solid friendship that last ever since, and has brought me on
this blog as a simple reader at first, and as a full-time co-editor later on. Six more years have passed since that day and, over 200 articles later, I am more present than ever.
Nowadays my hobbies are: playing games, blogging about them, coding stuff, building and collecting plastic models, reading comics, attending comics fairs, drawing and retrocomputing. These are all things that you can see in my articles, true love for Japan included (yes, I also traveled to Japan and I’m self-teaching Japanese).
Also, in 2015, I published my first professional game.
It is indeed a casual game that didn’t get the attention it probably deserved, mostly due to my lack of experience: it’s not an easy task to write from scratch a complex adventure all by yourself, even though in the end I did make it.
If you have a chance, please play that game.
Not for me nor for the money: do it because its creator passed away a few days ago at the age of 45.
He was a true artist (and a true friend), and he deserved to see
his creation in the hands of people who can understand that money and glory don’t mean anything.
What really matters is loving what you do, and striving to give your best every day you have
the luck to live.
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