How to Emulate a Commodore Amiga on Your PC
Retro games remain surprisingly popular, with websites and even magazines dedicated to their continued appreciation. One perennially popular system is the Commodore Amiga, a desktop computer with surprising graphics ability and a desktop environment.
A passionate user base persists to this day, and the Amiga OS exists as a Linux-esque alternative to Windows (and can be run on the Raspberry Pi ).
However, whether you’re running an emulator on your Windows, Mac, or Linux desktop (or even mobile device), continued use of the Amiga platform depends upon you loading up an emulator. From here, a disk image should be loaded at the Kickstart prompt.
Fortunately, various emulator solutions are readily available.
Emulating the Amiga on Windows, Linux, and Mac
You’ll find an emulator suitable for playing Amiga game ROMs (and app ROMs, too) on almost all currently-popular platforms. We’re going to show you two in particular, one for Windows, and another for Android.
Once you’re running an emulator, you’ll need some games to play. As with any copyrighted material, you’ll need to own a copy of a game to be able to legally play it. If you need some ideas, our list of the top 10 Amiga games should help, and these can be found in the usual ROM repositories. Once downloaded, they’re easily installed on your Amiga emulator.
Choose Your Emulator
Your best choice for an Amiga emulator can be found at fs-uae.net/download, home of the FS-UAE Amiga emulator. While the emulator is available for Windows, Mac, and various Linux distros (even SteamOS !), we’re looking at the Windows version.
After downloading and installing the emulator, run FS-UAE Launcher. The launcher is arranged into eight tabs, which you use to configure your Amiga emulation. On the first tab, select the appropriate Amiga model for the game you wish to play. You can choose from the original Amiga 1000 all the way through to the CD32 and CDTV. Note that you can also quickly load up a game ROM here, as well as configure a controller.
You’ll also need to choose a Kickstart ROM. Kickstart was the bootstrapping firmware that prepared the Amiga for running software from an inserted diskette. Various versions of Kickstart were issued.
With FS-UAE, you can use the default replacement Kickstart ROM, which was originally developed for the AROS project. But if you have Kickstart ROMs on disk, you can import these. You’ll find the controls for selecting a Kickstart ROM across the bottom of the emulator window. Find out more about Kickstart ROMs at www.amigaroms.net.
Loading a Game ROM
Loading up a game (or app) can be done from the first screen, where there are slots for two floppy disk ROMs. If you have a CD-ROM based ROM, you’ll be able to load this up from the CD-ROM Drives tab. Similarly, there is also a Hard Drives tab, which you can use to configure a directory on your PC to he used as a HDD. Finally, if the title is across several disk images, you can use the Floppy Drives tab to load up the disks.
With your ROM in place, it’s time to click Start. The FS-UAE emulator will play rattling disk-reading sound FX, presumably recorded from a genuine Amiga, and the game will launch.
Load issues can be resolved by tweaking the configuration; perhaps adding memory, or using a genuine Kickstart ROM. The Additional configuration screen (the right-most tab) should help you out here.
As an example, in order to run the ScummVM title The Secret of Monkey Island with FS-UAE, I had to:
- Increase the available RAM to the emulated Amiga from the default 512 KB to 1.5 MB.
- Use the Kickstart 1.3 ROM.
If you’re having problems, find an image of the original box online (use Google images) to check the system requirements. While most games will run on Kickstart 1.3 with 1 MB of RAM, this isn’t always the case.
How to Emulate an Amiga on Android
Even simpler to set up is the emulation of an Amiga computer on your Android smartphone or tablet (or even TV box ). You’ll be able to do this by installing the UAE4ALL 2 app. This video explains in more depth:
Once you’re up and running, you’re ready to start enjoying Amiga games on your Android device!
As iOS users will know, emulation on the platform is limited, and as a result there are few emulators available. However, a search of the App Store will reveal some repackaged Amiga titles. For instance, Tales of Monkey Island, sequel to The Secret of Monkey Island, is available for iPad.
The Amiga: Emulated
With an emulated Commodore Amiga running on your PC or mobile device, you immediately have access to a library of over 5000 titles, many of which set the groundwork for the way games are played 30 years later.
Looking for some more retro console fun on your PC? Here’s how to play PS2 games on your desktop computer .