There were some terrific gaming releases for the Amiga as the OS provided mousing interaction and a GUI interface well before the Windows monster grew to its full size. In fact, it took until roughly 2000 or thereabouts before the PC side of technology caught up. Even the Mac was behind the Amiga on this one, with low cost access, games and other home use, and high end video uses. An entire SF TV series in the mid 90s had a business model based on the use of Amiga to produce high tech computer graphics for the FX required to drive the show.
On the other hand, you'll find very few Amiga only titles here; the Apple and DOS competition overwhelmed the Commodore management's capacity to market once Jack Trammel left the company, and the Amiga suffered through the death spirals of cash shortages, court battles and bankruptcy. Therefore only niche software companies had Amiga only business plans.
Here's a sampling of the best games I owned back then and the current boardgames that have similar natures or styles. By no means is this a complete Amiga listing - it stands before any adds as my list of the best I recall from more than 20 years back.
Cinemaware was a company that based their releases generally on movie themes, so this was a Ivanhoe or Arthurian release. This was their first, and it was groundbreaking. Defenders was the first game many of the first Amiga owners bought, as it was the first game release specific to the Amiga and was well passed the quality of existing video games and computer games at the time.
Defenders of the Realm matches the theme and some of the questing themes of the computer game. Comparing them is like comparing a movie to a book; the board game allows for more depth but the images on the screen provide a nice emotional engagement.
Looking from a current perspective, the computer game was simplistic, requiring timed clicks and a few choices of options, and while tough to win, wasn't the challenge later Amiga games provided. But, at the time, oh my, the graphics on the home screen were quite a sight to behold.
Chris Crawford built a reputation in the 80's with some serious games designs that attempted integration of simulation with game play. In this one, Geopolitics in the midst of the Cold War was the topic, and staying out of a Hot War was hard.
This was a port from a another set of platforms, with an mild Amiga graphic gloss overlaid; but really, the design focus was more about the play and less about the look.
Having not played - but having read a few reviews of - Twilight Struggle, the intrigue appears to be similar but the original software was a solitaire game which had simulation goals, whereas TS is a 2 player game which has more of an intention to create a strong conflict experience. Both did well to build the nervous tension of many years of indirect and proxy conflict and both have been well regarded in their times.
This release set (including BT2 and BT3) is from the Wizardry style of games that had been released previous to the Amiga with a rudimentary style of graphics to back up the text narrative. The design decision were to make the game play and graphics more robust but generally match the older machines' interface style.
Game play was interesting, as this was a complex and long Fantasy RPG adventure, taking a Bard character from tyro to master and defeating the big boss.
I compare this to Mage Knight as the scope of the game is similar, semi-random encounters on a map interface, building your character through adventures chosen and not chosen, and facing the tough opposition at the end of game.
Sid Meier continues to make a career on this cycle of games. With good reason; from the beginning the computer games have been addictive, entertaining and successful. He didn't invent the tech tree incentive but he may have perfected it.
The original was a Amiga release and was optimized for it, allowing for use of the mouse to choose items and upgrades, and the separation of tasks optimization was used so the Amiga showed little of the lag seen in PC releases of the time.
The board game has had two major versions. The first version, generally seen as having been underdeveloped and overpriced, is out of print and out of vogue. The newest release, from 2010, was better received and has a Kevin Wilson design. It is a bit fiddly due to the attempt to align where possible to the play of the Civ 5 computer release but is in my judgement a above average product.
Trivia note: The skyline modeled on the first computer game (see the image above) is a bas relief version of the Charlotte skyline of the day, which happens to be my hometown.
Not quite a First Person Shooter, but much of the atmosphere of one. The design was to give a first person perspective of a dungeon crawl, and it was eye opening. Traps, monsters and mapping took on a whole new perspective.
This release, along with the Atari ST, broke sales records for the platform and was seen as revolutionary at the time. The Amiga version was the very first to feature 3D sound in any computer game.
Descent, while top down 3rd person perspective, provides some level of similar atmosphere and the tactical gameplay can be compared at some level.
At its heart, R3K in this version was a turn based strategy wargame, playable by 1-6. This hotseat style wargaming was a breakthrough for me, providing a fog of war element and computer adjudication of multiple player actions (as I recall). It also provided a slightly lowered level of complexity to wargaming, since the computer covers the rules and adjudication, the player can concentrate on the game itself and leave the larger portions of metagames to a referee.
This provided my real entree into wargaming. I had played board wargames previously, just badly. Once I could break free of worrying about rules - which at this time generally tended towards complexity - I found I could play with more confidence and some level of skill.
Having never played the R3K card game I can't really compare to the computer game.
This fantasy game is 4x based with 8 always playing factions, playable by 1-8 players where you control fighting units and heroes. Players capture other castles, find treasures and recruit units in order to dominate the other players. If this sounds lots like the Heroes of Might and Magic series, that's because you are paying attention.
The Amiga version was the first release and was quite a hit. The only complaint about this game was, once a leader was established, it was hard to take him down.
Cannon Fodder wasn't Sensible Software's best game though. The Sensible Soccer games (particularly Sensible World of Soccer) were the most playable football games around. The game play still stands up to this day for sheer simplicity and playability.
Or "Legend" as it was known to me. This was probably my favourite game on the Amiga, and I still have the manuals and guides, although the discs are long gone. I have a PC version of it installed somewhere. A fabulous and engrossing dungeon crawl.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
Here's one that was a "indie" production, originally released as shareware and matched Gauntlet at the time in graphics and crushed other console games - in fact, did riffs on them to the point of improving on the originals.
Wings was a World War 1 flying game where you played a pilot. What was so great about it was that it told a story (through diary entries) and you played out the missions as they came about - either dogfights, balloon bursting, bombing or strafing missions.
The game makes you grow really attached to your pilot and his life. The piloting of the planes was good and it just sucked me in soooo much.
Inferior to the PC version, Theme Park on the Amiga was still wonderful. I got it for Christmas in the mid-90s and promptly spent the next few months playing nothing else. A great business sim with humour and replaybility.
Great game. Never did get the princess or conquer Japan. The best I could do is kill my brother and win a couple victories against the Taira clan. But if you fell off your horse like three times, you'd die.