Anyone used to the plethora of ZX Spectrum emulators on the market will get an immediate culture shock should they choose to buy a copy of Amiga Forever. Whereas programs emulating the former platform are generally as straightforward to use as double-clicking a file to get your emulated title working, with this one it’s a good deal trickier.
But then Amiga Forever is more than a straightforward emulator. It’s actually an umbrella package, if you will, that brings together two different emulators, the required – and still legally protected – ROM files, numerous configurations and full support for connecting an Amiga up to your PC.
And it all seems quite friendly at first. You open up at a menu screen that offers tabs to jump to galleries, videos and a couple of supplied games (although you’ll need to be online to jump to most of these). Most likely you’ll make a choice from the General tab which offers default configurations for Amiga OSs 1.3 and 3.0, configuration options for the two supplied emulators – WinUAE and WinFellow – and access to the wealth of documentation (which isn’t particularly easy to find your way around).
Of the two emulators, WinFellow is probably the easiest to work with, although slightly less effective. Both it and WinUAE in particular have a wealth of tabbed menu options and configurations. Should you have downloaded some old Amiga games from the many sites offering these legally for free, it’s likely you’ll have to tinker a little – and sometimes a lot – with the settings to get things to work, although the defaults within the program sometimes do the trick. It can, if all doesn’t work first time, be quite a steep learning curve to surmount, but it’s one with some big rewards.
For Amiga Forever does, in one package, give you pretty much everything you need to get an Amiga up and running on your PC. There are numerous options to control the emulated speed, the version of the Amiga you want to emulate and how you want your PC to deal with it all.
You can link your hard drives up to act as Amiga drives, you can choose – from WinUAE – one of the pre-set Amigas to work with, and you can, as mentioned earlier, get an Amiga proper working with it. All of these options are quite easy to sort once you know what you’re doing. A nice touch too is that you can, thanks to the inclusion of a specialised Linux distro, boot directly from the CD (although most will have to make that themselves, as by far the easiest way to get hold of Amiga Forever 6 is to buy a download).
In short, this is as comprehensive and well put together an emulation package as we’ve seen. It doesn’t run as smoothly as we’d like, and getting some of the games we’d found on the web to work with it felt like a black art at times, but once you’re over the numerous hurdles, then this is a good package. And that’s whether you choose to use it with the current generation of Amiga technologies, or simply take a trip down memory lane.
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