AMSTRAD CPC - RUNT OF THE LITTER?
As a kid, my parents, like Mums and Dads the country over, kept an album of photos of their children. If I were to sort through them now, there are several taken of me when I was a toddler on my bike, and the rest show me sitting glued next to a green screen computer. Often family members have looked through them and said something along the lines of "There, see, he'd got the computer bug in him even then, you can see it can't you?" Well, I don't expect Bill Gates to sign me up anytime soon, but it does add up, as I not only loved messing around with computers but for the last twenty years or so, I've worked with the latest technology for a living!
I'm convinced the Amstrad's reputation was deserved in a sense; my system had a dog shit version of Outrun, a crippled version of Green Beret and all those massively sluggish half-hearted Speccy conversions to contend with. Games like Super Hang-On or Enduro Racer should have been awesome, but instead, we got treacle. It wasn't all bad, but there were times I wished for a C64 instead. I always felt programmers never realised its full potential; some harnessed its graphical capabilities to a tea, but never really programmed games with its limitations and strengths in mind. On the rare occasion when someone did, it took real 'eye of the tiger' stuff, as seen in Operation wolf and Chase HQ.
Today we see all types of new games appearing for the CPC, some are just remakes, whilst others, like Zombie Monsters and Orion Prime, really show off what the CPC can actually do. It's just a shame that during the CPC's commercial life, things didn't look, or play, anywhere near as good as the software available now. The remake of R-Type changed a lot of people's perceptions, but the statements I heard back in the day, hold true, all be it hard to swallow, but true. I've often heard the CPC referred to as the 'runt of the litter', the 'also-ran', or 'the third machine'. Because at the end of the day, it's all about the quantity and quality of software; sadly, commercially the CPC couldn't compete in either area. A great machine, though, but I can't help feeling I backed the wrong horse.