The Best Amiga Games list is full of classics from what was a golden era in home computing: Commodore’s Amiga was a hugely popular computer that launched at a time when the manufacturer was prominent in the home computer market, if not entirely dominant – a time before DOS and Windows PCs established their foothold in the sector.
It was huge commercial success, mostly because it was so incredibly ahead of its time when it launched in 1985 as a multimedia computer.
It was 1987’s Amiga 500 – which competed directly against Atari’s ST – that became the Amiga line’s most successful machine, launching in 1987 and going on to sell millions of units worldwide.
A variety of models at differing price points and even continued beyond Commodore’s demise in the early 90s – with the company placing its hopes on the Amiga-derived CD32 console, which failed to sell in enough numbers to save them upon its unsuccessful release in 1993.
Despite the demise of Commodore in the early 90s, their earlier computers are incredibly fondly remembered by generations of gamers and computer enthusiasts – and the Amiga itself played host to some absolutely wonderful games.
Though not often exclusive to the best Amiga games – with most titles ending up at least on the Atari ST, as well as the older 8-bit computers and the consoles of the day – there are a number of titles that originated – or were at least hugely popular – on Commodore’s forward thinking computer that are well worth checking out.
The early 90s were a big time for platform game mascots – and it seemed that a new one popped up every week at some points.
Enter Zool, an attempt by Gremlin Graphics to give the Amiga a mascot of their own. Though it has since fallen out of favour somewhat, at the time of release – and with little competition on the Amiga – Zool was absolutely huge.
Fast, smooth, colourful and multi-directional visuals gave the Ninja from the Nth Dimension immediate visual appeal – and the speedy gameplay and straightforward mechanics made it a dream to play.
Despite having one of the most in-your-face product placement sponsorship deals in gaming up to that point – with Chupa Chups branding prominently featured throughout the game – Zool’s popularity saw it ported to numerous platforms and it even spawned a less well-received sequel, which was essentially more of the same (though it did feature a two player mode – and can be found on the list of the Best Atari Jaguar Games).
9. Alien Breed (1991)
1986 movie Aliens has been responsible for inspiring an incredible number of media properties – and Alien Breed is no exception.
A Gauntlet-esque dungeon crawl – albeit set on a spaceship beset by devastatingly vicious alien invaders, Alien Breed is a fast-paced, action-packed title that was a massive critical and commercial hit for British developers/publishers Team 17, who are still going strong today.
Numerous updates, sequels and reboots followed (as recently as 2010’s Alien Breed 3: Descent), but none have matched the original for sheer impact on players. This sits strongly on our best Amiga games list.
8. Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker (1991)
A hugely impressive technical achievement in its day, Archer Maclean’s snooker sim reportedly took the developer several years to complete.
Despite being a ‘serious’ sim, there were a number of amusing touches, such as balls taunting the player with funny faces if they took too long to take a shot.
A trick shot editor was also included, making this ahead-of-its-time, ridiculously addictive snooker simulator a well-rounded package that spawned a number of ports and a less well-received pair of sequels.
7. Turrican II: The Final Fight (1991)
Factor 5’s Turrican series was an absolute blast – no pun intended – on home computers, with frantic, challenging and incredibly fast paced run and gun action.
Glorious visuals and gameplay – a sort of more action-based Metroid, especially as the main character can transform into a metal ball, a la Samus – along with a stunning soundtrack marked the series out as an instant hit on the Amiga, with the second game refining the formula even further and becoming an incredible showcase for the Amiga’s capabilities.
6. Sid Meier’s Civilization (1991)
Though – unlike other games on this list – Sid Meier’s Civilization isn’t necessarily associated with the Amiga, it was nonetheless a huge success on Commodore’s machine (as it was on every platform it was ported to) and players sank ungodly numbers of hours into the seminal, hugely influential strategy title.
A series that’s still running – the latest release being Civilization VI, which came out in 2016 – the Civilization games continue to enjoy massive popularity to this day.
5. Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe (1990)
The Bitmap Brothers were probably the first ‘rock star’ programming team to emerge from Britain’s coding scene – their games were always technical tour de forces with great gameplay, distinctively metallic visuals and stunning soundtracks.
Though the original game – 1988’s Speedball – was a success, it was the 1990 sequel that’s so fondly remembered today.
Heavily influenced by 70s future sport movie Rollerball, Speedball 2 sees players aiming to take new team – the eponymous Brutal Deluxe – to the top of the sport’s league, with pinball-inspired elements on the pitch and violent fights kicking off as teams compete to win each match. Stunning stuff.
4. Cannon Fodder (1993)
War has never been so much fun. Sensible Software were another developer that – like the Bitmap Brothers – inspired fierce loyalty, each of their games massively hyped in advance of release.
With good reason – they were critical darlings and commercial successes because they were so damn good; Cannon Fodder was no exception.
Taking the tiny, cutesy sprites familiar from games such as Sensible Soccer and sticking them in a surprisingly gory, challenging RTS/action hybrid, Cannon Fodder nevertheless made some serious points about the futility and tragedy of war – the point hammered home by gravestones marking every single loss of your named units.
This was really controversial in its day, but the game has since become a classic and its anti-war stance – despite being laden with humour that makes it easier to digest – is now seen to be intelligent and thoughtful, rather than contentious.
3. Sensible Soccer (1992)
Football – or soccer, as it’s known on this side of the pond – is big business, and the success of soccer games on computers and consoles over the decades is evidence of this.
Sensible Soccer was a massive success, not just because it was a football game – and not just with players interested in the sport.
The tiny players, viewed from a top down perspective (pretty common for football games of the era, with Kick Off 2 being another massive game in this arena – apologies for the pun), kicked the ball around at lightning speed, with the game owing as much to pinball as it did to football.
Incredibly addictive and ridiculously playable, Sensible Soccer spawned countless ports, as well as sequels and numerous reboots over the years. It was – and remains – a genuine phenomenon and one of the best Amiga games of all time.
2. Lemmings (1991)
Another game that was a real phenomenon, Lemmings was an original puzzle/proto-RTS title that captured the imagination and playing time of a huge audience.
Players save – or sacrifice – tiny legions of bipedal, flesh coloured, blue-clothed, green-haired creatures (the eponymous Lemmings) who are determined to commit suicide across a huge number of destructible, ever more deadly levels.
Endless ports saw it appear on an increasingly unlikely number of formats and a few sequels have followed, but the real magic and impact of the first game has never been recaptured.
Still seen as one of the best games of all time, developers DMA Design went on to become Rockstar North – the company responsible for the unstoppable Grand Theft Auto franchise.
1. The Secret of Monkey Island (1990)
Star Wars creator George Lucas wasn’t just a massive name in movies – his gaming division, Lucasfilm Games (which became rebranded as part of LucasArts in 1990), was responsible for some of the most popular computer games in the 80s and 90s.
Particularly influential and strong were their adventure titles, which – starting with Maniac Mansion in 1987 – used the SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) engine, allowing a high level of interaction with objects and characters in game.
These adventures were also known for their excellent visuals, clever narratives and hilarious comedy (and feature in book The Art of Point and Click Adventure Games).
The Secret of Monkey Island – which sees protagonist Guybrush Threepwood arriving on Melee Island with the intention of becoming a pirate, leading to several laugh out loud scenes, as well as countless dialogue-based and visual gags – was no exception. To this day it’s still regarded as one of the best adventure games of all time.
A number of ports, sequels and remakes over the years have solidified the series’ reputation as one of the best ever.
Despite the first game featuring some slightly obtuse puzzles, its charm and wit hasn’t aged a day – and it fully deserves its place at the very top of the list of Best Amiga Games.