The Amiga “Boing Ball” Demo animated GIF
As an old Amiga-geek, this little GIF here makes me smile. The “Boing Ball” demo was, for its time, an amazing thing, as is the lore behind it. Consensus seems to be that RJ Mical and Dale Luck were looking for a way to demonstrate the graphical powers of the Amiga. Unfortunately for them, just getting the Amiga OS stable enough for the public unveiling of the Amiga 1000 at the winter CES show in 1984 tool right up until the show. They say that the night before, Workbench and Intuition were behaving well enough that Mical and Luck were able to spare a few hours on something else. What they came up with is genius.
A red-white checkered ball, spinning and bouncing in simulated 3D space, smoothly, without lag or stutter, and in real-time. Like the Amiga Juggler Demo, the Boing Ball demo was thought impossible for a home computer system. Rumor has it that CES attendees and press suspected the demo had been created on a supercomputer, and the Amiga was actually a TV hooked up to a VCR playing the ‘demo’. When shown that, in fact, the demo could multitask, and the user could jump back to Workbench, people were stunned. Because Mical and Luck were so deeply involved, and knowledgeably, and the Amiga and its custom graphic chipset, the Boing Ball demo used virtually no CPU time.
Since then, the Boing Ball has been a beloved icon, and sometimes semi-official logo, for the Amiga. It many ways, it really symbolized the Amiga – extremely impressive technology, while also simple and playful. I remember when I first saw it, I was incredulous. Mostly because I had made the mistake of getting an Atari 520ST, and it wouldn’t be until introduction of ST’s with Blitter graphic chips than even crude copies could be made.
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