Emulating on the Amiga.

As noted on the ‘The computing landscape of the time‘ page here on The Amiga Museum, from the very early days of 1986 Commodore themselves produced hardware that enabled the Amiga 1000 to run software designed to work on MS-DOS compatible machines with the A1060 IBM PC XT sidecar, which added an IBM PC XT, MS-DOS compatible machine to the side of the Amiga 1000, while using the same keyboard, mouse and speakers.

This was far from the last product to be released to enable users of the Amiga platform to use software that had been designed to run on a different system.

The aim of this page is not to cover every single hardware and/or software solution that there is for the Amiga platform that enables it to run software designed for other systems, but to give a brief overview of why this was a compelling argument for purchasing an Amiga computer.

Legality is another issue entirely, and while most of these solutions are perfectly legal in and of themselves, sometimes they require software which is under copyright and which cannot be legally used unless you own the actual hardware and do not use it at the same time, even then, in some cases the user agreement specifically denies the transfer of copyrighted software to another system.  The Amiga Museum does not condone software piracy or breaking the terms of user agreements, which are a legally binding contract.

My far, the most common sort of computer to emulate was the IBM Compatible PC (also known as MS-DOS compatible), with a variety of hardware and software solutions available:



One of the next most common was the Apple Macintosh series, up until the advent of the Power Macintosh series in 1994.  This could be done almost entirely in software, however hardware was also available to enable the reading and writing of double-density Macintosh floppy disks, as well as connection of devices intended to connect to the unique Macintosh serial ports.



At it’s heart, the Atari ST had the same CPU as the Amiga, and a much more simple operating system, which made it fairly easy to emulate on the Amiga.  Unfortunately, what few emulators there are are designed to work on an Amiga 500, and do not function on later models or on machines with extra RAM and/or a faster CPU.


Many people saw the Amiga as the logical successor to the best-selling Commodore 64, so there were solutions for people who wanted to use their Amiga as a Commodore 64 and not need to have both machines taking up room on the desk or in front of the TV.  Once again, some were a combination of hardware and software, allowing connections of some Commodore 64 peripherals, such as disk drives and printers, while some were purely software based.

A64 – a review of A64 v3.0



Probably somewhat less legal, but plenty of people only used their Amiga for playng games, and there are emulators for games machines, such as the Sega Master System, Nintendo Entertainment System and others.