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HomeRetro GamingAmstrad CPC 6128 | Retro Gamer

Amstrad CPC 6128 | Retro Gamer

Yr Launched: 1985
Authentic Value: £299 (with green-screen monitor), £399 (with color monitor)
Purchase It Now For: £25+
Related magazines: Amtix, Computing With The Amstrad, Amstrad Pc Consumer, CPC Assault, Amstrad Motion
Why The Amstrad CPC 6128 Was Nice: It might not have been as cool or as fascinating as a Commodore 64, however the CPC 6128 was arguably the best 8-bit machine ever made. Adaptable (plug in a tape drive, fiddle endlessly with the quantity management and also you had a 464 with knobs on) and reliable, there was a mountain of video games, a thriving group, and an actual spirit of the underdog.


Sitting atop a chunky slab of plastic, the CPC 664’s white and blue keys and the clumsy-looking addition of a disk drive exuded such ugliness that you simply couldn’t assist however really feel sorry for the poor sods who purchased it. It was a step up from Amstrad’s iconic cassette-based 464 within the sense that it added a three-inch disk drive of the like seen within the Oric Atmos, some additional BASIC instructions and each the AMSDOS and CP/M 2.2 working techniques. However whereas it bought round 10,000 items, inside 5 months it was changed by the 6128 – a machine which not solely doubled the reminiscence of its predecessor however appeared far sleeker, too.

And so it was that the CPC 6128 got here into being. It was launched in America in 1985 and it got here to Europe shortly afterwards, making its UK debut at a glitzy press convention in London with BBC newsreader Richard Whitmore overseeing proceedings. Boasting the identical three-inch drive, the one actual options to differentiate the 6128 from the 664 had been the 128K of RAM and a greater, plain white, springier keyboard. The additional reminiscence was an vital addition, nonetheless, because it was used as a RAM disk or to retailer information akin to gaming ranges.

In some instances, the 128K variations of CPC video games would carry sound not heard of their 64K counterparts and all of this allowed builders to present their titles a little bit increase now and again. Earlier than its unveiling, Mr Whitmore led the assembled journalists and sellers by means of a potted historical past of Amstrad. But it surely was Sir Alan Sugar himself who whipped the covers off the 6128 to point out his new machine in all its glory. In doing so, he declared the 664 “nicely and really lifeless” and he stated the brand new arrival was attributable to “a leap in know-how”. He later acknowledged that the 6128 was aimed toward a extra critical purchaser, though the choice to make the machine suitable with 464 and 664 software program created an immediate again catalogue of video games for the brand new machine.

AmstradCPC464User“There was a easy cause for launching the CPC 6128,” says Cliff Lawson, who labored on the product launch of each the 6128 and 664. “It may very well be produced for a similar cash because the 664 so Amstrad determined it might be sensible to go for the higher product. It provided the punter extra and it was, dare I say, a lot prettier, too.”

The 6128 was one among two computer systems to be unveiled by Amstrad on the identical time. The opposite was the PCW8256, pitched primarily at companies. That machine got here with a monochrome monitor, 256K of reminiscence, a built-in disk drive, a printer and word-processing software program, nevertheless it wasn’t suitable with the CPC and there was no intention of opening its enchantment to players. The PCW retailed at £460 and, because the trumpets blared for the 6128, the 464 was lower in worth, bringing its value right down to £199 for the green-screen model and £299 for color. In some sense, it meant that the 6128 was a midway home – half enterprise, half pleasure – bridging the hole between the PCW and the 464.

One of many first video games to benefit from the added capability that the additional 64K of the 6128 provided was Sorcery+. Launched in 1985, gamers of this disk-based joystick-only sport noticed many enhancements over the unique Sorcery, together with an additional 35 screens. Amstrad beloved the plush look a lot that it used screens of the sport in its promotional literature and but such enhancements didn’t turn into the norm.

DDI-1DiskDrivefor464Though it was doable for each 464 and 664 homeowners to purchase a 64K reminiscence pack, which may very well be inserted into an growth slot behind each computer systems (Datel Electronics would promote Dk’tronics’ 64K reminiscence on a month-to-month foundation), gross sales weren’t sufficiently excessive sufficient for all builders to place within the additional effort of making further enhancements. The gaming advantages of buying additional reminiscence weren’t closely pushed both, so whether or not or not a sport carried the additional energy trusted the whim of the developer or, in some instances, the close to impossibility of creating a sport as spectacular in 64K as it might be utilizing double that reminiscence.

Certainly, because the 6128 launched, some builders determined they wouldn’t be sticking their neck out in help of the added extras of the brand new machine. Paula Byrne, of Melbourne Home, stated she would see how nicely the machine bought and Taskset’s Paul Hodgson felt Amstrad missed a chance to reinforce the graphics and sound chips and stated he had no speedy plans to make video games for it. But it surely wasn’t all doom and gloom. Gremlin’s Ian Stewart stated it paved the way in which for higher video games and his firm definitely made use of the brand new services on supply because the years went on.

“Amstrad didn’t encourage 128K disk-based video games to be produced,” admits Cliff. “It wasn’t significantly vital because the additional reminiscence was seen to have better use with critical purposes. The 64K video games on the time labored nicely on the total vary of Amstrad’s CPC machines and it was in everybody’s curiosity to make sure titles operated throughout your complete vary and that the market wouldn’t be cut up.”

Multiface2Round six months after launch, each the 6128 and the PCW had been doing nicely. Amstrad introduced £27.5 million half-yearly earnings in April 1986 with gross sales within the six months to December 1985 rising from £69 million to £128 million. The PCW8256 accounted for 20 per cent of the corporate’s turnover, however the 6128 was turning into a market chief in France, in addition to making main inroads into Germany and Spain.

But, for the common gamer, such company guff mattered little. They had been extra serious about having fun with among the gems which had been launched over the course of the 6128’s life span. As time went on, extra video games arrived that would solely be performed with 128K of reminiscence. They included Gremlin’s Nigel Mansell’s World Championship, the most effective System 1 video games ever launched on the Amstrad and a title which deservedly received it a lot reward within the CPC gaming press.

Certainly, Gremlin, as we have now mentioned, appreciated to make use of the additional RAM to get one of the best out of its video games. It produced 128K variations of House Campaign and Tremendous Automobiles. And titles akin to HeroQuest and Switchblade contained music on the 6128, whereas, on an unexpanded 464, there have been no tunes in any respect. Some variations had been extra refined, nonetheless. “In Lotus Esprit Turbo Problem,” explains Nicholas Campbell, the CPC Video games Overview webmaster, “the one distinction, so far as I’m conscious, is that the ‘handbook’ (the screens displaying the automobile’s specs) is loaded individually on the 64K model, whereas it’s included with the principle sport within the 128K model.”

Image3There was extra… Degree 9’s video games, together with Gnome Ranger, Ingrid’s Again, Knight Orc, Lancelot and Scapeghost, didn’t comprise graphics on a non-enhanced 464, however the 6128 proudly confirmed off a bunch of images. This was additionally the case with The Well-known 5 in addition to all 4 of Magnetic Scrolls’ adventures for the CPC (The Pawn, The Guild Of Thieves, Jinxter and Corruption), which had been solely playable if 128K was accessible.

Add to that little listing much less prestigious titles akin to European Superleague and Pc Scrabble De Luxe, throw within the likes of Ultimate Struggle (this sport got here on a dual-format disk with the Spectrum model on the opposite facet), tag on Gauntlet III, G-LOC, Gunboat, and most of Microïds’ later releases – Killerball, Sliders and Swap – No Exit, Pirates!, then make house for all 4 of Silmarils’ releases (Windsurf Willy, Targhan, Xyphoes Fantasy and Bunny Bricks), SWIV and Instances Of Lore and also you had a reasonably good cause to go for Amstrad’s greatest machine on the time. If nothing else, the additional vocal samples on Chase H.Q. had been most likely well worth the worth of an improve alone. Properly, most likely anyway…

4 Nice Amstrad CPC 6128 Video games

05 - BarbarianBarbarian

03 - Head Over HeelsHead Over Heels

02 - 19421942

01 - Prince of PersiaPrince Of Persia

Learn the total characteristic in Retro Gamer subject 59, on sale digitally from

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