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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
All Rights reserved



Mystery Motherboards

Spellbound CD32 board

Since the A500 was launched many have wondered about the mysterious messages that have appeared on the Amiga motherboards. Were they a secret code passed to the Amiga disciples or meaningless jibberish? The truth was somewhere in between - the mysterious words were song titles. The tradition was started by George Robbins - the man responsible for most of the low end Amiga systems and continued by other Commodore employees. Robbin's handiwork was immediately recognisable by the B52's song title. His first Amiga project - the A500 - was originally developed under the working title of B52 and the trend continued to four subsequent models:

A500 "Rock Lobster"
A600 "Junebug"
A1200 "Channel Z"
A590 "Party Mix", the front LED's called Fred and Wilma

B52 fans and curious Amiga users can purchase their greatest hits album "Time Capsule: Songs For A Future Generation", featuring Rock Lobster, and Channel Z. Sadly, Mr. Robbins passed away in the early hours of April 26th, 2002. A memorial web site has been setup in his honour.
A500 Rock Lobster
The tradition was continued by the designers of the CD32 who added the word "Spellbound" onto the motherboard. This broke away from the B52's and was obviously added by a different person. Spellbound is a song by Siouxsie and the Banshees. These were an English band formed in 1976, releasing the title on their Ju-Ju album and as a single during May 1981. They disbanded during 1996. The lyrics summarise the CD32 as the first 32-bit console that will "entrance" game players.

Unseen messages
In an online conference during 1996 Dave Haynie gave some idea of the changes they were forced to make regarding motherboard messages, as well as those found on the designs that never made it.

Well, there weren't that many "sayings" on my motherboards, we generally stuck to code names. The best saying was on the A2000 prototype, Rev 2 or 3. This was something I did in 1986. In '85 and '86, we had a devistating round of layoffs at C=, based on the fact that the C64/C128 were aging and C= had paid buckets of money for Amiga. So on the bottom of the A2000 PCB was inscribed "The Few, The Proud, The Remaining", and below that, the initials of everyone left in Engineering. Henri Rubin made us take it off, so all you see is the "HAYNIE/FISHER" on the top of that corner (Terry Fisher did the PCB layout). Every motherboard has a code name. Everything George Robbins worked on was some reference to the B-52's. I had "The Boss" (A2000), "The Edge" (A2630), "B2" (A3000, Hedley named it), "Gemini" (an experimental multiprocessing Zorro III card), "Nyx" (the AAA prototype), and others I can't think of at the moment.
Spellbound is ©1999-2000 Ryan E. A. Czerwinski, All Rights Reserved, Used with permission


Last Update:8/3/2002


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