Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Walker: The Amiga That Never Took Its First Steps

Walker_beauty

The last days of the Commodore Amiga in the mid-90's were dark ones for Amiga zealots like me. Yet there was still hope, as the Amiga computer had been mismanaged almost since its beginning. One reseller was even heard to say that the only thing more difficult than doing business without Commodore was doing business with Commodore.

Walker_1000 Hungry for a new machine, one of the Amiga projects floating around in 1996 was the Amiga Walker. Only two prototypes exist , and as you can see the Darth Vader helmet design was a radical departure from the beige and boxy computers of the day. This invited much industry derision, putting proof to the point that the Amiga was never going to be a serious computer - especially when it looked like a vacuum cleaner.

The specs were plenty good though, and would have been good competition against Mac & PC. If it had reached production, the radical design could have really set the Walker apart from other platforms. It was intended to be a "fun" computer, ready out of the box for internet & gaming as well all the great graphics & multimedia apps that put Amiga on the map. 

Walker_layersAn innovative feature that folks seem to have forgotten about was that the top section of the Walker was designed to lift off, so an end user could easily sandwich in hardware expansion modules for things like hard drives, advanced graphics boards, and whatever other magic the Amiga's vibrant 3rd party community could dream up. Fun computing and easy end-user experience weren't mainstream ideas in 1996.

Only a few years later these ideas wouldn't seem so ridiculous when Apple launched the first iMac. The Mac Mini also has some of the Walker spirit in that many of its hardware accessories are available in the same miniature case style and footprint, so you can stack up components on your desk in a neat and compact package. It's a shame that while Mac's design departures earn Apple magazine covers and financial rewards, it seems that the history of the Walker will forever be relegated to the trashcan that people said it resembled.

Walker_2nd_life There is a way you can own your own Walker today. You can get it as a virtual computer in the game Second Life. It has one significant improvement over the original prototypes... it still works! The Walker even includes some old Amiga games.  If you want to add it to your Second Life setup, the page is linked below.

More history on The Walker
Walker computer in Second Life

related:
Minimig modern Amiga 500 clone
Amiga playing cards (somehow the Walker isn't the Joker)
Amiga demo video from the 90's

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