Amiga game enthusiasts are spoilt for choice in terms of websites specializing in Amiga games, but few of them are as good as Lemon Amiga. Here is an interview with Kim Lemon, its creator.
My name is Kim, I'm 43 years old and Swedish. I work with internet business development, mainly focusing on e-commerce. Been an entrepreneur for the last 13 years and recently sold one of my companies, which resulted in plenty of time to work on a new Lemon Amiga website.
Things that I enjoy include good food, long walks in the forest, renovating my house and spending time with my kids and family.
The new generation of Amiga users :-)
Around 1989/1990. I watched the Blood Money intro at a friends place and was blown away.
What are your Amiga configurations? (now and in the past)
Got my first Amiga 500 in the early 90s and sold it a few years later to buy an Amiga 1200, which is still my primary Amiga. It's equipped with a Blizzard 1260, 64 MB RAM, 40 GB 2.5" internal HD, Subway USB, AmigaOS 3.9, Indivision, 24" monitor @ 50hz and PCMCIA Wi-Fi. I also have an A500 which I use with floppy disks only to get that good old feeling.
Installing the Indivision in the A1200
I created some poor and strange "demos" in my teens. I didn't know how to code back then, so I combined various CLI commands for showing animation, playing mods, sliding images, etc. Creating animations in Deluxe Paint has always been great fun. A friend of mine was a good musician, so we used to sample sounds from his synth and use these to compose music in Protracker/DigiBooster. I also compiled a couple of useless utility disks.
Could you tell us the story behind Lemon64 and Lemon Amiga?
Lemon64 started as a small section on my personal "homepage" in 1998, but quickly became a website of its own. The first two versions of Lemon64 were coded and designed entirely on my Amiga 1200.
There's been some technical difficulties, for example learning PHP/MySQL. Coding doesn't come natural for me, but I've pushed myself hard because I was forced in order to make my ideas come true.
In the early Lemon64 years, we had a period of difficulties in the moderator team, with very different views on how the community should be run. That was far more challenging than the technical stuff.
Another difficulty when working on intense large projects is balance in life. I tend to work very hard when I'm into something, which sometimes puts strain on other things in life.
Could you also introduce the members of the team behind your websites?
Predseda from Prague has been around since 2004 and administrates both the website and forum since 2016. We also have Lifeschool from England, who runs the Lemon Amiga YouTube-channel and has created video game reviews for many years. Then we have Sepp from Vienna who is a games database editor and administrator. We also have the great forum moderators ReTroViRuS and mihcael as well as a moderator team all dedicated to game competitions. Another hero is TNT who has administrated both Lemon64 and Lemon Amiga for many years.
During the years we've had several great administrators, moderators and contributors. None mentioned, none forgotten.
Members have sent me boxed games, candies, birthday greetings, cash, Christmas cards, t-shirts, magazines, etc. Thinking about all the support during the years really brings tears to my eyes.
For someone who doesn't know Lemon64 and Lemon Amiga, how would you introduce them?
I rarely talk about my websites in daily life. The websites are very niched and require a true interest. Those who are genuinely interested will surely find them.
How many visitors do you have on your websites? What is the evolution since their creation?
Lemon Amiga has about 2000 unique visitors per day and rapidly increasing since the launch of the new site. At its peak around 2007 it averaged 3000 unique visitors per day. I'm not sure about Lemon64 because I haven't been around there for many years.
At the beginning, Lemon64 offered download for lots of commercial games. It's not the case now, why?
We got a mail from a very small publisher who created one very crappy game back in 1986 and he wanted to take legal actions against us. I didn't want to risk getting any more of those mails, so I decided to remove all downloads. The good thing about this was that this made me focus more on other site features. The number of visitors didn't drop after removing the downloads, so I guess this wasn't the primary reason they visited Lemon64.
Early January 2021, Lemon Amiga were updated. What were the most important changes? Which other features did you plan to add in the future?
One of the most important things is that it became mobile friendly and I made it technically modern. The mobile trend is increasing each year and if we don't follow the site would slowly die, which actually started to happen a few years ago. Also, the ability to listen to MP3 music and watch intro/review videos are very appreciated features.
Did you have others Amiga projects? Did you plan to open a similar website for another retro machine?
I started a project on scanning the Swedish Amiga/C64 magazine Datormagazin, but it became quite boring after a while. Today I'm happy to see that others have done a great job on this. There will be no more sites for other machines, I neither have the time nor energy for this.
Lemon Amiga were hacked in summer 2020. Did you have any information about the hacker? What actions have been taken to prevent this from happening again?
Actually it was individual forum user accounts with very weak passwords that got hacked into, not the site itself. The only trace of the hacker was the IP and he/she probably used a VPN.
The site was root hacked in December 2020 though, just a couple of weeks before the launch of the new Lemon Amiga. They used an exploit in a 15+ year old PHP script, so it surely wasn't a challenge. Today we have moved to new servers, modernized the code and forced all forum users to change to strong passwords.
What do you think of Hall Of Light, the other great Amiga games database site? In your opinion, which features are better on Lemon Amiga?
HOL is a fantastic resource! Their research and accuracy when it comes to data is amazing. Lemon Amiga is focusing more on user input like reviews, ratings and comments. It's also more focused on entertainment with the ability to listen to game music and watch videos.
Who came up with the idea for the "Super League", a Amiga game competition between members of Lemon Amiga and English Amiga Board?
I think it was founded by a cool guy named The Dark Prince back in 2005. Today it's run by the moderators mihcael, Graham Humphrey, Biscuit, john4p and Lifeschool. Even though I don't compete myself I really appreciate the initiative. People seem to have great fun pushing their highscores.
Are you competing in this Super League? Since the creation of this Super League, who has won the most, Lemon Amiga or EAB? :-)
Don't know about this either, but I hope for Lemon Amiga of course. ;) I haven't competed yet, but hopefully will one day.
What are your preferred Amiga websites?
Except for my own site I visit HOL and EAB from time to time.
What are your favourite Amiga games? What particularly obscure game did you love?
Lemmings, Slam Tilt, Worms DC, Simon The Sorcerer, Pinball Fantasies, Cannon Fodder, Jumping Jack'son, North & South, just to name a few.
To be honest, I'm more of a creative person who likes to develop things rather than playing games. I guess that's why I'm working on Lemon Amiga instead of joining our game competitions. ;)
How did you stay motivated after all these years in the Amiga scene? Have you ever wanted to give up everything?
I gave up between 2008-2020, with zero interest during this period. The Covid-19 pandemia and the fact that I sold my company and had plenty of spare time slowly got me interested again. Our administrator Predseda also inspired me to get back.
What is your opinion about the new generation operating system (AmigaOS 4, AROS, MorphOS). Have you ever used them?
I have a Mac Mini G4 with MorphOS and I've played around with AmigaOS 4 in WinUAE, but to me Amiga should be classic 68k.
A last word for the Amiga community?
Make sure to inspire kids of the next generation to appreciate this Amiga. Don't let the machine die with our generation.