A Small History Of AIO

Amiga Information Online aka AIO was started in May 1997.  There is no real reason as to why it was started, and there was no actual goal to what it hoped to achieve.

In a nutshell AIO was a fan run Amiga based magazine dedicated solely to the Amiga,  including games/utilties reviews,  news & interviews amoungst other bits and bobs.

As said earlier there was no actual reason for the magazine starting,  one of the most interesting facts that many people may or may not of realised,  when the magazine started back in 1997 solely by myself I was just 14 years of age.

I suppose thinking back exactly 9 years to the day the magazine was started, the only reason I can think that I decided to start the magazine was due to the decline in print Amiga magazines which included a few magazines being sold as thin as a leaflet.  The biggest names could still be purchased at this time,  magazines like Amiga Format and CU Amiga.

So I set out to run my own magazine,  maybe the youthful optimist in me thought it could make a change to the world and maybe,  just maybe, someone would read what this then 14 year old thought about the Amiga world,  it`s software at the time and the situation regarding the Amiga market.

I decided to create the magazine in AmigaGuide format,  this to me seemed the most professional, and if a 14 year old was to pull off something that should be taken seriously then the magazine needed to look "adult"  and not created with a disk magazine software.  I also think the choice to use AmigaGuide paid dividends in the end.  The Amiga market had its paper magazines, its PD software library distributed disk magazines,  its fan run paper magazines,  its html website magazines but there was a small gap for an AmigaGuide magazine.  This would prove to be a bonus to myself and a thorn in the side at times.

So I downloaded a few shareware/freeware programs,  played the newest commercial software I had  to death, and went about reviewing it.  I borrowed some interesting Amiga news and some articles from Amiga Format  (just one or two mind)  and uploaded it to AmiNet.

The response was small but positive.  In the mind of a 14 year old it should have changed the Amiga world and everyone should have stood up and raved about the magazine.  Unfortunately this did not happen,  but even though the response was small it was positive and never a quitter, I decided to do it again the next month.  The magazine filled out from month to month and before I knew it people wanted to help.  A few people started to contribute articles,  these few people became the editorial staff and each member was assigned an area of the magazine,  utilities reviewer,  news writer  etc etc.

One of the earliest contributers and a man who played a big part in the overall history of AIO was Mark A. Tierno.  He started simply as a man who provided the magazine with a few choice websies that people could visit each month,  not always realted to the Amiga, but in the earlier days of the internet, he looked for websites that had a point,  something interesting to see or do or basically something to which people could put AWEB to good use visiting.

This position soon changed and he went from being the Web Wanderer to the Articles Editor,  or  the News Editor,  something which escapes my memory at this moment in time.

The magazine started to pick up and although probably not the most read magazine in the Amiga world,  probably not the most professionally produced fan magazine,  it was doing well and the response was enough to keep us going.

Around issue 18, a very generous and talented programmer called Linus Akkenson  (sp?)  wrote us a custom based viewer.  This allowed us to have a kind of website look with graphics etc,  but also allowed us to upload it to the Aminet in the way we had been doing for the past year and a half.  We could also keep the monthly release format to which our readers had become used to.

At this point, thinking what probably made AIO so successful, was because it was uncalled for, to see a fan run magazine that would be released once a month and on the same date every month.  Many fan run magazines failed because there was no release date,  things slipped,  people didn`t write articles and other magazines faded.  AIO continued to be released on time nearly every month with only maybe 1 or 2 months in its whole history when it was a few days late.

I continued to push for AIO to be distributed in many different ways,  this involved contacting a few actual shops in countries around the world to stock the magazine on disk on the shelves of their Amiga shops. I Submitted it for inclusion on the Amiga Format cover CD every month as well as pushing it in other directions.

Contacting various companies and Amiga figures to give interviews to AIO also meant that people had to read the magazine to see what the person of the month had to say.

We also ran quite a few competitions in which people could win Amiga prizes like software from games to utilities.  This coupled with the fact that companies started to actually send us software to review.  Vulcan Software sent us every commercial title they released which gave us an edge over other fan run magazines because we became one of the very few which actually reviewed a large number of new commercial titles.

After many issues keeping up with school work and other interests left me with less time to concentrate on AIO , so the reigns of the magazine were handed over to Mark Tierno.

The magazine continued to prove very popular for a good many years  (6 years in fact)  and with the pressures of the magazine and the lack of things to review the magazine was closed by Mark Tierno in May of 2003.  After 6 years, and 71 monthly issues, the magazine had come to an end.

This was quite a sad moment for myself even though I was little involved with the magazine at this stage.  Although a sad moment it was the right moment to close the magazine.

An online downloadable magazine can never be tracked in readership numbers, but a nice fact was that it was known the magazine was read in over 42 countries around the world which included a few interesting ones like Iran etc.

The magazine had a few secret combinations of keys to display a little message in a few of the issues,  these have been long forgotten by myself, but if you have an Amiga and download the magazine from Aminet,  these may be discovered by yourself once again,  until that time they will stay hidden in the AIO history.

After 3 years of the magazine being closed, I also decided to end the fate of the long running website domain  (aioworld.com)  and this itself came to a close in February of 2006.  No longer needed for the magazine and no longer visited by anyone.

We are now only left with some good words of reviews of the magazine.

"thoroughly absorbing reading..", "fascinating reading.." - AF, Dec 1998

"interesting and often informative articles" - AF, March 1999

Disk of the month - ACI March/April 1999

"AIO is one of the better electronic magazines that we've seen." - AF, July 1999

Chris Seward
Ex-Editor and Creator of Amiga Information Online


RIYAN Productions