I was a long time Amiga user. I think what you’re missing is that the Amiga had all this stuff in 1985. Here are some of the things the Amiga gave:
- Plug-and-play. This is something boring today, but back then? You could just plug in an expansion card or drive or whatever and it just worked.
- Multi-tasking, which was really awesome for a whole ton of things rather than saving/quitting/opening another program and so on.
- Common file formats. The IFF format meant that you could create/save an image file with one program and do more work with it with another program. Remember, this was an era where it was common for you to only be able to open a file with the program that created it. Ugh!
- Multiple screens. On the Mac, Atari ST, and other GUIs, you didn’t have multiple screens. The Amiga let you have multiple screens - as many as you could fit in video RAM, each with its own resolution, bit depth, and palette if you wanted. Admittedly, this is a capability that only really shines if you also have multi-tasking, but it was sure awesome. You could even view multiple screens at a time, working like multiple windows separated vertically.
Factors 2-4 had a big synergistic effect. The Amiga was the first computer where you had this ability to set up a workflow of creating/rendering with one program, and then editing the output in another, compositing stuff, doing textures or whatever, and coding in another screen … you could modify what you needed and test. It was just so radically different and superior to working on single tasking computers.
That said, the overall look and feel was not consistent. Where Apple set guidelines on what the look-and-feel should be for applications, Commodore just threw out a toolset and let developers make their applications however they wanted. On balance, this was a good decision because it gave developers freedom to develop novel interfaces suitable for their applications.
The reason why most Amiga games booted directly into the game was because most users had a stock Amiga 500 with only 512k of RAM. Workbench consumed some of that RAM. But there were also a lot of games which could run from Workbench, and this was a nice thing for those of us with expanded Amigas with hard drives and such.
But the Amiga was able to do all this with extreme efficiency compared to other computers - even single tasking computers. It was really efficient with RAM, so an Amiga could cost a small fraction of a Mac or PC clone and offer better performance. (The custom chips helped a bit, but not really by the time we were getting into 68030s and such.) An Amiga with 1MB could do a lot of multi-tasking applications, whereas a *nix machine wouldn’t even work at all without at least 3MB.
Anyway, there’s very little that the Amiga has to offer that modern computing with Linux lacks. There’s not really any benefit to saving a slight amount of video RAM with mixed resolution and color depth. Who cares? The RAM efficiency is … yawn. We’re long past the days of caring about MEGAbytes of RAM. Multiple workspaces is a better paradigm than multiple screens. So whatever … there is no Amiga revolution awaiting us. It was an amazing computer for its time. But we have better stuff now.