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Commodore C64 Games Computer

Update 27 July 2019

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Like millions of people around the world, the Commodore C64 was the first microcomputer many people owned. The C64 was the iPod of its time with the ability to program in BASIC and play a shed-load of games. This journal bookmarks only some of the many Internet sites that relate to this awesome machine. We will show you games, applications, magazines and books for the wonderful Commodore C64 games computer.

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The C64 start screen could possibly be one of the most recognizable start screens in the world of computing. Turn the microcomputer on and this is what you will get. The legendary blue-on-blue screen is the gateway to the ultimate retrocomputing experience.

Commodore C64 start screen

General Description

The All Purpose Commodore 64 is the complete computer for education, home or small business applications. Supported by quality peripherals and a full range of software, the Commodore 64 is perfect for the family. No other computer can offer such a variety of uses and applications at such an affordable price.

The leading computer magazine of the time, Compute!, visited the 1982 CES industry show and only gave a small write up to this wonderful machine. Compute! (July 1982). If you weren't paying attention, you would have blinked and missed the Commodore C64 revolutionalise the personal computer industry.

no other computer can offer such a variety of uses and applications at such an affordable price

The C64 experience still holds its own in many ways. Firstly, the retro-computing scene is H-O-T. There a delightful range of magazines getting published today that keep you up to date with what is happening. Secondly, the demoscene and in particular the music culture has never gone away. Thirty years of hacking the SID chip and new tunes are still being pumped out today. Thirdly, the games. 8-bit games are the pinnacle of fun. One play of Galencia will show you what I mean.

The 8-bit Experience

The best way to experience the Commodore 64 is through one of the many emulators available online. My preferred emulator is the newly released VICE emulator (Version 3). VICE stands for Versatile Commodore Emulator. You can download the VICE from the homepage. It is extremely quick to install (no install scripts) and very easy to use. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any native joystick support in the Windows version. Once you are up and running you can use the user's guides linked below to get started.

Commodore C64 VICE showing a program listing
VICE showing a program listing
from Eight Bit Magazine (Issue 02)
LOAD "*",8,1

and let's get started.

Limitations of the Commodore C64 platform

Let's look past the retro-gloss of what many people consider to be the perfect 8-bit platform and delve into some of the limitations that will frustrate many users.

1   It's Expensive - it is a great irony that the C64 burst onto the home computer scene as a low-cost computer accessible to the middle-class. It was cheap enough for many people to buy one for their kids. Now, these kids have turned into wealthy middle-aged adults with money to burn on reliving their childhood experience. 30 year old electronic equipment is now going for sale at ludicrous prices on second-hand sale sites.

2   Slow data transfer speeds - back in the day, it was considered OK to spend 20 minutes waiting for your game to load off the tape drive because, quite frankly, there was no alternative. The disk drives were substantially quicker than this glacial benchmark but they are still slow. Even when using an emulator, you will get bored waiting for games to load.

3   Only 40-column text display - the fonts used on the Commodore C64 were optimized for the low-resolution display and were quite useful. You can download MS-Windows fonts that look like the original C64 fonts here. But let's face it, 40-column text was never enough. 80-column text capabilities was desperately needed to perform real work on. Unfortunately, televisions of the time could not handle this high-resolution requirement. Specific computer monitors were required for serious applications.

4   BASIC - even on the day of release, the BASIC supplied with the Commodore C64 was antiquated. Of course, this was done for cost reasons but the programming language couldn't even handle the standard machine capabilities such as sprites. It wasn't until the Commodore C128 were this was addressed.

5   Memory Expansion - for almost the length of production, Commodore kept on repeating that the Commodore C64 memory could not be expanded to greater than the supplied 64kb. Well that is only partially true. There was no memory management capability to map greater than the core 64kb. But then, very late into production, Commodore released the Commodore 1764 RAM expansion module. We cannot fathom why this artificial limitation was ever declared in the first place. Perhaps because Commodore didn't want the C64 home computer to compete with their business machines.

Commodore C64 emulation is not a #crime!

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Computer Magazine
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Replica

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keyboards

Classic Commodore C64 TV Advertisements

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