Commodore C64 Games Computer
Updated 22 January 2021
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. There are also a host of site links that
I regularly refer to in my daily microcomputer journey.
The Commodore 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
The Commodore C64 certainly has been the first digital steps into the future
for millions of people in the 1980s.
Decades on, the Commodore C64 scene is alive and well. I expect that 2021 will be
another massive year of releases, magazines, games, and competitions. Just take a
look at the 2020 figures with over 2000 releases including graphics, new SID music
tracks, the best games to date and a raft of creativity that nobody could have
expected. The 8-bit/64kb limitations are still being smashed down with new concepts
being implements, new hacks being developed. Now is a great time to start (or re-start)
your journey into retro-computing.
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. We have our opinion on
why the C64 is so popular.
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.
VICE showing a program listing
from Eight Bit Magazine (Issue 02)
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!
Commodore C64 demoscene
The Commodore C64
is a decades old international computer art culture focused on producing demos.
Commodore C64 demos
are designed to show off programming, visual art and musical skills
of the demo group involved. We believe that the demoscene is one of the reasons why the
C64 is so polular.
The demoscene probably didn't start with the Commodore C64 and it certainly hasn't
ended, with plenty of demos for the Commodore C64 and other platforms being released.
We discuss one of our favorite demoscene groups in our article about the
Conspiracy demogroup. To our eyes, and ears, the
demoscene represents true art in the digital medium. It is designed to promote interest
so you copy it and forward the file onto your friends.
There is a general lack of literature on the Commodore C64 demoscene. We certainly haven't
seen any strictly demoscene books in our list of
best Commodore C64 books.
One reason for this is that the demoscene often overlaps with the crackers, particularly in
the early wild-west days. People on the Commodore C64 scene may not be willing to come
forward and share their stories because (a) they have moved on from those days, and/or (b)
they do not want to be unintentionally linked to software piracy.
A demo is typically a single-disk program designed to show off the programmer's or Commodore C64
music or video capability. There are no hard and fast rules but there the general size limit of
880kB due to the double-sided double-density capacity limit of the
Commodore 1581 disk drive.
One gets the feeling that if you said that a demo was this, this and this, then
the demoscene would go out of its way to prove otherwise. But there are typically things that
viewers can exect are interesting 8-bit graphics, wild SID synthesizer music and scolling text.
Modern digital graffiti.
Most historical demos can be found on CSDB and their SID music tracks get ripped to .sid
files and entered into the
High Voltage SID Collection
We have a couple of interesting links that we hope to build on over time that relate
to the history and the current vibrant culture of the Commodore C64 demoscene:
- Wikipedia article on Commodore C64 demos
- scene.org - boasts having the Internet's largest demoscene file repository
- DEMOZOO - a very active blog pointing to the latest news in the demoscene
- Genesis Project - A write-up on the 2+ decades long running C64 demogroup
- TRIAD - Demoscene advertising itself as dealer quality software
- ANSI love - ANSI (character) image maker
image quote from a Commodore sales brochure (circa 1982)
Commodore C64 disk magazines
Since the start of the Commdore C64 disk drive, users have been enjoying disk magazines.
As the name suggests, disk magazines are magazines that are distributed on one
or more magazines. But Commodore C64 disk magazines are so much more than that.
To understand this you need to go back to the demoscene.
Programs and demos were widely distributed through groups, or sceners.
They would receive disks and copy in batches and send the disks to all
of their friends. Photocopiers were not widely available in homes at that
time so it was easier to distribute magazines using disks. Create, program,
send, copy, re-send. Like the graffiti of the Roman Empire, disk magazines
were the fastest way to send the freshest gossip around.
Thankfully, the spirit of the age is still alive and well. If you have an original
Commodore C64 or a The C64 Maxi then I can suggest you download the latest
disk magazines and get into the scene.
Commodore C64 Journal
Commodore C64 Game Reviews
Commodore C64 games we would like to play
Games, games, games! There are not enough lifetimes to play through
all of the Commodore C64 games that have been released. Normally
we like to play games then tell you what we think. Check out our
excellent Commodore 64 game reviews such as the incredible
Retaliate DX, and
as examples of what we are talking about.
There are plenty more games that we haven't got around to yet.
Here is our top 10 list of Commodore C64 games that we
would like to play but haven't got around to yet.
Multi-Purpose Arcade Combat Simulator cartridge
I have read about the U.S. Army using the Commodore C64 for
rifle training. You know all those hunting games really have
a grandfather simulator in the Commodore C64.
While it may not look like much at first glance, this MACS Commodore 64 cartridge is exceedingly rare.
Posted by National Videogame Museum on Tuesday, 21 July 2020
Related Commodore Articles
- C64 Wiki - The first steps when turning on your new microcomputer
- The New Dimension - SEUCK School and home of the SEUCK Competition
- C64 Reference Sheets from CommodoreFree.com
- SpriteMate - a browser based C64 sprite editor
- DeepSID - a browser based C64 SID music player
- GoatTracker 2 - crossplatform music editor for creating Commodore 64 music. Uses reSID library by Dag Lem
- GitHub SIDSpectro - online SID player with spectrum analyzer
- GitHub SID.txt - description of the SID file format used for SID tunes in the HVSC
- 6502.org - comprehensive resource for people interested in building hardware or writing software for the 6502 microprocessor and its relatives
- CheeseCutter - homepage for the CheeseCutter SID music editor
- Attitude - Commodore C64 disk magazine
- BBS Outpost - (unverified) list of dedicated Commodore boards online
- aep emulation - German retro emulation blog
- remix64 - an interesting Commodore C64 and Amiga music remix site
- Commodore SX-64 - Papercraft Paper Model
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