The Commodore 64 was a home computer originally released in 1982 by Commodore International and is the successor to the Commodore VIC-20 and MAX Machine. It was discontinued in 1994 due to Commodore International declaring bankruptcy due to bad decisions, especially with the Amiga CD32.
Why It Is Keeping Up with You
- Revolutionized home video gaming with the use of computers over consoles.
- An extremely huge library of games consisting of over 2,000+ games, even after being discontinued. In addition, people can make their own games for the system.
- Similarly to the VIC-20 or any other game console of the time, it has a cartridge slot, which was mostly used for games, or memory expansion.
- Remains as the best selling computer in the world and due to the rapid evolution of computers today, the Commodore's status as the best selling home computer is likely never going to be surpassed.
- It was one of the first computers and game consoles to support S-Video (at the time called LCA for Luma-Chroma-Audio), where the color and luminance signals were separated, giving a sharper image.
- It was sold in retail stores than just electronic stores, part of the system's huge success.
- Its SID chip retained a huge following due to its distinctive sound.
- It was really popular in post-communist countries, especially in Hungary.
- The disk drive takes a long time to load software from floppy disks, but there were cartridges such as the Epyx Fast Load which reduced loading times and provide useful shortcut commands.
- The reason why the disk drives took so long to load is because Commodore originally planned to use a shift register, but they couldn't implement it in time so they had to put the entire computer in there which was way slower due to it being hastily made. This was also the reason why the disk drives were expensive. It wasn't that much of a problem with the VIC-20 due to its low RAM space, but a much bigger one on the C64.
- The cassette drive was even slower than the floppy disk drive when using the default routines; however, most commercial software on cassette used "turbo tape" routines to not only improve loading times, but to also increase storage capacity since data was stored more densely.
- Because it was very popular in Europe, most of the games were only optimized for PAL machines, though you can mod or develop a special cartridge that enables compatibility with PAL games on NTSC ones.
- The power supply is notoriously unreliable and can fry components in the C64 when it begins to fail. They can't be repaired or salvaged either since most of them are encased in epoxy. Third-party replacements for these are pretty expensive as well.
- Commodore made a keyboard-less version of the C64; the Commodore 64 Games System.
- A plug and play remake of the Commodore 64 with 64 built-in games called TheC64 was developed by Retro Games Ltd. and announced in 2017. The first model that was released was TheC64 Mini in late 2017, which was smaller than a regular-sized Commodore 64. It is dubbed by some people the Commodore 64 Mini due to being very similar to the NES and SNES Classic plug and play consoles. The keyboard on that console actually isn't real, but the controls work with two joysticks by plugging them into the USB slots on the right side. The system outputs in 720p with an HDMI cable.
- There is also a bigger full-size model called TheC64, which was released around 2019, featuring a fully functioning keyboard, a microswitched joystick, three USB slots and compatibility with VIC-20 software. Like TheC64 Mini, the full-sized C64 outputs in 720p with an HDMI cable.