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Default Gamasutra - History of Gaming Platforms: The Commodore 64

October 24th, 2007, 19:13
Gamasutra has begun a monthly series on the history of gaming platforms, kicking it off with an article on the legendary Commodore 64:
The Commodore 64 (C64) is perhaps the best known 8-bit computing platform ever designed, rivaled only by the Apple II in terms of popularity and longevity. Within a few short years after its introduction in 1982, the Commodore 64 dominated the low-end computer market, receiving a steady stream of software and peripheral support that lasted through the decade. In 1985, Commodore followed up with the lesser known Commodore 128 (C128), a technically superior machine that failed to win over the massive base of C64 fans and developers…
… The C64’s unprecedented success demonstrated, once and for all, that there was a strong and viable market for inexpensive personal computers that could run the latest videogames. Today, tens of thousands of avid C64 fans publish websites, populate online forums, run C64 games in emulators, and develop new homebrew software and other products for the system. There are even bands who specialize in arranging old Commodore favorites for the pub and bar crowds. For countless fans of the system, the "Commie" is still the best personal computer ever to grace the living room.
More information.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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October 24th, 2007, 19:13
I'm sure I still have a chunky fudge around the house somewhere.
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October 24th, 2007, 21:49
Never had one myself, but used to play at a friends house some times. C64 and "datasette" - start loading a game, go to the kitchen for 20 minutes to raid for munchies, come back, start playing, crash after one minute, rewind tape, start loading again… Good times, good times.
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October 24th, 2007, 22:36
All you need is Elgar's Turbo Tape -> fastest game loading on a C=64.

I still have one …

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October 24th, 2007, 23:37
"The Commodore 64 (C64) is perhaps the best known 8-bit computing platform ever designed, rivaled only by the Apple II in terms of popularity and longevity."

Um, the ZX Spectrum, anybody? Or is this the American take on gaming?
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October 24th, 2007, 23:46
I had only a tapedriver so I could never play the rpgs. I read pool of the radiance review (i actually still have it in cellar - *shivers*) atleast 50 times and drooled over it for months. I never got the game though until 15 years later when I played it through with one hand (my left hand was broken so I used the text game for practise). I got an eternal lust for dd games due to that and now Im buying almost everything they release (including nwn, nwn2 etc).

Yeah the cassette load times were ridiculous. Red storm rising too like 40 minutes to load and it only worked 33% of the time (you didnt find out until after the 30min mark). C64 sure did have lots of interesting games but funnily most of them had been released way before I actually got the computer and it was impossible to get them from anywhere. Apart from few stars in the end like pool of radiance etc the game releases on the machine declined into simple arcade platformers over the course of time. I never recovered from that and i still dislike platform/arcade/sports games today.

I sold the machine and all its games for 120€ in the early 90s to buy amiga. Which I switched to pc in six months.
Last edited by zakhal; October 24th, 2007 at 23:54.
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October 25th, 2007, 00:05
Still have mine as well as the floppy disk drive in my attic, along with a box of disks. One of these days have to take a look through it.
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October 25th, 2007, 00:47
I left it (and my Spectrum, TI99/4A and Atari ST) behind when I left home. I guess they got sold at a church sale or something.

Loved my Commodore. I spent uncountable hours in Elite, for starters.

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October 25th, 2007, 02:25
We had an Atari 800 then a variety of Apples. The Atari's hardware & design completely crushed the C64 or Apple IIs from an ~2MHz 6502, custom graphics chip(capable of displaying up to 128 simultaneous colors), sound as good as SID(EDIT: I take this back, it was better as you could do hardware distortion as well, something that IIRC SID can't), expansion slots, a usefully universal expansion bus with the drawback of crappy Atari mangement destroying the company then the idiot from Commodore getting his grubby paws on it heralding cheap cheap cheap(C64 battlecry).

Even though the Ataris were technically superior(by far), Apple crushed everyone else with available software as IIRC EVERY program(including games & useful stuff) was always available in 8bit Apple versions with only a maybe version for other 8bit machines with the notable exception being the very very very late Ultima 6 port(IIRC there was one for the C64 but I don't ever remember seeing it back in the day as I just ran the DOS version on a mac under emulation with SoftPC IIRC). (The Apple II series did end up with a decent graphics mode in double hires but almost nothing used it, and the standard sound may as well not have existed, but it sure did spawn alot of useful expansion cards and the IIgs was pretty good if in dire need of more base memory and an accelerator card(really a 16bit machine though).)

Decided to goith EDIT2 as well, before any commode fanbois try to crucify me:
The Atari 400/800 design team pretty much were the core Amiga design group, which is how Commodore ended up with a halfway decent product for the 16bit era…
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October 25th, 2007, 04:26
Originally Posted by mogwins View Post
"The Commodore 64 (C64) is perhaps the best known 8-bit computing platform ever designed, rivaled only by the Apple II in terms of popularity and longevity."

Um, the ZX Spectrum, anybody? Or is this the American take on gaming?
It is the Gamasutra take on gaming I imagine. 8 bit comuting platform specifically refers to a PC? A platform that could be used for applications other than gaming?

Just wondering because the original 8 bit Nintendo system was massive worldwide, but it is a "console".

I just asked my friend from Kent and he said the C64 was the Spectrums main competitor. He had both he said so not sure how accurate the hyperbole is.
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October 25th, 2007, 09:15
Originally Posted by mogwins View Post
"The Commodore 64 (C64) is perhaps the best known 8-bit computing platform ever designed, rivaled only by the Apple II in terms of popularity and longevity."

Um, the ZX Spectrum, anybody? Or is this the American take on gaming?
Not a scientific answer, but at least around my neighborhood in germany when I grew up, lots of kids had C64's (and later C128's), but I knew nobody with a spectrum, although I remember studying ads for it.
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October 25th, 2007, 09:24
Spectrum was popular in england and japan iirc. In finland though C64 was declared "the computer of the republic".
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October 25th, 2007, 10:42
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
All you need is Elgar's Turbo Tape -> fastest game loading on a C=64.

I still have one …
Ooooh, Turbo Tape, what a godsend that was. Sped up loading so much. Good times, indeed…
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October 25th, 2007, 18:35
In North America most people haven't heard of the Spectrum. Is that the one made by Timex that you had to put together yourself? Its keyboard was push in keys if I remember.

My gramma bought us a TI-99/4a a few months before TI ended there first foray into the Home Computer market. I sure hope they'll have an article on it and give us some insight on the TI-99/8

I'm sure they'll talk about the TRS-80 but some other machines to profile would be Coleco's Adam.

Us users of Apple II's got pretty snobbish towards the rest of the market, especially the C64. In the mid/late 90's C64's reputation seems to have improved.

The Atari series of computers I read were great in Steven Levy's book Hackers. The problem was it was a closed system and this is the advantage the Apple II and Commodore 64 had over the competition.

I used to find these all the time, its from an old BBS:


(>——————————————————————————————-<)
- -
- Uses For a Commodore 64 "Computer" -
- -
- Written by The Duke -
- -
- Dirty Bird's Nest, 150 megs, 3/12/2400 (618) 397-7687 -
- -
(>——————————————————————————————-<)
- -
- Disclaimer: -
- -
- If you have a Commodore computer and are offended by this -
- file, please go take a flying **** over the moon…. -
- -
(>——————————————————————————————-<)

Although the Christmas rush of new Commodore 64s is basically over, the threat
of these sub-computer users is still upon us. These people buy their computers
during Christmas from such lowlife places as K-mart or Target (Sale!!!!
Sale!!!!) and then get their modems for New Years. Many of these users are
damned to forever have these modems due to money problems. However, there are
many people who realize their mistake, save some money and buy an Apple or an
IBM. Still, they still have their Commodore 64 sitting up there on that cheap
plastic desk. What can they do with it?? Nobody in their right mind except
another rodent would be willing to buy a Com-o-dork. The best price they could
get would be about 3$, and that's only if the person will pay for the gas to
the buyers home.. In this article, I will describe some of the better uses for
a Commodore, out of which you could have a little fun, and dispose of it
completely.


The Uses…

1) As a dart board.

2) If you want to look intelligent, simply smash the thing apart little, put it
on the top of your trash can, and people will think you're into electronics.

3) Have a cat who keeps **** around the house, but you don't have the money
for a kitty litter box?? Simply rip off the top, put some newspapers in
there, and voila!!

4) As Chinese stars.

5) You can rip the plastic keyboard off the Commodore and use it as a book
cover.

6) As a frisbee.

7) As a pooper scooper.

8) As a trophy to make yourself seem really important.

9) If you rip out all the electronics, you can use it to store pens and
pencils.

10) As a wallet.

11) As McDonald's Happy Meal boxes.

12) Tape it to a box, and use it as a costume.

13) Feed it to the dog.

14) Break it down, and feed it to the gerbils.

15) As an ant farm.

16) Take a Anger reducer. Simply take a large hammer, and smash the living
snot out of the thing, and feel glad that you put the thing out of its
misery.

17) With a little playing around with the plastic keyboard, one can make a
working doghouse out of the thing.

18) Another use for the keyboard - Tape a whole bunch of them together and use
it for cloth. You can then use this cloth for either a table cloth, a
pillow cover, a bed sheet, or whatever else you normally use cloth for..

19) As a place to hide various drugs. Anyone who keeps a Commodore 64 in
his/her room would not be suspected for possession of cocaine.

20) As something to throw through a police car's or police station's window.

21) As a bottle with a note in it, in case you get stranded in the middle of
the ocean.

22) As a ash tray.

23) As a tape cassette case.

24) Take a whole bunch of them, pile them up and have a bonfire.

25) If you know a little about electronics, with a lot of modification, you can
make a clock out of it.

26.) As a door stop.

Well, I'm running out of time here. If you would like to put this up on your
BBS, I don't know why, but you can. Well, I gotta cruise.

Later,

The Duke/U.P.S.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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October 25th, 2007, 18:59
My first gaming platform was a chess computer I bought at Radio Shack. It was endorsed by Garry Kasparov and actually played a pretty good game. I was heavily exposed to computers for years at work but didn't buy my own system until the x386 was introduced.
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October 25th, 2007, 21:35
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
The Atari series of computers I read were great in Steven Levy's book Hackers. The problem was it was a closed system and this is the advantage the Apple II and Commodore 64 had over the competition.

I used to find these all the time, its from an old BBS:
They were no more closed than any of the other 8bit platforms. Atari was entirely destroyed by inept management, as most companies inevitably are.

Apple survived on the expansion cards and software AND managed to get a replacement 32bit system before moronic management took over for the dark years.

Commodore survived on being cheap, which allowed enough in volume sales for it to be sort of competitive for a while. (Tramiel just about ruined that company too, and the replacements just finished off the job.)

Video Toaster gave Commodore some breathing for a while until good enough replacements for WIntel machines appeared.

Atari under Tramiel managed to survive for a while on, again, CHEAP, doing pretty well with Desktop Publishing and some technical (CAD, etc.) apps for a while before it imploded. (Commodore and Atari were too slow to jump from 16bit to 32bit, along with being too busy trying to get into other niche markets while not really having the resources to support such an attempt. Commodore never seemed to figure this out, and Atari figured it out too late.)

Apple was the only one that successfully transitioned itself to the 32bit world, and had good enough products to survive horrendous management starting with Scully and only ending with Jobs(he's not my favorite, but he does better than the vast majority of that ilk, along with a lengthy track record) return.
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October 25th, 2007, 23:15
Aaaah the C64, what memories. God there were some great games.

Might & Magic 1 & 2
Kings Bounty
Summer Games 1 & 2
Winter Games
World Games
California Games
Hounded
Superstar Soccer
4th & Inches
Drink & Drown
The Hobbit
Rygar
One on One
Kikstart 1 & 2

I could be here all day. I'm going to play the emulator now.
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October 26th, 2007, 12:08
Had great fun with this machine, and still keep it in the basement. A disk drive made the machine a great deal more pleasant. Never much of an arcade fan, my fondest memories are of the Flight sim Project stealth fighter.

In the 21st centrury I've played some buggy boy with my gf and Spy vs Spy with a classmate, but its been a while since I took the machine out now.
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October 26th, 2007, 17:22
Originally Posted by Reyla View Post
I just asked my friend from Kent and he said the C64 was the Spectrums main competitor. He had both he said so not sure how accurate the hyperbole is.
In the UK and Ireland during the ‘80s “C64 versus ZX Spectrum” was the greatest religious schism since the Reformation. Naturally it was all the fault of those vile Spectrum apostates and their deranged heretical creed.
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October 28th, 2007, 18:53
I remember the day my mom brought home the commodore 64. I was blown away. I don't remember what games she brought with it but I remember being glued to it all night. The thing that I loved most was that I could take any joystick no matter if it was for Atari or what and it would work great. It sucks I had Intellivision at the time. Their controllers were part of the machine itself. Using these two controllers my friend and I played Spy vs Spy for months and Archon. Archon was the only game that I could kick my friends butt at. AHhh good times. Now where is that emulater at hmmm.

Despite all my rage.
I'm still just a rat in a cage.
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