C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

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scotland
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C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

Postby scotland » August 21st, 2017, 3:14 pm

Commodore launched their 8 bit home computer, the Commodore 64, in August 1982, named for its 64 kilobytes of RAM. With multicolored hardware sprites and solid sound, it would have a period of dominance in the home computer market in the US and a player in the UK market against the ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro.

I got mine not at a Radio Shack or other electronic store, but just at a retail store, for Christmas 1983 I believe. At this time, the price of the system was down for less than $300, maybe quite a bit less. I worked to save to get a $200 1541 disk drive by my birthday to replace the cassette recorder. Anyone who has ever had to use a cassette recorder to load a program probably chuckles when people complain about the load time of a PS1 game.

We've talked about the rise of Nintendo in what we now call the 3rd generation, but for my peers, we played video games at the arcades, on our Atari or Intellivision consoles, but also on our Apples and TI99s and C64s. We learned to not just play games, but also programming and how computers work. It also, like all family computers, could also write out information, games had save states and was my first experience with games lasting many gaming sessions, if not weeks (hello Bards Tale).

There are lots of sites like Lemon64 out there with "Best of", the C64 Critic's own reviews on this site, and books on the Commodore 64's best games. Lots of good stuff among the 10,000 pieces of software for the system.

Three games that maybe you have not played if you did not have a family computer that I remember well might include "Lords of Conquest" (Risk plus some resource management), "Crush Crumble and Chomp" (a tactical game with giant monsters, instead of Rampage's arcade style gameplay with giant monsters) and "Beachhead II" (a WWII invasion game that has a strange knife throwing duel in it. Some great voice-sound accentuate it like "Medic!")

pacman000
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Re: C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

Postby pacman000 » August 21st, 2017, 6:46 pm

Moving into big box stores helped the C64 gain market share, but it hurt Commodore's rep with their dealers. I read a write-up of what it was like to be a Commodore dealer; the dealers would get in PETs w/smashed screens, and Commodore wouldn't take them back. They'd order C64, only to see the computers in K-Mart at a price lower than Commodore's SRP. Commodore made good computers, but they sound like a bad company to work with.

This actually may have hurt the Atari ST; retailers assumed Tramiel would run Atari the same way he ran Commodore, and ordered accordingly.

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Stalvern
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Re: C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

Postby Stalvern » August 21st, 2017, 7:44 pm

Brilliant machine. The SID alone is worth the system's weight in gold.

Still waiting for The C64 Critic's review of Project Firestart. (And if I had the cash to burn, I'd buy him a PAL setup for Turrican II.)

Sut
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Re: C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

Postby Sut » August 22nd, 2017, 2:33 am

The best sound chip on any 8-bit system.

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scotland
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Re: C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

Postby scotland » August 22nd, 2017, 7:39 am

pacman000 wrote:Moving into big box stores helped the C64 gain market share, but it hurt Commodore's rep with their dealers. I read a write-up of what it was like to be a Commodore dealer; the dealers would get in PETs w/smashed screens, and Commodore wouldn't take them back. They'd order C64, only to see the computers in K-Mart at a price lower than Commodore's SRP. Commodore made good computers, but they sound like a bad company to work with.

This actually may have hurt the Atari ST; retailers assumed Tramiel would run Atari the same way he ran Commodore, and ordered accordingly.


From what I've read, doing business with Jack Tramiel was a lesson in capitalism, to be sure.

I can't see a kid buying from a dealer having any advantage really. There was no complicated set-up, so programs to install, it was almost as plug and play as a console. Perhaps if I were running a business or even using the computer mostly for a database, but even then, everything was pretty simple and there were even books to teach you BASIC.

pacman000
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Re: C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

Postby pacman000 » August 22nd, 2017, 9:10 am

scotland wrote:From what I've read, doing business with Jack Tramiel was a lesson in capitalism, to be sure.

In a twist I actually have a lot of respect for Jack Tramiel. He successfully built a popular computer company from a typewriter repair business, and he successfully rebuilt Atari after the crash.

I think the C64 is still the most popular single computer model ever made, based on the number of units sold. Even if it's not it was for about 20 years. That's impressive.

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scotland
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Re: C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

Postby scotland » August 22nd, 2017, 9:31 am

pacman000 wrote: In a twist I actually have a lot of respect for Jack Tramiel. He successfully built a popular computer company from a typewriter repair business, and he successfully rebuilt Atari after the crash.


Tramiel survived the Holocaust (and helped create the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC), came to the US, learned to repair typewriters for the US Army, and later took a GI Loan to start a small repair business that grew, with help from a partner, into a huge one. He went from product to product, and timed moving to computers just about right. He definitely believed that business was a struggle among wolves. He and the partner had some sort of epic falling out. Stories are also that he was an aggressive micro-manager, and burned through executives who couldn't work under his thumb. Certainly, buying MOS creating the opportunity to really compete with the C64.

This is not me, but this is a good look at the C64 and the 1541. Note the wall of floppies, so I'm guessing this might be a school. I have no idea what the 'purse' thing is by his left hand.

Commodore64.jpg
Commodore64.jpg (24.35 KiB) Viewed 311 times

pacman000
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Re: C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

Postby pacman000 » August 22nd, 2017, 9:42 am

The "purse" is a fishbowl. If you look closely you can see the fish. On the left side, in the middle. See it?

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scotland
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Re: C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

Postby scotland » August 22nd, 2017, 11:19 am

pacman000 wrote:The "purse" is a fishbowl. If you look closely you can see the fish. On the left side, in the middle. See it?


So it is! I totally failed my spot check on that one. A fish bowl seen from an unusual angle. So much for being at school then, this must be his home. A boy, his fish and his C64.

Sut
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Re: C64 - Happy 35th Birthday to the Commodore 64

Postby Sut » August 22nd, 2017, 1:02 pm

He doesn't seem to be enjoying himself very much.
He's got that 'but I just want to play games' look about him.


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