Commodore 64 reaches the ripe old age of thirty

This week marked the 30th anniversary of the Commodore 64's release to the consumer market. The computer, which launched in 1982, still has an active community of fans and enthusiasts surrounding it. Thanks to the extremely low price-point, Commodore International's home computer significantly undercut rivals from Apple and other companies. Costing only £399 ($595), the computer was something that could have passed as affordable for the general public.

The Commodore 64 is remembered so fondly because it managed to be everything a customer would have wanted. As we have already established it was very affordable, but at the same time it was not a low-quality piece of hardware. The Commodore 64 has been likened to Henry Ford's Model T, for pioneering the idea of an affordable entry into that sector of the market. It was the sort of thing you could have owned without being incredibly rich.

The longevity of the computer is due to the community surrounding it. People are still inspired to do cool things with the Commodore 64. Even if you don't own one, you can use an emulator and get a feel for computing in 1982. Some games consoles even allow you to run a C64 emulator on them, so the machine itself might be forgotten in the future but its software will survive long beyond then.

Typically the Commodore 64 is remembered as another one of the many beige boxes on the market, yet there was actually a family of devices. Among these models were the Ultimax (VC-10 in Germany, MAX Machine in Japan), the Educator 64 and the SX-64. They might not be as well remembered but the success of the model family is enough to prove people would buy them. The Commodore 64 name extended beyond a single computer, though it is most commonly remembered for that one entry into the line-up.

Games have come a long way from these large plastic cases.

It took twelve whole years for Commodore International to pull the plug on production. The last Commodore 64 rolled off shelves in April 1994.

But if you're feeling nostalgic, and you can't quite bring yourself to let go of the legendary system, you can actually buy a modern PC that looks just like a Commodore 64.

Source: BBC | Images: We H8 Videogames, Photobucket

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I built my first rig from a kit in 1979. Had to solder the components to the circuit board. CPU was a Zilog Z-80. It ran CP/M, Turbo Pascal and WordStar.

I did not have the C64. I had the Atari 400 (with 64K RAM upgrade soldered on) then Atari 130XE. Back then you needed a desire to learn about PCs in order to use it to it's full potential. The good old days of PC computing!

I started with a C64 followed by an Amiga 500, 2000 and then a 1200 before bailing to PC when Commodore was appearing to go under. Many fond memories of those machines.

I owe my career path and my passion for all things tech to this wonderful machine. Here's to you my beloved Commodore 64! Thanks for the memories....

Atari is much more superior PC during that time. Commodore 64 is way behind Atari. Why people praise Commodore is just beyond my comprehension.

Krome said,
Atari is much more superior PC during that time. Commodore 64 is way behind Atari. Why people praise Commodore is just beyond my comprehension.

Care to explain why? Because growing up, I always heard of Commodore for doing actual work whereas Atari was mainly known for games.

briangw said,

Care to explain why? Because growing up, I always heard of Commodore for doing actual work whereas Atari was mainly known for games.
Atari has a very sharp crystal clear graphics. Every single pixel is not flashing random colors like Commodore. 3D software and Publishing software was made for Atari. I would dig out my collection of magazine archive just to show you but given my scanner away recently and my magazine archive is packaged and hidden some place. You should see the HUGE difference in power and performance.

Krome said,
Atari has a very sharp crystal clear graphics. Every single pixel is not flashing random colors like Commodore. 3D software and Publishing software was made for Atari. I would dig out my collection of magazine archive just to show you but given my scanner away recently and my magazine archive is packaged and hidden some place. You should see the HUGE difference in power and performance.

So I never heard about Atari PCs, but it seems this debate is ongoing when I did some searching on it. One thing I saw was that Commodore had better coders and marketed better than Atari, so that explains why my Dad went with them (plus, he would never let me have an Atari 2600 for gaming but I had my fill with the Commodore. )

Krome said,
Atari has a very sharp crystal clear graphics. Every single pixel is not flashing random colors like Commodore. 3D software and Publishing software was made for Atari. I would dig out my collection of magazine archive just to show you but given my scanner away recently and my magazine archive is packaged and hidden some place. You should see the HUGE difference in power and performance.

You're comparing the C64 to the Atari ST. That's like comparing the Apple II to the Mac.
The Amiga would be more of an equivalent.

I remember my dad subscribing to Run magazine (C-64's flagship mag) and entering the code from the back pages into the system to build apps and games. Heck, we even had that cassette drive where you fast forwarded to the point on the cassette, typed "load such and such" and then Run. Ah, the good ol' days

Izlude said,
I'm wondering if anyone here remembers Muppet Circus and Sticky Bear games xD
Wasted far too many hours.....

Izlude said,
I'm wondering if anyone here remembers Muppet Circus and Sticky Bear games xD

No, but my favorites were Epyx's Destroyer, Impossible Mission (synthesized voice saying Stay Awhile.....stay FOREVER! Never could beat it), Bruce Lee, Congo Bongo, Ultima, Zork, Bump n Jump, F-15 Strike Eagle, Superbowl Sunday, H.E.R.O., Alien....the list goes on and on. Fun times!

IronChef75 said,
Thirty years later, and I'm still waiting for my game to finish loading from tape.

LOL. Ain't that the truth!

When I was 8 years old, I started programming on a TRS-80. Later my school bought one Commodore PET, and I was hooked. A year later my great uncle bought me a Commodore 64 for Christmas. When you bought one from the local computer shop, you were allowed to go into a special room to copy shareware programs onto 5 inch floppies you brought yourself, which cost about $4 each (but you did the paper punch trick to make them double sided). To copy the 640kb/side took about 15 minutes. And that is if you were lucky enough to have a floppy drive, many had a tape drive.

I remember going to hacking groups, one in the basement of a church, where people would open their disk cases and after hacking around the sector errors used for copy protection you would freely copy disks for games such as H.E.R.O, JumpMan, Chuck Norris karate, Summer/Winter games, and more. The family and neighbors would gather around to look upon this new tech, and be amazed.

After my 64 burned up, I got a Commodore 128. I started playing around with writing adventure games similar to Ultimate II, Bards Tale, and Phantasie. Eventually I started running out of memory, and spent countless hours inputting hex values from Run magazine to create a assembly language compiler, then converted my programs into 6502 assembly.

Ah the memories, and knowing where it all started.

I have two, one with dark brown keys and one with beige keys. They mostly work but neither one has any sound; I understand the SID chips are a bit unreliable in them.

TRC said,
I have two, one with dark brown keys and one with beige keys. They mostly work but neither one has any sound; I understand the SID chips are a bit unreliable in them.

They were CMOS chips and prone to static. Amigas had a habit of their CIA (Complex Interface Adapter) chips frying spontaneously.

I need to pick one up sometime, as soon as I can find an affordable one in my area...
Happy Birthday! lol
My grandparents had one...I remember spending a lot of time playing Ghostbusters haha

Yup. My first PC too... Loved it! Did a lot of work with it too: making newsletters, BASIC program, games, math, etc...

I recall going over to a friend's house after school and being completely amazed by his Commodore 64.
I returned home and couldn't stop talking about the incredible graphics and sound.

That Christmas my father purchased an Amiga A500 ('Batman pack') for the family - even though I was only 8 years old, I knew my C64 owning friend would be green with envy!

Since IBM did not invent the PC classification, yes it was a Personal Computer...

ChrisJ1968 said,
my first PC if you call it a PC