Commodore USA releasing updated C64; nostalgia grips millions

Image source: Commodre USA

If you're over 30, you probably remember seeing the Commodore 64. Released in 1982 for $595 ($1,300 adjusted for inflation), it was the best selling computer of all time and dominated the market with 30-40% of the market share. With its whopping 64k of memory and advanced sound and video chips, the machine could be used for both business and pleasure.

Commodore USA, founded in April 2010 by Barry Altman, is trying to recreate the magic by releasing an updated C64 that is "as close to the original in design as humanly possible." The PC will be powered by an Atom D525 1.80GHz processor, includes two gigabytes of RAM, and has memory card readers and a DVD drive all built into an original form-factor case. The iconic red LED on the Commodore 64 is still there and doubles as the power switch.

According to the site, users will be able to boot directly into a Commodore 64 emulator or can install a standard operating system and use Workbench 5, a custom made C64 operating system.

While the nostalgia factor is high (many people wrote their first BASIC programs on a C64), the question is whether this will be a viable product within the consumer market. Most people who are familiar with the Commodore 64 probably have enough technical abilities to run an emulator on their current machine, and a laptop would be much more portable and easier to use than the C64 clone. On the other hand, if the price is reasonable, there is no reason to believe that it won't be able to sell a fair number of units to people who remember the system with fond memories.

The machine is not yet available for preorder and no price has been posted.

Image Credit: Commodore USA

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I just registered to reply to this....

I am a huge 'fan' of the old C64 and C128, I still have both (a C128D even and a newer model of the C64, the white version) but they don't run properly anymore and a lot of disks have become unreadable.

So, emulators then. They work fine (mostly), but one thing I always wanted was a way to connect my old C128D keyboard (that is seperate!) to my PC. Or, someone to make a C64/C128 keyboard (preferably the latter because it also contains all C64 keys obviously) with a USB interface to use with my emulator. Because that's the biggest problem with the emulators: the keys are all wrong and many keys are 'missing'.

But looking at this new C64, the one thing that should be there, is the keyboard.. That's what we don't currently have. And they messed up the keyboard completely... Look at the images of the thing. How stupid is that?! I really don't understand this.

I've still got my Working Commodore 128 with the 1571 Drive and the Commodore monitor Sealed away in Waterproof Containers.... They all still work flawlessly....

Makes you wonder if perhaps that is how the Commodore would have looked back in the day if the technology we have today was what we had back then.

I never owned a Commodore, was an Atari 8-bit geek, but do have memories of watching my friend's commodore load and run software. He didn't have the fast load cartridge which made for some serious wait times. LOL

Of course, nothing beats my true first computer which was a TRS80 CoCo II (Color Computer 2), from Tandy and playing a cassette game text adventure called Bedlam. And then sometimes baseball off of cartridge, but no disks or other items to tie into it.

The memories of hooking your computer to any TV are good enough to make me reminisce....

I also started with a Timex Sinclair with i think like 1K of ram...lol...also had to use tape storage. I then upgraded to a VIC 20 with 3K of ram and bought a whopping 16K upgrade cartridge (i think that was the capacity).

Then got a C64 with 1541 floppy drive and used to punch holes with a hole puncher to use both sides of a single sided floppy. You could also buy a fancy notch making gadget too.

..another comment came to my mind about C64's when the person posted about Sinclair and the 'tapes'..oh hoiw I DO NOT long for -sequential only- data access....just hope the program you want is near the present tape position!! Lastly then came the very popular 1541 floppy drive..later with the C128 the 1581 floppy that used double sided floppies and each disk had an a or b side or some such distinction..we had 3 1581's on our C128 before we moved on to Amiga 500 and 2000.
As I recall the new Amiga 4000 came out about that time..neighbor kid had one...talk of the block back then!!! OK I've worn out my shoes here today on Memory Lane....

I need to head to eBay sometime and grab an original...Oh how I miss my C64...Don't want an updated one...Original, or nothing...Unless it came with a bunch of the games pre-installed, and they all worked properly. Some of the emulators don't play some of the games...

ncc50446 said,
I need to head to eBay sometime and grab an original...Oh how I miss my C64...Don't want an updated one...Original, or nothing...Unless it came with a bunch of the games pre-installed, and they all worked properly. Some of the emulators don't play some of the games...

I have two, the original and the later tan model. Both of them have dead SID chips though so no sound, and since people cannibalize the chips like crazy for other products they are very hard to come by now.

this has made me wanna go out to the garage and unpack my sinclair spectrum and tapes and see if they still work

If ever there was a company that needed to die off, it's Commadore. They resurface every few years to either try and relaunch the Brand or Sue someone. It never ends well.

Kushan said,
If ever there was a company that needed to die off, it's Commadore. They resurface every few years to either try and relaunch the Brand or Sue someone. It never ends well.

Commodore no longer exists. This is just someone who bought the rights to the name trying to capitalize on nostalgia.

I wrote my first basic program on Commodore 64, it was a calculator. You input two numbers and it gives you the sum of the numbers. Quite basic but I was only 8

Way back when the C64 was first introduced I bought one...not because I was a PC guy..it was my FIRST ever PC..I bought for one reason..to run Flight Simulator by Bruce Artwick on his SubLogic software brand...still doing flight sim today..I'm 60 now!! How about PEEK and POKE also how about typing in programs from Compute's Gazette and/or Run magazines...or..how about BBS's and 300 baud!!! What a fast track PC's have been on and I doubt nothing will stop technology marching forward. I'm not buying this new C64 even if it is not vaporware....real ones are still around on online auction sites and some replacemnt parts are available still like the infamous 'brick' power supply...OH! Lastly..remember Epyx FastLoad cartridge...and my fav C64 software of all time..tada...Mr. Nibble..!!!!

This company is honestly nothing but spongers. They think they can run themselves taking design concepts from forums across the Internet (and paying the designer, AFAIK) without doing any other work, except more conceptualising about what might be inside the case, which is usually just standard run-of-the mill modern stuff, and all this without actually considering how to manufacture the case, or if it can be manufactured. This company will die when they turn out to have nothing to show for themselves. Product design and implementation is an integrated, internal process.

How is this an updated C64, and didn't I read about this like four years ago?

Somehow I doubt nostalgia will "grip millions" because of this pathetic thing.

Darn you all to heck commodore usa You know an old C64 geek like me would almost have to snarf up something like this.

Also, the USB, DVD-drive, and monitor/audio interface panels looked photoshopped onto the form factor. Weird too because the keyboard on it looks legit as they describe it ala standard PC keyboard rather than an actual C64 layout (which would be silly).

The Amiga 1000 case is sweet looking. Anyone know if it is available elsewhere? I need to build a new HTPC and that case looks like it would fit the bill.

(many people wrote their first BASIC programs on a C64)

Does

10 PRINT"MY SISTER STINKS"
20 GOTO10

really count as writing a program?

Yep, it does. In fact, my Dad subscribed to RUN magazine and I used to copy the various code items out of the back to create games and applications. ahhhh, memories!

briangw said,
Yep, it does. In fact, my Dad subscribed to RUN magazine and I used to copy the various code items out of the back to create games and applications. ahhhh, memories!

I've still got several issues of RUN and Compute! The C64 still brings back more memories than any other machine I've owned (besides the first Voodoo 2 card I bought just for Unreal )

briangw said,
Yep, it does. In fact, my Dad subscribed to RUN magazine and I used to copy the various code items out of the back to create games and applications. ahhhh, memories!

LOL! I remember how frustrated I got when I mistyped something and the program wouldn't run, then going over the code line by line to see where I screwed up!

RangerLG said,

Does

10 PRINT"MY SISTER STINKS"
20 GOTO10

really count as writing a program?

I remember that...It works on the Apple II as well.

Actually you can replace the 'print' with this '?' and it does the same. Comes in handy when you are low on memory and need space to continue coding.

Hurricane Andrew said,

LOL! I remember how frustrated I got when I mistyped something and the program wouldn't run, then going over the code line by line to see where I screwed up!

I had the same thing happen multiple times. I entered code in for a Tag game once and the right side player could move up/down/left/right with the keys on the right side of the keyboard, but the left player could only move side to side.

farmeunit said,

I've still got several issues of RUN and Compute! The C64 still brings back more memories than any other machine I've owned (besides the first Voodoo 2 card I bought just for Unreal )

Don't forget Ahoy! magazine.

Has Commodore 64 emulator built in.
from site:

"Play all your favorite 8-bit era games within seconds of turning the Commodore 64 on, by either selecting the C64 icon from the boot menu to run a C64 emulator directly, or from a media center program within our own Commodore Operating System, Workbench 5, which includes screenshots, descriptions and ratings. "

This is just stupid. I love nostalgia but as a tech nerd, I don't like old tech. It's just neat to think about its place when it was around.