Ah the lovely Commodore 64, this one is on my wish list of “things I really really really want”, In the UK however everything retro seems to cost you both of your kidneys and a sacrifice to Satan in order to come near the scalpers asking price, this has been covered everywhere but I feel it will be a good place to start.
Lets take a look at these juicy specs and drive right in:
- CPU – MOS 6510/8500 @ 1.023 MHz (NTSC) and @ 0.985 for PAL
- MEMORY – 64KB RAM, you probebly guessed that form the name & 20KB ROM (This is where BASIC Lives)
- GRAPHICS – VIC II that shoved out a resolution of 320 x 200 at 16 colors,
- SOUND – SID 6581, this SID chip is possibly the most well known of the parts used in the C64, it sounded remarkably good for the time.
- PORTS AND OTHER GUBBINS – 2x CIA 6526 Joystick porsts, Power, ROM Cart edge connector, RF, A/V, Digital Tape, GPIO (Yes you can peek and poke actual hardware in the C64, pretty cool right?), Audio jack for your terribly yellowed tape drive.
- COST – at launch the bugger costed $595, converted to actual money that is about a million pounds, I am kidding its £446 (for now) which is quite reasonable, in today’s money that’s around £1,572.38!! Blimey! Its around how much they charge on Ebay so they must have used that same calculator as me.
Ok so mulling over these specs we can see the C64 being a pretty decent machine with quite a lot of bang for the buck back in the days of dinosaurs (the 80’s), we have a crap tone of I/O that can be used here.
If you are into hacking (the good kind not stealing peoples facebook accounts) then I can see the C64 being an ideal retro platform for projects a lot like how the Raspberry PI is used now.
However you cannot fit a Commodore 64 in your back pocket and carry it around with you, it would rip your skinny jeans and you would look a right state, anyway for playing with sensors, interacting with hardware and teaching kids how the kit works through BASIC by peaking and poking the hardware addresses I can totally see this still being used in the classroom still today to teach low level hardware interactions, I don’t think kids think beige is cool these days though, I still dig it though, its all about that aluminum and them RGB mods.
As for me, being a twentysomthing year old I have never owned one however they have a huge library of games available to get stuck into so its definitely still relevant to me diving into retro gaming.
Any to wrap up this post of random smatterings of thoughts about how I see the C64 I will leave you with this:
Off to sell my kidneys and sacrifice a goat to appease the Ebay scalpers, will be back for tea.