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Looking Back At the Commodore 64 263

An anonymous reader writes "It's the 30th anniversary of the Commodore 64 this week — news that has made more than a few gaming enthusiasts feel their age. This story looks back at some of the peculiarities that made the machine so special — a true mass-market computer well into the era where a computer in every home was a novelty idea, not a near reality."
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Looking Back At the Commodore 64

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday January 05, 2012 @10:03AM (#38595294)

    The problem with the VIC-20 was that paltry 5k of memory. The Commodore 64 became dominant because of that 64k, which put it on par with the big boys (and for a fraction the cost).

  • Re:nostalgia (Score:5, Informative)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday January 05, 2012 @10:06AM (#38595310)

    Disc notcher? Save your money, Mr. Fancy Pants. Just use a hole punch.

  • by JoeCommodore ( 567479 ) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Thursday January 05, 2012 @10:43AM (#38595808) Homepage

    And the Commodore 64 community is still far from dead.

    There are several hardware projects in active development on the C64 - including a few forms of solid state and HD mass storage (IDE64, SD2IEC, 1541 Ultimate, MMC64, EasyFlash), Internet connectivity (The Final Ethernet/Retro Replay), Commodore in the cloud (commodoreserver.com), hardware accelerators/enhancements (Turbo Chameleon 64).

    Besides many of the mas storage mediums being cross-platform usable, there are a few conversion methods to get files to/from the C64 (ZoomFloppy, x1541 cables and utilities, and commodore server are two notable ones)

    Programming continues on the 64, including stock c64 demos (the demo coder are still amazing us with what they can crank out of a 1Mgz 64), GEOS related productivity, music, and most notably games. For the game users there are now popular 4 player adapters that games have been developed and a couple involving Playstation controls (the guitar heroish Shredz64 comes to mind)

    If developers want the luxury of a modern computer there are cross assemblers (i.e. xa 6502) and now also a textBASIC conversion utility: C64List

    Regional commodore gatherings are not uncommon in North America (Commodore Vegas Expo, C4 Commodore Expo, Emergency Chicagoland Commodore Convention, TPUG World of Commodore Expo) as well as Europe and other parts around the globe (someone comment with a list of those) which includes those cool demo scene parties

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @10:55AM (#38596006) Homepage

    One of the things I loved about the C64 (even more so in retrospect) is the fact that entire address space of it (including the ROM OS) was mapped and documented. The background color of the display could be read from this byte in RAM. The character set was bitmapped in that address space. You could generate a sound by poking values to these addresses. You could grok the whole damn machine, which is simply impossible for any human dealing with a 2012 desktop (or even pocket) computer.

  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Thursday January 05, 2012 @01:04PM (#38598502) Homepage

    " The Commodore 64 became dominant because of that 64k, which put it on par with the big boys (and for a fraction the cost)."

    The C-64 was superior to the others due to a number of factors, including the polyphonic (SID sound chip) and the (VIC-II) Video Interface Controller and it's Sprite capability, more RAM than the others, and a lower cost. There were also numerous books available about the internals, including memory maps, which allowed the BASIC programmer to peek and poke [wikipedia.org] his way to nerdvanic ecstasy.

  • Re:1541 Code (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2012 @02:36PM (#38600076)

    The 1541 was essentially an extra C64 without the SID and video chips. Epyx sold a lot of FASTLOAD cartridges because somewhere in the bowels of the 1541 firmware, some joker messed up the CRC checksum code -- this caused the stock 1541 to think every sector was bad, re-reading each sector six times before finally accepting it. Speed-wise, a stock 1541 was barely faster than the tape drive but it was a lot more reliable -- and random access.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.