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Commodore 64 Still Beloved After All These Years

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the feel-the-love-from-the-cathode dept.

Operating Systems 463

techsoldaten writes "CNN is running a story about the Commodore 64 and how people are still devoted to it after all these years. "Like a first love or a first car, a first computer can hold a special place in people's hearts. For millions of kids who grew up in the 1980s, that first computer was the Commodore 64. Twenty-five years later, that first brush with computer addiction is as strong as ever.'"

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Remix Scene (2, Informative)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614855)

I've played the games again sometimes with Vice. But its the music [] that I still love. Reyn Ouwehand (who rocks) just released this video [] of him jammin out to Green Beret. I guess that was an arcade game too though. Still, some of the remixes are pretty good.

I tried to make one [] a few years back. Not quite good enough though.

I always wished that someone would do a good remake of the game Below the Root.

C=64 Music (3, Interesting)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615049)

But its the music that I still love.

I had several nerd parties where we hooked up the C=64 to the TV and fired up SIDPlayer. There were a lot of cool game tracks and techno mixes, but we really loved the pop songs with lyrics that we would sing along with (badly). "I bless the ray--yains down in Af--ri--ca . . . " "The Band" would play in the corner of the screen while graphical depiction of the music scrolled by. Good times.

Music Construction Set on C=64 got me interested in writing music of my own (also badly).

Re:C=64 Music (5, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615123)

Am I the only one that thinks PEEKing and POKEing are kind of dirty abstraction labels for a programming language written for kids?

I used to think that was funny as hell when I was one myself...

Re:C=64 Music (1)

NerdyLove (1133693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615163)

Your sig is entirely appropriate, if not accurate.

The Reyn Ouwehand video was godly. (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615297)

Had never heard of him. Kind of puts Tay Zonday to shame.

I wish people like Reyn were the ones getting famous from their videos.

Below the Root was the shizznit!!!! (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615321)

I loved that game. I didn't have the disk drive until a few years after getting the C64, I remember putting tapes in and just going outside to do something else while something loaded.

Re:Remix Scene (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615461)

NES music fans, check out the minibosses [] .

Re:Remix Scene (1)

Jerry Smith (806480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615465)

But its the music that I still love.

Funny you mention music, Welle Erball [] still uses a portable Commodore at their concerts. Good music, by the by.


Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21614863)

.| |
goatse still beloved after all these years []

Re:SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21615029)

Goatse is definitely something unforgettable. Who could ever forget their first?

Re:SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615425)

ahhhh yes, thanks for the memories....ewwwww!

U SUX0RZ (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21615365)

goatse is tame these days. It would still be funny if it were aren't all desensitized to it.

C64 - 3rd PC - Most loved. (5, Insightful)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614907)

The C64 was my third computer. I loved that thing. I was 9 when I got a CPM/Pet and was programming it within 6 months. Later I moved on to the venerable Vic-20. Then I got the PC that changed my life - the C64. The article got it right - no PC will ever elicit the same emotions that a C64 did for the owners of them of the time.

Re:C64 - 3rd PC - Most loved. (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614987)

You're right, the C64 had a certain something that no other computer had. The Amiga had it too, but the Amiga was similar enough to modern computers that it hasn't aged as well. You know what I mean? The C64 feels like something from a different, simpler era. It's like driving a Model T. It's so different that it has it's own appeal.

The Amiga, as great as it was, just feels like a really low-rent version of a modern PC these days.

Re:C64 - 3rd PC - Most loved. (2, Informative)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615455)

Yep; and it booted up instantly too.

I fondly remember the moment when the datasette was finally replaced by a floppy disk drive (5 1/4"). That sucker was almost as expensive as a cheap laptop nowadays. Oh yeah, and we hole punched the disks at the edge, so that it could be used double sided. (For the youngsters: A 10 pack diskettes where around 40$).

Fairly recently I installed an emulator on my Nokia 9300 (which actually has the better screen resolution) and while it does bring some nostalgic feelings back it's not the same.

It probably had to be that fairly ugly box crammed in between a stack of books and an ashtray with the remainders of the spliffs.

Re:C64 - 3rd PC - Most loved. (5, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615303)

I know exactly what you mean, but I wouldn't say "no PC will ever elicit the same emotions that a C64 did".

I remember that whole era quite fondly, but I never owned a C64. I was one of the ones in the TRS-80 camp (the Tandy "Color Computer 2" and later the "Color Computer 3", to be exact). I can assure you the Radio-Shack computer owners were just as fond of their machines as C64 owners were of theirs. For that matter, so were the Atari owners and the Apple //e owners.

Back then, you just "picked a side" and defended it. It was usually based on which computer you were lucky enough to receive as an Xmas gift, or which one you managed to save your money up for and buy on sale first. (There were a few fanatics of various CP/M based computers too -- but generally, people using them "graduated" to something in the Atari/Commodore/Tandy/Apple camp, because those systems had color graphics, more commercial game titles for them, and better sound capabilities.)

Of course, there were other "factions" too like the TI99/4A and even the Coleco Adam .... but I daresay these never achieved the market popularity of the other brands.

Re:C64 - 3rd PC - Most loved. (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615331)

I didn't get the PET computer, but William Shatner advertising the Vic-20 on TV made me want one. We got one and I learned some basic and machine code programming on it. I don't miss the "press play on tape" message that would come up on the screen when you told it to load something though. When I got the C-64 later, we got the 5010 SmartDrive (I think that is what it was called) to go with it so we didn't have to sit through tape loads. 5.25 inch floppy drive and at the time I was glad to have it. I programmed some simple games on that thing - loads of fun.

Certainly gave me an interest in computers that must have affected where I ended up today (employed in IT and posting on /.).

C64 - 4rth Computer - Most loved. (2, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615403)

I started playing around with computers in 1976, my friend's dad was a comp-sci prof at UNLV and he would let us play with the mainframe in a limited account over teletype. Then my dad got a TRS-80 in 1978, that's when I started to program. Next, I got a TI-99/4A, which was a piece of crap but it was mine. Finally, I got a C64, and I was in heaven. So much memory, such good documentation, such a great scene including pirate bulletin boards and crazy-ass demos. I loved that computer.

Still working? (4, Informative)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614919)

I got through 2 C64s, and both of them were plagued with reliability problems - in terms of build quality, my Acorn Electron was far superior. I first had the traditional brown one, then the Amiga-style model they released when my first one broke. Both models had an annoying tendency to blow an internal fuse, and I remember it was a funny glass one I had trouble finding in shops, and both broke down beyond the scope of simple repairs after a couple of years. Don't even get me started on the power packs.

So if my experience is anything to go by, you'ld have to be a real enthusiast and pretty handy with a soldering gun to have one still working after all this time.

Re:Still working? (2, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614969)

There are pretty good C64 emulators available these days. I'd say that's a far less frustrating route than trying to find working original hardware (those stupid power supplies always died). Plus, who wants to load in something off of a 1540 again?

Re:Still working? (3, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615001)

Honestly, I was logging on to my university Windows XP domain about a week ago and was saying to one of my friends about how it made me nostalgic for how quick a C64 could load up.

Re:Still working? (2, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615407)

See, the intarwebs is made of tubes. Like your old radio and TV and record player back in 1958 when I was a kid, see. So since your XP computer is hooked to these tubes, it has to warm up, just like your old record player, TV, and radio. Just unhook it from the intarwebs and it will start up as fast as a new car.

Yeah, it took longer for cars to start back then too, but it was the radio's fault. See, the radios back then used tubes. And not just the radios but the tires had tubes, too. That made them start even slower, 'specially in winter.

Today's journal is NSFW []

PS: They called it "XP" for the same reason they call former policemen "ex-cops"

Re:Still working? (4, Funny)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615151)

Hear, hear. The C64 was pretty good except for those horribly slow disk drives. Who could possibly love that?

One shareware emulator used that to nag you to pay. Don't pay, and you'd get faithful emulation of the disk drive speed. Pay up to get faster emulated disks.

Re:Still working? (5, Insightful)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615211)

The C64 was pretty good except for those horribly slow disk drives. Who could possibly love that?

If you had spent a couple of years using a C64 with a tape drive first, you would have loved the disk drives, believe me.

Re:Still working? (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614995)

I think your experience is not typical. I've got 2 C64s (brown and white) and a C128 and all are still working well. Now if you want to talk about reliability issues...ask about the 1541 disk drives.

Re:Still working? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615273)

Same here. 2 C64's (both the brown model though) and a C128, and all 3 are still working just fine. 1541 disk drive long dead though, along with my tape unit. I do have a 1541-II in the closet for them that I found for $2 at a flea market, but I've been unable to track down a power brick for it (I think I could make the data cable if I had to).

I would absolutely LOVE to find a 1581 lying around somewhere though.

For more trips down memory lane, I also have:

2 TI 99/4a's
1 Tandy TRS-80 Model 64 ( think that's the right designation)
1 Apple IIgs
1 Timex Sinclair ZX
1 Apple Mac SE

All work. Funny though how I'll latch onto any old weirdo separate platform machine I can find, yet an x86/PC box of any vintage more than 5 years old is basically going to the dumpster :D.

One interesting note is that a Commodore 64 could be decently "beefed up" with a lot of aftermarket upgrades. In the end, IIRC, you could get them upgraded to 48mb of memory, a 20Mhz processor, SCSI hard drives (of the multi-gigabyte variety), and Ethernet networking with all the upgrades. Not that those specs are "fast" by today's standards, but compared to the original C64 it's like taking a Teddy Ruxpin and turning it into Data.

Re:Still working? (5, Informative)

callmetheraven (711291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615023)

Mine has a reliability issue: heat. After a while, the video output becomes plagued with "waves" that travel vertically up the screen. The machine has zero airflow, and a heat sink inside the machine is inadequate (discovered this by trial and error as a curious 15 year old.) So put a long screw and a nut through the hole in the heat sink, left the cover ajar, and let the screw protrude out the side to dissipate heat. Worked for me...

Had to think of a way to keep the C64 running for a long session of Telengard (loaded from a cassette drive.)

Re:Still working? (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615031)

I have 2 working C64's at home, never had a problem with them. The only problems I had were 1541 drives which wouldn't read disks formatted on other drives. I guess the heads were out of alignment or something.

Re:Still working? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21615033)

Sounds more to me like you're the kind of computer user who in some awkward way always manage to destroy everything you use and touch.

Having dealt with the C-64 and Amigas since mid the 80's, I can vouch that these machines were really built to last - and last they do. I've yet to end up with a broken C-64 or Amiga myself out of all those I still own - my original Amiga 1000 from 86 works, my A500 from 89 works, as does my original C-64 and my C-128's (I'm as much of a collector as user). The C-64 PSU's have a tendency to act up after 15 or so years, though, (it's actually the caps of the stabilizer that swell - surprise, happens everywhere) and the CIA chips of the 1541-II floppy drive seem a bit sensitive once they too have 15 or so years on their neck. If you call this "broken hardware" the only reason is that you are mishandling your hardware. These things just don't fail like PC's do today.

Re:Still working? (1)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615189)

I remember my high school teacher dropping one on the floor, cracked the case but the thing just kept on going. I do remember some PSU problems, but those things were practically tanks.

Re:Still working? (1)

Jester998 (156179) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615225)

I've still got a working C64 in my basement, including 2 working 1540 drives, and a working line printer for it. The 'Commodore' branded monitor is a little fuzzy now, but the system itself still works great. There's a Commodore PET down there too, which also still works.

Re:Still working? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615247)

So if my experience is anything to go by, you'ld have to be a real enthusiast and pretty handy with a soldering gun to have one still working after all this time.

Mine weren't so bad. I did kill one early in its life by zapping the console on a staticky day, but it was in the 90 day warranty, so no problem. My ultimate C=64 still works. Some guys got pretty good drilling through the potting in the power bricks to get to the fuses in those.

Re:Still working? (4, Insightful)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615257)

I had a PC XT with CGA when all my friends had C=64 systems. The XT was horrible for games, CGA + PC speaker really sucked.

The C=64 did so much more for games on so much less, it was incredible.

... but when it came to any real work, it was shocking how much I took for granted. I did not envy people swapping floppies while editing documents, submitting assignments with 7pin printouts with nines instead of the letter "g". Spending heaps of cash to replace power supplies or drives in the middle of the night. Just having an RS232 port, a reliable power supply, reliable floppy drive, an OS which was miles above the basic interpreter.

It wasn't until I patched together a 286 with EGA and a sound card that games started to beat out the C=64. The C=64 still had more creative titles though :-)

Re:Still working? (2, Interesting)

normuser (1079315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615397)

What? Those things were indestructible.
We had one when I was growing-up, and I was one of five kids (I'm the middle one).
That thing got soda, tea, watar, coffie, and countless other liquids spilt in it.
It was hit, droped, and even thrown agenst the wall after I was still coding an hour after my dad said to shut it off. And yes it still works.

I got ahold of multiple other mechines after that and the most repairs any of them needed was to replace a missing key(C64) and re-solder the resset button(C128)

If you managed to break two of these things I'd hate to see how many cell phones you go through per week

Re:Still working? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21615399)

I have 6 right now, most of them fished out of the trash (and 2 were outside in the rain for at least 24 hours) and with the exception of one of them having a bad video signal all of them still work 100%. When my dad brought home our C64 I was about 5 and 2 weeks later proceeded to spill milk all over the thing. Dad wiped it down and let it dry and the damn thing came right back. He still has it and it still works.

These were damn reliable machines, not sure why you had such bad luck.

Re:Still working? (-1, Troll)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615423)

C64s were shit. Tapes were slow (and unreliable) and the disk drive was slower, in some cases. The cheapest build of any computer I've ever used. Give me a BBC Model B or a ZX Spectrum any day!

Yes, I'm fanning the flames...... (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615519)

It didn't take long for a C= vs. Speccy war to spawn on this thread.

Nevermind the C64...... (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614925)

I'm still holding on to my original VIC-20, the early production model with the 9VAC power supply.

Then again, I may have about 30 C64s in my collection, in various states of operation.

Re:Nevermind the C64...... (1)

Sketch (2817) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615205)

I'm unfamiliar with the VIC20 9VAC power supply of which you speak, but the C64 and C128 had 9VAC output on the power supply as well (in addition to 5VDC). 9VAC was needed to drive the SID chip used in 90% of them.

Re:Nevermind the C64...... (3, Interesting)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615369)

The early models had a two prong 9VAC power supply. The "box" outside the computer was simply a metal case with a transformer that stepped down the voltage from the wall outlet.

The solid state components, including the rectifier, was inside the VIC-20 case, mounted onto a heatsink metal plate which was (of all places) on the top edge of the expansion slot. This meant that expansion cartridges tend to get hot from the mounting plate. And if you reached inside the expansion slot when it didn't have a cartridge installed, it nearly burnt your skin. The connector is shown here []

Re:Nevermind the C64...... (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615207)

One of the cool things that came with the vic 20 was a hard copy manual. In this manual they had sample programs written in basic. Many a child, including myself, got their start in programming right there.

Re:Nevermind the C64...... (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615429)

I just had the simple manual that introduced BASIC. The real info was when the VIC-20 Programmer's Reference Guide was available for sale. There was a completely detailed section on 6502 op-codes. I cut my teeth on Assembly on my VIC-20. I hand compiled simple graphic commands and had things like cars and stuff moving on the screen, one pixel at a time, along with single pixel screen scrolling using VIC chip capabilities. Commodore did good on making that info readily available.

Re:Nevermind the C64...... (1)

BigRiff (580967) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615459)

"Then again, I may have about 30 C64s in my collection, in various states of operation." Do you want another one?


callmetheraven (711291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614933)

I've still got mine, but I don't have a TV that's compatible with the RF output... So I goof around with the CCS64 emulator instead, play all the great games from my childhood, and try to remember what all those addresses were I used to POKE and PEEK from to make sprites and hideous sounds from the SID.

The most atrocious program ever. (5, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615095)

Pseudo Code:
10 Randomize timer
20 x=Random Number
20 Poke x
30 Print x
40 Goto 20

You can't do this on today's machines or your hard drive may fail and your OS not boot up. With a C64, its the equivalent of giving your computer drugs and watching it trip. Once I had the screen in 4 sections with some scrolling up and some scrolling down.

Re:The most atrocious program ever. (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615185)

Actually since Windows doesn't allow programs access to physical memory, the program would probably be shut down by Windows after it tries to write to Virtual Memory it didn't allocate.

That does sound like fun though, does it work on C64 emulators?

Re:The most atrocious program ever. (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615229)

At first I thought that was writing a random value to a random place in memory, repeat with new value/location, but that would require 2 arguments to Poke (I can't remember C64 basic).

Roughly, what does that do?

Re:The most atrocious program ever. (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615295)

Yah, you need two random arguments to poke. And what does it do? It does something different every time you run it.

Re:The most atrocious program ever. (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615613)

I figured that was what it did, it just didn't match the psudocode, so I wanted to verify.

I need to go to my parents house and get the C64 out of storage... I didn't remember to grab it when I moved out oh-so-long ago.

Or maybe I'll just do that on an emu.


Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615415)

The C64 had Svideo output long before they became popular. The used it for their semi-propriatary monitor. I don't remember the pinouts, put you could probably find them online and make a adapter cable.

Like the ad jingle said... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21614945)

"I adore my 64, my Commodore 64."

I spent many an afternoon after school competing at C64 games with my friends, most notably the Epyx 'games' series, and Skate or Die.

Years later, I bought a C64, a 1541 and a bunch of those games so I could play them again as an adult.

"Memories... light the corners of my mind..." sniffle

My first computer... (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614949)

...was a Tandy Color Computer 2, later replaced with a Color Computer 3. Last I checked, it still had a following. I found that kind of cool. If mine still worked, I'd have interacted with them. As it is, I had a moment of mourning for the little guy and moved on.

But I don't consider either the Coco or the Comodore 64 still having a following newsworthy.They're both nice enough computers, sure, but communities dying slower than someone outside them expects has always been the rule, not the exception. A certain percentage of followers of old ideas don't trade them in for new ones, they just eventually die off.

Nostalgia (0, Offtopic)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614953)

Since when does Nostalgia equate to news and stuff that matters? If I write a piece on the PCjr (my first PC), filled with nostalgia and how wonderful a machine it was, will it get a link here? After all, it was the first PC to break 640k DOS limit.

Or how about TI 99? (my first portable)

Or Apple II? (first school computer)

Or TRS-80? (first machine I programmed in Assembly on)

Nostalgia is of limited interest, almost by definition.

Re:Nostalgia (4, Funny)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615071)

Because its the 25th anniversary (did you bother to read the article before complaining>) and some people care about such things. Normal humans have these things called emotions. I know an ubermensch like yourself can stand us and our reflections on the past.

>Nostalgia is of limited interest, almost by definition.

Thanks for the heads-up. I think I originally read that in a fortune cookie. Except when I read it I said "Nostalgia is of limited interest, almost by definition. IN BED!" Its more fun that way. Wait, an ubermencsh like yourself cant stand fun things. I forgot.

Re:Nostalgia (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615081)

by Archangel Michael (180766)
Dude, you've been around here long enough to understand that griping about relevancy of a computer interest story on slashdot is like griping about a "favorite yarns" story on

Either that, or your Assembly programming on your trash80 sent you into a time loop you're just emerging from.

Re:Nostalgia (1)

bitrot42 (523887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615143)

>Since when does Nostalgia equate to news and stuff that matters?

I think the 'news' here is that TFA is from CNN. It's interesting to see how geek culture is portrayed and reported in the mainstream.

And yes, I'm one of 'those' who believe there will never be another computer as beloved as the C64, unless perhaps you count all Macs combined. The sound of SID is imprinted on my brain, and now evokes memories of many great times, back before computers needed to be useful. No 'day job' to take the fun out of it...

Re:Nostalgia (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615223)

Since when does Nostalgia equate to news and stuff that matters?

It's a silver anniversary piece about the Commodore 64. Any good journalist would write about where the Commodore 64 stands in society, and discovered there still is a following that many may have not expected. It also doubles as a reminder for those who spent money on something like a PCjr at the time that they spent more than they needed to on a useable computer. Then again, I don't know of anybody who actually BOUGHT a PCjr.

Re:Nostalgia (1)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615525)

Nostalgia is of limited interest, almost by definition.

Yes, and in this case, it's limited to the millions of people who purchased and used the C64 25 years ago

I know you couldn't be bothered to read the article, but the C64 is in the Guiness book of world records because it sold so many units. Culturally, it represents the start of widespread computer use in the home, due to being one of the first accessible platforms. Etc, etc.

But of course, I'm sure you know all that.

- Roach

Commodore 64: An open platform (4, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614973)

The C64 has what many console lovers would dream of:

It is an open platform. You can write your own games, and give them away to your friends. Remember the listings in C64 magazines? You can't do that with consoles like the Playstation, which is HARDWIRED so only "authorized" games can be booted on it. Nice move, really :-/

Re:Commodore 64: An open platform (2, Interesting)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615161)

Remember the listings in C64 magazines?

I sure do. Remember trying to find the typo in the 3 pages of random characters? The row/column checksum program was a most welcome addition to my software library. After I finally found all my typos in it.

Re:Commodore 64: An open platform (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615389)

Well, the heir was the PC, but it basicly suicided on multiplayer games. For one you couldn't use a TV with most computers and secondly there was usually only one game port. I had one gamepad, one joystick, one steering wheel... see the pattern? No it wasn't because I lacked friends, we'd take turn playing it because PCs were a one-man thing. That never really changed until we made LAN nights, where we'd still play on our own PC. Nobody stepped up and said with some balls: "We'll make a PC with TV out, FOUR gameports and some great launch titles, this is the game machine for you and all your friends". If they did I doubt consoles would have taken off much.

No love or computer addiction here (5, Insightful)

mamono (706685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21614983)

When I was 8 my first computer was an Atari 800XL. I grew up on that computer and I really loved computers...until I entered the corporate IT environment. Now I hate computers and the last thing I want to do is go home and use one if I don't have to. To me they are a tool, not a toy. I use them to get work done, do research and lookup information. Yes, I look at the occasional YouTube video or whatnot, but my "love of computers" is certainly no longer strong.

Re:No love or computer addiction here (3, Insightful)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615263)

Really? I actually feel bad for you then, sorry.

Re:No love or computer addiction here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21615279)

Maybe you should just get a factory job. The business is full of people who do the work but don't love the work. Quit. You're wrecking the career not just for yourself, but for everyone around you.

The BS of do what you love and the $$$ will follow (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615345)

Now I hate computers and the last thing I want to do is go home and use one if I don't have to. To me they are a tool, not a toy. I use them to get work done, do research and lookup information.

Same here. When I went to career councilors, all of them said I should be in computers - this is after tens years in the biz and hating it. I let them know how disappointed I was in their "services".

Computers were great as a hobby, but doing it as a job is a completely different experience. I think that's the BS we're sold when we're kids that there's this one career that'll make us happy,do what you love or passionate about and the money will follow and other such non sense. Of course, there's a minority folks out there who just love law, medicine, business, and other high paying careers that love to spout this crap. But the rest of us get into the work force and become horribly disillusioned. And then we look wistfully upon the blue collar guy who just works his 40hrs, while we're working our 60+ and we have to wonder was it really worth it? Going to school getting our balls busted and for what? 60+ hours a week and to have our jobs sent oversees somewhere. Then it's to the career councilors. Don't get me wrong, a friend went to one and found her passion. She left law and became a school teacher. She teachers the IP classes and loves it even though she's making a third of what she was making as a real estate lawyer.

I guess some folks are lucking and have a passion that can actually make them a living. I know many folks who are artists and they have to do crap corporate work to pay the bills. Many are in IT, as a matter of fact.

OK, enough of my rant. I have to get back to my shit work.

I had two, and neither worked correctly (0, Flamebait)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615005)

Neither did the tape drive nor the disk drive. It was junk then, and nostalgia doesn't correct that in my case.

Junis from Afghanistan agrees. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21615009)

He still loves his C64 years after being liberated from the Taliban.

Re:Junis from Afghanistan agrees. (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615115)

Ah yes, fond memories of a classic Slashdot beatdown.

Still in use (4, Interesting)

antarctican (301636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615017)

Sadly, my father still uses his original C64 to do his business books for tax time once a year....

One of these years I have to set him up with an emulator rather than watch him suffer, swapping disks back and forth. :)

The computer that will never die....

It's like a first wife (3, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615035)

The Commodore was a dependable old faithful friend. Your first true love. It had your kids. It supported you through tough times. But then came the time when you needed to upgrade to a trophy wife/super gaming rig. It saw it coming. You wanted ultra raw performance, and it just couldn't deliver it anymore. Still it thinks about you in quiet dignity, though reminiscing about love lost.

C=64 (2, Informative)

koutkeu (655921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615037)

sys 64738

and today's toy... (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615099)

I wonder what kind of computer I could get my son to let him enjoy exploring computing in the same way today - perhaps an XO

I remember being thrilled to get my Zx81 kit one Christmas - the whole thing was an adventure.

Remember "Ahoy!" and "Compute!"? (1)

blcamp (211756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615103)

I wish I still had my C-64 and VIC-20.

But I have at least a few pieces of Commodore-related history: I still have the original copies of all the magazine articles I wrote for "Ahoy!", "Compute!" and "Compute!'s Gazette".

I was the author of "64+", "Disk Package", and a few other gems back during the late-80s heyday of Commodore.

Some fond memories indeed. :)

I, for one... (4, Funny)

Debello (1030486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615117)

Welcome back our former computer overlords!

Damn, the Moa is one ugly ship. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615131)

> For millions of kids who grew up in the 1980s, that first computer was the Commodore 64.

The Commodore 64 is to your first love what the Coleco Adam was to your first love, as expressed by a priest.

I understand the feeling (5, Insightful)

Natales (182136) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615133)

Granted. Although I started on the Atari 800XL, not the Commodore (they were too expensive when I was growing up back in Chile), I'm sure the feeling is the same...

What I consider more relevant about those days is that as kids we had to be "creators" instead of "users" as it happens today. The most fascinating idea about the computer was that you could "tell it" what to do, and it would just do it. The potential was endless, but you HAD to learn some form of programming language. The more control you wanted to have, the lower in the stack you had to go. I can't emphasize enough how "mind shaping" was learning assembly language on the 6502 (with only 1 accumulator and 2 registers)...

It is hard to find the same in today's environment. You don't see a lot of 12-year-olds programming the computer any more. We have created a whole generation of "users" and I don't see an easy way to change that...

First car? (1)

hey (83763) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615169)

First car, what's that? I certainly loved my first computer however!

Amiga (5, Interesting)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615193)

I had a c64 as my first computer - with the carts it took. I still remember playing various Carmen Sandiago games on it.

Then I got an Amiga 1000; this is the computer that changed my life. 16-bit sound, great graphics, and an OS that loaded from 2 floppies (DS/DD) into 512k of RAM. If you take off the cover, you can see in the mold where all the people that went into building the 1000 had their signatures etched on the underside. All those cinemaware games: defender of the crown, SDI, Rocket Ranger, Lords of the Rising Sun, the 3 stooges. Those were games. Brilliant games. It has always seemed to me that something was lost between now and then. All the games today feel the same, where those older titles each were unique unto themselves.

I also connected to my first BBS on that 1000 with its 1200-baud modem. I still remember being to tell through the speaker what speed I would end up getting when the connection finished. The local store that sold amiga's was the Slipped Disk. Being an 8-yr old kid going through their cases of Public Domain software for hours on end. They also had auctions - real-live auctions every few months where the store would be packed with people bidding on all sorts of peripherals. Joysticks, steering wheels, light guns, various versions of Deluxe Paint and the oh-so-cool Video Toaster.

I can't help but think my reflections on the Amiga are nostalgia because I'm getting older, while a part of me wants to believe that things were really better back then, and that we lost something along the way...

Re:Amiga (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615411)

Sigh...the Amiga :) I got rid of my A500 several years ago in a fit of insanity. Luckily I found an A1000 at a Goodwill plus a fair number of games. It seems strange to be using it on my 17" LCD TV.

Re:Amiga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21615623)

Then I got an Amiga 1000 [...] 16-bit sound
I think you misremember this. Amiga had 8-bit sound (4 channel.)

We had C64's at school (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615203)

My earliest experience with a computer was with the Atari 2600, but the first experience with a real computer that had a keyboard was with the C64 and Apple ][ systems they had in Elementary school. The first thing we did with them was play around with Logo, telling that turtle how to move around the screen and so forth. We delighted in making geometric patterns with simple loop algorithms and creating subroutines that defined how to create a square or other shape.

Sadly, when I graduated high school in 1993, the computer lab that they were teaching Pascal on was still equipped with Apple ][e systems, with dual 5.25" floppy disks, no hard drive, and 64K of RAM. The library had the school's only Mac, a Mac II+ that ran some stupid pre-internet Hypercard encyclopedia or catalog or something.

I wish I had a C64, just to fire up and play with every now and then. The best thing about them was how simple they were, and therefore easy to understand. I got a good grasp of fundamental concepts because the system was so uncomplicated and had so few layers of technologies between me and the hardware. The worst was how slow they were, particularly accessing data on the floppy drive.

Ah, the old C64 (1)

dufachi (973647) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615219)

Hmm, well, at one time I had three different working ones (I went through 5 total.) After beginning to understand how they liked to blow themselves up, I bought them at yard sales for parts.

Oh, and I had enough pirated software for it that I could have personally filled the Arnold Archive myself.

The original one got me through college. I bought one from another student and all his gear for 50 bucks. Sweet deal. It included one of the white case ones and an original, two floppy drives, ram expansion cart, modem, and a boatload of software (albeit quite a bit of it I already had.) Was fun finding the new stuff.

Within a year after college, unfortunately I became permanently disabled. With the initial settlement, I bought a 486sx-25 (don't laugh.. stop it. I said STOP IT!), and within 6 months, like a proverbial hyena, I sold all my c64 stuff for 50 bucks to a friend. (Quit laughing!) Damn, I regret selling it.

Obligatory 16K song (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21615221)

Still running (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615227)

... And it's almost done loading Flight Sim!

first ? nah (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615271)

The first I've ever coded on was one like this [] (I was 12-13, but it actually was around '90-'91), the first I owned was a C64C [] , and then a C64G [] , which was the one I really liked, and I still have it. It's like an old friend that never pisses you off and when you sit down with him with a beer you can chat hours long :D

GP2X / VICE (1)

TrevorB (57780) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615317)

The C64 was my computer for about 5 years as a kid, from 1983 to 1988. I loved that machine, but went through my fair share of 1541 drive realignments.

I just recently picked up a GP2X F200 (the linux homebrew console from Gamepark Holdings in South Korea), my first ever handheld console at the age of 33. I was ecstatic at the 64 emulation on the device.. it was perfect! I'd played VICE and Frodo on my PC before, but paying games like M.U.L.E., Jumpman and Lode Runner again on a small handheld has made my year. The only problem is that the 1541 drive needs to be emulated as well, so load times can be similar to the original game. :)

(Oh it also does NES, SNES, SegaCD, Amiga, GBA, NeoGeo, etc etc etc... for you people who are into that kind of thing.)

At the very least, if you owned a C64, go hunt down the VICE emulator. Lots of memories will flood back.

8 bit wars still going on, 25 years later. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615319)

I felt this comment was very funny:

It was widely considered clunky, its BASIC outdated and graphics weak in comparison to the Apple II and Atari 800, according to McCracken

So the VP and editor of "PC World" still had to get a few licks in. I just have to laugh. Personally I always thought the Apple II crowd was secretly jealous of the better games, and FAR better sound on a C64. They felt they paid a lot of money for their machines, but didn't get as good a quality out of it. (hey, I gotta get my licks in as well)

Fond Memories (2, Interesting)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615325)

In the late 90's (97 to 99ish) I volunteered as computer tech for a local daycare for disadvantaged families when I was able to fit it around high school and sports.

Shortly before I began helping them they had recieved a donation of almost 50 assorted old computer systems with various pieces of software and had put them in the basement. I started working my way through fixing and trying to get as many of them working as possible. Some were going to be given to families for their own use. Nothing was faster then a 486 (there were 3 or 4 of these working) but there were about 6 C64s. I didn't know much about them and honestly still don't.

I got 4 of them working in a little computer area upstairs for the kids to play around on. There were some games for them to play but the greatest part was the three little ones who were outsiders finding something they excelled at. By the time I left the girl had the two boys working for her coding "stuff" for the 64s. I never did manage to find out what they were coding; I went off to college before they were finished and when I came home she had stopped coming to that daycare but had been given a C64 for her home.


Commodore 64 Golden Years book (1)

BiscuitTheCat (628652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615343)

I'm not a big fan of blatant pimping, but this is pretty relevant, so I hope I don't get flamed too drastically...

A book (written by Andrew Fisher - who is/was a c64 games journalist back in the day) is about to be printed.
"The Commodore 64 Book 1982-199x" covers about 250 of the best games in a snazzy (we think) format, and is the companion to the earlier "The ZX Spectrum Book 1982-199x"...

If anyone wants to pre-order a copy (they should be back from the printers in late January) then [] is the place to go.



Looking back on those old systems (5, Insightful)

Targon (17348) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615385)

One thing that many people do not understand these days is why those old systems are still remembered so fondly. People scratch their heads and just don't understand it. As one of the people who got started on computers with machines like the TRS-80 model 1, Commodore PET(4016 and 4032), I like to think I have a bit of insight about what it was about those early days that makes many look back fondly on the games of the era.

If you look back, you see a lot of text based games, or ugly graphics by the standards of today, so it's no wonder that people do not understand. One thing that was true of most of the games back then, they all were NEW, and many really pushed the abilities of the computers of the time. Story, and fun were key, and while many were pretty bad, there was no shortage of good ideas that were different.

The differences are really what stand out in the minds of us "old timers". Think about it, you had a grand total of 16 colors that could be displayed at one time on a C-64, and yet, good games could be written that were not only fun, but had a story that stuck with us. Even into the early days of the PC, there were some really great games in those early days. The original Kings Quest with those really ugly 16 color graphics is an example of that same innovative spirit that makes those early days seem so wonderful. It wasn't the C-64 that was so great, it was the spirit of the game developers that made things seem to amazing.

Trying to say it was the computer just doesn't fit, because the old Apple 2 series had it, in the same way the Amiga had it. It was a love for experimentation and creation, and it seems that these things that made those old games so amazing is all but dead. How much innovation is out there in the game industry these days? New features or abilities added to older games with new graphics will NEVER seem as amazing as the "old days".

Apple II Better Graphically? Don't agree. (1)

Webcommando (755831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615433)

I started computing with the Vic-20 (machine language in the cassette buffer for the win) and went off to college with a C-128 (C64 + CPM Z80 + enhance mode).

The article makes a statement that the C64 was behind Apple II in graphics.

Still, the C64 had an uneven reputation. It was widely considered clunky, its BASIC outdated and graphics weak in comparison to the Apple II and Atari 800, according to McCracken.
I don't agree with that one (unless you're considering text mode and number of columns). The graphics on most Apple II games were awful. If they weren't using monochrome, you lost resolution (needed two screen pixels to represent color...IIRC). I can't recall any game that wasn't far better on the C64.

Have nothing respect for all the 8bit machines and have a nice collection of Apple II, C64, Vic, Tandy, Atari and yes have a Commodore plus4.

Now excuse me, I need to check to see if my 1541 drive has finally loaded Skate or Die...what's that knocking sound?

Old machines just keep on running (3, Interesting)

danlyke (149938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615435)

I was an Apple kid myself, but recently I was touring a company that makes high end guitars that's run by a guy who's got a hackerly technical bent, and they've got CNC machines that they rigged up back in the early '80s with C64s that are still running on those same C64s.

That was the most awesome testament I've seen to what computing used to be, I'm not sure I'd even trust a modern microcontroller to run reliably for 25 years in an industrial environment.

I still love C64 music (1)

ALecs (118703) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615447)

Actually, in a great feat of irony, I was listening to some Jeroen Tel right as I saw this story pop up. The High-Voltage SID Collection [] has a huge amount of C64 tunes available for download -- and quickly too since the files are around 5 to 50KB for a song.

Sidplay 2 does a great job playing them and there's a plugin for XMMS.


The C64 web server (1)

MilesAttacca (1016569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615483)

Not only were C64s hallowed game machines, but today with an Ethernet cartridge and Contiki, they can even become web servers [] . It's truly amazing what we can still do with the boxen of old.

Just be careful not to slashdot that site; it doesn't have nearly the RAM or CPU power to hold all of us at once!

C64 documentation rocked (3, Insightful)

tranqlzer (170601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615511)

When I got my C64, it came with a 300 page manual with detailed documentation on e.g. how to program the built-in sound and graphic chips. Which values you had to write to which registers and so on. I learned how to program assembler by reading this thing, at age 11.
Of course there was also tons of undocumented stuff that you could only learn by doing. Some years ago I found out (using an emulator) that I still remembered carefully crafted tables of timing values to trick the VIC into showing nice animated color bars without flickering.

When I bought my first Intel PC, there was a piece of paper which basically mentioned how to turn the thing on. Took me years to figure out how to do file i/o and draw some pixels in VGA mode.

I wish I had fond memories of that machine.... (1)

ChristopherRodan (456444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615527)

unfortunately, the friends that had them waited up to 45 minutes in some cases to let the disk games load in. So we ultimately gave up waiting and did something else (never got to see a C64 game being played). But I had an Atari 800XL, only took a few minutes to play those disk based games.

Joysticks. (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615543)

I love how you could use Atari 2600 joysticks on C64 for two player games. My former next door neighbor and I used to play many games. We played a lot during the summer when schools were on breaks.

There are some awesome C64 tribute videos (1)

ueltradiscount (1195109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615605)

C64-- the machine I WATCHED my friend play (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21615609)

Yeah, I had one of those friends, who was such a control freak of his C64, that I basically rode my bike to his house just to watch him play. I think one of the reasons I am still involved in computers is because I'd have to come home to my ailing TI-99 and make it do something new and interesting. Computer graphics were a mystery to my friend, but I was playing with sprites on my machine, and although it wasn't as cool as his store-bought stuff (I made an asteroids-type game... that, er... crashed reliably about 30 seconds in), it was mine. A word to the wise: it's no fun playing your own dungeon-crawlers. You already know how to win.

But the C64 undoubtedly had some cool games. Sid Meier's Pirates! was and still is one of the best (Xbox's version was a very good remake, IMHO), and Prince of Persia was just mindblowingly awesome. Guillotines! I think that was the first game that actually make me tremble with anxiety. Thankfully, my cousin owned one of these machines, and was so fed up with trying to use it (he could never reliably punch in the LOAD commands) that I was able to log some time on one.
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