May 21 2008
Operating System: Commodore Basic 2.0
Graphics: VIC-II (video interface controller), 16 colours, 8 sprites.
* 16 colours
* Text mode: 40×25 characters; 256 user-defined chars (8×8 pixels, or 4×8 in multicolour mode)
* Bitmap modes: 320×200 (2 colours in each 8×8 block), 160×200 (3 colours plus background in each 4×8 block)
* 8 hardware sprites of 24×21 pixels (12×21 in multicolour mode)
* Smooth scrolling, raster interrupts
Sound: SID (sound interface device), analogue synthesizer, 3 voices, mono
- 2 x CIA (complex interface adapter) 6526
- Module / cartridge port
- User port
- 2 x joystick port
- TV out
- RGB and composite monitor output
- Serial port for printer and external floppy drives
- Tape interface @ 300 bps
- Keyboard: “QWERTY”, 66 keys
United States, Sept 1982.
Commodore launched one of the most influential home computers ever. Initially priced at US$595, between 1982 and 1994 it went on to sell over 17 million units worldwide, 3 million in Germany alone!
The Commodore 64 ruled the home computing world for a while. After flogging the Sinclair Spectrum, the Amstrad CPC’s, Apple IIE and the Atari consoles it was really only shifted aside by its descendant, the Amiga. Many of the world’s top coders cut their teeth on a C64, learning the ins and outs of its tiny processor and getting lost in the gargantuan 64k of memory.
The Commodore 64 also contained a famous piece of hardware – the SID chip, that gave the C64 those distinctive tunes which can be downloaded from the net and grooved to as you relive those early days.
And those days were simple. Graphics were evolving into recognisable sprites, rather than a collection of rectangles, and eight colours became standard. Life without colour is pretty hard to imagine, but the Sinclair Spectrum, which was popular in the UK & Europe at the same time, had only 2.
Control was simple, either keys (good) or single button joystick (excellent). The Commodore 64 joystick port was the same as the old Atari 2600 and could use the same sticks. 8-bit gaming was truly coming of age now and surprising leaps in gameplay elements, such as enemies’ artificial intelligence, were being made.
|Archon||Freefall||Chess with a modified ruleset, fantasy characters and arcade battles.|
|California Games||Epyx||Urban street-games and surfing.|
|Elite||David Braben & Ian C. Bell||Space-trading game in a massive universe.|
|Ghouls n Ghosts||Software Creations||Superb arcade conversion.|
|H.E.R.O.||Activision||Rescue miners from gas and creature filled tunnels.|
|Impossible Mission||Epyx||Arcade adventure, great animation.|
|Jumpman||Epyx||Donkey Kong’s inspiration?|
|Karateka||Jordan Mechner||Beat-em-up with slow-motion karate.|
|Paradroid||Andrew Braybrook||Arcade adventure, great robots, huge ship.|
|Pole Position||Atari||Early arcade Formula 1.|
|Racing Destruction Set||Geoff Crammond||Overhead, isometric racer with weapons.|
|Raid on Bungeling Bay||Will Wright||Forerunner of Desert Strike.|
|Rescue on Fractalus & Koronis Rift||Lucasfilm Games||Shoot-em-up adventure using a fractal-generated landscape.|
|Skate or Die||Electronic Arts||Extreme skate-boarding|
|Stunt Car Racer||Geoff Crammond||3D racing on roller-coaster tracks.|
|Uridium||Andrew Braybrook||Lightning-fast, horizontal shooter.|
|Way of the Exploding Fist||Beam Software||One-on-one beat-em-up.|