May 21 2008

Commodore 64

Jeremy @ 10:26 pm

Commodore 64 KeyboatdSpecifications

CPU: 1Mhz
RAM: 64k
ROM: 20k
Operating System: Commodore Basic 2.0
Graphics: VIC-II (video interface controller), 16 colours, 8 sprites.

Modes:
* 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

Commodore 64 Datasette 1530Input / Output:

  • 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

Commodore 64

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.

Elite - the grandad of space games H.E.R.O. - Like an early Rick Dangerous, death came swiftly for our hero. Way of the Exploding Fist - Melbourne House's take on IK+

The Games

Title

Developer/Publisher

Description

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.

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