1980s-era Commodore 64 PC returns, revamped

April 8, 2011 By Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Commodore 64 computer (1982).

Commodore 64, the hottest-selling personal computer in the 1980s, is back - with the same bulky breadbox look but updated with the latest technology.

Appealing to nostalgic computer buffs, a Florida company re-created the PC and began selling it Tuesday. The company, Commodore USA, said it sold out the first batch in 24 hours. It declined to say how many units that was. The company licensed the rights to the Commodore trademark last September.

"It looks just like the original Commodore 64, with even the old-style keyboard," said Barry Altman, Commodore USA's chief executive. "In fact, that keyboard was the biggest accomplishment of all, so far. The keys look like a piece of clay that you pushed a marble into - so it fits your fingertip."

The price for the new Commodore 64 basic model is even the same as it was for a similar base unit in 1982: $595.

The original had 64 kilobytes of memory, which was just enough for basic and some simple video games. The new one has 4 gigabytes - about 4 million kilobytes.

"We expected our audience to be the nostalgia crowd, and that's true, a lot of people buying them owned an original Commodore 64 back in the '80s," Altman said. "But we're also finding that there are young kids who are geek geniuses who have iPhones and iPads and things like that and they're looking at this thing and they're into it. They've actually been a big part of our customer base so far, too. It's been a surprise."

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5 / 5 (5) Apr 08, 2011
Nice, but I disagree with the part 'some simple games'. There were many thousands of games for the C64, not 'some'. There were many kinds of games. There were also incredibly complex games like the 3D FPS space simulator 'Elite' which was basically built on fractal algorithms. Absolute freedom, never ending story in a vast multiverse.

These were exciting years where new concepts were being developed. There are some concepts you don't really see anymore, which is in my opinion a pity. Being limited in i.e. colors, resolution and memory meant that the programmer had to be both clever and artistic. This produced some magnificent things.
not rated yet Apr 08, 2011
Ah the good old daze when loading from the cassette drive was just so fast and state of the art. That's the one thing most people probably won't remember was just how much was out there for these.

Does this mean my old Kaypro is now cool again??? ;-]
5 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2011
Yes!! I knew these reappear someday! C64 + My bright blue Hammer pants = Awesome weekend.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2011
I learned to program a little in Basic on one of these.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2011
Awesome. If they release new C64 point and click adventure game titles to go with it, and a whole lot of people are going to be in absolute heaven..
1 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2011
just saw their site: http://www.commod...ore.aspx
could mod my own for a fraction of the price.. already have a mini-itx mobo and can get the case of a friend.. hmmm.. I'm totally going do it when I have the time.
5 / 5 (1) Apr 08, 2011
Yes!! I knew these reappear someday! C64 + My bright blue Hammer pants = Awesome weekend.

Won't touch that.
1 / 5 (2) Apr 09, 2011
On second thought, the computer AND monitor combined which I am using cost less than that about 8 months ago, and has 6 gigs of RAM and quad core...

So basicly 50% more computer and a free monitor...
not rated yet Apr 09, 2011
This ISN'T the original C64. It's like coin companies talking about some coin back in the 1900's and how awesome that coin was and hey, here, buy this new "replica" of it! It will be awesome just like the original one!

Uh, no. No it won't.
not rated yet Apr 09, 2011
O_o of course it's not the original C64... wow... take a chill pill. It's a replica that is somewhat useable in todays standards... although I'm not sure I could bear trying to use the C64 keyboard instead of the Sony Vaio keyboard I'm typing this on... love the description of the keys, marble pressed into clay, ha ha, that's awesome.

Still got mine in storage, taught myself into a job with that thing... bloody brilliant machine :-)

Because it has so much nostalgic value for me I would love one of these... the keyboard would probably drive me mad, but yeah, it would be fun times.
not rated yet Apr 10, 2011
Younger PC Windows users who want to know what the C64 OS looked like, try to get a BSOD. ;-)
4.7 / 5 (47) Apr 10, 2011
Many memories of that computer. Got my first software job working on the C64, and contributed to Compute! and Compute! Gazette also. I knew the guy who developed the first HDD for the C64, the Lt. Kernal. It had 10/20 mb, which was huge then, plus a DOS system with database structure built in, which I worked on extensively.

The C64 was so limiting that one had to invent ways to get things done. For example I wrote a assembly language program for Compute! mag., that would load and execute a basic language module off tape drive,... so one was less limited in how large a program could be. Also, one could switch off and on the OS kernel ROM and make use of underlying ram at the same addresses. And who didn't add. reset switch to copy game cartridges to ram,....
4.7 / 5 (47) Apr 10, 2011
The phrase 'spaghetti code' may have been coined on the Vic-20 / C64 :)
not rated yet Apr 10, 2011
I remember the old commodore 64, hee hee. It had a tape drive instead of a hard drive. Damn it was a long time ago..I think this is the first exposure I had to computers and I have been hooked ever since. The processors were sooo slow. They had the real 286x processors I think. Way cool and who cares if you can get a new computer for less. This is the the great grandfather of what you have today so bite me.
4.7 / 5 (47) Apr 10, 2011
It had the Motorola 6502/6510 processors running at 1 MHz, with a vertical screen resolution less than half that of the iPhone!
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
Many people learned and used programing on the commodore 64 but the powerhouse of the commodore series was the amiga and it had advanced features still not found on the modern pc such as an inteligent disk operating system that never had to be defraged and dynamic RAM that is up to 1000% better than the modern pc at using less memory for an application. The amiga operating system was the first with windows and never crashed or destroyed its own files and that is more than I can say for most current operating systems.
5 / 5 (1) Apr 15, 2011
20 GOTO 10
not rated yet Apr 19, 2011
Hmmmm.... this has potential... toss in 2 or 4 Atom processor Z670's, ramp it up with HDMI out + the usual USB and 1394 ports... have a 500 GB drive with Sata out for externals... There is plenty of room and power for these, could be useful for a multitude of purposes...

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