Together with the Spectrum this is perhaps my most favourite of all the machines I have in my collection, the Commodore 64.
The Commodore 64 is perhaps the father of all modern games machines as it was the first machine to have loads of colours on screen and superb sound, mainly due to the number of musicians who found that they could write simple music using this machine.
The graphics on the C64 as it was known, weren’t anything to write home about as they often looked a little blurred when you used lots of colours (64 in all, 32 main colours, 32 half tones(shades)) , due to its 320 x 200 resolution. Unlike the Spectrum which had 8 colours (Wow! remember at the time the PC only had 4 colours, ah! good old CGA graphics!) but the definition of the display was a lot sharper than the C64. This however didn’t stop the C64 stamping is authority in the gaming world.
The C64 was based on the 6510A processor running at 1.02Mhz, had 64Kbytes RAM and 20Kbytes of ROM, which held the operating system and BASIC. Sound was produced though a custom chip, the 6581 or SID as it was better known, which was capable of generating 3 independent tones over 9 octaves.
Most memorable games on the C64 aren’t the early games as they where pants, but the later games from around the mid to late 80’s. If you had a C64 then you will remember such games as ‘Monty on the run´ or ‘Thing on a Spring´. Both these games where platform games, which required you to jump or spring around the screen collecting various items. What was most memorable was the music that accompanied these two games. Written by a music wiz called, Rob Hubbard. This guy’s music set the game you where playing on fire. This was the thing which set the C64 apart from other machines and caused many a playground argument.
When you bought the C64 is came with everything you needed to start using it straight away. Unlike the Spectrum it came with its own Commodore tape drive and its foot warming power supply looked like a black Commodore brick.
You could also buy a Disk drive and printer for the C64 and Commodore also made cartridges for the machine but these proved unpopular with software manufacturers as they where expensive to make, however they did load almost immediately, unlike the tape programs which by comparison took ages to load in. You could even buy a modem for the C64.
The only variant of the C64 I know of is the C128 which was supposed to be a competitor to the Apple Macintosh and IBM PC. This machine was still downwardly compatible with the C64 although the new design looked like the yet to be announced Commodore Amiga.