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Commodore Returns!!!
April 8, 2011 5:31 PM   Subscribe

Anybody want to buy a brand newC-64? How about a VIC Pro? An Amiga 1000? Commodore USA has risen from the grave.

Well, sort of. They're actually PCs under the skin. The only way they resemble the originals is the case design. Here's more about it all.

Now if only someone could make a PC that looks like a Mac.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (72 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Goddamn zombie companies.
posted by Artw at 5:33 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Uh, guys? Amiga 1000s were white.
posted by Malor at 5:35 PM on April 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is way cooler than it should be.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:35 PM on April 8, 2011


Awww, shit. I remember buying my Vic-20 with paper route money. I played GORF and learned BASIC and LOGO on it. Then I discovered sex, drugs and rock and roll and drifted away for awhile.

Antway this is massaging my nostalgia gland big time.
posted by jonmc at 5:38 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the C-64 would be truly awesome to take to a LAN party.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:38 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


its about damn time someone did this!
posted by archivist at 5:38 PM on April 8, 2011


This is marketing genius. Now someone needs to do old game consoles. Sega Master System?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:41 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Previously mentioned.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 5:45 PM on April 8, 2011


Oh, rats.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:48 PM on April 8, 2011


10 PRINT "FUCK YEAH"
20 GOTO 10
posted by chaff at 5:50 PM on April 8, 2011 [32 favorites]


Setting up emulators for the machines they resemble would be easy enough. Very similar to a MAME box.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:53 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is one of those times where I felt like a dirty hipster (not hipster-ist) when I thought to myself "I knew about this before it was cool because I read it on Metafilter like a year ago."

But seriously, this could make a hell of an HTPC.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:58 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like me some hot Amiga action, I'd love to resurrect all the old DPaint IV files I made on my Amiga 500.
posted by Scoo at 6:00 PM on April 8, 2011


If there were a switch to go back to the original hardware and a coax out then we'd be talking! At least it runs Linux out of the box.
posted by thebestusernameever at 6:04 PM on April 8, 2011


What, no retro-futuristic Commodore PET?
posted by Jonathan Harford at 6:06 PM on April 8, 2011


I don't need a new one. I still have a working C-128 and 1541 disk drive. Just don't know how the floppies are holding up. This is very cool, though.
posted by Splunge at 6:13 PM on April 8, 2011


Wake me up when they've got one of these babies.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:14 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


PEDANT: In fact Commodore USA cannot rise from the grave, because they were a German company, Commodore International.

KILLJOY: Speaking as someone who spend a huge portion of his childhood hacking away on these machines (I have like three in the closet), I have to say I feel like this is being done solely for the nostalgia factor. How powerful are these machines? To fit in a C64 form factor they'd probably have to rely on laptop parts, and at those prices I'm concerned they might be underpowered.
posted by JHarris at 6:16 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


JHarris, on the C-64 page, click the "Technology" tab to see what the hardware is.

CPU: Atom D525 1.80GHz
Memory: 2 x DDR2 667/800 Single Channel DIMM slots (up to 4 GB)
Graphics: Next-Generation NVIDIA ION Graphics Processor

It's about what you'd expect for $600.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:22 PM on April 8, 2011


JHarris: KILLJOY: How powerful are these machines? To fit in a C64 form factor they'd probably have to rely on laptop parts, and at those prices I'm concerned they might be underpowered.

Even worse then that, it contains an Intel Atom processor. A ULV Intel chip or AMD's Fusion processor would be a better fit.
posted by Harpocrates at 6:24 PM on April 8, 2011


Show me the SID chip and I'll get excited.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:33 PM on April 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


If there were a switch to go back to the original hardware and a coax out then we'd be talking! At least it runs Linux out of the box.
It's setup to boot into an emulator, so it should be able to run all old C64 programs.
posted by delmoi at 6:40 PM on April 8, 2011


Uh, guys? Amiga 1000s were white.

Yeah. These are closer to the NeXT pizza boxes. And they didn't even get that right.


Sometimes I regret selling mine.
posted by weston at 6:40 PM on April 8, 2011


"Note: Commodore OS 1.0, along with emulation functionality and classic game package, will be mailed to purchasers when available."

Of course it will, of course it will.

It seems wrong, utterly wrong, that the VIC model is better-specced than the C64.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:41 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


jenkinsEar: "Wake me up when they've got one of these babies."

Well, they don't have an indigo, but you can buy an octane on ebay.
posted by symbioid at 6:43 PM on April 8, 2011


Now if only someone could make a PC that looks like a Mac.

They have these now. It's called "a Mac."
posted by bicyclefish at 6:43 PM on April 8, 2011 [15 favorites]


We have an actual VIC-20 connected to our conference-room TV in our office.

Not relevant. Just bragging.
posted by device55 at 6:45 PM on April 8, 2011


CPU: Atom D525 1.80GHz
Memory: 2 x DDR2 667/800 Single Channel DIMM slots (up to 4 GB)
Graphics: Next-Generation NVIDIA ION Graphics Processor

It's about what you'd expect for $200.


FTFY.

It's about $300-400 too expensive although the concept is good. Everything built into a keyboard, HDMI straight to the TV and the rest of the shit plugs into it. It really is like a C64 of yesteryear.
posted by Talez at 6:46 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's setup to boot into an emulator, so it should be able to run all old C64 programs.

Then they should have added a 5.25 floppy drive. 3.5 floppy option at the least, it's not like there isn't some warehouse in Texas full of them covered in dust.

Also, where can you plug in an old Atari joystick?

Now that I'm looking at the future Amiga boxes, though, now those would make some beautiful HTPCs. I'd pay some bucks for just the case.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:46 PM on April 8, 2011


The part that makes me sad here is the utter lack of attention to detail these rendered mockups.

No RUN STOP key? No colours on the front of the number keys, no mess of symbols as alternate characters on the fronts of the characters? How will I put hearts, diamonds, clubs or spades in then? How will I make an ASCII maze? And what are the F keys doing under the numbers?

Weak. Feh, I say.
posted by mhoye at 6:46 PM on April 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


I remember running into that site a while back through somewhere else; back then it was strictly vapourware. Now? Who knows.

The site is still ugly as sin, though. But I guess that's on purpose.

Oh, in case anyone has missed the Commodore 64 Original Hardware Laptop...
posted by porpoise at 6:51 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, lets face it, like all zombies the Commodore and Amiga companies we have today are a pitiful mockery of a once-alive loved one, and the best thing that could really happen to them is for someone to put a boot upon their necks and pump shotgun rounds into their heads until nothing is left but a quivering stump.

Sadly I have no idea what that particular metaphor would actually translates to, so I guess we should just try to ignore their stinky, moldy presence until we figure it out.
posted by Artw at 6:52 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Didn't someone already make a post about these glorified PC cases a year ago? You would think the Amiga would have a PowerPC processor and be able to run AmigaOS 5, or at least come prepackaged with AROS.

At any rate, that UPI story is just a press release in a fake moustache.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:55 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


still love that star trek game circa 1982. It was my second computer game after Mr. Quarterback.
er, does pong count?
posted by clavdivs at 6:57 PM on April 8, 2011


It's not a real c64 unless you have to align your 1541's drive head to keep it working.
posted by cj_ at 6:57 PM on April 8, 2011


LOAD "PRETTY RAD",8,1
posted by porn in the woods at 6:58 PM on April 8, 2011


Ah, Artw. Your mixed metaphor reminds me of a simpler time, when zombies were slow and only craved brains, and after we watched our slow-brain-eating zombies, we would listen to the grinding buzz of a floppy drive trying to load some game we copied from a friend of a friend.

It wasn't considered pirating back then, was it?
posted by jabberjaw at 7:02 PM on April 8, 2011


Vaporware. I'll buy one if I'm wrong though.
posted by tremspeed at 7:10 PM on April 8, 2011


still love that star trek game circa 1982.

Heh, I was just digging a around in my basement last night a found may C64 cartridge for Star Trek - Strategic Operations Simulator. Only cartridge game I owned for my C64. So many hours were spent playing that game.

Somewhere in a box I've got a non-functioning Amiga 2000. One of these days I should convert the case to use as my desktop PC.
posted by the_artificer at 7:13 PM on April 8, 2011


New C-64? Feh! I still have my original mid-'80s C-64 and 1st Gen 1541 in the basement (along with my A-500). I'm tempted to dig it out and see if it still works. It don't know if hanging on to that thing for 25+ years makes me cool or a hoarder...
posted by MikeMc at 7:13 PM on April 8, 2011


Vaporware. I'll buy one if I'm wrong though.

They're already taking orders. These days there's not that much of a cost overhead with doing a small production run.
posted by delmoi at 7:27 PM on April 8, 2011


Didn't someone already make a post about these glorified PC cases a year ago?

When they first announced the "new" C64 last year, it was in some shiny silver case. This latest version uses a case that looks like the original C64. Apparently nobody gave a shit when it didn't look like the original.

To quote Ricky Nelson:

Played them all the old songs, thought that's why they came
No one heard the music, we didn't look the same...


You see, you can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself.
posted by briank at 7:32 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


My dad built a couple of computers in the late 60s out of vacuum tubes and the like that ran punch cards and were cubes about 20' on each side. (Cooling units were in another room.) Call me when Commodore reaches that level of nostalgic hipster cred.
posted by el_lupino at 7:35 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw these 'C64s' the other day and seriously thought it was an April Fools joke.
posted by pompomtom at 7:46 PM on April 8, 2011


Now will someone get to work on a TRS-80 Color Computer model?
posted by azpenguin at 7:48 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meh. Let me know when they do this for the Tandy 1400 FD.
posted by mrbula at 8:26 PM on April 8, 2011


Now if only someone could make a PC that looks like a Mac.

Isn't that what Mac is doing?
posted by psycho-alchemy at 8:41 PM on April 8, 2011


Dude, I had a C=64. If you're stressing about the processor, man, you ain't been around enough CMD products. The one I had came with a Zilog Z-80 CPM cart that had twice the CPU power all on its lonesome.

What Commodore did right was put together a system, for cheap, that was consistent. A C64 was a C64, and the C128 was just more of the same. Same deal with the Amiga - it was a solid, well-specc'd platform the hackers could rely on.

If the new Commodore can slow down product upgrades to one-per-year, and make them incremental and predictable, they will do very, very, very well.

I defy you to name all of the Eee products. Defy you. I can rattle off everything Sun and Apple made going back to 1978. I don't think Jonney Shih himself could tell you what his product line looked like last month.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:48 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I played GORF and learned BASIC and LOGO on it.

I made the GORFian Empire my bitch and was all like who's the Space Cadet now, mothafuckas!

Plus, I totally made that LOGO turtle break dance in lieu of actually finishing the calculation of the interior angle of a five pointed star I never did finish that.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:02 PM on April 8, 2011


If the new Commodore can slow down product upgrades to one-per-year, and make them incremental and predictable, they will do very, very, very well.

Seems doubtful. This iteration seems to be about selling custom cases. They can fill them with a basic windows box, if you like.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:05 PM on April 8, 2011


Tres tres cool. Not only does the site sport a fresh 80's-era black-and-spectrum paint, it also has Geocities-style transparent backgrounds but with an upgraded Google-translate linkage, so you can read gibberish in more languages than in the olden days with Altavista's Babelfish engine.

More to the point, I'm extremely tickled that its now available for uplab purv adesh (उपलब पूर्व आदेश, "pre-order" force-fed into Hindi :D ), that I can register for utpad adyatan, product update, and that Amiga Rekha (a literal translation of 'Line') is coming soon. Not ungrammatical, mind you, just uncommon. :)
posted by the cydonian at 10:45 PM on April 8, 2011


Betcha rekha is a direct cognate of German Reihe and English 'row'.

(language nerd here.)
posted by dunkadunc at 10:49 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Online Etymology Dictionary seems to agree with you on the etymology for 'row':
row (1)
"line of people or things," O.E. ræw "a row, line," from P.Gmc. *rai(h)waz (cf. M.Du. rie, Du. rij "row;" O.H.G. rihan "to thread," riga "line;" Ger. Reihe "row, line, series;" O.N. rega "string"), possibly from PIE base *rei- "to scratch, tear, cut" (cf. Skt. rikhati "scratches," rekha "line"). (emphasis mine)
Fascinating!
posted by the cydonian at 10:59 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I prefer the laptop
posted by leotrotsky at 11:02 PM on April 8, 2011


Brand new C64? More like C64*.
posted by germdisco at 11:34 PM on April 8, 2011


I was a hardcore Amiga hacker in high school. Used my A1000 to do the titles and credits for our student-produced local news show that was broadcast on the local cable access channel (this was '90-93). The system had been a gift from members of a BBS that I participated in, as at the time my mom couldn't afford to buy me a decent computer.

While I do think it's tarnishing the Amiga name, I like the looks of the "Amiga" cases.

That "A3000" case with my current Filco Tenkeyless keyboard, a nice Core2Duo or Athlon/Phenom II X4 motherboard, decent onboard graphics - would make an awesome little desktop machine, and would run EAUE and all of my DVDs of AmigaOS and games and software faster than any "real" Amiga ever could.

Then I could also put Linux on it and pretend that it was the A3000UX or the CBM 900 that never was...

A few years ago I got the hankerin' to play with Amigas again and made an effort to resurrect an A4000 and a couple of A2000 systems, but ended up selling the hardware to a friend and just running everything in emulation as the virtual hardware was faster and nicer than anything I could scrape together off eBay. It was nice to fire up old hardware and see the KickStart screen though.

I highly recommend the book Commodore: A Company On The Edge (the first edition of the book was "On The Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore", and was the one I read.)
posted by mrbill at 11:51 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why would I want a C64 with a PC in it? I bought a C64 because it wasn't a PC.
posted by scrowdid at 12:38 AM on April 9, 2011


I have to say I feel like this is being done solely for the nostalgia factor

Not to be overly snarky, but what else would it be being done for?
posted by modernnomad at 12:39 AM on April 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


A PC that looks like a Commodore 64 is like one of those novelty phones that looks like a 1940s payphone, only has a ring of round pushbuttons instead of the dial. I.e., it falls into the uncanny valley of bad, kitschy replicas.
posted by acb at 2:39 AM on April 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


How sad is it that the C64 which came out in 1980's has BluRay and my 2010 iMac still does not.
posted by Gungho at 4:33 AM on April 9, 2011


You could probably just hit some garage sales and find C-64s by the score. Probably not in pristine condition, but still.
posted by tommasz at 7:19 AM on April 9, 2011


Huh, I wonder if my Dad and I could get some money for all the old C64s we have collected in his basement. That or if I can easily find a source of disk drives to replace the ones that broke (I lost 2 or 3 to a Battletech disk that appears to destroy any drive it is put into).
posted by Canageek at 9:11 AM on April 9, 2011


Show me the SID chip and I'll get excited.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:33 PM on April 8


Indeed.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:48 AM on April 9, 2011


You brought it back, you damned interfering jackanapes!

(FALLS BACKWARDS INTO OWN NUCLEAR REACTOR, RAISING HAND IN CLAW-LIKE GESTURE OF DEFIANCE.)
posted by subbes at 9:48 AM on April 9, 2011


Why would I want a C64? It makes me less likely to go to university.
posted by Mcable at 10:29 AM on April 9, 2011


Sometimes I regret selling mine.

We sold our A1000 when they had an excellent trade-in toward an A2000. I remember the sales clerk oohing and aahing over the "autographed" (I think it was stamped in plastic) original A1000 case, from the very first production run. It was purchased on Christmas Eve, 1985, six or eight weeks after they first shipped.

It'd probably be worth a freaking fortune now, but the trade-in was just too high to not take advantage. I think the A2000 ended up being about half price with the credit.

They were such wonderful computers. Using an Amiga in the late 80s was very similar to using a modern machine. We ceaselessly evangelized about them because we were right; it really was an enormously better way to approach computing. Trying to work on a DOS machine, for an Amigoid, was almost exactly the same as it would be for you to leave behind whatever version of Windows you're running. It felt like brain damage.

I've often said that if Apple's marketers had had the Amiga to sell, the PC would not be the dominant force in computing today.

If these guys actually made an A1000 or A2000 case that looked right, I might buy one, but what they're offering is like trying to pass off a PT Cruiser as a VW Bug.
posted by Malor at 11:46 AM on April 9, 2011


Makes me want to play Impossible Mission all over again...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 12:34 PM on April 9, 2011


I wish Microsoft would seize the ring with the next xbox and make it more PC-like, eg. able to self-host the XNA development environment.
posted by mokuba at 2:09 PM on April 9, 2011


We ceaselessly evangelized about them because we were right; it really was an enormously better way to approach computing. Trying to work on a DOS machine

yeah, I was a teenage in the early-mid 80s so I got to see the development of the PC in real-time.

DOS was a joke, better than an Apple II but the PC architecture was designed by chipmunks (segment registers???, BIOS????, and MS's half-assed efforts didn't improve things.

I played around with the Amiga 1000 in 1985-86 and from 1988 a housemate had one -- its DNA was decent but it had several achilles heels that crippled it over the long-term --seriously half-baked API and general software architecture mistakes that included failing to abstract the hardware from the API.

Macs were also pretty half-baked in 1984-85 timeframe, 1986's Mac Plus was the first machine to be decent enough to own but overkill for my needs given its focus on DTP and office stuff.

But 1987's Mac II -- there was a machine Designed by Gods. I actually bought the Intro to Mac volume of Apple's Inside Mac documentation series, one of the few books I bought in the 1980s that I've kept.

I started saving for a Mac II in 1987 and by mid-1989 I had enough ($6000) to get a 5MB Mac IIcx with 13" RGB. Awesome machine.

The Wintel world was still chipmunk-dominated until 1995 or later, good enough as a game loader (I suppose Amiga also served as this) but for getting Stuff Done that Mac II served my needs better (recreational programming, Japanese language study) than any other product of the 1980s could have.
posted by mokuba at 2:19 PM on April 9, 2011


I'm with you mokuba. Definitely have some serious nostalgia for the Macs of thar era. When I finally gave up my Atari 800, which was still doing word processing duty as late as 1991, for a new student-discounted color Mac with MacWrite, I felt like this was finally The Future, just like kids probably feel today about the iPad.

And if some company would come out with a replica Atari 800, I would definitely buy it, especially if they went to the trouble of having the left cartridge port actually work and pass the data through to the emulator, and come with one empty Atari computer style cartridge with modern flash memory inside for use in the right side port. That would be a thing of beauty.
posted by honestcoyote at 8:36 PM on April 9, 2011


If that Amiga case really requires a 1U server power supply, it's going to be freaking loud, because those power supplies use tiny high speed 40mm fans... They are -not- optimized to be quiet, it's not even a consideration in their design.
posted by thewalrus at 3:46 AM on April 10, 2011


Ah, sweet nostalgia. I still sing the jingle from this 1983 Australian Commodore 64 TV ad from time to time.
posted by hot soup girl at 10:22 AM on April 10, 2011


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