Run-Stop/Restore
December 7, 2007 12:01 PM   Subscribe

The Commodore 64, many geek's first love, is turning 25. You can relive the glory, and still find a lot of the old software. Even more surprising is how much is still being done with it. Someone ported vi to it (obviously not EMACS). Somone else wrote a browser. For the ultimate, a souped up motherboard merges the C64 with contemporary peripherals.
posted by MrGuilt (85 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
This was my first love. Man. Cassette drive. AWESOME!
posted by dersins at 12:11 PM on December 7, 2007


This post made me wonder if I could get a USB 5.25" floppy drive, so people could load their old disks onto retro-hardware like the C-1 (I'm not sure if it has USB, though). That lead me to discover this USB floppydisk RAID array. Which is pretty awesome.
posted by delmoi at 12:12 PM on December 7, 2007


Heh, the first result for usb 5.25 floppy drive is this askme question.
posted by delmoi at 12:14 PM on December 7, 2007


If the emulation bug bites anyone, and you have trouble finding a particular disk image, drop me a note. I have a CD I bought many years ago with a remarkably complete set of games. You can fit A LOT of 160K images onto a 650 meg CD.

Please try other sources first, but if you come up dry, there's a reasonable chance I'll have it.
posted by Malor at 12:15 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-widdle-widdle-widdle-widdle-eeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieee-weep!
posted by Artw at 12:15 PM on December 7, 2007


Oh god. Impossible Mission. My old friend.
posted by Miko at 12:15 PM on December 7, 2007


Getting a C64 was my first step towards childhood nerd-bliss. Getting Fast Hack'em was the second.
posted by brain_drain at 12:15 PM on December 7, 2007


All that matters is that someone ported Guitar Hero to it.

Sadly the link from Kotaku is down right now. :(
posted by tittergrrl at 12:16 PM on December 7, 2007


10 Print "Yaaaaaaay!"
20 GOTO 10
RUN
posted by roll truck roll at 12:16 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


My mates all had the speccy though, with it's foolish inferior 48K. Losers.
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on December 7, 2007


Does anyone else remember some company in the 90s or early 2000s that was going to "revive" the C64? They'd bought the rights to the name, I guess. It was going to be one self-contained keyboard-CPU that plugged into a TV, and was going to come preloaded with C64 games.

I wanted one very badly, but I never heard about it again.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:19 PM on December 7, 2007


Oh god. Impossible Mission. My old friend.

Stay awhile. Stay....FOREVER.
posted by jquinby at 12:26 PM on December 7, 2007 [5 favorites]


10 motor 1
20 motor 0
30 goto 10

posted by bonehead at 12:28 PM on December 7, 2007


C64? 25? Pfff. We had a TRS-80, baby. Also, I declare this penis-age measuring contest over before the ENIAC guys get here.
posted by DU at 12:31 PM on December 7, 2007


If you really want to freak out some high school kids today, tell them about the Commodore 64. Then tell them that 64 didn't refer to megabytes or gigabytes; it was 64 K! In my day, we had just 64 kilobytes... Yadda yadda yadda... Get offa my lawn!!
posted by jonp72 at 12:31 PM on December 7, 2007


I was a TRS-80 CoCo owner myself. In high school I got into many a heated debate with C-64 owners over who had the better computer.* No matter what pro-CoCo arguments I brought up, all they had to do was say “TRaSh-80” and it was like they automatically won. At least we could all agree that we were better than the TI-99/4A owners.

You didn’t really “win” an argument like that back in the 80s because you still ended up getting wedgies if you so much as knew how to turn a computer on.

*CoCo. No contest.
posted by bondcliff at 12:33 PM on December 7, 2007


64k? pbtpbtpbt! 16k!
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:35 PM on December 7, 2007


I had a C64 until the end of 1993, when it was replaced by a 486DX/33. I still remember the model of the Enterprise I drew on graph paper so I could make a little animated sprite fly across the screen. (Dork ... the final frontier.)
posted by uncleozzy at 12:36 PM on December 7, 2007


heh. I thought the "souped up" link would go to the Amega site, but then I'm mean.

Never owned a C64 myself, too young to buy one when they were available and my father (with an unerring ability to chose dead hardware) went for first the TI-99/4a and then the TRS-80. Had a friend with one thought, the only games I remember are a BC licensed game and a strip poker game that my friend's father hid insufficiently well.
posted by sotonohito at 12:36 PM on December 7, 2007


Sweet sweet C64. And there are still active user groups for it!
posted by GuyZero at 12:39 PM on December 7, 2007


OMG! World of Commodore 2007! Only a week ago and I mised it! Damn!!
posted by GuyZero at 12:40 PM on December 7, 2007


I had the VIC-20. God was I jealous when the C64s came out a couple of years later.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 12:41 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Space. Shuttle. Simulator.

Incredibly, the orbiter simulated is Discovery -- which just flew up Harmony, and may be the last shuttle to fly in 2010.

Back then, though, we all still figured they'd get 100 flights out of each of them, and have a second generation orbiter by the millennium.
posted by dhartung at 12:45 PM on December 7, 2007


I also had a TRS-80 with a cassette tape drive. Floppy drives are for fools! That said, I was always amused by my cousin's Commodore 64. I am still trying to figure out this game I used to play over his house when I was a young'un... something with a ship and there was this gambling game that kind of looked like towers of hanoi... yeah... I'll keep trying to find it myself.
posted by fusinski at 12:45 PM on December 7, 2007


Man, I played the hell out of "A Journey To The Centre Of The Earth." It's one of my life's regrets that I never finished it, even with the help of what would later be known as a walkthrough.
posted by kimota at 12:46 PM on December 7, 2007


Did anyone else have Bazooka Bill? Did it take 15 minutes (no exaggeration) to load for anyone else?

Waiting those minutes for the next GI Joe round to load were endless.
posted by starman at 12:46 PM on December 7, 2007


Wait, the CoCo really wins? Didn't C-64 have q-link and about a million more games?
posted by absalom at 12:48 PM on December 7, 2007


starman: yeah, I remember that I'd start loading a game, and then go to the kitchen and make myself a sandwich and come back and eat it while I waited. Around about the time I'd finished eating it'd be time to play.
posted by papercake at 12:50 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


You mean the C64 was a computer before it was a synthesizer? Outlandish!
posted by lekvar at 12:50 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


The C64 wasn't my first computer, but it was the one I had the longest. The constant-upgrading that started for me in the mid-90's wasn't a factor then (certainly I bought plenty of peripherals as it was... by the end, my C64 had a hard drive, voice recognition, and a million other things). It basically lasted me from a TRS-80 to a 386/16.

Oh, and no discussion about the C64 is complete without QuantumLink, which was kind of like the AOL of the C64 (but less... bad). I used both that and CompuServe on my old commie, but QLink was the first place I ever played multiplayer online games.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:54 PM on December 7, 2007


I had a VIC-20 and then a C64 and later still an enormous dusty old Wang. I gutted the VIC-20 to make a place to stash reefer, a decision I regret to this day. That fucking tape drive and getting a computer magazine and typing in some program for a hundred hours and then the damn thing wouldn't run. Those were the days.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:57 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


At least we could all agree that we were better than the TI-99/4A owners.

Yeah, fuck you too, buddy. Did you have a speech synthesizer module? Didn't think so.

I still have my TI
posted by me & my monkey at 12:59 PM on December 7, 2007


Man, I miss my C64.
posted by brundlefly at 1:05 PM on December 7, 2007


Divine_Wino: and later still an enormous dusty old Wang

I had one of those too, man, nearly threw my back out early on in life dragging that monster around. Portable? Maybe... luggable is much more like it.

Wait... why is everyone snickering?
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:06 PM on December 7, 2007


I had a Vic 20, TRS-80 and a Timex Sinclair 1000. I think I might have been spoiled as a child.
posted by robtf3 at 1:06 PM on December 7, 2007


Heh, m&mm, just the other day I was reminiscing about the Microsurgeon game I used to play on my friend's TI-99/4A.

Me, I had a Timex-Sinclair 1000. 2K of RAM, baby! Two frikkin' kilobytes!
posted by hattifattener at 1:08 PM on December 7, 2007


Yeah, fuck you too, buddy. Did you have a speech synthesizer module? Didn't think so.

Among other things, I had a speech synthesizer AND a graphic tablet.

Beeyatch!
posted by bondcliff at 1:08 PM on December 7, 2007


Oh man, I still remember manually adding up the bytes to hard-code a sprite when I was 10. And (Poke) 53280 may have been the first number I ever memorized. Good times, good times.
posted by Paragon at 1:12 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]



KoalaPad ftw.
posted by jquinby at 1:15 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I had a Timex Sinclair. Probably the biggest impediment ever with me learning to code as a child. That keyboard was WORTHLESS for text entry.
posted by sourwookie at 1:17 PM on December 7, 2007


The Basic interpreter in the C-64 (CBM-64 as we knew it in Europe) was one of the few times that Bill Gates got royally screwed by a license agreement.

Microsoft supplied the Basic interpreter to Commodore for the PET. Jack Tramiel paid a flat fee, meaning that Microsoft didn't get a percentage for units sold. Any improvements, which were badly needed, to the Basic would have meant a renegotiation, and after the success of the PET, Microsoft were insisting on a piece of the action. That's why the Basic in the VIC-20 and C-64 was so crap: Jack Tramiel just loved to screw people.
posted by veedubya at 1:19 PM on December 7, 2007


I had a lot of "friendships" in high school predicated entirely upon the fact that said "friends" owned C64's.

Good times.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:28 PM on December 7, 2007


roll truck roll, were you thinking of the DTV?
posted by jdfan at 1:29 PM on December 7, 2007


PRESS PLAY ON TAPE
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:31 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


NERRRRRRRRRDS
posted by Stynxno at 1:32 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


That car game where you made your own track was freakin' awesome. Realm of impossibility was great too. I actually didn't even own a C64, but I lived at my friends house who did. There was some rumbling a while back about bringing C64 games to the Wii, but I haven't heard much since. I would still love it if that happened.

I loved the trash too (obviously), and If I could play cashman and dungeons of daggorath ... oh sweet mercy.
posted by cashman at 1:36 PM on December 7, 2007


I also had a sweet game where you were a hobo and had to pick up bottles and stay drunk, but then you had to sober up, go to school, and get a job, and eventually I think it turned into a stock market simulator, but I could never get off of skid row. There's a lesson in there, someplace.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:39 PM on December 7, 2007


Oh, and no discussion about the C64 is complete without QuantumLink, which was kind of like the AOL of the C64 (but less... bad).

Kind of like? It was the direct precursor of AOL.
posted by delmoi at 1:48 PM on December 7, 2007


Nope. Actually, I found it. It's this thing. It looks like the concept either was a total flop, or they didn't get any investors to start with. If any actual copies of this thing exist, I need one.

Their website is quite dead.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:54 PM on December 7, 2007


Oh, and no discussion about the C64 is complete without QuantumLink, which was kind of like the AOL of the C64 (but less... bad).

Funny you would say that; Quantum Link eventually became AOL.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aol#History
posted by blenderfish at 1:55 PM on December 7, 2007


I hit the l shift-O to the quote and then dollar

if you know the dir of the nerdcore rhyme, you holla.
posted by taumeson at 2:00 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


...getting a computer magazine and typing in some program for a hundred hours and then the damn thing wouldn't run.

Oh my god. I remember. What a total time suck!

If I had known how much time I was going to piss away on the Internet later in life, maybe I'd have used my childhood for something else.
posted by veggieboy at 2:14 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Load "*" ,8,1
posted by aerotive at 2:17 PM on December 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


"It was the right machine for the time," said McCracken.

Awesomely apt, given my favourite game ever.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:21 PM on December 7, 2007


Commode-door 64! Neener-neener!
posted by aramaic at 2:27 PM on December 7, 2007


Ah, for the days when I could program nearly anything I could think of. That's what the C64 meant to me. It was a lot less annoying to develop on than Windows, and that's very empowering for a nerd kid.
posted by JHarris at 2:36 PM on December 7, 2007


No C64 tag?

CoCo wins?
No way. 4K, expandable to 16K? (which I bought) Analog joysticks??
6809e was a nice chip, though.

Got to CTRL-S the C-64
posted by MtDewd at 2:36 PM on December 7, 2007


Oh, and it's worth noting that SuperLink, the browser linked to, is -not- free software, or even freeware.
posted by JHarris at 2:37 PM on December 7, 2007


i taught myself 8502 assembly for fun in 9th grade. thanks for providing a safe, affirming place to reveal that secret...
posted by carlodio at 2:47 PM on December 7, 2007


err, that's 6502. it's been a while...
posted by carlodio at 2:48 PM on December 7, 2007


Many many hours mis-spent and well-spent on a Commodore 64. I got one from a thrift store, complete with monitor, printer, 300 baud modem, and floppy drive for $50. They were already discontinued by then, but I couldn't afford a "real" computer. I was amazed at what I could do with it. I spent lots of time and money on Q-Link, and played tons of Infocom games.

After Q-Link died, I set up accounts on Compuserve and GEnie. The GEnie service had a very active C-64 group, and some members had even developed a GUI for C-64 users on GEnie. Back then computer hardware pissing contests were common. It was as common to have a "hardware check" in the chat rooms, where users would tell what hardware they were on. Amid the Macs and PCs, I always prided myself on telling them I was on a C-64. I was usually not believed at first. Great fun! If i had the room, I'd set up a C-64 in my apartment to play with. Great FPP, good memories!
posted by The Deej at 2:58 PM on December 7, 2007


When I was a kid, my friend had finally got an Amiga after years of begging, and was giving away all his C128 games (GO 64, yo). So I went round to pick them up, on my bike. He gave me a huge box of the bastards.

So I should have left my bike.

But if I had, I would have been late home for the start of Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan which was on TV.

So I took the bike, riding no hands to hold this big box. He lived at the top of a big hill. At the bottom of the hill, I was leaning over furiously to make it round the turn. I didn't. Clipped the kerb, flew off, smashed my collarbone and a rib or two. Missed Star Trek, and had to spend a month on my back, playing Sonic on a Megadrive my other rich friend loaned me.

So now I hate the C64 and love Sonic.
posted by bonaldi at 3:02 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heh, anyone remember typing in games from some of the C64 magazines, the ones that included a few hundred lines of poke statements with hexidecimal digits?

Interestingly enough, I picked up a recent issue of Mighty Avengers to find that the plan to defeat Ultron involved using a C64 to run one of Iron Man's old suits.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:10 PM on December 7, 2007


God... I had 3D Construction Kit for the C64. I seem to have utterly repressed all memory of what it was like to use though. But yeah, think 3D Studio Max on a C64.
posted by Iteki at 3:11 PM on December 7, 2007


My dad did his doctoral thesis on the C64, miles and miles of dot matrix print-outs (he hired a typist to do the final output) with those little traction strips on the side, spread out over five of the big floppy disks.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:13 PM on December 7, 2007


I used to get on GEnie with my C128 :) I was also on Q-link.
posted by empath at 3:20 PM on December 7, 2007


Also c64 games on the WII would be shit-hot. Jumpman 4 lyfe!
posted by empath at 3:22 PM on December 7, 2007


My uncle had a The Timex Sinclair 1000. He didn't know what to do with it so he let me borrow it. I had a Vic 20 and was the laughing stock among my friends.
posted by Sailormom at 3:47 PM on December 7, 2007


LOAD *,8,1
posted by yerfatma at 4:09 PM on December 7, 2007


Does anyone remember how to take off in Infiltrator? Jimbo-baby, let's go.
posted by yerfatma at 4:15 PM on December 7, 2007


The C-64 and I were born in the same year. I had one until sometime in the early 90s and I used it to play an Olympics game (yay, bobsled!) and a game where you took Barbie shopping for her date with Ken, but the bastard kept calling and changing plans. Let's go to the beach, no, tennis, no, dinner, no, the beach. Fuck you, Ken! I'm going bobsledding!
posted by arcticwoman at 4:25 PM on December 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pre VIC/C64 we used to sit in the high school computer labs on the old PETs and type in various games etc. from COMPUTE! (or worse, Creative Computing) magazine. Sometimes they didn't have a tape drive and we'd just play until we went home.

And what was that Commodore-specific ANSI graphics "magazine" that featured various animations like a guy on a desert island and a Star Trek story? Help? Those were awesome and no doubt would be rather comic now.
posted by stevil at 4:32 PM on December 7, 2007


My buddy and I used to spend hours entering low level code from the Com 64 mag. Then we'd play the resulting game for a half-hour or so and usually never touch it again.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:25 PM on December 7, 2007


Hey Taxi!
posted by jiiota at 6:30 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah, the Trash-80 that was the first love. Of course, had a 64 and a 4+. You heard me, a 4+ and man that was not a good thing.
posted by jadepearl at 6:49 PM on December 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


KirkJobSluder: "My dad did his doctoral thesis on the C64, miles and miles of dot matrix print-outs..."

Dot Matrix! I had a daisy wheel printer for my C64. And I liked it. It took about ten minutes to print out one page of fixed font type and was so freaking noisy that I had to build a foam lined box to encase it in to keep my roommates from killing me. The word processor ran off of a two sided floppy with the processor on one side and the spell checker on the other. Nothing like writing a term paper when your display is a 1975 Black and White Panasonic 13" TV that can only display 24x40 characters.
posted by octothorpe at 8:30 PM on December 7, 2007


I also had a daisy wheel printer for my C64, a Brother HR-15. I had Paperclip and a BI80 card so I could edit in 80 columns.

My home computer progression was Sinclair ZX-80 (pre-Timex), VIC-20, C64, C128, Amiga 1000, Amiga 1200. I didn't have a Wintel machine at home until I built one in 1999.
posted by rfs at 9:12 PM on December 7, 2007


c64 orchestra

god i would go see them in a heartbeat if they ever came to SF
posted by jcruelty at 10:51 PM on December 7, 2007


Run-Stop & Shift 4 life
posted by macdara at 3:05 AM on December 8, 2007


"My dad did his doctoral thesis on the C64, miles and miles of dot matrix print-outs..."

my printer is still an old dot-matrix epson lq-570 - i have quite a few ribbon tapes for it, too - it's slow and godawfully noisy, but all i need is black and white text and it does the job

my first computer was an atari xe130, which was already badly dated when i got it
posted by pyramid termite at 1:45 PM on December 8, 2007


All I can recall about the C64s at my school's computer lab was that Airwolf game with the theme song playing over and over.

There must have been some sort of deal between Commodore and our school board because we graduated from PETs to VIC-20s to C64s to PC-10s!
posted by evilcolonel at 8:03 PM on December 8, 2007


And what about that really strange infinite lives cheat for creatures 2?
"lick your finger and rub it back and forth over the joystick port during the credits screen until the screen changes colour"
amazingly, this worked!
posted by drugstorefrog at 2:23 AM on December 9, 2007


I sat down about 3 years ago, with vice and decided to complete all games I never managed to complete as a kid (presumably because they were too hard).

Most of them I could just finish in one go, some without dying even once. Odd. Not supposed to get better with age!
posted by lundman at 5:37 PM on December 9, 2007


Dammit, lundman, why you gotta throw down the gauntlet like that? I have Xbox 360 and Wii games I haven't even started yet, plus some Dreamcast games to finish, and now you go all old school on me and remind me that I never finished Suspended, among others.

grrr
posted by The Deej at 6:20 PM on December 9, 2007


That sounds like you won then.
posted by yerfatma at 11:09 AM on December 10, 2007


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