The Vault

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games™ sifts through the myr­iad ac­ces­sories and add-ons the in­dus­try of­fers so you don’t have to

In­spired by the suc­cess of Nin­tendo’s Mini of­fer­ings, as well as the plug-and-play vari­ants of a swathe of Eight­ies ma­chines, The C64 Mini does a fairly de­cent job of pre­sent­ing its games as ac­ces­si­bly as pos­si­ble and in a might­ily at­trac­tive pack­age, but it’s not with­out its faults.

First, the form fac­tor is very ap­peal­ing. These pint­sized con­soles are in­stantly at­ten­tion-grab­bing and de­sir­able. It’s per­haps a shame that the key­board on the C64 Mini is purely dec­o­ra­tive, but hardly sur­pris­ing. As it is, the diminu­tive ma­chine is only a lit­tle larger than the SNES Mini and just as easy to get started with.

Like Nin­tendo’s ma­chines, it for­goes a power sup­ply in the box in favour of a USB ca­ble, con­nect­ing to a TV through HDMI and with two USB ports for its con­trollers (one joy­stick is pro­vided in the box). The 64 games made avail­able of­fer a pretty broad range, and are se­lectable in a ro­tat­ing carousel, again sim­i­lar to what you will have seen on sim­i­lar prod­ucts. It’s a nice touch to see that each game comes with some pre­view im­ages (just in case the in­ter­pre­tive box art of the time doesn’t clear up what the game is sup­posed to be) along with a short de­scrip­tion to get you up to speed as fast as pos­si­ble.

Less clear is how to ac­tu­ally play most of the games un­less you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced them be­fore. Full dig­i­tal in­struc­tion man­u­als can be found the C64 Mini’s web­site, and you’ll def­i­nitely want to have that avail­able on a sec­ond screen if you’re switch­ing be­tween ti­tles.

The dif­fi­cul­ties with the C64 Mini come in two core ar­eas, though. First is the se­lec­tion of games, which while wide, is not par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing.

There are a hand­ful of clas­sics, but clearly many, many more that couldn’t be snagged. And that dis­ap­point­ment isn’t helped by the con­troller. The joy­stick that comes with the C64 Mini is stiff, and seems to suf­fer from some lag in places. It’s just not a great way to play the games on of­fer here and that re­ally de­tracts from the ex­pe­ri­ence.

If your Com­modore 64 nos­tal­gia runs deep then this has plenty to of­fer you, but any­one look­ing to dive back into some of gam­ing’s his­tory might be bet­ter served with other op­tions out there. 6/10 Ver­dict

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