Hard­ware Heaven: Com­modore 64

» Man­u­fac­turer: Com­modore » Year: 1982 » cost: £345 (launch), £40+ (to­day)

Retro Gamer - - CONTENTS -

We take a brief look at the best­selling home mi­cro of the Eight­ies

It’s fair to say that the Com­modore 64 was not a de­sign rev­o­lu­tion. The ma­chine al­most di­rectly reused the case de­sign of its pre­de­ces­sor, the pop­u­lar VIC-20, with only a new colour scheme and mi­nor changes to ac­com­mo­date new con­nec­tors. Un­der the hood, it was a dif­fer­ent story – the VIC-II graph­ics chip and the SID sound chip were a sig­nif­i­cant step up from what had gone be­fore, and had been specif­i­cally de­signed for gam­ing use in the ill-fated Com­modore MAX Ma­chine. Thanks to Com­modore’s own­er­ship of chip fabri­ca­tor MOS Tech­nol­ogy, pro­duc­tion costs were low enough that the ma­chine could sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­cut most com­peti­tors, and even prof­itably sur­vive a price war. As a re­sult, the Com­modore 64 be­came the world’s best-sell­ing com­puter for much of the Eight­ies.

The pop­u­lar­ity of the Com­modore 64 en­sured that it lived on for many years af­ter the 8-bit com­puter mar­ket started to de­cline. The iconic bread­bin de­sign was re­placed in early 1987, with the more mod­ern C64c based on the de­sign of the new Com­modore 128. The sys­tem was repack­aged as a car­tridge-based games con­sole in 1990, but con­sumers re­jected it in favour of the com­puter’s full fea­ture set and cheaper tape-based games. Still, the Com­modore 64 con­tin­ued to sell prof­itably un­til the demise of Com­modore it­self in 1994 – which came shortly af­ter the com­pany had an­nounced that it was to fi­nally dis­con­tinue the com­puter.

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