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After a slow start in the UK, mainly due to Commodore’s legendary dodgy marketing, the CBM64 eventually became the computer that every snotty nosed schoolkid wanted and was the first home computer from outside the UK that was an unqualified success in Britain.

The Games

With its thumping sound, decent colour and sprite handling, the C64 had a very different personality to its great rival, the ZX Spectrum.

The success of the 64 saw the foundation of US Gold, who launched the first serious attempt to distribute US games in Europe, allowing British gamers to play Boulderdash, Impossible Mission and Leaderboard for the first time. British programmers demonstrated their talents on the machine too, with classics like Paradroid, Wizball and Spindizzy finding their way onto the shelves of software shops across the nation.

People

Jeff Minter/Llamasoft (link coming soon)
Jeff Minter released a number of top-notch C64 games, including Revenge of the Mutant Camels, Ancipital and Hover Bovver.

Ultimate Play The Game (link coming soon)
Ultimate’s Sir Arthur Pendragon series (Staff of Karnath, Entombed, Dragonskulle and Blackwyche) were well received by the critics and games-buying public alike, and Commodore 64 owners could also enjoy conversions of many of the company’s Spectrum classics thanks to conversions by Firebird.

Imagine: The Name of the Game (link coming soon)
Liverpool’s Imagine Software probably had the highest profile of all the early 8-bit games publishers. Unfortunately for them, all the hype and tabloid articles weren’t enough to save them from bankrupcy when the videogames crash happened. The Imagine brand was later bought by Ocean Software who used it to market their line of arcade conversions.

The Bitmap Brothers (link coming soon)
The Bitmap Brothers released conversions of a number of their Amiga and Atari ST classics for the Commodore 64.

Romik Software (link coming soon)
When you look back, it’s all too easy to focus on the big names software scene and forget about some of the smaller players. Romik were never going to win any awards for quality, but they supported a wide range of 8-bit computer formats and were a well-known during the early-to-mid 1980s.

Major events

1982
UK launch
Commodore initailly pitched the CBM64 as a business computer, with a £350 price to match.

Christmas 1983
Commodore see sense and drop the price to £199

1985
C128 launch price £300

1986
CBM64 price falls to £150

1990
Commodore release the C64GS. No one cared.

Emulators

Mac OS X

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iOS

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OUYA/Android

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Features

Commodore 64

64K RAM
Fantastic sound, thanks to the legendary SID chip
Colour, high res graphics and hardware sprites
‘Real’ keyboard
Two Atari-style joystick ports
Cartridge slot

Commodore SX64

‘Luggable’ version of the CBM64
Built-in colour monitor and 5 1/4 disk drive
‘Real’ keyboard built in the SX64’s lid

Commodore 64c

CBM64 in a redesigned, slimline case

Commodore 128

128K RAM
Three modes: CBM64 compatible; ‘128’ mode and Z80, which allowed the C128 to run the C/PM operating system.

Commodore 64GS

Bizarre cartridge-based and keyboardless Commodore 64 designed as Commodore’s answer to the increasing global popularity of the Nintendo NES and Sega Master System.