I´m one of those people who more or less missed out on the C64 computer completely (the golden era of the Commodore 64). And one of the main reasons behind that is because I was born in the mid 80s, and I grew up playing on the SEGA Master System, and the NES console (this was around 1988-1989). So you could say that my mind was elsewhere at the time. I also have zero memories of every seeing any commercials or C64 ads in Sweden around that time. And once the 90s Kicked-off, my parents bought me an IMB PC (and Intel DX286 33 Mhz computer). And sadly enough, that resulted in having me missing out on a lot of awesome C64 games. In the matter of fact, I didn´t play my first C64 game until 1994 or 1995. And since only one of my friends owned a C64, I (and everyone else I knew at the time) stuck with playing on home consoles and PC instead of the C64 (it was the same thing with the Amiga, well, almost at least).
Simply put, I never really got into the C64 at the time. And it wasn´t until the early 2000s before I started to get truly interested in the C64 (and the Amiga for that matter). And it was all thanks to the demo and chipetune scene. So I started to play C64 games via emulators and such, but quite frankly. It just wasn´t anywhere near the “real” thing. So I got quite excited when I heard about “The 64 project“, which basically is a new-made version of the classic C64 computer. Well, to be exact. The 64 will actually be released both as a computer (The 64) and a handheld console (The 64 SX). And The 64 has been described as the following by its creators (via the indiegogo campaign page):
“THE 64 ™ is an exciting and respectful re-imagining of the original home computer, the Commodore C64. Developed using the latest (old) technology, the highly passionate team behind THE 64 ™ is excited to bring you not only a classic desktop version of THE 64 ™ but also a brand new handheld version meaning classic gaming, on the go!”
And I have to say that I´m rather impressed by The 64 so far. However, The 64 project needs to collect 150,000 USD in-order to become a reality. And at this time, there is about 82,000 USD missing with 16 days left on the clock. So the next couple of days is going to become a real nail biter for sure. Even so, I still hope that The 64 will reach its goal on time. As I would love to own both the 64 and the 64 SX (you can pre-order both of them for $650 via Indiegogo), as I found the specs (and the design) to be rather nice:
Specifications that are fixed are:
– Accurate recreation of the classic Commodore 64.
– HDMI video and audio output.
– We are considering composite video in addition to HDMI, for use on classic televisions.
– Multiple SIDs for stereo sound (6581 or 8580)
– New high-capacity (512MB+) writable cartridge support, with an adapter interface available later to provide classic cartridge compatibility.
– Support for current storage media (for example SD cards), with emulation of the 1541.
– Multiple joystick support for multi-player games.
– Support for many of the popular emulator game file formats.
– Firmware upgradable to support additional features and machines in the future (DTV64 features, etc.)
– Hopefully the possibility to connect original peripherals, or via adaptors.
Other than that, you will even be able to write your own software in BASIC or 6502 assembly on The 64. And not only that, you can also save your programs on modern storage devices such as SD cards. Nice indeed, and “if” everything goes according to plan. Then backers of The 64 should receive their computer by December this year. And the backers of The 64 SX, should get their hands on the handheld 64 version by April next year. Well, as much as I love the sound of that. I´m still somewhat worried that The 64 indiegogo campaign might not reach it´s 150K USD goal on time (that´s why I´m trying to get the word out about the campaign). Because I highly doubt that we´re going to see a 64 project quite like this anytime soon.
And like I mentioned earlier, The 64 is about 82,000 USD short at the moment. So it´s going to take a whole lot of effort to collect all of that money within 16 days henceforth. So I wish The 64 team the best of luck. And hopefully the C64 community (worldwide) will start to show their support for The 64. As The 64 is going to need all the help, it can get.
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
More by Robin Ek: