Cult of C64

I’ve never understood the fascination with the C64. I know it was a sexy beast with a whopping 64 KB of RAM (amazing at the time), but I can’t believe that three decades later people (myself included) are still talking about C64. Some even hold on to these dinosaurs in order to play games — possibly the best graphics and sound for early 1980’s. It’s either an attempt to hold on to our youth, our first games, our first BASIC programs or simply our first true love referring to the computer (robots not included) — in other words, nostalgia.

Three years ago, a new company had acquired the naming rights. Commodore USA released the C64x and Vic20-Slim with their own distribution of Linux — Commodore OS — and an emulation of the original C64 system. A year later, after the death of one of the main persons behind the new company, Commodore USA was no more. Once again, Commodore was ancient history.

Description: A screenshot of Commodore OS from the trailer released by Commodore USA and intended for wide distribution / Source: Screenshot / Article: Commodore OS / Portion used: Whole / Low resolution? Yes / Purpose of use: Illustrate Commodore OS. The screenshot is being used for informational purposes only, and its use is not believed to detract from the original trailer in any way. / Replaceable? No / Other information: While Commodore OS is free software, the graphic design including the Commodore logo is protected by copyright. / image source:

There are many emulators in the market to bring back those ancient memories. I’ve used a few especially VICE for DOS. Note that most people, as I just mentioned, are inclined to play C64 games rather than programming in BASIC. For the latter, there are many websites where you can download ROM images (ROMs). Depending on the jurisdiction where you live, ROMs might be legal or not. In the US, you are entitled to make copies of your own software for back-up porposes. As such, having a ROM back-up of a game cartridge you have is legal (Title 17 U.S.C. Section 117(a)).

Speaking of nostalgia, my first C64 memory is programming like a mad man at the age of 13 with a three-liter bottle of Pepsi at my side and a can of peanuts in front of me. My second (bonus) would be complaining that my C64 couldn’t find my programs on the cassette tape and, on the second or third pass, it finally would.


Enjoy Life, be kind to others.

5 thoughts on “Cult of C64

  1. My most memorable memory is probably of one of my neighbours who introduced me to the spooky world of assembly. That you could actually let the computer do stuff by putting some numbers in the memory and then do ‘SYS2064’ and the border would turn black!

    Pure magic.

    My second one would be my first sprite multiplexer :-P

  2. One of my first memories (not just of games but in general) is being a tiny little kid unable to read, sitting on my Dad’s knee playing Skyhawk on the Vic20 (Not strictly C64, but close enough, right?). It was then I decided I was going to grow up to be an aeroplane. Unfortunately I never did manage to grow wings or a jet engine, but I can still replay Skyhawk :)

  3. The C=64 was my first computer and the only one I loved. Why? Because I was able to program something! Then came my first PC, a 286 with it’s basic, but the feeling was not the same.
    The C=64 has a kind of magic. I still have it and also the last beta of Commodore OS visión (the one of Commodoreusa).
    I think nothing can beat the good C64.

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