'THE 64' – Modern C64 Computer and Handheld Console


The Project

After the VEGA handheld success, all the Commodore enthusiasts were dying out of jealousy. There are reports of C64 fans secretly buying the VEGA but we cannot confirm that!

If you were one of those, you would be excited to know about this new crowdfunding campaign: ‘The 64’ – A pair of devices aimed to play C64 games. Different than the VEGA, ‘The64’ team promises to release two devices: one console that looks like our beloved breadbox computer, and a handheld. Backing the project will give options to get one of them or both.

The campaign objective is to gather USD 150,000 for the production of the initial units. So far, it has 4% of that and one month to go.

According to the IndieGogo page, you can back $150 for the console version and $170 for the handheld. There is a “get-it-all” package for $650 that gives you both and a lot of other perks.

The developers are claiming that the concept and project are complete, and they are working on the prototypes. One of the team members is Darren Melbourne who “has created games for almost every major platform of note since the early 1980’s but has always retained a passion for eight bit gaming, especially for the Commodore ™ range of machines. Darren was also one of the key people behind the C64DTV ™ console”.

The initial plan is to deliver the console in December 2016 and the handheld in April 2017.

Our take

The project is exciting and resembles a lot the idea behind the Spectrum Vega. The console version is not going to be a Commodore 64, booting up directly on BASIC. It is a gaming console that you can connect a joystick or use the keyboard. As we can see in the photo below, it is a good looking console – it could be even the 2016 C64 if it has last all those years!

The handheld is also good-looking but doesn’t seem as well polished as the VEGA. Of course, the pictures are from rendered 3D models, not the actual handheld but it could be better, in my opinion.

There is no information about the specifications of both machines, so we can’t say whether is an android-based device, or Raspberry PI or even a completely custom hardware.

I am seeing the campaign with a grain of salt because it is a big undertaking and the way IndieGoGo works is different than Kickstarter: after the campaign is over, the project gets whatever was backed by the users, even if it didn’t reach the goal. With less money than planned how to project will come to fruition? 


Also, besides the very good looking console, the The64 doesn’t offer anything different than other options, starting from a PI running Vice to an android handheld device like the Gamepad Digital GPD XD. The prices are also not really cheap. It is not very expensive either, but it doesn’t sound the right price for me. 

On the other hand, both machines appeal directly to a big mass of consumers that had a C64 in the past and are not involved at all with the Retro scene, don’t know anything about emulation or another retro-scene “common-knowledge”. That was basically the public that made the VEGA a huge success.

As a Commodore 64 enthusiast, I am really rooting for the project and that they can complete it, deliver the units and hopefully keep producing more units but I am not putting my money on it.

We would love to hear your opinion! 

For more information, follow the links below.

Link: IndieGoGo
Link: The64 website

Author: Paulo Garcia

2 thoughts on “'THE 64' – Modern C64 Computer and Handheld Console

  1. Good analysis – a lot of sites just settle for copying a press-release, efficiently making it a free ad for the producer (and a really biased article for the reader).

    There are, however, I few things I’d like you to consider for any article updates or, for that matter, anything new and upcoming articles about the “The 64”. Please consider the following:

    You announce a remake of the legendary Commodore 64. Your product has the potential to attract a huge, enthusiastic crowd. Yet, you omit any technical details about your product.

    1: You know you are targetting a tech-savvy audience. How come you don’t mention the under-laying technology with one single word? Is it based on real C64 hardware? Does it use brand new FPGA technology? Is its sound based off a SID-chip? How are the video signals from the VIC chip converted into digital HDMI?

    2: Every single piece of graphics you show at this point is pre-rendered 3D. There isn’t one single photo showing you even a prototype board. How come?

    3: Another project on Indiegogo has one single purpose – re-creating the molds used for Commodore 64 keycaps. That project has been running for quite a while now, and has been making some evident progress ever since. Yet, the price of one single set of keys is rougly 50% of what the “The 64”, which is a fully fledged computer system, is. How is it that you not only have the know-how to assemble a whole new computer with a complete keyboard, but you also manage to do it so much cost effective than an Indiegogo-project devoted to re-creating the keycaps?

    4: And speaking of which – who are you people? Is this a one-man show? If not, then why don’t you introduce yourselves when you want us to hand you over a paycheck of £150,000 GBP?

    I’m really sorry to say this, but this entire project reek of hoax. If who ever launched the compaign will deliever anything at all, my bet is that all of this is based on a Raspberry Pi, and that “The 64” is just another emulation based platform based on Linux and Vice.

    Commodore is Awesome – it would be really interesting if you guys could do some real journalistic digging. With the Coleco Chameleon scam and the (legit) success of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega in mind, I’m not at all surprised to see a portable Commodore 64 suddenly show up.

    1. Hi, very well put. I agree with your points. I rather believe the project is real but the lack of important information makes us believe the team lacks preparation and maybe the project is too big. I will try to get more information and hopefully clarify all the points we all are looking for. Thanks !

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