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Commodore 64 Celebrates 30th Birthday

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Birthday wishes still loading

We've seen some big gaming anniversaries in the past year that made some of the Nintendo Life team, and probably a fair share of readers, feel rather old. It's time for another one of these landmarks, as Commodore 64 turns 30 years old.

While some may not know much about it, Commodore 64 was a games system that was particularly popular in North America, arriving in 1982 and being in production right the way through to 1994. At launch it cost $595 — which was actually inexpensive at the time — and boasted graphics and sound that helped it to stand out, even if cheaper alternatives in Europe meant that it struggled to repeat the same level of success on that side of the Atlantic.

They may not have hit your radar, but there are actually 18 Commodore 64 games on the Wii Virtual Console across regions, although it was 19 before Last Ninja 3 was withdrawn due to a game breaking bug. Some are stone-cold classics — for those of us old enough to remember — despite the original system also having exceptionally long loading times on cassettes, as well as bugs and glitches every 30 seconds.

Here's to Commodore 64, and we recommend checking out the BBC video, below, which shows current day school pupils looking slightly confused by the venerable old system.

[via bbc.co.uk]

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User Comments (34)

Ristar42

#1

Ristar42 said:

Last Ninja 2, love the tunes - C64 Buggy Boy, excellent version and instantly recognise those 'chimes' as you collect flags and go through the gates! Got the C64 with the 'Hollywood Pack' back in the day, Platoon, Rambo, the Great Escape - and tape loading was worth it if you got to listen to the Ocean Loader music.
We had the BBC Micro in school back then though, played games like 'Grannys Garden', good memories!

MAB

#2

MAB said:

I could go on for weeks about my C64/Amiga500 memories... The coolest games ever, demo cassettes/Diskettes on magazine issues, using Disk Marauder to bootleg games on the Amiga, the 500meg HDD add-on that cost me $500, Bill gates copying Amiga workbench to create Windows... I will cut it off there before this post turns into a massive 'wall o text' ;)

Bass_X0

#3

Bass_X0 said:

I miss the C64 releases on the Wii Virtual Console. And Capcom isn't going to be releasing C64 Commando any time soon. Was the C64 really unpopular on VC?

LEGEND_MARIOID

#6

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Haha, I used to have one of them in my childhood! Nostalgia overload. We also had a BBC model B+ for a while

DarkEdi

#10

DarkEdi said:

Which VC games do you recommend me? I don´t have any C64 games in my VC. I´m from Mexico.

Ren

#11

Ren said:

wow, sweet! I feel really old now. My friend had one and we killed some hours playing Radar Rat Race, seemed pretty amazing to me. We didn't have a color monitor, though, and no cassette drive; floppys. That cassette drive is hilarious; love to see someone rig a cassette drive for a WiiU or something with like some Resident evil. Be like, what, 3000 tapes? Good times, so spoiled with games now.

AcesHigh73

#13

AcesHigh73 said:

Oh man, what great memories. And you're right, boy do I feel old (well, I'm 40 next birthday so I suppose I am). As well as the utterly epic C64, I also owned a ZX Spectrum, Acorn Electron and an Amstrad 128 (the one with the built-in cassette player) during the eighties. Of course I also had the ubiquitous Atari ST before any of those. My brother and I used to play pong on the Atari at our Nans caravan in the school holidays. Yep, I am bloody old aren't I..?!?!

Ristar42

#14

Ristar42 said:

@Bass_X0 I was enjoying C64 support too, finally completed Last Ninja 2 thanks to the Wii VC, on my C64 I could never get the 3rd stage to load off the tape.The support seemed to drop off after the mess up with Last Ninja 3, they should have withdrawn that game a lot sooner as they had to refund the points.

KAHN

#15

KAHN said:

well what do you expect from the video? they aren't nerds like all of us! they don't recognize beauty like we do! especially if they're part of the younger audience, shown in the video. watching this makes me feel nerdy, as well as old.

Ren

#16

Ren said:

Always wanted a vectrex, released about the same time, but only for gaming and crazy expensive. All I had was Atari, myself.

KromCompany

#17

KromCompany said:

I am only 15. And that computer has 15 years on me. Those school kids looked weirded out by that. I am interested in that cool looking machine. I have studied many computers and that is a vintage one I am most interested in. Loading games off tapes is still a good idea. ;) How I miss cassettes too, Judas Priest's 'Turbo Lover' never sounded better with that out landish thumpy bass. (Now I just went tons off topic...)

CorbsAdmin

#18

Corbs said:

This was the item that tided me over between my Atari 2600 and my NES. Great little computer. It also introduced me to role-playing games, something I still love to this very day. Happy Birthday Commodore 64! :D

MattL

#19

MattL said:

Happy Birthday C64 :) Great experiences then, fabulous memories now. And I admit to still playing Paradroid once a week at the very least. Mayhem in Monsterland, Impossible Mission and Boulderdash all sit comfortably in my Wii VC collection, and I would happily recommend all of those titles to anyone. If only they would release Creatures and Creatures II on Wii VC :)

Morpheel

#21

Morpheel said:

I have 0 memories of this mostly because it is 8 years older than me, but it remids me a lot of Petit Computer.

Omega

#22

Omega said:

I remember.

Most games were cracked within the first week, some even before the official release. Then someone fiddled an intro in front of the cracked game and spread it the next day on the schoolyard enlightening the days of their schoolmates. That was very easy because the system uses floppy disks which were very cheap and you could buy them in almost every department store and make copies yourself. With a backup program that you likely got as a pirated copy too. :-)

This was when interpersonal relationships were important. And now we have the internet.

WingedSnagret

#23

WingedSnagret said:

This thing is WAY older then me, by 14 years. Case in point, I never even heard of this system until now. But my dad was in his twenties, so I guess I can ask him if he ever used it.

Shiryu

#24

Shiryu said:

I never had one, the ZX Spectrum was way too strong over here in Portugal for me to even know what it was and by the time I did, I already own a Commodore Amiga 500. I have recently started covering Commodore 64 chiptunes in my "Shiryu's Arcade" project and this was the first result: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io0mvOUPelE You will find the sequel to this in "Shiryu's Arcade Volume 7" coming somewhere around September. In other news, I am old, oh so very old...

Rawk_Hawk

#25

Rawk_Hawk said:

I wish Commodore games would get another chance on the Virtual Console. I want to play Impossible Mission again.

MayhemStaff

#26

Mayhem said:

Blimey, I'm everywhere today it seems, even featured on this site heh...

CaPPa

#28

CaPPa said:

I loved my C64. It was an awesome system and my main gaming machine for many years, in fact one of my favorite games of all time is the C64 classic Paradroid. Unfortunately it was only released on the European VC, so I had to track down a plug n' play TV game joystick with it on which set me back about $60. There's still other games that I'd like though, such as Wizball, The Sacred Armour of Antirad and Mercenary.

I doubt that there were many systems that were as 'hardcore' as the C64 either. I'd sit waiting 30 minutes for a game to load on my cassette, only to have it crash after 5 seconds and would then sit for another 30 minutes trying to load it again. Nowadays I start getting frustrated if a game takes more than a couple of minutes to load yet it is nothing compared to those C64 days.

dirtyplastic

#29

dirtyplastic said:

A good thing about the C64 was that all the games came out at full price and came in a huge box, but if you could not afford full price games, you could wait a few months and the same game would be realised at a budget price in a normal cassette box!

The C64 magazines all came with pages and pages of code to enter. It would take ages and would never work! I loved my C64 so many great games, but I dont think I ever finished one, games were a lot harder back then! A saturday afternoon back then would mean going into town, popping in to boots, buying a game and a stack of C90 blanks. Going home and doing a copy of game for all your friends, they would do the same. so buy one game get 5!

Roger Frames buys budget games!

jojje70

#31

jojje70 said:

Actually bought a C64 recently and finally got to try out my old cassettes, some of them worked fine, some only occasionally on the B-side and some not at all. Anyway, it´s still impressive what developers could do back in the day with just 64k of RAM memory and the wonderful SID music is just the icing on the (birthday) cake... I also wish for more C64 games on the VC (even if I already own most of my favourites)

kurtasbestos

#32

kurtasbestos said:

I had one of those! Realm of Impossibility was my favorite game as a kid... I only wish it wasn't so obscure that it will most likely never show up on Wii's Virtual Console.

grumblegrumble

#34

grumblegrumble said:

I remember my parents buying me a Commodore c64 back when i was a little kid... I thought "this is no fun!" and i had them return it to get me an Atari 7800 with lots of games instead. lol! Plus backwards compatibility to 2600 games! SO I still have that Atari and I now have over 200 games! :D

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