Monday, October 3, 2011


64 Kb of memory are more than enough! Or at least, they were some years ago...

I'm pretty sure that the oldest ones already know the Commodore 64. What? Is there someone that doesn't? Ok, then we're going to fix this inmediately!!

Let's take the DeLorean and get back thirty years in time... Long before the 3D accelerating cards, the network playing and the HD... And let's land in the newborn personal microcomputer industry. We are in the 80s: The companies are fighting to get the computers into all homes, and with that objective in mind they try to design the compact and cheap personal computer, affordable to anyone, to win the struggle... In this battle we find many contenders, like Sinclair, Apple, Atari and Commodore; this last directed by the clever and ruthless Jack Trammiel. After definitely leaving the calculator business, and after the considerable success of its last home computers, the PET and the VIC-20, Commodore is about to lauch one of its most legendary machines, one that was going to reach an incredible success in the starting decade.

In 1982 the Commodore 64 comes to the market. This little computer, contained inside the housing of an elegant, professional-looking plastic keyboard, featured 64 kb of memory, 320x200 pixel resolution, 16 simultaneously on-screen colors (a graphic hardware far beyond its contenders), sound capabilities that still today impress, and a versatility second to none. The fathers responsible of this little wonder are many and talented, and contributed to the long path that Commodore travelled since its early years until the launching of the C64: Chuck Peddle, creator of the revolutionary MOS Technology 6502 processor. Al Charpentier, the engineer responsible of the VIC-II graphic chip. Bob Yannes, creator of the SID audio chip. Charles Winterble, product manager of the C64. And without forgetting Jack Trammiel with its obviously right vision of what the computer business was going to be at the time.

The Commodore 64, due to its undeniable virtues, became one of the kings, if not the king, in the 8-bit era. Playing the games that were developed for it, a gamers generation growth. Arcade conversions looked wonderful in this microcomputer that almost everybody had hooked to a tape reader in order to load the programs. (Despite some lucky ones had a disk unit!). But not everything was about playing: Some did its first programming steps with the C64 BASIC, and a lot created amazing graphic and audio demos with the assembler, giving birth to an active underground scene that, surprisingly, still exists nowadays.

Of course, time goes by, and newer and more powerful hardwares replaced the 8-bits at the early 90s, making the Commodore 64 and the other 8-bit machines become part of the young computer history. But for many, there will always be a place in our hearts for these (with love) pileups wich made us learn and enjoy a lot. This blog gets born With the nostalgic motivation of remembering and spreading a little of its history, and I also hope to share through it a small personal work realated to the C64 that I'm doing now in my leisure time. Stay tuned for more information!!

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