The Legacy of the C64: How a Beloved Computer Shaped Computing History

The Commodore 64, also known as the C64, is one of the most iconic and beloved computers of all time. Released in 1982, it quickly became one of the best-selling computers of all time, with estimates putting its total sales at around 17 million units.

At its core, the C64 was a powerful machine for its time. It featured an 8-bit MOS Technology 6510 microprocessor running at a clock speed of 1 MHz, along with 64 kilobytes of RAM and a custom graphics and sound chip known as the VIC-II.

One of the things that made the C64 so popular was its versatility. It was capable of running a wide variety of software, from games to productivity applications to programming tools. The machine’s built-in BASIC interpreter made it easy for users to write their own programs and games, while its sprite and bitmap graphics capabilities allowed for impressive visuals in games and other applications.

Another factor that contributed to the C64’s success was its affordability. At launch, it retailed for $595 in the United States – significantly less than many other computers on the market at the time. This made it accessible to a wide range of consumers, including families and students.

The C64 also had a strong software library, thanks in large part to its popularity among game developers. Some of the most notable games released for the system include classics like “Maniac Mansion,” “The Bard’s Tale,” “Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar,” and “The Last Ninja.”

Despite being released over three decades ago, there is still an active community around the C64 today. Fans continue to develop new software and hardware for the system, including modern games that push its capabilities further than ever before.

Overall, there is no doubt that the Commodore 64 holds a special place in computing history. Its combination of affordability, versatility, and impressive technical specifications made it a beloved machine for millions of users around the world, and its impact can still be felt today.


7 Commonly Asked Questions About the Commodore 64: Games, Connections, Emulators, Upgrades, Transfers, Maintenance and Classics

  1. What is the best game for the Commodore 64?
  2. How do I connect a Commodore 64 to a modern TV or monitor?
  3. What are some good emulators for the Commodore 64?
  4. What kind of hardware upgrades can I do to my Commodore 64?
  5. How do I transfer programs from my PC to my C64?
  6. How can I repair and maintain my C64 system?
  7. What are some classic games for the Commodore 64 that everyone should play?

What is the best game for the Commodore 64?

The best game for the Commodore 64 is widely considered to be The Bard’s Tale. It is an RPG that was released in 1985 and still remains popular today with many fans of classic gaming.

How do I connect a Commodore 64 to a modern TV or monitor?

Connecting a Commodore 64 to a modern TV or monitor can be a bit tricky, as the C64 was designed to be used with older CRT displays. However, with the right equipment and a bit of know-how, it is possible to get your C64 up and running on a modern display.

Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. Get the right cables: The first thing you will need is a cable that can connect your C64 to your TV or monitor. There are several options available, including composite video cables, S-video cables, and even VGA adapters. Make sure you choose a cable that is compatible with your specific display.
  2. Adjust the video output: Once you have connected your C64 to your display, you may need to adjust the video output settings on your computer. This can usually be done by typing in specific commands in BASIC or by accessing the machine’s setup menu.
  3. Adjust the display settings: Depending on your display and cable setup, you may also need to adjust some settings on your TV or monitor. This could include things like changing the aspect ratio or adjusting color settings.
  4. Test and troubleshoot: Once everything is connected and set up properly, test out some software on your C64 to make sure everything is working correctly. If you run into any issues, double-check all of your connections and settings before trying again.

Overall, connecting a Commodore 64 to a modern TV or monitor can take some trial and error, but with patience and persistence, it is definitely possible!

What are some good emulators for the Commodore 64?

There are several good emulators available for the Commodore 64 that allow you to run C64 software on modern computers. Here are a few popular options:

  1. VICE: This is one of the most popular and widely used Commodore 64 emulators. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and supports a wide range of C64 software.
  2. CCS64: This is another popular emulator that is known for its accuracy in emulating the C64 hardware. It is only available for Windows, but it has a user-friendly interface and supports a wide range of C64 software.
  3. Hoxs64: This is a newer emulator that aims to be highly accurate in its emulation of the C64 hardware. It is available for Windows and has a simple interface.
  4. RetroArch: This is an all-in-one emulator that supports multiple platforms, including the Commodore 64. It can be a bit more complicated to set up than some other emulators, but it offers a lot of flexibility and customization options.
  5. Web-based emulators: There are also several web-based emulators that allow you to run C64 software directly in your browser, without needing to download any software. Some popular options include The Internet Archive’s Commodore 64 collection and

No matter which emulator you choose, make sure to also obtain legal copies of any software you plan to use with it.

What kind of hardware upgrades can I do to my Commodore 64?

While the Commodore 64 was released over three decades ago, there are still hardware upgrades available that can enhance its capabilities. Here are some of the most common upgrades:

  1. RAM Upgrades: The C64 came with 64 kilobytes of RAM, but it is possible to upgrade this to as much as 16 megabytes with an expansion card. This can allow for more complex programs and games to be run on the system.
  2. Cartridge Expansions: There are a variety of cartridge expansions available for the C64 that can add new functionality to the system. For example, a cartridge expansion can add support for Ethernet connectivity, allowing the C64 to connect to modern networks.
  3. Floppy Drive Upgrades: The C64 originally shipped with a 5.25-inch floppy drive, but it is possible to upgrade this to a more modern 3.5-inch drive or even a solid-state storage solution.
  4. Video Enhancements: While the C64’s graphics capabilities were impressive for its time, there are video enhancements available that can improve image quality and resolution.
  5. Sound Upgrades: The C64’s SID (Sound Interface Device) chip was capable of producing impressive sound for its time, but there are sound upgrades available that can provide even better audio quality.
  6. Accelerators: An accelerator card can be added to increase the speed of the CPU, making programs and games run faster.

It’s worth noting that many of these upgrades require some technical expertise and may require modifications to the system itself. However, with some research and careful consideration, it is possible to enhance your Commodore 64 and experience its capabilities in new ways.

How do I transfer programs from my PC to my C64?

Transferring programs from a PC to a Commodore 64 can be done in several ways. Here are a few methods you can use:

  1. Serial Cable: You can use a serial cable to connect your PC and C64 together. You’ll need to install some software on your PC and C64 to establish the connection. Once connected, you can transfer files back and forth between the two machines.
  2. Floppy Disks: If you have a disk drive for your C64, you can use it to transfer files from your PC. You’ll need to format the disks on your C64 first, then copy the files onto them using a tool like CBM Transfer or Star Commander.
  3. SD Card Reader: There are several SD card readers available that allow you to transfer files between your PC and C64 using an SD card. You’ll need to format the SD card on your C64 first, then copy the files onto it using a tool like CBM Transfer or Star Commander.
  4. Ethernet Adapter: If you have an Ethernet adapter for your C64, you can use it to transfer files over a network connection. You’ll need to set up some software on both your PC and C64 to establish the connection.
  5. USB-to-Serial Adapter: If your computer doesn’t have a serial port, you can use a USB-to-serial adapter instead. These adapters allow you to connect a serial cable between your PC and C64 via USB.

Regardless of which method you choose, you’ll need some software on both your PC and C64 to facilitate the file transfer process. There are many tools available online that can help with this, such as CBM Transfer, Star Commander, or X1541 cable software depending on which method you choose.

How can I repair and maintain my C64 system?

If you own a Commodore 64, there are several tips and tricks you can use to keep it in good working order. Here are some suggestions for repairing and maintaining your C64 system:

  1. Keep it clean: Dust and debris can accumulate inside the C64 over time, causing issues with the keyboard, power supply, and other components. To prevent this, use compressed air or a soft-bristled brush to gently remove any dust or debris from the system.
  2. Check the power supply: The original power supplies that came with the C64 can be prone to failure over time. If your system is experiencing power issues, try using a replacement power supply that is compatible with the C64.
  3. Replace capacitors: Over time, the capacitors inside the C64 can degrade and fail, causing issues with stability and reliability. If you have experience with electronics repair, you may be able to replace these capacitors yourself. Alternatively, you can find repair services online that specialize in repairing vintage computers like the C64.
  4. Clean the keyboard: The keys on the C64 keyboard can become sticky or unresponsive over time due to dirt or debris getting trapped underneath them. To clean your keyboard, remove each keycap one at a time and clean both the keycap and switch underneath using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  5. Use high-quality disks: If you still use floppy disks with your C64 system, make sure to use high-quality disks that are less likely to fail or become corrupted over time.
  6. Backup your data: It’s always a good idea to backup any important data stored on your C64 system regularly in case of hardware failure or other issues.

By following these tips and tricks, you can help ensure that your Commodore 64 stays in good working order for years to come!

What are some classic games for the Commodore 64 that everyone should play?

The Commodore 64 has an extensive library of classic games, and it’s tough to narrow it down to just a few. However, here are some essential titles that everyone should play:

“The Bard’s Tale” – This classic role-playing game was one of the most popular games on the C64. It features an epic storyline, challenging gameplay, and stunning graphics for its time.

“Maniac Mansion” – Developed by Lucasfilm Games (now known as LucasArts), this adventure game was groundbreaking in its use of point-and-click gameplay and multiple playable characters.

“Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar” – This classic RPG is widely regarded as one of the best games ever made for the C64. It features a vast open world to explore, deep character customization, and an engaging storyline.

“The Last Ninja” – This action-adventure game was a showcase for the C64’s graphics capabilities, featuring stunning visuals and animation for its time.

“Summer Games II” – This sports game is a classic multiplayer title that pits players against each other in a variety of Olympic-style events such as diving, track and field, and gymnastics.

“Impossible Mission” – This platformer is famous for its iconic line “Stay awhile… stay forever!” It features challenging gameplay, impressive graphics, and an unforgettable soundtrack.

“Bubble Bobble” – This arcade classic was ported to many different systems including the C64. It features addictive gameplay where players control two dragons who must clear levels by trapping enemies in bubbles.

These are just a few examples of the incredible games available on the Commodore 64. Whether you’re a fan of RPGs, adventure games or arcade-style action titles, there’s something for everyone on this legendary machine!