The Commodore 64 holding the record for most sales turns 40 years old

40 years ago, Commodore released the Commodore 64 home computer, which shook the world and managed to set a sales record, unsurpassed to this day.

commodore 64

The Commodore 64 was essentially special because it gave a boost to the video game industry and introduced programming to a generation of children around the world. Those who were in their 20s then and are now in their 60s will remember those glorious days.

Computing for the masses, not the classrooms

It appeared in stores only a year after its release Commodore VIC-20 (which also surprised the market after breaking price barriers in the home computing space).

The Commodore 64 included impressive sound capabilities, graphics based on sprites and a huge 64 kilobyte (KB) memory for the time. And all for the equally staggering price of $595 (about $1.800 today, adjusted for inflation).

Or to put it in context, it cost only 55.500 drachmas. Ask the elders what that money meant in 1982.

commodore 64 price

In fact, having 64KB of RAM in a computer under 600 euros was such a big deal, it became part of the computer's name: Commodore 64.

Its low price, which was the lowest of similarly equipped machines from the likes of Atari, Apple, Radio Shack and Texas Instruments, was perfectly in line with Commodore's founder's slogan, Jack Tramiel, “Computers for the masses, not the classrooms”.

The Commodore also had a CPU MOS6510 which ran at 1 MHz and a number of custom chips such as the video chip VIC-II and the chip MOS6581 “SIDs” that could produce impressive multi-voice music and sound effects.

As a low-cost home computer, the Commodore 64 competed primarily with the Atari 800 series of computers, the TI-99/4A, the Apple II series and, to some extent, the IBM PC in the United States. In the UK, deal with it Z and the BBC Micro.

How they used the Commodore 64

With the Commodore 64, the keyboard and main computer circuitry were combined into one unit. Most people with a Commodore 64 attached their computer to their home TV.

When they were writing any program in the embedded programming language Commodore BASIC, they would save it to a floppy disk with the Commodore 1541 or on tape using the drive Commodore 1530 Dataset. Commercial software then came on cassette, or floppy disk, or plug-in ROM cartridge.

Although the Commodore 64 was a capable personal computer for productivity applications such as word processing and spreadsheets, many people (especially children) used it primarily as a games console. The C64 came with two built-in Atari-compatible joystick ports, which made gaming fun if you already had one. Atari 2600 type joystick with one button.

commodore 64 games

If you take a look at the list of popular games database lemon 64 with the top C64 games, you'll see that the C64 titles covered a wide range of game genres, including action, RPG, simulation, strategy, adventure and more. Popular C64 games include Maniac Mansion, Zak McCracken, Sid Meier's Pirates!, MULE, the Ultima series, Bruce Lee, IK+, Turrican, Bubble Bobble, etc.

Over the years, publishers have released a staggering number of games for the C64 (estimated at over 4.000 out of a total of 10.000 software titles). And the C64 platform isn't technically dead (!), as Retro fans continue to develop new Commodore 64 games even today.

The legend of the Commodore 64

The Commodore 64 was a success from the start, quickly selling well. Between 1983 and 1986, the Commodore 64 took over 30-40% of the market US personal computers. Estimates of Commodore 64 sales numbers they vary greatly (and no secure records are available for analysis), but over its 11-year lifespan, some believe the Commodore sold 12,5-17 million units worldwide.

Until today, in the Guinness Book of World Records Commodore 64 is recorded as the model desktop computer best sellers. The "desktop" designation is important because some computers since then, such as the iPad, iPhone or Raspberry Pi have outsold the C64 (depending on how you count it). However, what is certain is that the C64 was extremely successful for its time.

One of the reasons for its huge sales numbers was Commodore's scorched earth tactic of undercutting competitors with ever lower prices. Keeping up with Commodore's aggressive C64 pricing policy resulted in Texas Instruments' decline from the home computer market and partly precipitated Atari's famous business failure in 1983, which led to the crash of video games in North America.

commodore sx64 1

Throughout this time, Commodore kept the C64 popular in Europe as well. Over the years, Commodore produced several variants and expansions of the Commodore 64, including Commodore 64C, Commodore SX-64, Commodore 64 Games System in the upcoming years, while Commodore 128. The Commodore stopped producing the Commodore 64 in 1994, when the company filed for bankruptcy.

Today, many people who grew up with the Commodore 64 as their first computer or games console look back fondly on it as an important and formative part of their childhood.

How to try Commodore 64 today

The Commodore 64 was not only a great computer in the 1980s, but it's also fun to play with today. Many of the His best games are timeless.

If you want to use an actual Commodore 64 today, you could try searching eBay to buy one, or ask your older family members and friends to see if they have any parts left in the attic.

Before you buy one of the original brown models, make sure it works. Also, aim for the light beige Commodore 64C model if possible, which tends to be more reliable than the previous unit.

If you don't want to spend money there are other options available. You can play on a Commodore 64 emulator for free. Download and run the famous Commodore 64 emulator called VICE for Windows, Mac or Linux.

There are emulators available for the C64 and on Android. Or if you don't want to install anything, you can try using one Commodore 64 directly in your browser on almost any modern platform.

You can even drag and drop floppy disk images into the browser window to play games. The Best Technology Site in Greece
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Written by Dimitris

Dimitris hates on Mondays .....

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