Are you keeping up with the Commodore? No? Maybe you should, it’s had a bit of a public resurgence in the last 2 years and once you dive into the meat of it you’ll find out it never really died to begin with.

C64 Mini

So in 2018 I caught wind of something called the C64 mini, this was like all the other ones, a micro version of a beloved device from yesteryear with a pretty carousel and some preloaded games. It of course did look like the C64 but had no working keyboard and allowed you to connect a Joystick, keyboard or USB stick with additional games to it. The company claimed this was a stop gap before getting to their main target. A full sized working keyboard version.

C64 Mini

So I bought a mini cause to me it seemed like a reasonable investment to ensure one day I could get the big one and not have the company go out of business from lack of support.

I played with it a little bit, multi disk games were not impossible but sort of a pain and not having a keyboard was a deal breaker for any good games as the joystick keyboard was annoying. It joined the other mini’s in a bag and was only taken out periodically


A year later, end of 2019 into now early 2020 the full sized version started shipping! NO NORTH AMERICAN RELEASE. Every day I go on twitter and see some lucky EU jerk enjoying the hell out of their TheC64! (sorry…jealous) It was very annoying to me and the best answer I could get from RetroGames was “2020 someday”. This was not acceptable, my C64 obsession had grown in anticipation and seeing so many favourable reviews of this thing clinched it. I needed a C64.

I bought two

So I spent some time on Ebay for a couple weeks, I was getting outbid left and right and the prices were getting pretty high on some of these units. It was obvious there was still demand for these machines 37 years later. I lucked out and won an auction eventually and had one heading my way however I forgot about another one I bid on and ended up with 2… $$$. Now I needed a way to hook it up to my TV. I had lots of RCA composite cables laying around so I bought a Commodore video cable adapter. I also bought an SD2IEC device, this device is an SDcard reader that plugs into the Commodore serial port. The last device I had ordered was a TOM which was a Commodore joystick port to USB converter. I had all the devices I needed on the way, it was expensive but I was going to be back in the game!


So the first Commodore arrived, then the day after the video adapter arrived (yay) I didn’t have any software but I could get the device to turn on and show a blue screen. I entered a small BASIC program that printed some text on the screen and asked for my name. This was awesome! The second Commodore arrived however this one did not have as happy of a debut as it powered on but no keyboard input. It came with a cartridge “pitstop II” so I tried that in the first C64 and some of the GFX were missing which of course was concerning.

Then my SD2IEC arrived, I put together a SD card of games I liked and added the FB64 utility and went to try it out. The utility loaded perfectly and allowed me to browse the SD card on my C64 however any program I tried to load crashed out as soon as the GFX tried to initialize….. Great, I have 2 64’s both broken!

Fixed one killed one

Initially I thought this must be the VIC II chip, so I tried swapping the dead keyboards VIC into the bad seemingly video C64…no luck same problem….Swapped back Oh no! The the one VICII pin broke off…shit…. At this point I had figured it must be RAM or CPU on the newer 84′ C64 but the older 82′ C64 I found out during my research might just need the CIA chip replaced. I pulled the IC out of the bad RAM|CPU|Broken VIC C64 and put it in the 82′ and Voila’ the keyboard works. Better yet! It loads games!! No sound?!!!! FFS!!!

Took the SID out of the busted up 84′ C64 and put it into the 82′ and now sound works. So it was a long and perilous journey (some perils I created) but I now had a working C64.

Commodore in 2020

I picked up some Atari joysticks at a local store and my TOM eventually arrived so I now had a functioning C64 in 2020. It was amazing. I joined a FB group for Commodore and low and behold I found out there are still 10’s of thousands of people active in this community. In 2019 there were 60 new games released. I bought a game called Planet X2 made in 2017 it’s an 8bit RTS style game. It’s great! The European DEMO scene is still alive and kicking (NTSC demo’s seemed to have tapered off…so I only can run a few on my machine) There is new hardware, new workalikes , replacement motherboards, SID chips, 37 years later and this 8bit computer never said die.

Initially I was only stopping by for the nostalgia but I stayed for the experience, new and old.



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