back to article Commodore goes titsup (again)

Commodore International is close to folding. The Dutch company that owns the brand was declared bankrupt this week, but a spokesman said it will appeal the court order. The original Commodore International, an American company best known for the legendary Commodore 64 computer in the 1980s, declared bankruptcy in 1994. However …


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  1. Neil
    Thumb Up

    Why I love el reg

    twice in a week we've been treated to a story containing 'titsup' in the title. Where else would you get that than an english site :)

  2. Andrew
    Thumb Up

    Grumble. Bring back the Amiga, and do it NOW.

    If they started making the amiga like they did in the old days, but with their own unique modern hardware, Rock Lobster would still be living the good like with Fat Agnus and Fatter Agnus!

    I know the two brands split but hell. You had the C64? Why not make a new age C64 using 64 BIT technology? Big seller me thinks.

  3. Andy Barber
    Thumb Up

    @ Andrew

    The Amiga was far ahead of its time.

  4. John Savard

    Someone Sort of Does

    There's a German company that makes a modern-day Amiga. But it uses the PowerPC so it isn't strictly compatible with the original 68K Amiga.

  5. Chris Dymond
    Thumb Up


    Where can I buy one of those Gravel things, they look wicked!

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Amiga curse strikes again

    Amiga curse strikes again. Another Commodore spin off company, Amiga, is suffering from legal battles and going down. Some Belgium company was stealing Amiga IP and the rest is history. Commodore is doomed.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    This parrot is dead. It is an ex-parrot. It has met its maker!

    Ok, so this is 2008 - 20 years after the original Amiga hit the shelves. Why in God's Name bring it back? It's not like its hardware compares to anything one can find today except maybe low-end mobiles. So, the OS was ok, but nothing remarkable and not exactly solid. Getting software and docs was expensive and/or NP-hard. The floppy sucked. The harddisk - ditto when it didn't burn. The RAM extension card was monstruous. The beige colour was beige. I agree that at around 1/10th the price of a Sun 3/50, it was a really good deal.

    So we fought hard in the school bus trying to find out whether Atari or Commodore had the bestest hardware and/or OS and some bruises were to be had. Later the fight progressed to the exact meaning of "preemptive multitasking" and general Mac bashing. Let's leave it at that.

  8. S

    Do you want to play a game?

    I had a Commode64 back in the day. I distinctly remember how the power pack (brick) could be plugged-in the wrong way - and the user wouldn't know it until it was turned on and fried itself.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commodore != Amiga

    Commodore did not come up with the Amiga, it merely acquired the small company which developed it and then when they went down both brands were sold to separate buyers. This sort of thing is still happening today, a company with lots of cash buying a smaller one with a hot product and then destroying it, for example, SUN acquired Cobalt and within a few years both the Cobalt brand and the Cobalt boxes were no more.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Since you asked...

    "Tits up" is not an uncommon phrase in English English.

    "Titsup", as in "goes titsup", is as far as I am concerned, a Register-ism, coined by Tim Richardson, a one-time reporter here.


  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cursed I tell you! Cursed!

    Does this company come with its own mummy's curse? Everything touched by the name Commodore or Amiga turns to crap.

    We really should suggest they take over Phorm's operations.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Some of you need to get your facts straight. Commodore has been separated from the Amiga since they split from Escom and Escom tried to milk the C= name, but that was a long time ago. Amiga Inc then took over the Amiga side of things and brought about the AmigaOne etc then carnaged it from there on with mismanagement, politics/FUD, and lawsuits. But regarding this piece there is no relationship whatsoever to any 'Amiga curse' here, so get your facts straight.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    Tits up has been around a loooong before the Register ever existed. I've used (and heard) that phrase back in the 80's



  14. storng.bare.durid
    Thumb Up

    TITS UP!

    English English ftw.

    Bravo to el reg for maintaining its glorious heritage.

    No longer shall we stand for missing u's, z's into s's and c's into s's...



    /incite yankee wrath

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commodore 64 on Nintendo Wii

    You can get C64 games now on Nintendo Wii, go look at the virtual console.

  16. Planeten Paultje
    Thumb Up

    Not solid?

    > "the OS was ok, but nothing remarkable and not exactly solid."

    I beg to differ. I managed a lab with 20-odd A3000's, running from an A3000 Unix server. After an initial three+ years of incremental upgrades (ethernet to utp, system upgrades and tweaks, single-user to multi-user FS) it ended up running for four more years, withstanding the daily battering in school without any significant maintenance, exept for the odd hard drive replacement. The last Amiga OS I used (v3.x something) was very solid. Power outages and uncountable rogue power resets by students never touched it, never required me to act upon. It was also very well-integrated with the last Amiga Unix. When the lab was dismanteled (to be replaced by Macs), it was in perfect working order.

    As for remakable: That was why we installed it in the first place. It allowed us to teach graphics/animation/video. And we (legally) ran Mac OS on these machines too for DTP classes.

    But now we have OSX and we're not looking back. However, sometimes I still daydream of the only things that did leave this world with the Amiga: the concepts of Draggable Multiple Screens and Multiple Simultaneous Resolutions. Still ahead of this time......

  17. Sarah Skelding

    @Drew Cullen

    I fear that you may have been misinformed. I have certainly had code go titsup on me for many more years than I care to remember.

    Anyway, where's the ZX Spectrum angle?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    tits up....

    'tits up' and 'titsup' to me is exactly the same thing.... one is just a way of getting around automatic censorship on some websites or forums....

    I dont see it as a "Register-ism"

  19. Shades

    No mention of Amiga?

    How can you have a story about Commodore and NOT mention the Amiga? Its like books and magazines that supposedly detail the history of computing and forget the Amiga ever existed... After all it was ONLY the computer that was a forerunner of the modern desktop/GUI environment and brought it to the masses. It did stuff that many other computers would take YEARS to catch up with. It revolutionised TV/Film production, it led to the worlds first CD-ROM based games console where the CD-ROM drive wasn't an add-on and gave birth to some of the worlds biggest games software houses and titles. Its pre-emptive multitasking was highly efficient, it gave rise to the blitter (the ideaology behind which can now be found in most, if not all, modern desktop video cards/chips) and its audio was unparrallelled (despite the lack of MIDI)... Though it did have BASIC written by Microsoft so you can't have everything! :-)

    No, commodore != Amiga, but it was a hugely significant part of Commodores history, if not probably as much as the C64. You only need to look at how often, given even the most tenuious of links, people will mention the Amiga to see how much it is remembered with fondness. I wasted (and enjoyed doing so) a significant part of my youth tinkering with the little beige boxes and despaired at its mismanagement by Commodore and the treatment it recieved after!

    Don't worry Jay, some of us haven't, and never will forget what you gave us!!


    Mines the one hiding the Deathbed Vigil t-shirt!

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Or belly-up

    I've always assumed titsup was a slightly risque version of the phrase belly-up. Belly-up coming from the analogy of a fish dying and floating "belly up".

  21. Gary F

    Let the brand die in peace

    Hopefully no one else will buy the rights to the Commodore name. 20 years ago it was associated with cutting edge consumer electronics but now the name means "inevitable titsup".

    Has the Commodore badge been stamped on anything impressive in the last 15 years? No. So what sort of company would want to use it for branding a new product? None worth its salt.

    A 64-bit Commodore 64? Well, at least the name would have a new meaning (64Kb > 64-bit). While it's not impossible to create some new impressive hardware the difficulty is guarantying a significant amount of quality software from day one of its release. Take a look at the PS3. It's only now starting to grow a reasonable library and I doubt this would have happened if the PS3 wasn't made by a powerful, rich electronics and media giant. (i.e. Sony's money and muscle kept the PS3 going and got developers on board)

  22. Karl Lattimer


    wow, the gravel looks way cool! I'd like one... seems like a better device than my ipod...

    Wonder if you can run homebrew linux on it... /me scurries off to ebay

  23. John Hoggard

    Poor old Commodore

    As somebody who still owns 2 working C64s and an old MPS801 7pin dot matrix printer and a couple of 1541 Floppy Drives running GEOS and 3 Amiga A500s and an A590 20MB HD with 2MB of RAM added all of which cost me a sweet fortune at the time (I got my first C64 in 1982 when I was 11, my first A500 in 1989 when I turned 18 - I delivered a lot of newspapers to save up for that) - I will remember C= fondly and pretend that these upstart "hanging off the brand" companies never existed, as will indeed soon be the case.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Amiga Curse

    The "Amiga IP" that the Belgium company is supposedly infringing is AmigaOS. But seeing as Amiga appear not to be interested in selling, supporting or developing AmigaOS, even though they still sell programs for it, someone has to. And Amiga are the ones who farmed out AmigaOS to them in the first place. I suppose they could call it "OS kinda like OS9 and RiscOS, based on that OS for that computer Commodore used to make, but for PowerPC", but just it doesn't have the same ring.

  25. Edmund Ronald

    Just call it Tripos


    Stupid idiotic uk comment system won't let me type a smiley-only comment - bunch of overwordy idiots over the channel.

  26. Kevin Kitts

    Good times...

    I was a teenager when I got my first C64, and I used it primarily for gaming. No programming, no business stuff, just games. I had a blast with it for many years, until the games got so big I had to migrate to an IBM PC/XT compatible computer. In a way, the Commodore was the precursor to today's game platform systems, because it was so simple. You type one of two commands:




    The game loads, and you're having fun (albeit 1-3 minutes later due to disk read times). Occasionally, you might have to type an arcane command (like SYS64738 or SYS49152) after the load finishes, but that was simple. The SID chip music was wonderful for the time, and the devices didn't change much over the years (unlike IBM tehnology these days). Best of all, the games were small enough that the designers could thoroughly check for bugs in most cases. Nothing like the Neverwinter Nights 1 bug, where I lost 43 hours of gameplay due to a bug where the patch couldn't fix my save games (and I uninstalled the game and haven't played it since).

    I used C64S and now CCS64 to play my games...when they work. I still play M.U.L.E. from time to time (it plays in exactly a one-hour timeframe). Other games I have don't work with the emulators (like Moebius, Elite and numerous Electronic Arts games). I'd break out the old hardware, but the disks are probably long since corrupted, and they don't sell new 360K 5.25" floppies anymore (so no way to reliably duplicate old disks).

    I knew someone who had an Amiga, too. I saw it demonstrated once, and the guy was making wonderful music on it, as well as creating drawings on it. A powerful device for its time.

    Of course, with things like Sony's Cell processor running around, it was inevitable that the old hardware would disappear into the mists of time. My only wish is that old hardware would be 100% fully-functionally emulated, for all of its software (unlike the current C64 and MS-DOS emulators). I miss the sheer simplicity of those days. It was really more fun back then, and more creative, too. You could take an idea and run with it, and programming was simple enough that almost anyone could pick it up quickly. No monster-sized DirectX graphics paradigms or other Rube Goldberg frameworks just to draw a single pixel on-screen.

    If Commodore goes under, I'll drink a toast to its passing. And I'll still be playing M.U.L.E. decades from now, unless Windows 7 leaves XP behind like Win98 left MS-DOS behind. Even if it does, I'll keep my old hardware, just like my C64. And maybe one day, Microsoft will realize that keeping old hardware and software around isn't a bad thing at all. Imagine a day when Microsoft would be wishing enthusiasts like me would be keeping Windows alive when the new OS maker is kicking their ass into extinction. For what it's worth, I will (MS-DOS 5 and XP, anyway). It's not about the hardware or the OS, it's the applications that make keeping a system alive worthwhile.

    Long live Commodore, and Amiga too. And MS-DOS. And the Atari 2600. And the IBM XT. And the PDP-7. And Desqview 386. And all the other wonderful systems and applications lost to the mists of time. For all their faults, we wouldn't be here without them. We will remember you.

  27. Faber foX

    Meanwhile, in Argentina...

    The commodore brand is alive and kicking... I'm almost sure they are using the brand thru and agreement done in the 80s that allowed local brand 'drean' to manufacture C64s and C16s here. Or they could be doing it illegally, who knows ;)

    Check it out, many of them come with linux! Exchange ratio is $3.20ar ~= $1us

  28. Wayland Sothcott

    Amega still available

    Micromart magazine has an Amega section. There are several new Amiga computers available.

    Oh and I was just given a Cobalt Cube. The Cobalt servers were great because they made easy to use servers that happened to run on Linux. However due to their popularity and the fact the Linux became out of date they get hacked almost immediately if you use them online these days.

  29. shane fitzgerald

    Its alive!

    I run C64 on my N95. Its so cute, that little blue screen on a 2.8" monitor....

  30. Not That Andrew

    When I was a lad ...

    When I was a lad, the arguments were whether Speccies or Commodore 64's were better. The general consensus was for Commodore 64's

  31. Fuzzy

    Trip down memory lane

    Man, this brings back memories. being an an amiga user since the first release of the 500. I stepped most of the models ending in the 3000/30. Man I wasted away most of my teenage years bashing away at the keyboard. I still think the Amiga had it right back in the 80's and in many aspects the computers are now just catching up

    I still wonder what the computing world would be like today if Commodore had competent management and a different licencing structure or 3rd party developers

  32. Ty
    Jobs Halo

    All Mouth

    Any of you so-called ex-Amigans posting here that are using Windows instead of Mac OS X should be ashamed of yourselves.

    What HAPPENED to you?

  33. Antti Roppola

    Flogging the shambling zombie corpse

    There is nothing left of Commodore other than the C= logo. None of the wonderful and exciting things that made Commodore interesting remain. This is like watching someone saddle up the decayed remains of Trigger, suspend it from strings and pretend there's still a spark of life in the ol' hoss. All it really does is highight just how long the horse has been dead.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Macs, the Amigas for the 2000's?

    "Any of you so-called ex-Amigans posting here that are using Windows instead of Mac OS X should be ashamed of yourselves.

    What HAPPENED to you?"

    You are having a laugh, I wouldn't touch a Mac with a bargepole. You forget there was a critical difference between the Amiga and the Mac, you could walk into a shop and buy Amiga software.

    PC's are by no means perfect but I'm afraid perfection died in around 1994 when the Amiga was laid to rest,

  35. ninja duck

    Amiga rules!!!

    A proud owner of Spectrum 128, +2, +2A, Amiga 600 and 1200. The Amiga ran the greatest game every produced (in my opinion) that still runs on my Windows PC......

    Brutal sports football.

    Many hours spent fighting with my little brother in the various tournements. The machine was ahead of it's time....

    Happy memories

  36. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Not really Commodore

    Just some idiots who bought the brand and applied it to sub standard products.

    Commodore as we know it died in 1994.

  37. chris

    RIP, time to bury it

    This name has been such a disaster it is no longer viable.

    Time to bury it and seal with a lead lined concete barrier

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture



    " "Titsup", as in "goes titsup", is as far as I am concerned, a Register-ism, coined by Tim Richardson, a one-time reporter here. "

    But Tim had a specific reason for dropping the space. Wasn't it all about the dotcom crash?

    " goes", and all that?

    Dead vulture in memoriam Tim Richardson.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You're getting a bit carried away with the apostrophes there for a person extolling the virtues of English.

    And the z / s thing is not just English / USAian but also Oxbridge / everyone else.

  40. Richie M


    I've got a C64 in its box at home, maybe time to sell it while the Commodore name is still being used.

  41. shane
    Thumb Up

    Commodore needs to get back to it grass roots

    Computers guys

    Do what Commodore does best and manufacture computers and or accessories

    for the retro commodore community.

    You should be re manufacturing a DTV type machine with a extensive array of commodore 64 games and we will buy them by the millions.

    Hard drives - Cartridge's - MMC drives for the vic-20 c64/128 Amiga etc etc.

    Have Fun Shane Runs from a real Commodore 64 Web Server 24/7.

  42. PIB

    Are you ex ST?

    Seems to me that some of you may be ex ST owners, unable to miss another chance to bash the Amiga.

    To bring this up to date, I often suspect that PS3 owners would have been Amiga lovers and X360 owners are the ex Atari mob... er.. owners.

    I still have an Amiga 500 and a 1200. Long may they live!



  43. Pete Spicer

    @Kevin Kitts

    I thought the C64 emulators were basically complete now?

    DOS emulation is getting there, the hard part is coming up with decent hardware emulation for the 1,000,001 (give or take a couple) graphics cards, sound cards etc.

    Even Amiga emulation is pretty much complete now, WinUAE is about as close to completion as I think it's going to get - runs all my old games perfectly.

    When the name finally dies, I too will have a toast, not to its death, but to the memory of its life in the good times - for over a few years, the Amigas were the guardians of multitasking and Atarti-bashing in the Old Times. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.

    Yes, I too succumbed to the Empire and use Windows. But I've never found a paint program I like as much as I liked Deluxe Paint IV.

    (Not a Star Wars misquote in sight... mine's the one with the light sabre in the pocket, thanks)

  44. Kevin Kitts

    @Pete Spicer, and also the video game industry...

    thanks for asking that question...I just checked out the CCS64 homepage, and as of February 17, 2008, they have version 3.5 available (using DirectX9, even). I've been using 2.0 Beta since...well, it seems like forever. I feel somewhat embarassed...I used to be on top of the emulation scene. Maybe this v3.5 will work better.

    Previous problems include:

    - poor 1541 emulation (cannot create save disks in Mail Order Monsters and certain EA games won't load)

    - improper joystick emulation (flying a ship in Elite is impossible due to permanent rolling

    - no auto-sensing of NTSC vs. PAL versions of games (sometimes, you have to download what you can get, when your disks get corrupted)

    - A strange error in Impossible Mission 1 by Epyx, not sure whether it was a game error or not: if a bot was to the extreme left of the screen, and zapped past the edge of the screen, you died as if you'd been hit directly. However, I don't remember that ever happening while I was using the real C64.

    - Run-Stop doesn't work right

    ...and that's just some of it. I'm looking forward to testing this new version. Hopefully I can dust off my IBM joystick and use it.

    Note to game developers: I want my space trading/combat sims back, and I want them so bad I'm willing to play a 25-year-old black and white C64 game with poorly-emulated vector graphics. Why? Because:

    - Virtual PC emulates Privateer/Privateer 2 too slow (and emulates a crappy S3 video card to boot)

    - DOSBox is slow, requires a user-friendly front-end program, and its sound is horrible (at least, last time I checked)

    - The game industry hasn't put out a worthy 1st-person space trading/combat sim in years

    It's pretty sad when Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is the best space (flight-only) sim out there, and that's not even its main focus.

    Hop to it, slackers. <snaps fingers repeatedly> :)

    ( they'll ever read this...)

  45. Faber foX
    Thumb Up

    @Kevin Kitts

    Kevin, did you try Elite, the new kind? It's a faithful remake coded for windows, can be found here:

  46. Gordon


    I wish someone could convince enough people that there is a market for a "gaming computer" along the lines of the Amiga. This could sit between the consoles and the PCs and provide a "third way" aimed at the home user and hobbyist. PCs are massively flawed as games machines (designed for word-processing at their core, unpredictable hardware specs, expensive to upgrade/replace). Consoles are massively flawed as home computers (no keyboard, for a start!!).

    I loved the close-knit Amiga scene. Today's worldwide, internet-driven PC scene just ain't the same. I guess it's a little like getting nostalgic for the days of the steam car. I guess the days of pioneer aviation in machines like the Wright Flyer and Sopwith Camel were more exiting than the days of the Airbus 380 and predator UAV.

  47. Kevin Kitts

    @Faber foX, Pete Spicer...



    Kevin, did you try Elite, the new kind? It's a faithful remake coded for windows, can be found here:



    nope...have to give it a lookover...

    @Pete Spicer:

    - CCS64 v3.5 works a little better...MOM works correctly, but Elite still doesn't work right...

    - DOSBox .72 works much better than .65, with good sound for most items now. Much easier to use, too (no front-end required).

    Thanks again folks :)

  48. Tim

    Commodore should go open-source...

    All they need is the original kernel of the C64 OS, put it in the public domain and let all the sentimental fans develop it. In a few years it will probably be more powerful and secure than linux and way more popular.

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