back to article Undead Commodore 64 comes back for Christmas

The Commodore 64 will rise from the grave before Christmas, according to the tiny company determined to reanimate the long-dead 80s icon. Commodore USA — the outfit that seemed to unveil a reincarnated C64 before failing to secure the rights to the name — has at long last signed an agreement with the rights holders, and …


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  1. Parsifal

    Spectrum ZX81

    Next they'll be reintroducing the ZX81 with all new components, what a joy it will be to work with that keyboard again :P

    Seriously though how can anyone expect to cover costs let alone make money on something like this, its not like people will be lining up in their millions to buy this.

    1. karl 15

      i win lol

      The C64 was/is better than the specy :)

      I hope they make a Turbocharged Vic 20

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        vic 20

        I had my uncle's Vic 20 passed down to me as a child. Great machine. I remember playing a text based adventure called Voodoo Castle and you could save your progress to a C90 cassette tape

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Voodoo Castle

          Wow.... I'd forgotten about that one!

      2. A J Stiles

        Them's fightin' words

        Them's fightin' words .....

    2. Geoff Campbell
      Thumb Up

      You're kidding, right?

      Those of us of a certain age will kill to obtain one. I personally am already negotiating a mortgage on my mother-in-law and my eldest daughter in order to buy two.


    3. Uncle Siggy

      @Parsifal Vanity

      Ever hear of a vanity press? They don't all make money, but the editors are dead cool!

  2. Jelliphiish

    i bet

    you get that a lot.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why bother?

    Who would actually be interested in buying one?

    1. Solomon Grundy


      I'd be super interested in one. I still have my original C64 but needless to say it doesn't quite meet today's computing standards.

    2. Code Monkey


      Depending on the price, me. I was a Spectrum lad in the 80s but the C64 has a keyboard I can see myself still using. I'd love one of these hooked up to the telly (CRT of course!), running Linux.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Me too

      I know it's a bit silly, but I just want one too. And now I'm old enough to indulge my petty whims in a way my 12-year-old younger self could only dream of.

      As an aside, I just spent £25 on a top-of the range 'educational' gyroscope after a similar 'fuck it, I want one, so I'm going to get one' moment. Even though I know the (hard) maths, I still think those things are one step from witchcraft.

      Happy days.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        As a physicist

        I can confidently tell you that gyroscopes are not witchcraft, nor even close.

        It's demons.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    They've even added a CGI image of something that resembles an Amiga! The screen behind it is definitely showing Workbench windows as well!

    1. Terry Barnes


      It even has the 'A' keys....

  5. Efros
    Thumb Down


    Doesn't give you a market unless you hit the price breaks, looking at their website they have failed in that respect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ...Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm thinking like the vic20, the C64 had a runstop key?

    They just have to have it attached to view source.... and using opera so that you can edit it on the fly just like you could to cheat on all the old vic 20 games.

    1. Steve Roper


      Run/Stop + Restore should function as Ctrl+Alt+Delete!

      Now all we need is an Action Replay cartridge for it. Those were the days...

    2. Ian Stephenson
      Thumb Up

      So load it in without delay...

      ...Shift-Run/Stop, then press play.

      From the "Cauldron" tape insert IIRC

  7. Gerhard den Hollander
    Thumb Up

    But will it play ...

    ... all my old C64 games ?

    It would be really, really nice if this machine came preloaded with a C64 emulator, and a bunch of games ...

    .. and a cassette player ...

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Curious legal situation

      It's difficult to sell C64 emulators because of the system ROMs -- Commodore Licensing don't own the copyright on them, and no-one knows who does. A few people have sold emulators and no-one has sued yet, but if someone works out who actually owns the copyright a year or two down the line there may be a sudden demand for a thick royalty cheque....

  8. Richard Lloyd

    Might be first time the case housed a decent OS

    No mention of what OS it runs, but even if it comes with Windows 7, I bet you'll be able to run Linux on it, which will be first time a C64 case actually housed a decent OS. Lets face it, the C64's OS and BASIC were both awful and it was only saved by having good audio and hardware sprite support which, if you avoided using OS or BASIC calls (both of which were utterly dire as I said), did lead to some good games.

    A better exercise might be to put a modern PC's innards inside a case that originally housed the best 8-bit OS and BASIC of all time - the BBC Micro! And one of the boot options would, of course, just boot into a BBC Micro emulation environment....

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Cut commodore some slack.

      It's not like they had a lot with which to work. We may think of 64KiB as chump change now, but back in 1982, even 5K (the RAM in the VIC-20) was not cheap, and 64K (the RAM of the Commodore, and don't forget the ROM chips) was such that most systems didn't pack that much memory until RAM prices dropped later in the decade. If the BBC Micro had a better OS, it had more ROM with which to work it (32KiB vs. 20KiB for the C64). Both found their places, however, and I used a C128 as my first personal computer, so I'll let it go at that.

      What I want to know is how they will adapt the C64's keyboard for the modern computing environment. After all, just for an example, modern PCs now routinely expect 12 rather than 8 function keys, and all of them can themselves be shifted, controlled, alt'ed, etc. And speaking of which, there's a whole bunch of other keys that are practically needed today.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Jolyon

        BBC B

        Could conenct to a TV out of the box - mine never saw an RGB monitor in all the years I was clocking up "Right on Commander!"s

      2. Anonymous Coward

        @Oliver Jones


        I bet you're a real hoot on a night out at the pub.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Nvidia Ion2 graphics?

    Nvidia Ion2 graphics? it wont be able to run much more than C64 games with that

    1. JC 2

      @ Nvidia Ion2 graphics

      If hooked up to a TV to make it authentic, that resolution is low enough Ion2 can play most modern games, unless you turn all the eyecandy up too high like reviewers do trying to find the differences in discrete GPUs.

    2. Goat Jam

      The Ion

      is a damn sight better than the intel graphics crap built into the atom chip


      Put the commie next to the TV where it belongs.

      > Nvidia Ion2 graphics? it wont be able to run much more than C64 games with that

      It will be able to decode BluRay.

      That means that it could be an interesting sort of HTPC with the wierd retro case and the built in keyboard.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    the amigo

    They also do a system called the Amigo which i think may get them in trouble with the owners of the Amiga trademark as i commodore don't own the Amiga trademark

  11. Skyraker

    Workbench windows?

    shirley you mean windows Workbench?

    1. lpopman

      titular distillation

      No, he means Intuition windows and gadgets, rendered to the public screen of Workbench.

      1. Shades

        Looks more like...

        ...MUI windows/gadgets to me. (Notice the pattern in the windows? Intuition or Gadtools couldn't do that... I think?!)

  12. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!

    Title goes here

    But will it feature a genuine SID chip for the ultimate C64 retro experience? Nah, I thought not, no chance at all.

    Anyhow nice idea, I hope they get the price right otherwise they are liable to sell very few to only the very hardest of the retro computer geeks.

  13. joejack

    38911MB Free


  14. Julian 4


    Is this the dimmest idea ever? I was expecting a 1-chip C64 that did what a C64 does, not something that isn't even remotely a C64. What next, "QUAD CORE XEON Apple I recreated" ? Jet-powered Wright brothers Airplane faithful replica?

    This thing is complete nuts!

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Been there, done that.

      The C64 DTV:

      1. Sir Sham Cad

        Brilliant idea

        but the games are all wrong. I mostly played ACE, Hyper Sports, Head over Heels, Trailblazer, Parallax, Strider, Starglider and Elite. At least they have Impossible Mission, though.

        Must get my old C64 and assorted gear out of the loft this weekend.

  15. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    I would expect the new C64 to be 64-bit

    ISTR that 64-bit Atoms are available. Would it not be better for the modern machine for the masses to be 64-bit rather than 32? I think it might also be neat-o if it came with a well-configured Vice setup. Or one could get a whole bunch of stuff in Commodore Forever from Cloanto.

    Paris, one well-configured vice.

    1. Nexox Enigma

      It is...

      """ISTR that 64-bit Atoms are available. Would it not be better for the modern machine for the masses to be 64-bit rather than 32?"""

      The Atom D525 /is/ 64 bit - there was a link to the Intel spec page and everything.

      1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
        Paris Hilton

        Thank you.

        Sweet indeed, thank you for pointing that out. I completely missed ElReg's link to the Intel specs. For some reason, I had a "Z" series stuck in my head as 64-bit. I will poke around to verify my recollection.

        One thing I noticed at Commodore's site was they have AROS listed as an offered OS, but with no price on it. That is a little exciting, and one would hope it would help with exposure for the project. This little bad-boy with Commodore Forever and Amiga Forever would be fun.

        Paris, fun little bad-boy.

        1. Shades

          Price for Aros?

          Its free.

  16. TWB


    Your post made me smile as I had a PET from 1979 to around 1988....oh the days of 1 second boot ups....

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Lorks oh lordy a title.........

    The PC inside a keyboard will rise again. Mark these words......

    1. OrsonX


      That's actually an interesting thought.

      Currently we've got the PC+Display combo going strong....

      but why not go back to having the PC in the keyboard?

      It'd keep your hands warm for starters!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm pretty sure

    A hobbyist did this a number of years ago, hollowed out their old C64 and shoehorned the guts of a laptop into it for a bit of fun.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      I see what you did there...

      An Anonymous Coward states:

      "A hobbyist did this a number of years ago, hollowed out their old C64 and shoehorned the guts of a laptop into it for a bit of fun."

      You must be thinking of this mod, posted on

  19. mittfh

    BBC Micro next?

    Believe it or not, even the good old BBC Micro is not dead yet! There's a suite of them at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley, where A level students are learning how to do *real* programming, without all the hand holding modern IDEs offer.

    1. Andrew Baines Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Also - at your local optician

      The machine that checks your visual field with the flashing lights, made by Henson. There are still many around that contains a BBC Micro - just listen to the noise it makes when first turned on - unmistakeable.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. TkH11

      @mittfh IDEs

      I don't think modern IDE's do hand hold. What they do is provide decent debugging facilities which are certainly superior to the way we used to debug code on the home computers from the 1980's.

      The only way you could debug code from those days was to use print statements to see where the code was getting to, and to print out the values of variables. In terms of productivity, modern IDEs win hands down.

      I remember debugging real time embedded systems by making use of whatever you could, and that regularly included the use of an LED on the circuit board, or a digital storage oscilloscope to examine an analogue waveform, interpret the modulated waveform as bits of data, then construct the actual packet's header in hex to work out what the f**k was going on! Ah, the good old days...

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. dogged

      In theory yes

      but then it would be a mac and the idea is to make something that doesn't suck

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Apple is the anti-Commodore

        > but then it would be a mac and the idea is to make something that doesn't suck

        Not to mention CHEAP. Putting Apple hardware into a Commie chassis would be a travesty.

        A travesty I say!

        Since a Mac is specifically designed to fit in it's particular brick, there's no saying it's even possible. Whereas PC components of all sorts are cheap and plentiful. This is why modders have already pulled this off for themselves.

  21. CmdrX3


    All I can think of to say is


  22. Anonymous Coward

    C64 FOASD

    Hey, C64, why don't you do us all a favour and just F*ck Off And Stay Dead?

  23. itsallcrap

    It doesn't have enough keys.

    Does that not strike anyone as a problem? If it's going to be a PC then the keyboard will need more keys than the C64.

    So, um, it won't be a C64 replica.

  24. Valerion


    Why build a machine with massively fast different innards?

    It's like Ferrari saying "Hmm, that Mk1 Astra was quite popular - let's stick a V12 in there and use that as our next car - we'll sell millions on the nostalgia scene!"

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I take it....'ve never heard of kit cars?

      Take an old design (Lotus 7, Mini, Porchse Speedster and many, many others) and stick modern parts in it.

      Try it sometime, you may find your tin top to be the dull sofa on wheels that it really is.

      1. Valerion


        Lotus 7s, AC Cobras and other common kit-cars have one thing in common: They still look good today. That's why people still bulid them. The C64 looked rubbish in the 80s and hasn't improved with time.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Crappydore 64

    Parfisal: "Next they'll be reintroducing the ZX81 with all new components, what a joy it will be to work with that keyboard again"

    I think they already did in the guise of the virtual "keyboard" on some flat thing called the "iPad" or whatever...

    AC : "A hobbyist did this a number of years ago, hollowed out their old C64 and shoehorned the guts of a laptop into it for a bit of fun."

    That probably *was* a big deal a few years ago. Now that every man and his dog has mangled a classic computer case in order to fit a generic low-end PC/slimline DVD writer combo inside, it's no longer novel.

    Even that one (if it's the one J. Cook linked to) isn't impressive in retrospect. They didn't get the keyboard working- the one bit that would complete the illusion. However, that would require more technical skill than just sawing bits off the case and slapping some crappy old PC inside.

    And no, you didn't get your C64 to run at "911 times its original speed", chaps. You got some off-the-shelf mini-ITX PC hardware tarted up with a non-functioning C64 case to run at exactly its normal speed.

  26. DJGM
    Thumb Down

    "Most amazing components . . . " ... NOT!


    "It will be an exact replica of the C64 chassis loaded with the most amazing components available today,"


    Errrm ... Intel Atom D525 CPU with Nvidia Ion2 Gfx ... "most amazing" really? ... Methinks not!

  27. snafu

    Will we be able... peek and poke it?

  28. TeeCee Gold badge


    "...loaded with the most amazing components available today..."

    They'd better not print that claim on a box with an Atom/Ion peecee inside it. Trading Standards would have a field day.

  29. bobbles31

    A wise old Games industry journalist commented once....

    Today Adam showed definite signs of both intelligence and emotion. He communicated with me much more frequently during his illness, explaining why he thought he was in such a sorry state and on occasions babbled on incoherently about his dog. Obviously malnutrition has affected his train of thought. He also told me about how sorry he was that I didn't communicate with him as often as I might and that he missed me ruffling his hair. I am deeply moved by such devotion, especially when I consider how badly I have treated him over the past few days. I resolve to take better care of him from this day on

  30. AndyG_IOM


    10 PRINT CHR$(147)

    20 PRINT "Looks Like Fun"

    30 FOR A=1TO1000

    40 NEXTA

    50 PRINT CHR$(147)

    60 PRINT "Can i have one ?"

    70 FOR A=1TO1000

    80 NEXTA

    90 GOTO 10


    1. M Gale

      In Mode 7?

      Yeah, that would look awful.

      And yellow.

      Mine's the one with the BBC reference manual in the pocket.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    Ho hum...

    Just a bog standard intel job. Nothing to see here.

    Now... if this "Commodore" had managed to persuade the evil that is SONY to shoehorn an something like an unlocked PS3 with a bit more ram into that box... Or some de novo design of their own. Anything to be different. Some other powerpc. Xenon... Arm/derivative ... whatever.


    THAT would be something. Different, unconventional. A Total Geek machine. I'd buy that.

    But they probably don't have the imagination or budget.

    As it stands... this 'Commodore' Atom offering is extremely lame. In fact, I can't think of anything lamer than this.

    To be honest, I perceive it as an insult to the memory of the C64. It amounts to the same as putting the same kit inside an Apple ][ case. Absolutely no respect at all, these young ones. Just cashing in on the legend of the C64.

    There I've said my piece...

    Oh wait, not completely, I'd like to take this opportunity yet again to flip Sony the bird. F@ck you, you bastards.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. King Jack
    Thumb Down


    I grew up on the c64 followed by the Amiga. What this design does is duplicate those machine's short comings. Who wants a Keyboard chained to the monitor and mains cable?.

    NO ONE.

    I'll stick to my wireless, light keyboard. Free from all tethers.

    I do miss those machines.

  33. Dave 126 Silver badge

    An external HDD...

    could be made as a replica as the external Commodore cassette tape unit. The size is about right. I tripped over a one of these cassette units the other day, as well as a PET 2001, whilst helping my boss clear out his garage.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    It's that time already?

    There seem to be recurring stories in media.

    For example, in car mags, every now and then Ford will show a coupe, and the car mags will exclaim "THE CAPRI IS BACK!"

    And so it is with IT rags, every so often someone dusts off the C64 name and the headlines exclaim "THE COMMODORE 64 IS BACK!"

    I own a DTV (basically a C64 in a joystick with games included), and unfortunately the joystick is very poor quality, so make do with emulators and a CD full of C64 games I found at a car boot sale.

    Besides, didn't they do the "all in one" PC thing a few years back?

    "Commodore 64" it was called, it featured a 486 chip, Windows 3.1 or CE on ROM, Lotus SmartSuite, a built in modem with Netscape Navigator / CE explorer, but it did also have a proper C64 emulator! :)

    Been trying to find one on ebay for years....

  35. Lottie


    I wonder if they can make it so that we can print the alternate pictures on the keys?

    My first BASIC program (on the VIC - I had to wait for a while 'till I got a C64) was the flying bird one in the manual. Basically a print command, then a count to and another print command with a goto 10 at the end, but DAMN! I felt like I was in Tron!

  36. Bo Pedersen

    That spec is fine

    for what most people would use that system for

    dont forget any Gamer of any note at all would want a seperate keyboard and mouse, like razer or logi products to play any modern game.

    for emulation and "casual" gaming, the ion2 is fine, in fact I had Race Driver Grid running on an ion1 system with an Atom330 2gb ram and a 320gb hdd.

    the only downside is that the keyboard will have to be different , but I could live with that

    I will put my name down for one :)

  37. ShaggyDoggy

    Disappointingly pointless

    I initially hoped that this "exact replica" would in fact be an exect replica.

    However it's just a PC in a C64-alike case. So what's the point.

    How disappointing that there's no SID chip etc.

    Exact replica rating 1 out of 10

  38. Yorkshirepudding


    if it has a screechy boot up with multicoloured scrolling im IN!

  39. Wize

    Meh, its just like the new mini.

    The new mini is a large car with a badge on it saying 'mini'. Compare it to the original mini and you see there's nothing mini about it.

    Kind of like what they are doing here. Badge a PC as a Commodore 64 and try and sell on name alone.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Sort of

      I kind of agree there. The new MINI != proper Mini.

      But this C64 revival would be more like packing the engine and internals of a Toyota Yaris into an original Mini bodyshell. Not a proper mini as in no rubber suspension, no A series engine, no central speedo etc. but looks like a Mini.

      Whereas the "MINI" comparison could be made against those "Commodore" gaming PCs, which like the large BMW hatchback, are an arbitrary naming exercise and an irrelevancy in the history of the original article.

  40. Seanmon
    Thumb Up


    I actually have a C64 in a cupboard somewheres., but I was a CoCo man back in the day, personally.

  41. Blue eyed boy
    Thumb Up

    When the Commodore 128 first came out

    a review in one of the mags said that it was fully compatible with the C64 and can ruin (sic) all its software.

    Is that true also of the new baby?

  42. Stephen 2


    And the point of this is...?

    I was expecting it to be a 'retro machine' that would sell for like 50 quid. Instead its just a regular PC in a crappy looking case. What a load of jip.

  43. Paul 77

    BBC Micro SD card interface?

    I saw a picture of a BBC Micro hooked up to an SD card, and I'm wondering if anyone knows where I can find details of how to build the interface (I'm guessing it uses the 1MHz bus), as I've not been able to find details online so far.



    1. irrelevant

      sd expansion

      google "mmbeeb" for the DIY version. It's just a user port connection and a few discretes

      Or there are plenty of other ways to add modern storage media to the things. See

      for a recent discussion of the various methods.

  44. Jason Bloomberg

    Hello eBay ....

    Time to flog my crapped out, full of cobweb C64's that have languished in the garden shed on eBay in the hope some sucker thinks they're getting something much better than it is/was.

  45. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward

      SD Card

      Since the C64 has a SD card adaptor available for it, near instant loading is a reality.

      Not sure what the point of this new unit is. I love the old beige bread bin, but reusing the case? I have a C64 and it sits next to my Acer Revo PC which ironically runs pretty much the same spec as they are looking to shove into a 64 case.

      If you want a 64, go buy one one Ebay. If you want a small and neat PC go buy an Acer Revo. Or have both like me!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  46. TkH11


    I'm not really convinced there's a market for this item. It's clearly intended to be nostalgic and is aimed at people in their 30's and 40's that owned them as kids. But, we want them with the actual innards!

    Creating a computer in the same case as a C64 but with totally different innards doesn't make it a C64!

    It's being marketed as a C64 and so clearly aimed at the nostalgic market but the kids of today won't have that nostalgic feeling: they weren't even born when the C64 was around! So what's in it for the teenagers of today?

    To make it nostalgic means it has to be able to play the original games of yesterday and will those games appeal to the kids of today when they're lacking the blazing 3D graphics.

    Let's be honest, I love playing old games like PacMan, Defender but I get bored with them very rapidly now, they don't hold my attention like the Far Cry, Half Life 2.

    If it's intended as a games computer then there are other consoles which already do that, so this new C64 needs to have some unique selling point, perhaps that's the price..perhaps not.

    To gain a low price point requires a large market, the games console manufacturers in the past have regularly sold consoles at below the cost of manfacture in order to achieve market penetration and made up the losses in the sales - and higher than otherwise would be- price of the software.

    Does anyone really think this nostalgic C64 is going to have as large a market as say a Wii games console?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's Sad, Pathetic and Funny?

    Booting up the C=64 OS on a 1.83 GHz dual core CPU w 4 Gigabytes of RAM and a hard drive featuring 100 Megabytes per second transfer rate, in a mere 1 minute and 14 seconds!

    bull guts sucks the big one!

  48. b166er

    Exact replica

    They should queeze some original hardware in there too and let there be a choice at power on.

    Anyone remember Up'n'Down on the C64?

    I thought the BBC Micro was great as well, it's what we had at school. Remember Dogfight? And Biorhythms lol!

    And alt!-4

  49. Ellis Pritchard

    Not like C=64

    They can't actually seem to distinguish between the C=64 and the Amiga; no way is the Amigo reminiscent of the C=64, it's more like the bastard child of a TI99-4a and an A1200...


    \\\ /// or something


  50. The Grump

    WHY ?????????

    What have they done?

    They're taken one of my cherished childhood memories, and gave me a box full of LIES!

    (Falls to the ground and looks to the sky)

    WHY ? Sweet God in heaven, why do they torture me so? They pass a new C64 before my eyes, then tell me it doesn't play C64 games. How could a loving God allow this to happen? WHY ?

    (collapses to ground after complete mental breakdown)

    (fade to black)

  51. Joe Cassara
    Thumb Down

    Let it die already...

    Altman is just another unqualified quack, the likes of Bill McEwan and the jokers behind the Gravel, tarnishing the legacy of a dead company. It's disgraceful what this parade of starry-eyed amateurs has done to the Commodore name.

    Jerri Ellsworth's DTV was the only product of any value released in a post Commodore world to bear the moniker proudly.

    Seriously, what could possibly motivate these people to resurrect the brand, aside from the nostalgia a handful of silly geeks (I include myself) share?  In its painfully protracted decline, Commodore was perceived as a joke in the marketplace, revered and cheered on only by those of us with the perspective and memory to care. To Joe Consumer, computer meant PC or Macintosh by the late 90s, which is as far back as his memory will go. (Ancient history in terms of computing!)  What credibility does the brand have today, in a world that foolishly believes Steve Wozniak invented the personal computer, doesn't know an Amiga from a pile of old microwave parts, and just vaguely remembers the toy computer they got for Christmas in 1984.

    Let Commodore rest in peace already.

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