back to article World+dog to get retro classic Commodore 64 for Christmas

German retro enthusiast Jens Schönfeld of Individual Computers is about to start manufacturing new Commodore 64 cases from the classic home computer company's original injection moulds. His announcement follows a licensing deal with the outfit that now owns Commodore's trademarks, Polabe Holding. Schönfeld's announcement …

  1. Alistair
    Pint

    Likely lineups for those

    ..... to rival the line ups at the apple stores this time round.

    might even find me there.

    1. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Likely lineups for those

      Doubt it. The whole point of owning an old computer isn't usually to use it , its because its an original. If use is your only factor then there are dozens of C64 emulators for all currents OS's. There's a reason classic cars cost a fortune and replicas are cheap even though the latter may be more reliable and out perform the former.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Likely lineups for those

        Not really, some just want the whole experience you can't get from an emulator.

        And often the old machines, after a couple of decades in the loft simply don't fire up.

        1. boltar Silver badge

          Re: Likely lineups for those

          "And often the old machines, after a couple of decades in the loft simply don't fire up."

          If you owned an E-type jag and it wouldn't start one morning would you:

          A) Sell it to the local scrappy and buy a replica

          B) Get it fixed.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: Likely lineups for those

            Unfortunately this problem is very likely to do with PNP depletion zones in the chips.

            When you have PNP material sandwiched together it requires the application of a certain amount of power to overcome the resistance so that electricity flows (for example, 0.7 volts for Silicon).

            This forms the basis of the logic gates in the chips. Over time, if those chips haven't been powered up (and thus breaking down the depletion zone where the two materials mix and 'intermingle') then the depletion zone gets larger and larger (one material type 'bleeds' into the other).

            Now, when you add power it requires a lot more than 0.7V to break that barrier down and this typically burns out the chip.

            I can't imagine some of these chips are easy to replace these days, I may be wrong :)

            1. Steve Evans

              Re: Likely lineups for those

              I can't imagine some of these chips are easy to replace these days, I may be wrong :)

              Needing a long obsolete chip sounds like a good excuse to learn FPGA's... IIRC there's a crazy man on the intarwebz who is systematically going through every chip on the BBC Micro motherboard and defining it in VHDL...

              1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: Likely lineups for those

                And in this day and age he'll probably be eligible for the Turner Prize or something for doing so, quite by accident. Or at least Arts Council funding to do it.

              2. ThomH Silver badge

                Re: Likely lineups for those

                If only he'd decided to do the ZX81, he'd have been finished several times over by now.

                1. The Indomitable Gall

                  Re: ZX81

                  I believe it's already been done. If not, it would take an afternoon, as you've been able to get a circuit diagram for the entire thing in discrete logic on the internet since last century...!

      2. polyp2000

        Re: Likely lineups for those

        In the case of the C64 (no pun intended) there are still games being produced and its music capabilities make it the "Moog" of the 8bit world thanks to its SID chip. This makes it very popular with electronic musicians such as myself.

  2. Herby

    And I want this...

    Why? For the same amount of $$$ I can get something that can do some actual work/games.

    A nice Pi-Top is pretty cheap considering...

    I think the script kiddies have gone to something better.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: And I want this... why?

      All I have to do is go into the basement and find that box with the 4 or 5 original ones... but as I'm not sure whether the floppy drives still work (and I won't use a datasette) I might be tempted to give myself a new one for chrismas.

    2. Chz

      Re: And I want this...

      In addition, 6510 emulation is pretty much a solved problem. The one thing that can't be emulated 100% correctly is the SID chip, but it hardly seems worthwhile just for that. The only C64 games I've seen that can't be emulated well are the ones with especially devilish copy protection schemes. (Though trying to find your codewheel for Bard's Tale III 25 years on is a whole other challenge)

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: And I want this...

        "The one thing that can't be emulated 100% correctly is the SID chip"

        How come? I'm guessing commodore never released the low level specs , but surely after all this time its behaviour would have been mapped out regardless?

        1. ThomH Silver badge

          Re: And I want this...

          I think the SID has just been emulated poorly historically because it's a digital-analogue hybrid with unknown analogue logic. So it's the combination of incompletely documented, expensive to emulate and slightly outside of the normal emulator author's core competencies. There are good soundalikes now though, despite the obstacles — e.g. reSID seems well-reviewed.

          1. The Indomitable Gall

            Re: And I want this...

            I believe the only analogue in the SID was the ladder DACs the filters and a mixer, hence why there's no sinusoid wave form. The filters idea was genius really, as it meant that a triangle waveform could approximate sinusoid (run it through a low-pass filter, and the closer the cut-off frequency is to the fundamental frequency, the closer the triangle approximates a sine wave).

            I think the problem with recreating the SID lies less in the design, but much of the specific sound arose from minor flaws -- line interference due to proximity of components and issues relating to power distribution meant that the sound was imperfect, hence a lot less synthetic sounding. I still hold that (restricted number of voices aside) the C64 had the best sounding music right up until Lucasarts put an orchestra on the CD for X-Wing vs Tie-Fighter, and the subsequent move to MP3 soundtracks (although that was a travesty, as iMuse was the cleverest thing ever to happen to computer music and is still sorely missed).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        At CHZ re the code wheel.

        My friends & I took the one CW we had to the local photo copier & made a few copies of the two halves of the CW. Then we trimmed out the "letter window" needed to form the codes, & used a thumbtack to pin the two halves back together. Viola, instant CW. Now we each had one to use instead of the originals in the game box, which allowed much... ahhh... oh hell call a Pirate a Pirate. YAR!

        The result of this was that by having an easily disassembled paper copy to later digitally scan, it was rather easy to save the digital version to the copied game disks to distribute along with the game. As such you *may* be able to find a JPG or PNG of the original CW floating around out there on the net; lord knows I distributed enough copies to seed that bastard around the world a few times over. *Cough*

        So don't give up hope, do a search in your favorite s'engine & look for the CW. They may even have copies of it included with the virtual FD images of the game at your favorite abandonware site!

        *Comical shove* Now get outta my way, I've got files to leech! =-D

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: At CHZ re the code wheel.

          "Viola, instant CW"

          I smell a fiddle.

      3. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: And I want this...

        "trying to find your codewheel for Bard's Tale III"

        Just download the DOS/Amiga version + crack then. The Amiga version likely looks and sounds MUCH better and since C64 version required 3 double sided diskettes (6 images) the constant diskette changing is annoying. I suppose the Amiga version (just 2 disks) can be installed onto the "hard drive" in an emulator as can the DOS version in DOSBox.

  3. wolfetone Silver badge

    A Better Option

    Within the community there are a lot of people who want to "retrobright" their C64's (plus other machines). Some of them have done it, but now it's becoming apparent that the technique is short term and the machines turn yellow fairly quickly. It's also reckoned that the technique makes the plastic easier to break.

    But this company are doing a good thing allowing people to buy new cases for their C64, and allowing them to have different colour combinations. So this should be prove popular.

    Me though? Well I like the aging yellowing of the C64c that I have. I don't, however, like the nicotine yellow colour of my spare Amiga 500. But I'm taking a can of black spray paint to that.

    1. d3vy

      Re: A Better Option

      Ive never seen the fascination with calling it "Retro Bright"

      Its basically hydrogen peroxide, you're just bleaching the plastic back to its original colour removing the grime/UV discoloration - yes it wears off but only because the plastic is still exposed to UV light.

      My process was :

      1. Walk into Hair Salon.

      2. Ask for a 1l bottle of their strongest peroxide based bleach* (Bonus if you get the cream/gel) pay £15

      3. Paint the cream onto the console (Didn't bother dismantling it)

      4. Slap some cling film on it and put it in the sun for a bit.

      In my opinion there are alot of people who want to make out that they are in some way special who spend their time on the retro forums making out that the process is more complicated, Ive seen people saying that you need a specific % peroxide, you then need to mix it with a specific washing powder (some oxi action one) microwave it and whisk it into a paste before dissembling the console/machine and painting it on - then you need to have a UV light to shine on it...

      The process inst complicated, it doenst need some special name, though I suppose *retroBright* sounds better than *HairBleach*

      * The brand that I got was Fudge its a cream based bleach and its pretty strong - Wear gloves!

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Next up - rivalry wars between Speccy and Amiga owners heat up...

    1. ad47uk

      different times, the speccy was the first affordable colour computer with sound, the Amiga was a different class. I have both,

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      It was always Speccy vs C64 and Amiga vs ST.

      1. Gary Moore's Plectrum

        Actually it was Speccy vs C64 vs the posh kid who had a BBC Micro. Said posh kid got a lot of stick from the rest of us, but secretly we envied him for Repton and Elite.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          "but secretly we envied him for Repton and Elite."

          Don't forget Chuckie Egg

        2. Test Man

          "Actually it was Speccy vs C64 vs the posh kid who had a BBC Micro. Said posh kid got a lot of stick from the rest of us, but secretly we envied him for Repton and Elite."

          I had a BBC Master 128...

          :p

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            But then Elite and Chuckie Egg came out on the Speccy and Boulder Dash was Repton, so we could take the piss out of him again.

    3. J. R. Hartley

      Speccy vs Amiga? Lol

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        *ST* vs Amiga? Lol

        (^_^)V

        1. ThomH Silver badge

          "Let's just give it a franebuffer and an AY and let the programmer figure the rest out" — the ST is the Speccy of 68000 world. Or something.

    4. Steve Evans

      Speccy vs Amiga is a pointless war, they are different generations and price brackets. The Spectrum was a machine built to a very tight budget, so didn't even stack up very favourably with the more expensive machines of its era such as the BBC Micro and Commodore 64. All 8 bit, Z80 or 6502 (6510), all from 1981/82. Sure it was fun to play with, and spawned a load of home programmers, but it was a bit of a toy.

      The Amiga was the successor to the C64, and like the Atari ST or the same time, was based on the 68000, a 32 bit CPU and both launched in 1985. None of the 8 bit machines has a hope against these beasts.

      1. Michael Strorm

        "The Amiga was the successor to the C64"

        Spiritually, the Amiga was closer to being the successor to the Atari 800. Most of the original development was done independently by Amiga Corporation which was founded by several ex-Atari staff (including Jay Miner) before Commodore bought them. Like the Atari 800, the Amiga was heavily-reliant upon custom-designed chips, and shared some architectural similarities with its predecessor as well as the general philosophy of being state of the art and also bloody expensive when first released.

        (It was also originally intended as a games console that turned into a serious computer; much like the Atari 800 was originally intended to be the successor to the VCS/2600 console before being redesigned as a fully-fledged computer).

        Ironically, the Atari ST was designed by Atari Corporation, the company Jack Tramiel founded after he quit Commodore and bought out the original Atari Inc's home and computer division. Atari Corp was quite different in approach to Atari Inc; Tramiel sacked (or rather, did not re-hire) almost all the Atari Inc engineers upon takeover and had his own, newly-installed people design what became the Atari ST with a "Power without the Price" philosophy.

        The ST was also much more designed around pre-existing off-the-shelf chips than the custom ones in the Amiga.

        It'll be noted that all this is somewhat different to the approach of the Atari 800. The comparison with the Spectrum (also based around off-the-shelf components) isn't overly flattering- or entirely fair- but in these respects, it *was* more like the Spectrum than the Atari 800 or C64.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Some other nostalgia options...

    http://www.specnext.com/

    http://www.nintendo.com/nes-classic

    Better than the C64? Discuss...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some other nostalgia options...

      Why is the SpecyyNext in the crap+ case?

      If doing a Spectrum, why not squidgy key version?

      BTW, already out there, and fully official

      http://shop.zxvega.co.uk/

      1. Michael Strorm

        Re: Some other nostalgia options...

        Because- according to the website- the underlying keyboard is much higher quality than the original despite superficially resembling it. (#) It's going to be a lot easier to pull that off convincingly with Spectrum+ style hard keytops than it would be with rubber ones.

        Personally, I thought the Spectrum+ case was nice example of mid-80s design- in terms of appearance at any rate (##). Perhaps not as iconic as the original, but it was never going to be.

        (#) From the website: Q. Is the keyboard of the Spectrum Next the same as the ZX Spectrum Plus and QL? A: No, they just look the same. Underneath its looks one finds a modern butterfly system that aims to provide comfort and high bandwidth input for the keyboard, similar of what one would expect from a modern laptop.

        (##) Even if its hard caps on rubber domes on membrane construction- similar to modern cheap PC keyboards- wasn't as nice to use as a high-quality mechanical one.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Some other nostalgia options...

        Aren't you comparing apples (Vega's joypad) with pears (Next's keyboard)?

  6. Adam 1

    LOAD "$" ,8

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      ?"WHO NEEDS DIR ANYWAY?":-A$

    2. cd / && rm -rf *
      WTF?

      "LOAD "$" ,8"

      Which promptly wiped out the program you'd just spent two hours painstakingly typing in from a dot-matrix printout in a magazine.

      And disk drives that were slower than cassette recorders.

      Ah, these were the days.

      1. Mike Richards Silver badge

        On the upside, the (1541?) floppy drive was able to keep a cup of tea warm indefinitely.

  7. applebyJedi

    Halt and Catch Fire

    Hurray, I can relive all my 80's Halt and Catch Fire dreams all over again!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Halt and Catch Fire

      You'll have to make sure you disable the power LED on all the Commodores for the real HCF experience. Getting one thing glaringly wrong in each bit of technobabble also helps.

  8. Dr_N Silver badge

    I was a Commodore Junky

    PETs, VIC20 and then a '64 with an Interpod and a 8250 dual disk drive.

    Commodore Show in Hammersmith anyone?

    But somehow this hold zero interest for me.

    [shrug]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I was a Commodore Junky

      Yes, me too. PETs via the school (remember Polaris, anyone?), VIC-20/C64/C128/A500/B2000 with the XT bridge board (upgraded to a NEC V20 ) and hard card, which got me into PCs.

      Ahh, the Novatel shows - they were great. I even helped out on the ICPUG stand once but kept getting told off for playing demos and general messing about.

      One year I rinsed a Yak Society copy of Way of the Exploding Fist over the summer and then went to the Novatel show and beat down Jeff Thompson in a Melbourne House competition - he was *pissed* as he barely got a touch on me!

      Unfortunately the prize was a copy of the game.. :-/

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I was a Commodore Junky

      I used a PET at school & liked it so much I bugged the holy hell out of my folks to get one for home. Mom didn't care as long as I used it for my homework, but dad decided to get "something better" once it finally came out.

      He bought me my first Vic 20 with a datasette drive & an Atari joystick later, then a whopping 300baud joystick-port-connected acoustic coupler modem shortly thereafter. I used that until I could afford a C64, bought a 1541 floppy drive, then a second drive to make copying easier, plus a 9600baud modem. It got upgraded here & there until I was running a C128D with a 1750 Ram Expansion Unit (REU) with the slots packed with as much RAM as it could support, a pair of 1541's & a pair of 1581's, a cart expansion/switcher module that allowed me to have multiple carts plugged in at once & flip a DIP switch to activate them, a SwiftLink cart to attach a 56Kb modem, and a replaced Atari joystick.

      I would turn the REU into a RamDisk, load my modem dialer into normal system space, & fly through the various BBS' just as fast as that 56Kb modem could propell me. I'd download files to the RamDisk so they came across just as fast as the bandwidth allowed, no having to wait for the floppy drive to catch up; granted I had to then save from the RamDisk to the FD afterwards to KEEP the files, but that was a small price to pay. I could run GeoCalc, GeoWrite, Paperclip128, and all sorts of other software in the RamDisk, saving the system space for the actual document being worked upon, then either save it to the RamDisk or FD as needed. I could run games like the AD&D Gold Box set & cheat like hell by swapping the floppies, editing the saved characters in the RamDisk, then reload them into the game - all without ever leaving the game to do so. *Grins*

      I loved the fact that it was essentially virus proof since the only way to introduce one was via the files I grabbed off the BBS', but any corrupting code embedded inside never lasted past a simple reboot. What's that, you want to write to the next floppy I insert? Shame that's a virtual floppy image as a read-only file saved in a RamDisk. No virus writes for you! HA! *Cough*

      When C= released a hard drive I was in heaven. I transferred most of my FD-based library to virtual FD image files, saved on the HDD instead, & could copy them to the RamDisk in seconds. I nievely thought I'd never be able to fill the whole 10Megabytes on the thing... *Cackle* Boy was I ever wrong! *Chortle* We've got Terabyte drives now & that's STILL not enough!

      On one hand I want a *new* C128D with a HDD, REU packed full of RAM, & a high speed modem with which to get online. I'd download entire libraries of the virtual FD files, then relive my childhood in squealy glee.

      *Sigh*

    3. King Jack
      Thumb Up

      Re: I was a Commodore Junky

      Commodore Show in Hammersmith. I remember it well. I got the High Score on Super Pipeline two days in a row. The prize each day was a copy of Commodore Tennis. The bastards only sent me one copy. I too have no interest in this but it was fun whilst it was the machine to own.

  9. J. R. Hartley

    Jens is a legend

    He's been making stuff for Amigas for years. Although he's not cheap, and these newly released Vampire boards are gonna really hurt his business imho.

  10. Andy Mc

    I know it's a long time ago and my memory's not what it was, but that's not a C64 case, it's a C64c surely?

    1. oddie

      Youre right, thats def a C64C design - not one of the original breadbox C64 designs...

      I guess maybe he didn't want to go full sub-sub culture in the press release?

      on the other hand, I do prefer the C64C myself... and that black one is certainly good looking.. I do have a spare C64c lying around... that would (presumably?) fit into it...

  11. I Like Heckling

    I'm very tempted

    I grew up on one of these, I'd had pong machines and an Atari 2600 before but the C64 was my first proper computer and where I cut my teeth writing adventure games complete with very basic graphics.

    If most of my favourite games are available, then I may just be tempted to pick one up rather than trying to use the emulator on my Mame setup (which is very hit and miss).

    So I'd be looking for some Jeff Minter classics like Hovver Bovver, Mutant Camels and so forth. Along with Parralax, Iridium, Winter/Summer Games I/II, Daley Thompsons Decathlon, The Hobbit, Kick Start I/II and all of the others that I've either forgotten the names of or will come to me later today or this week.

    I kept my C64 until I was in my early 20's and replaced it with an Atari ST and then added an Amiga before moving into full on PC's in the mid/late 90's.

    Happy times, and as a now approaching middle aged man... I can feel my heart strings beginning to tug/yearn for simpler times of my misspent youth. :)

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: I'm very tempted

      "Happy times, and as a now approaching middle aged man... I can feel my heart strings beginning to tug/yearn for simpler times of my misspent youth. :)"

      It ain't all bad, we've got workable VR now :)

  12. d3vy

    I need one so that I can teach my kids

    10 PRINT "HELLO"

    20 GOTO 10

    Cause I was a 7337 HaX0r when i was 6.

    Mind you thats pobably what sent me down the path to being a developer... Maybe Ill spare them the life of daily standups and just buy them a football.

  13. Robert Moore

    Raspberry 64

    Might be fun to stuff a Raspberry PI into one.

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