Commodore 64 Turns 30 Years Old, Still the Best Selling PC of All Time

Paul Lilly

Like many 30-somethings, the Commodore 64 provided me with my first glimpse into the world of PC gaming. I remember giggling when enemies would kill themselves out of shame if I managed to hop past them in The Last Ninja, and being delightfully frustrated with the puzzles in Maniac Mansion. Karnov, WWF WrestleMania, and Jordon vs Bird: One on One were three other titles that were frequently loaded. As primitive as each of those games are compared to today, it's still hard to believe that the Commodore 64 platform is 30 years old. What's even more mind boggling is that it's still the greatest selling single PC model ever.

The first Commodore 64 system was released in August 1982 for $595. As its name suggests, the C64 had 64K of RAM. More importantly, it had decent sound and graphics (16 colors!) for its era, along with TV output. The NTSC version shipped with an 8-bit MOS Technology 6510 processor clocked at 1.023MHz.

That's all less than pedestrian by today's standards, but in 1982, it was quite the machine. Sales estimates range from over 12 million units up to 17 million units during the course of its life. So, what has become of Commodore since then?

The original company filed for bankruptcy in 1994, and while you can no longer purchase real Commodore systems, a company called Commodore USA has licensed the trademark and sells PC clones . These systems are essentially mini-ITX nettops dressed up in C64 digs and come with Commodore 64 emulation software.

What was your first PC?

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